New Philosophy

Environmental Philosophy

What is the irony about human “speciesism” in the United States?

The irony is that, on the one hand, Americans have treated wild species poorly, but on the other hand domestic pets have, in many cases, been given the royal treatment. In 2006 Americans spent 36 billion dollars on pets, which was twice what they spent on children’s toys. In 2007, they spent 41 billion dollars on pets. Chihuahua designer clothes and thousand-dollar beds aside, many single individuals and families consider their dogs and cats to be people and are deeply bonded to them emotionally. But this is not new—Americans have a long history of concern for domestic animals. When public attention became focused on child abuse in the 1970s, early advocates had no existing body of law on which to make their claims, and some early cases were prosecuted under legislation enacted for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).


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