Speciesism as a Variety of Anthropocentrism
In what follows I shall argue that speciesism is in fact a variety of anthropocentric prejudice. But appeals to the important bond that we share with other humans ('our shared humanity' in terms familiar from Raimond Gaita) need not always involve such prejudice. Such appeals can function as part of a rejection of practices such as intrusive animal experimentation on the grounds that we humans have (in all sorts of ways) misused and mistreated non-humans to such an extent that we have now lost any moral authority to sacrifice their interests in the name of some greater overall good. And what is appealed to here, as well as our shared humanity, is a history of our human mistreatment and its connection to the moral authority to harm for a reason. An argument constructed along these lines might not work if we regard our connection to a shared and abusive human history as an insufficiently weighty consideration when set against the utilitarian advantages of the experimental system. I do not happen to think that it is insufficiently weighty, but others might disagree. Either way, the more importance that we accord to a connection to harm that is established through our shared humanity, the weightier a consideration this connection will become.