Re: “PETA: Does a Bavarian spit in the Black Forest?” (Dec. 15), the issue with using anti-animal idioms such as “bring home the bacon” and “kill two birds with one stone” is not that animals are offended by such expressions, but that the language we use to talk about animals reflects and reinforces our attitudes toward them.
As a woman and a member of the LGBTQ community, I know how it feels to have others dismiss my feelings, worth, safety, and rights because of their own ignorance. Just as social justice advocates have challenged sexist, racist, and homophobic language, animal advocates are rightly challenging speciesist language. These issues are all connected, because prejudices of any stripe arise when we start to believe that “I” am important and “you” are not, because you are somehow “different.”
Calling animals “it” reinforces the idea that they are little more than inanimate objects, rather than thinking, feeling individuals. Using words like “pig” or “dog” as a slur is both hurtful to the target and denigrates nonhuman animals. Casually using phrases such as “I don’t have a dog in this fight” trivializes cruelty to animals.
In each case, nonhuman animals’ feelings are entirely discounted, even though they experience fear, love, grief, joy, and pain, just as all of us do.
Efforts to encourage inclusiveness and compassion for all beings should be supported, not flippantly dismissed.
— Amanda Nordstrom,
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals