by any other name. here’s what i wrote after reading an article which contained the following phrase:
“The pig who fired the kill shot was on her radio…”
I am in the streets fighting against racism, police brutality, sexism and all forms of injustice. I hate these with every bone in my body. I will not stand for them!
At the same time, I will not stand for injustices to species of animals that happen not to be in the same genus and species (homo sapien) as we humans. Your expose of a horrible injustice is excellent; however, you err significantly when you attempt to demean the person committing it, a police officer (acting as a tool of a violent, exploitative system) by calling her a “pig.”
And even though in this case, that person is a female officer, you didn’t call her a “bitch.” (“The bitch who fired the kill shot…”) We’ve already begun to understand how sexist that would be. It’s demeaning to women in general for ANY woman to be associated with a female dog or any (non human) animal for that matter.
But it is also demeaning to female dogs, who are loving, dedicated, smart beings whom many consider friends and family. The fact is that female dogs, “bitches,” act as all mammals, including humans, do. (They even act as do other classes of animalia ie “avians” (birds)). That is, after their babies are born, they become very protective, even insisting that no one come near. They show clear signs of distress and willingness to fight, if this boundary is overstepped.
Pigs of course act in the same way and pigs are three or four times more intelligent than dogs. They are highly sensitive and intuitive beings and make lovely pets (and friends). Some do eat a lot, but others don’t. Some are fat or appear so but others are not. And much surplus body fat is due to being force fed in a state of deplorable captivity to increase slaughter weight as quickly (and profitably) as possible.
If we are calling officers who have unhealthy extra weight, “pigs,” then we are also demeaning and ridiculing a huge percentage of people who struggle with weight and other body issues. Women often fall into that category, as we are the ones who most often prepare meals, are therefore around food more often and sometimes have more sedentary jobs and lives. (“Fat is a Feminist Issue,” Susie Orbach.)
In addition, most people who don’t respect pigs and other (non human) animals and who therefore eat them and the body emissions stolen from cows and chickens (milk and eggs) – they too (women AND men) usually suffer from overweight (not to mention clogged arteries, arteriosclerosis and other life threatening ailments). This is a serious health issue, not one to be ridiculed. Calling a human a pig is problematic in so many ways.
Psychologically, speciesists, those who demean (non human) animals (and eat them) must repress and block from awareness, the extreme violence and suffering their appetites cause. This is cognitive dissidence at its peak. It is a dulling of human intelligence. It is failing to make important connections and it thus impedes the struggles for liberation of all marginalized and oppressed groups.
By calling a human the name of an animal in order to demean him or her, one is exposing a tremendous gap in the understanding of intersectionality, of how the system uses the oppression of one group to further the oppression of another and ultimately of all. One is ignoring how all these oppressions grow in the same toxic soil and how by watering the poisonous weed of one oppression, that of speciesism, one is watering the pernicious soil in which all deadly weeds (racism, sexism, etc) grow.
Therefore, by being speciesist, one is allowing oneself to be a tool of that self same exploitative violent system. One cannot call oneself a revolutionary, if one is engaging in speciesism (or any other oppression).
Because ALL earthlings look different (have different DNA) and yes ARE different (to one degree or another), we all are oppressed in different ways. None the less, we all have a common interest in dismantling a system that oppresses us ALL, albeit differently. Creating false categories of “other,” builds roadblocks to the unity we need to be a force for revolution and for overhauling the whole rotten system.
In the name of manatees and all endangered species (including humans), I urge all who work towards class (race, gender, etc) emancipation, to stop using speciesist language, drop speciesist attitudes (“we’re better than them, so we can use them for food, clothing etc”) and cease engaging in the violence hidden but inherent in speciesist behavior (i.e. eating dead animals, eggs, milk, wearing fur, leather, silk, purchasing products (cruelly) tested on animals, etc).
A struggle for one is a struggle for all. Join with animal liberationists who’ve already awakened to the forgotten (ignored) oppression of speciesism. We must certainly eradicate it within our own ranks and by doing so we strengthen our movement and hasten the dawning of a day when all earthlings are liberated. Thank you. Clare Vijun.