Humans too are animals

It is essential for the animalist movement to make it clear that it is not hostile to humans; not only because humans are sentient beings too, but also because speciesism is an essentialism (see “What is speciesism?”) and our view of humans should not be fundamentally different, either for good or for ill, from our view of other animals.

In particular, the ferocious severity with which many animalists judge humans who commit acts of cruelty – bullfighters, dog eaters, cat torturers, etc. – reflects a conception of humans as superior beings, endowed with reason and compassion, and for many created in the image of God, as opposed to non-human animals that are inherently perfect no matter what they do because they are part of nature; and this is at its core a speciesist view.

I addressed these issues first in 1994 in an article in the Cahiers antispécistes, “Humans are animals”, and subsequently in a conference in 2016 at the invitation of the PEA association, entitled “Les humains aussi sont des animaux”.

This theme, as well as the closely related one of non-hate, is also addressed in my interview by Martin Gibert, “Refounding Progressivism” and in the lecture I gave in 2018 at the Estivales de la question animale, entitled “D'une convergence des luttes à l'autre”, particularly towards the end (the “non-haine” part).