People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is calling for an end to what it calls “speciesism,” or using animal names in negative contexts, such as “beat a dead horse” or “take the bull by the horns.”
“Words matter, and as our understanding of social justice evolves, our language evolves along with it,” PETA posted on its Twitter account on Tuesday, comparing these idioms to racist and homophobic language.
“Here’s how to remove speciesism from your daily conversations,” the tweet said:
Words matter, and as our understanding of social justice evolves, our language evolves along with it. Here’s how to remove speciesism from your daily conversations. pic.twitter.com/o67EbBA7H4
— PETA (@peta) December 4, 2018
The tweet includes a graphic recommending substitute language when referencing animals.
Instead of saying “kill two birds with one stone,” people should say “feed two birds with one scone,” although the first phrase refers to using resources wisely to accomplish multiple goals and nothing to do with feeding or literally killing birds.
Instead of “beat a dead horse,” PETA recommends saying “feed a fed horse,” even though “beat a dead horse” means one should not waste time doing something that will not work–nothing to do with feeding horses.
“Be the guinea pig” should change to “be the test tube” and “bring home the bacon” to “bring home the bagels,” referring to PETA’s stance that everyone should be a vegan.
The final entry on the graph is that “take the bull by the horns”–which is meant to express that people should tackle a challenge head on–should become “take the flower by the thorns.”
PETA’s tweet comes after a UK-based academic argued last month that an increased awareness of vegan issues may lead to new modes of expression.
“Metaphors involving meat could gain an increased intensity if the killing of animals for food becomes less socially acceptable,” Shareena Z. Hamzah of Swansea University wrote in the Conversation.
“If veganism forces us to confront the realities of food’s origins, then this increased awareness will undoubtedly be reflected in our language and our literature,” Hamzah said.
“The legal system is already getting to grips with the subject,” CNN reported. “It was announced this week that a British employment tribunal will decide whether ethical veganism is a ‘philosophical belief,’ that should be afforded the same protections as religion.”
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