‪ Racism, Sexism-and all the “isms” that corrode our soul have roots and origins in Speciesism, the idea that “one”is better than the “other.

That there is a hierarchy of “ordained” superiority.

That Whites are superior to Blacks.

Men superior to Women.

The Young superior to the Old-and that Humans are superior to Animals, in fact to all of nature.

Why else do we hunt and kill a noble, innocent elephant for its tusks or to make an umbrella holder from its legs?

Why would we slaughter and eat 73,162,794,213 ‪ animals each year-while spending millions on our beloved cats and dogs, bunnies and horses?

Why love one and eat the other?

We have evolved enough to know that non-human beings deeply feel a range of emotions like love, fear, anxiety, joy.

That they have strong needs to mate, have families, protect their young, have communities and want a life free of fear and danger.

‪Changing our language in referring to our animal companions, our non-human travelers on this magnificent planet, is a critical step in combating pernicious Speciesism. It also is a major step in rescuing the planet, freeing it from human dominance and superiority.

We worked hard to change our language, the words and phrases we used to talk about people of color, people of different genders and nationalities. Those different from us.

It was hard work, and we’re still struggling to rid our language of words that cause pain, and diminish others.

We can also deal a blow to Speciesism by changing  how we refer to animals, and ultimately stop killing them them for food, clothing or experimentations.

In time, I believe we will look back at eating dead animals as barbaric. 

Language and Animals-A Primer 

‪* Let’s not say ”it” When referring to an animal. As in, “I saw a cat in the front yard, but it ran away before I could see if it had a collar.”

‪Use “he, she or they.”

‪* Avoid grocery-store speak used to refer to dead animals.

‪Instead of “pork,” say “pig.” Instead of “steak,” it’s “cow.” So “I’d love to eat a cow tonight.” Not a steak. Call it what it is.

‪* Please use use “someone,” “everybody,”etc, instead of “something,” “everything,” etc, to refer to animals.

‪Example: “Someone (not something) dug a hole under the fence.”

‪* Say “guardian,” “pet parent,” “caregiver” to refer to yourself in relation to non-humans who share your home.

‪Avoid “owner,” as in “The cat’s owner.”

‪We are not their owners; they are not our property.

‪Try, “The rabbit’s pet parent took her to the vet.

* Remember, it’s “cows’ milk,” the “chickens’ eggs.”

‪We took the milk and eggs from them.

‪The animals had ownership over them.
 So, it’s “We ate chickens’ eggs for breakfast and a cow’s rib for dinner.”

‪*Boycott industry terms: it’s  “slaughterhouse,” not “abattoir.”

‪“Hunting area,” not “”game refuge,” “The dogs were confined to the vivisection lab,” not the “biomedical research lab.”

* “Cage Free eggs mean nothing good for the chickens. Don’t be deceived by the phrase. They may not be in actual cages, but in huge industrial warehouses where they can not move, and die of thirst, hunger and disease, never feeling the earth or the sun.

Above all, forget the “Humane Treatment of Animals.” It’s simply a way of making their deaths for our dinners a bit less horrific.

Fight for “Animal Rights” instead, where animals have a say in their lives and care and what’s done to them.

Ask them how they feel about being slaughtered or separated from their young and families.

‪These distinctions are critical, and are part of the process of understanding and defeating Speciesism, and repairing the earth and our souls.

‪With the change in language can come a shift in the way we think and feel.

‪And with that shift, we recognize the harm of Speciesism and its corrosive nature.

‪And with that,  we become more compassionate.

Remember,  the milk we drink is stolen from lactating cows whose babies have been forcibly separated from them, and whose male babies are destined to become veal.

‪What’s in a word? Everything!

‪Rev Kaleel

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About the Author: Kaleel Sakakeeny
Kaleel Sakakeeny is an ordained Animal Chaplain and Credentialed Pet Loss and Bereavement Counselor, one of very few in the country. He also has BA, MA, and MS degrees, and is certified in Reiki, EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) and Animal Communication, which helps him tremendously in his work with people and animals. Kaleel specializes in grief and sorrow counseling for those who have lost their pet to death. He is very accessible, and looks forward to working with you individually or in a group setting. He especially loves working with small groups in workshops, schools, community centers and churches – talking about the beautiful bond between people and their animals. And, addressing your questions about love, loss and our animal companions. Please say “hi” and introduce yourself!

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