If you have ever called someone a “chicken,” People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) would like to have a word with you. The animal rights organization known for its over-the-top advocacy is demanding that people stop using animal terms as insults.
“Calling someone an animal as an insult reinforces the myth that humans are superior to other animals & justified in violating them,” PETA said. “Stand up for justice by rejecting supremacist language.”
The group specifically pointed out what it thought were “speciesist” terms, such as “chicken,” “pig,” or “rat” that are commonly used as insults directed at humans.
From the New York Post:
The PETA tweet was so widely mocked online that it soon boasted an embarrassing ratio of almost 11,000 comments to just over 3,000 likes as of Thursday morning.
PETA social-media reps also included a chart detailing the human “supremacist” terminology and suggesting alternative language such as using “coward” instead of “chicken,” “snitch” in lieu of “rat,” “jerk” rather than “snake,” “repulsive” rather than “pig” and “lazy” to cast aspersions onto someone with sloth-like tendencies.
Despite the widespread mockery of the tweet, PETA pressed on with its justification for the demand.
“Pigs, for instance, are intelligent, lead complex social lives, and show empathy for other pigs in distress,” the advocacy group wrote on Twitter. “Snakes are clever, have family relationships, and prefer to associate with their relatives.”
Speciesist language isn’t just harmful, but it is also inaccurate.
Pigs, for instance, are intelligent, lead complex social lives, and show empathy for other pigs in distress. Snakes are clever, have family relationships, and prefer to associate with their relatives.
— PETA (@peta) January 26, 2021
“PETA urges everyone who believes in equality and justice to take a look at their personal beliefs and the language they use, and break free of this outdated mindset that denigrates other animals,” the group concluded. “Always be kind and consider not using insults at all.”
PETA has made similar arguments in the past, catching ridicule in 2018 for comparing animal insults to racist and homophobic slurs the public has generally accepted as offensive.
“Just as it became unacceptable to use racist, homophobic, or ableist language, phrases that trivialize cruelty to animals will vanish as more people begin to appreciate animals for who they are and start ‘bringing home the bagels’ instead of the bacon,” the group wrote at the time.
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