A theory of animal oppression

Sharon Stephania Murillo Melchor, University of Texas at El Paso


American society is characterized by indifference toward the notion of animal rights. Americans are unaware or often ignore the fact that “more than 9,000,000 farm animals die each year in the U.S. and exceeds 70 billion globally.” More than 6,000,000 animals die every hour, and die every second in slaughterhouses around the world. These numbers reflect the reality of American meat consumption. In this thesis, I will argue that individuals often ignore the impact of animal exploitation and as the “oppressors”, such that we do not even realize that we are oppressing animals and committing an injustice.We have the false belief that animals are inferior and that they serve a purpose in our lives. They live and die for our satisfaction. As we have been mentioning animal rights, our behavior towards animals as a result of false superiority, and an axis of oppression known as speciesism. I want to talk about animal oppression as a subject of justice. When people have the option to eat alternatives to animal products and yet still choose to eat animals, we are committing an injustice. My work should also deepen our understanding of anthropology studies of human interaction. Not only human-to-human but also human-to-nonhuman animal interaction.My aim is to build a theory of animal oppression represented as an injustice. I will attempt to provide a justification for an alternative "axis of oppression" one that we have often ignored. I want to show that humans oppress animals, and thus that humanity per se is an oppressive group in relation to all other animal species. This new axis of oppression must be acknowledged as an existing one to allow for scholars, philosophers, and activists to talk about animal abuse as a different axis of oppression. I want to start a different conversation, one that acknowledges that if we do not want to be oppressed, we should not oppress others.

Subject Area

Ethics|Philosophy|Womens studies

Recommended Citation

Murillo Melchor, Sharon Stephania, "A theory of animal oppression" (2016). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10241016.