Photoshopped Anthropomorphism is Speciesism
Lela Perez

“So, if we really believed animals not to be lesser, why is it necessary for these people to intentionally misrepresent them as more human than they really are?”

There are a lot of different eyes among pigs. I doubt it’s photoshopped in the first place. I do agree it’s probably cherry-picked though, not the “regular” pig’s eye, so I can speak to both a bit.

First let me say, you’re not wrong in the main of what you’re saying, but it’s not the whole picture.

Showing animals that have human-like eyes is a desperately-needed bridge. I guarantee the vast majority of people who see “regular” pigs’ eyes will underestimate and undervalue their emotions in still images because… you probably know already… lack of empathy for non-humans, social predisposition to dismissing the individuality of food animals, and animals use a lot of body language which we’re iffy at seeing, especially in still images.

So it might be a pill, but this non-representative image accurately conveys the truth that cannot be accurately conveyed by a more regular image.

Do you want the image to be accurate or the emotional aspect to be accurate for most viewers? Unfortunately we can’t have both.

I choose the emotional accuracy, because, it’s not about us, and the accuracy of our images and the purity and perfection of our attempts do do right. It’s about the individuals who are suffering.

Pigs agree with me on this. A pig doesn’t give two shits about what image is used to represent her in an online discussion. A pig prefers we stop tormenting her as soon as possible, even if that means photoshop or cherry-picking.

Later we can ban things on the grounds of speciesism. I’ll be all for that. But we’re not nearly there yet.

More generally, wisdom often looks like foolishness. If it were otherwise, it would be impossible to learn. We’re constantly seeing things wrongly and then learning. So let’s lift up instead of bash as our method of helping.

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Nathan Peirce’s story.