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Speciesism and the Non-human  

Ragnhild Sollund

Speciesism is a concept that encompasses the ideology and practice humans perform in their discrimination against animals, based on the sole fact that they are not part of the human species. Speciesism legitimates animal abuse, animal exploitation, and theriocides (animal murder), as human practices with such consequences are justified and become part of daily routine. Speciesism is contingent on humans’ reliance on anthropocentric philosophy, language, culture more generally, and religion. The ideological and sociopsychological foundations for speciesism are located in discourse, difference, distance, and denial, which cause humans to create a moral circle, in which they are in the center while other animal species are situated in concentric circles around them. The animals’ position in relation to the human determines their treatment, rather than their interests, abilities, and cognitive skills, which call for stronger protection.