Prejudice Towards Animals
An Animal Rights Article from


March 2017

Some people acknowledge that animals feel pain but deny that they are intelligent or self-aware. This claim not only has been proven wrong through research on a variety of animal species but also is inherently speciesist. Plous states that “society does not consume mentally impaired people...quite the typically extends extra protection to individuals who are unable to speak for themselves.”

In “Is There Such a Thing as Prejudice Toward Animals?”—an appendix to the book Understanding Prejudice and Discrimination—Scott Plous argues that such parallels can actually be helpful. This is because learning about such parallels can “tell us something fundamental about how prejudice operates and how people balance their desire to be fair with their desire to maintain an inequitable status quo (regardless of whether the outgroup is human or another species).”

Plous states that while the perception and treatment of outgroups also depends on many other factors. He concludes that “the similarity principle suggests that speciesism shares certain psychological features with other forms of prejudice. Because of this correspondence—and because animals are important in their own right—speciesism deserves greater attention than it has heretofore received.”

For more, please visit Prejudice Toward Animals.

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