Les Cahiers antispécistes

Couverture du numéro zéro des Cahiers antispécistes (septembre 1991).

I founded the Cahiers antispécistes in September 1991, following the experience we – Françoise Blanchon, Yves Bonnardel and myself – had acquired in animalist militancy, and following contacts with Peter Singer and with Paola Cavalieri's group in Italy. The project was partly inspired by Paola's journal, Etica & animali, itself partly inspired by Between the Species; the idea was in large part to translate and publish in France the already rich philosophical and militant literature that existed in particular in the English-speaking world.

For several years, the three of us did the magazine, Françoise and Yves having quickly joined the project. We managed to keep it quarterly until issue 9 (January 1994); subsequently, publication became less regular.

The idea was also to produce a more openly militant magazine than Paola's; the subtitle was “journal of struggle for animal liberation”, and, starting n°10, “reflection and action for animal liberation”. The title, with its explicit emphasis on anti-speciesism, had been inspired somewhat by the journal L'antiraciste published by a Maoist (!) anti-racist groupuscule, the UCFML, which I had been in contact with.

Already in issue zero, the cover displayed a definition of anti-speciesism:

Speciesism is to species what racism and sexism are to race and sex respectively: the desire to disregard (or to discount) the interests of some for the benefit of others, on the false basis of differences that may be real or imagined but always lack any logical link with what they are intended to justify.

At the time, the terms “speciesism” and “antispeciesism” were practically unheard of in France; so much so that people looked at us strangely, asking “what are these antiseptic notebooks?”. However, as the introduction to issue number zero clarifies, it was not our intention either to assert a monopoly on the antispeciesist and animalistic struggle. The qualifier “Lyonnais” (from our town, Lyons) that we put in the title, and deleted from issue 10 (September 1994), served to mark the fact that it was our specific vision – we ended up taking it off because people imagined that it was a regionalist antiseptic journal.

The journal put up its website around 1995.

I left the editorial committee of the Cahiers in September 2004. I explained the reasons the time in an email. The journal continued, mainly under the leadership of Estiva Reus, publishing twenty issues (from 24 to 43); but its project was no longer the same, as I see it. Estiva Reus decided to close the magazine in 2019. The website is still available but is no longer updated. When I speak of the Cahiers antispécistes, I am generally referring to the issues that preceded this break-up, and which developed the analysis of speciesism from a rationalist, progressive and anti-naturalist point of view.

Over twenty texts published originally in the Cahiers have been replicated on this site. The list can be found on the sister page in French.