In Front of the Shih Tzu: Professors Call for Hate Speech Protections to be Dull to Hens (Upgraded )

Drs. Josh Milburn and Alasdair Cochrane insist that such protections can help attain a”more benign human–animal relations in the society.”  The need for language criminalization is based on the view that”some animals do seem to have their social confidence eroded because of their awareness of the danger of violence”

We previously discussed the effort from PETA to terminate the use of animal references in pejorative comments. It involves the close of the usage of pig, chicken, rat, pig, snake and other references to”stand up for justice from rejecting supremacist language”

These two academics go further to demand actual speech crimes and controls to protect animals:

But, they don’t offer protection to nonhuman animals. Utilizing racist hate speech as our main example, we explore the discrepancy between the legal response to hate language targeting human groups and what could be called anti-animal or even speciesist hate speech….We therefore conclude that, absent a persuasive alternative argument, there’s no in-principle reason to support the censure of racist hate speech but not the censure of both speciesist hate speech”

What was striking me in the work is the reliance in the writings of NYU Professor Jeremy Waldron who I chased a couple years back at Rice University over his work in establishing address codes and crimes. That danger is obvious in this latest work.  The professors embrace Waldron’s notion of”group defamation” and the injury it causes to individuals in society. They then extend that notion to animals:

“the very best reading of Waldron’s theory must include specific animals within its own protective remit…several countries have enacted constitutional provisions for the interest of animals, a few of which explicitly recognise the’dignity’ of animals.But, again, none of these provisions admits that animals possess the Waldronian awareness of civic dignity: none views animals as possessing equal social status, membership, status, and rights. No community actually sees its animal residents as members of the society, and none recognises them as equals.”

The argument illustrates how language controls and crimes become an insatiable appetite for more and more regulation in maintaining what Waldron calls for a much better society. An increasing number of speech has been pulled into this vortex of criminalization and law.
As many know about that site, I’ve long known for greater protections for animals and the recognition wider of animal rights. This includes better standing to assert for relief in court on behalf of these animal pursuits. But, I’m also a free speech advocate. Indeed, academics like Waldron probably see me as something of a extremist in my right. I admit I oppose many regulation and criminalization of language. I’m a free speech dinosaur in which sense. Conventional free speech worth are certainly out of trend among academics.  I believe in largely unfettered free speech, especially for statements created off campus or outside of a classroom. I seriously don’t feel that these creatures are hurt by such comments but I know that free speech will probably be further hurt by their own criminalization.
The danger is really not a lineup of awakened Weimaraners since this actually protects the sensibilities of people.  Indeed, it may be an odd type of anthropomorphism in supposing hurt feelings which people might have. Animals can clearly feel anger and disapproval.
There’s a point about such phraseology but I favor Dr. Doolittle’s variant:

You can read the analysis here.
Soon following this column has been published, I got a pragmatic and qualitative response from Professor Milburn.  Together with his approval, I could including that response to this posting so that readers know the place of the writers. I love his hitting out and I encourage visitors to consider the more nuanced perspective that he is suggesting:

Thank you for blogging about the content I composed Alasdair Cochrane on animals and hate language. We, obviously, welcome involvement and evaluation from legal scholars.

I’m emailing to describe that, in the guide, we don’t mention that animals should be protected from hate speech. We argue for a conditional: given that we’ve found — in existing scholarly discourse about the bases of hate speech legislation — no persuasive reason to draw a point , we conclude that when humans should be guarded by hate-speech legislation, then (in principle) animals should be guarded by hate-speech legislation.

I feel this is a conclusion that may be endorsed by those who support the presence of hate-speech laws and people who don’t. Indeed, I’ve previously spoken with a colleague who’s, like you, very appreciative of hate-speech legislation, and he suggested Alasdair and I framework the paper as a reductio-style argument against hate-speech legislation. We don’t do this in the paper — indeed, we don’t take a side in the question of if hate-speech legislation are warranted whatsoever. But we welcome engagement with our discussions from people that are normally supportive of hate-speech legislation and people that are typically opposed.

Anyways; thank you, for taking the time to write concerning our paper.