There’s a reason “speciesism” gets a red line under it when I type it: most dictionaries don’t recognize the word yet. But it is a profoundly real concept. Speciesism is “the assigning of different values or rights to beings on the basis of their species membership.” What does this mean? It’s quite simple: we think it’s okay to kill and eat pigs, but not dogs. We believe it’s okay to enslave elephants in the circus, but not house cats (lions and tigers appear to be fair game). Americans have a very cultural view of which species get a certain moral consideration, and which don’t. What started as an investigation into factory farms, Speciesism The Movie now aims to expose a philosophical lean that pervades almost all of us.
In 1975, a young writer published a book arguing that no justifications exist for considering humans more important than members of other species. It slowly began to gain attention. Today, a quickly growing number of prominent individuals and political activists are adopting its conclusions. And, as a result, they rank these animal factories among the greatest evils the world has ever known. Speciesism The Movie decided to find out if they could be onto something. Because if they are, it is something very, very big.
The writer is, of course, Peter Singer, and the book the now-famous Animal Liberation. Director and producer Mark Devries will have some serious ground to cover with this movie, but I absolutely support the idea. Animal rights is one thing – and all the advocacy, vegan food potlucks, and PETA demos I do speak to that – but what is the root cause of our misuse and abuse of animals? That fact that we feel morally different towards them. This is a view deeply rooted in history, religion, and cultural bias that Devries will explore.
Of course, making a movie isn’t cheap, and while it appears the production is complete, the “reach,” if you will, depends on us. Bold Native had a similar situation: great movie, but little publicity, making it hard for the movie to get into the eyes of the public. Because this is such an important message, I think supporting Speciesism The Movie is a pretty rad idea. Devries made this easy to do using my favorite crowd-sourcing option: Kickstarter! Head over their page and pledge what you can. The trailer is below, and the movie is already generating some good press on the Huffington Post. Good luck, Mark!