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What is Specism?

Specism is the act of placing higher moral or ethical value on one species over others. It is done in the laboratory animal field all the time. In fact, it is a requirement to view animal work in this way. Federal law requires that researchers consider the concept of refinement when using laboratory animals: one aspect of refinement is using animals lower on the phylogenetic scale (e.g., using mice instead of rabbits, rabbits instead of cats, cats instead of non-human primates).

Peter Singer argues that specism is an extension of the logic of racism and we are performing experiments on various animals that we would not perform on other animals, or humans for that matter, because they are a different species- that this is the same sort of injustice that discriminates by gender and race.