Insults Like “Pig,” “Goat,” “Chicken” Hurt Animals, Animal Rights Group Says
A prominent animal rights group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) wants people to stop using animal words as insults.
Earlier this week, PETA tweeted that calling someone a “chicken,” “rat” or “pig” degrades animals and promotes the ‘myth that humans are superior’ and ‘normalizes violence against other animals’.
“Words can create a more inclusive world, or perpetuate oppression. Calling someone an animal as an insult reinforces the myth that humans are superior to other animals & justified in violating them. Stand up for justice by rejecting supremacist language,” PETA wrote on its Twitter page.
The group shared 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.
PETA added that: “Anti-animal slurs degrade animals by applying negative human traits to certain species. Perpetuating the idea that animals are sly, dirty, or heartless desensitizes the public and normalizes violence against other animals.
“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 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in equality and justice to take a look at their personal beliefs and the language they use, and break free of this outdated mindset that denigrates other animals. Always be kind and consider not using insults at all.”
PETA’s tweet sparked ridicule on social media as people mocked and criticize the group with one asking, “Can I still call my boyfriend a tiger in bed or will it make humans feel sexually inferior?”
“This is bull$#&!,” United States Senator Ted Cruz responded.
“Your name is offensive to pets because it reinforces the myth that all pets are ludicrously woke imbeciles,” answered Piers Morgan.
— NotALeftist (@NotALeftist3) February 1, 2021
I absolutely agree. Humans should develop respect for all animals and understanding of suffering they create for so many of them. It’s absurd to protect cats and dogs from harm and inflict life-long torture and death on animals we consume. Respect all living beings.
— Dunwith Twitting (@mount127) January 28, 2021
come back to me about being less superior than animals when an anteater builds a house
— Ben (@thekingoxlade) January 27, 2021
In response to the criticism, PETA President Ingrid Newkirk told The Post, “The kneejerk dismissals are a reflection of the times we want to put behind us, and after ridicule comes discussion and then acceptance, as we’ve seen with our campaigns to end the use of fur and to point out how inhumane and unhealthy cow’s milk is, among others.”
She added that “it shouldn’t be controversial to assert that the words we use have the power to create a more inclusive world or to perpetuate oppression, and PETA is simply asking everyone to think before they speak — or type.”
In a further effort to combat speciesism, PETA has asked dictionaries to remove the definitions under animal names that described humans.
“PETA is asking @MerriamWebster, @Dictionarycom, & others to help combat speciesism & reduce animal abuse by removing derogatory definitions of pigs, snakes, & dogs,” they wrote.