Today we bring you an excerpt from Saryta Rodriguez’s powerful new book Until Every Animal is Free. In the second chapter of Until Every Animal is Free, Speciesism: The Final Frontier, Saryta details several reasons humans have developed to justify the notion of human supremacy and attempts to disprove each. You can help fund the publication of this important project by contributing to her Indiegogo campaign and pre-ordering your copy today!
Until Every Animal is Free is an insightful, candid work heralding the Animal Liberation Movement as the next logical step on the road of social progress, dispelling many of the myths that keep us from getting there. The book aims to encourage aspiring activists, as well as “closeted vegans,” to find their voice—to have those important-albeit-awkward conversations with friends and family about animal liberation and even take their message to the streets.
While some religious texts arguably contribute to this point of view, they are not the only source of this notion. This notion exists independent of any organized religion; it is a notion that in fact precedes many of today’s religions, and may have inspired them rather than vice-versa.
Consider the secular model of creation. First there was nothing and then there was the Big Bang or some other strange event, which is still hotly debated today and ultimately un-provable anyway; and planets were made. Then, on our planet, there was land in some areas and water in others, as temperature changes caused ice to melt. Tiny, single-celled organisms appeared (initially, in the water). They became more complex, and some of them made it out of the water, where they continued to increase in complexity. New species sprung up here, there, everywhere…And then there was Man. A monkey became a subhuman, which became a slightly “better” or more advanced subhuman, and eventually this creature became Man.
That’s it. That’s where the story ends. All of this other stuff came first, and it got more intelligent, more creative, bigger, with more organs, more nerves, and the fur fell off, and it started walking, and it was harder, better, faster, stronger…and one day it was Man. The End.
What’s wrong with the story? Nothing specific with respect to its content; it’s no more or less credible than any of the faith-based creation myths that abound in the world today. The problem is that the story ends. In reality, Creation never ended; it’s still going on today, all around us. New species appear every day, while old (or exploited) species disappear. The world was not created for us alone; if that were true, then presumably, creation would have ended with us.
I do not presume to know why the world was created, and would laugh heartily at anyone who claimed to have such knowledge. My goal here is not to answer the question, but to highlight the falsehood of the answer we’ve been given: The world was created for us, and we were meant to rule it. Since this is our destiny, there will be no consequences—at least, none with which we need concern ourselves. If anyone or anything else suffers at our hands, it’s okay, because it was meant to be so. All of creation took place for the sole purpose of putting us here.
The evidence that this is false abounds. We clearly have caused problems with which we need concern ourselves. We’ve caused famine. We’ve caused environmental devastation. We’ve caused numerous extinctions and reduced a plethora of once-abundant species to the distinction of “endangered.” If we were in fact not just choosing to dominate the world but destined to do so by design, I imagine we’d be doing a much better job of it.
Saryta is an editor, social justice advocate, animal liberationist, and writer. She graduated from Columbia University in 2008, having majored in Sociology and Philosophy. Ever passionate about social justice in all its forms, Saryta served AmeriCorps both as a member of the NYC Coalition against Hunger (2005-2006) and as a City Year Service Leader at PS 57 in East Harlem (2008-2009).
After working at both David Black Literary Agency and Penguin Publishing, Saryta headed west and founded her own editing and consulting firm, Brave New Publishing. She spent a year in Phoenix, AZ, where she joined PALS (Phoenix Animal Liberation Squad) before arriving in Oakland and joining Direct Action Everywhere’s East Bay chapter. Aside from writing and activism, Saryta also enjoys travel, reading, theater and the occasional video game binge.