A call to stop the use of animal names as insults has been met with fierce reaction online.
The latest plea from PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) argues that calling someone a “chicken” when they’re scared, or a “sloth” if they’re lazy “perpetuates speciesism”.
“Calling someone an animal as an insult reinforces the myth that humans are superior to other animals & justified in violating them,” PETA wrote on Twitter.
“Perpetuating the idea that animals are sly, dirty, or heartless desensitizes the public and normalizes violence against other animals.”
Included with the tweet was a chart offering alternate insults to use, such as “jerk” instead of “snake”, “snitch” instead of “rat”, and “repulsive” instead of “pig”.
The tweet resulted in over 17,000 comments in 48 hours - though many failed to take the message seriously.
“Come back to me about being less superior than animals when an anteater builds a house,” one man wrote.
“Can I still call my boyfriend a 'Tiger' in bed or will it make humans feel sexually inferior to animals?” a woman quipped.
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. pic.twitter.com/HFmMWDcc5A
— PETA (@peta) January 26, 2021
“6 years vegan, please stop making us look ridiculous,” another said.
One Twitter user pointed out that animals won’t feel oppressed by the use of the words given they have “no concept of words and their meaning”.
Not all replies were critical though, with some supporting PETA’s stance.
“I love this - my biggest pet peeve is when humans act as if other living beings are inferior to them. When really, humans are the only beings destroying the only environment that will support our existence, so we are likely not as intelligent as we would like to think,” one man said.
“I reject #speciesism. I am #vegan. I have no need to harm and kill animals and so I don't, and instead #ChooseLove,” a woman wrote.
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