Two items in the newspaper caught my eye. One was about a former priest who was on trial for allegedly sexually abusing children in the 1970's and the other was about President Obama pardoning a turkey for Thanksgiving. Now what on earth have these two things got to do with each other?
Lot's - because every turkey eaten on Thanksgiving Day - or Christmas Day, here in Australia - is the product of sexual abuse.
Going by the jail terms meted out to sex offenders we clearly regard the sexual abuse of our fellow humans as a very serious crime - some offenders have received sentences of more than 15 years - yet, when the victim is a species other than our own we seemingly "turn a blind eye" to it. Why?
Because factory farmed turkeys have been bizarrely, and cruelly, bred for maximum profit, their breasts are now so large they can no longer mate naturally. Consequently, in order to produce the chicks that the industry is so desirous of, the birds are routinely sexually abused by workers. The protesting males are held upside down with their legs clamped and are "milked" - to put it nicely - by the workers. The unwilling females are then put in stirrups and have their private parts similarly violated as they are artificially inseminated.
Imagine what an uproar - and outrage - there would be if someone performed these acts of sexual abuse on humans! But it's not only turkeys who are sexually abused in the livestock industry. Pigs, too, are subjected to similar sexual abuse. No factory farmed pig is ever permitted to mate naturally with a female. Instead he is man-handled and manipulated in the same way as the turkey, and the female is subjected to similar sexual violation by farm workers in order to forcibly make her pregnant. Dairy cows are likewise subjected to this sexual violation. In order to impregnate them the farmer inserts his entire arm into their private parts.
Of course, even when animals mate naturally in the livestock industry it could be regarded as sexual abuse. Take the broiler industry, for example.
In order to produce meat chickens - known as broilers - the breeding females are forced to endure intolerable conditions. Locked inside sheds with many young roosters they are constantly raped until their backsides are red, raw and swollen.
Surely this is simply another form of man - inflicted sexual abuse because in a natural environment it would never occur.
If we regard it as wrong to sexually abuse humans, shouldn't we likewise regard it as wrong to sexually abuse other species?
In 1973 the term speciesism was created by British psychologist Richard Ryder to denote prejudice against non-humans based purely on physical differences.
Surely to condemn the sexual abuse of humans yet condone the sexual abuse of non-humans is out-and-out speciesism.