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PETA has released a new set of rules for how to talk about animals and everyone is furious.

Animal rights organisation PETA are known for using controversial tactics to get the masses talking about animal welfare.

But on Wednesday, what was probably one of their more conservative strategies started a heated conversation online, with some saying the “absurdity” of the organisation had “gone to a whole new level”.

You see, according to PETA, our words matter, and using language that trivialises cruelty to animals can do significant harm. So, they suggested, we should all try to tweak our language, so as to “remove speciesism from your daily conversations”.

According to BBC Ethics, ‘speciesism’ is a form of discrimination based on species membership, whereby humans assume they innately have greater moral rights than other animals. People who fight speciesism believe that the concept of human superiority is arbitrary, and is akin to other forms of prejudice like sexism or racism. Of course, there are many who find this comparison offensive and disrespectful.

Nonetheless, PETA tweeted a list of five common animal-related phrases we all tend to use in our day-to-day lives, providing alternatives to remove their ‘anti-animal’ sentiment.

These phrases included sayings like, ‘kill two birds with one stone,’ ‘bring home the bacon,’ and ‘beat a dead horse,’ with alternative suggestions including, ‘feed two birds with one scone,’ ‘bring home the bagels,’ and ‘feed a fed horse’.

Just putting aside all the ethical questions surrounding this issue, no one has ever fed a scone to a bird. Ever.

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In less than a day, the tweet attracted over 10,000 retweets and over 30,000 likes, with over 40,000 people commenting their opinion on the new ‘rules’.

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PETA followed up their list of rules with another tweet.

A common thread in the responses to both tweets was the argument that idioms about animals are not the same as other forms of discriminatory language.

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While racist, sexist and homophobic phrases have the capacity to reinforce stereotypes and offend vulnerable people, pigs can’t hear us when we talk about bringing home the bacon. It’s also a big step to assume that, in a society where at least two thirds of people regularly consume meat, those people will feel compelled to stop using language that reinforces ‘speciesism’.

Look, I love animals. Significantly more than I love humans. But I’m just not sure that a reference to ‘being the guinea pig’ actually has a real-world impact.

But maybe it does.

If only our favourite creatures had the words to tell us how they feel. Because no one would intentionally do anything to hurt or upset this little guy.

Darling.

What do you think? Do you think we should take the language we use about animals seriously? Let us know in the comments.

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