Antispeciesism (the opposition to discrimination and abuse based on the fact that another being belong to a different species) is strongly related to the ideology of the vegan movement. However, how did the term "antispeciesism" begin to be used? This relates to the question "What's the origin of veganism?". What's the origin of antispeciesism?

  • Could you edit a (brief) definition of speciesism into this? (The link is good, especially for broader context, but having a short summary of links is always useful in questions as well as answers!)
    – Erica
    Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 21:23

2 Answers 2


Actually I have not heard any vegans use the term "antispeciesism", though I am sure some do. I have heard many talk about the evil of "speciesism", and I assume that "antispeciesism" is derived from that.

The Wikipedia article on speciesism has an informative section on the origin of the term:

The term speciesism, and the argument that it is simply a prejudice, first appeared in 1970 in a privately printed pamphlet written by British psychologist Richard D. Ryder. Ryder was a member of a group of intellectuals in Oxford, England, the nascent animal rights community, now known as the Oxford Group. One of the group's activities was distributing pamphlets about areas of concern; the pamphlet titled "Speciesism" was written to protest against animal experimentation.

Ryder argued in the pamphlet that "[s]ince Darwin, scientists have agreed that there is no 'magical' essential difference between humans and other animals, biologically-speaking. Why then do we make an almost total distinction morally? If all organisms are on one physical continuum, then we should also be on the same moral continuum." He wrote that, at that time in the UK, 5,000,000 animals were being used each year in experiments, and that attempting to gain benefits for our own species through the mistreatment of others was "just 'speciesism' and as such it is a selfish emotional argument rather than a reasoned one." Ryder used the term again in an essay, "Experiments on Animals," in Animals, Men and Morals (1971), a collection of essays on animal rights edited by philosophy graduate students Stanley and Roslind Godlovitch and John Harris, who were also members of the Oxford Group

Original references:

  • Ryder, Richard D. (2000) [1989]. Animal Revolution, Berg.
  • Ryder, Richard D. (2010). "Speciesism Again: The Original Leaflet", Critical Society, Spring, 2.

I believe speciesism was first used by Richard Ryder in 1970.

Since Ryder's agenda was anti-speciesism, it would follow that 'antispeciesism' followed naturally from that.

  • Thanks for the answer. Could you provide some reference for this? It would be awesome to have some internet links or book titles, newspaper articles, etc.
    – Attilio
    Commented Feb 18, 2017 at 17:25

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