What Mona Needs to Learn About Speciesism

Posted on by Dan H

From encouraging bull slaughter to confining live fish to a dinner plate, Tasmania’s Museum of Old and New Art (Mona) has a track record that leaves a bloody trail when it comes to animals.

As Australia buzzes over the news that Mona will play Wu-Tang Clan’s largely unheard album, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, this month as part of its “Namedropping” exhibition, PETA is asking the venue’s director to also show RZA’s famous video about speciesism – in which he advocates for treating everyone with respect – and serve only plant-based food at the museum’s eateries during the event.

Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA narrates the beautiful video with a simple but powerful message that no matter our race, age, gender, or species, we’re the same in all the ways that matter.

Like humans, cows form social bonds and even have best friends, rats show empathy and compassion, and chickens hold grudges. Fish enjoy physical contact with other fish and often gently rub against one another in the same way a cat weaves in and out of a human’s legs. All animals experience emotions. Many species grieve lost loved ones, and all animals feel frustration, anguish, and pain – especially when confined, exploited, and slaughtered for human enjoyment in the name of food, clothing, or art.

Music brings people together. Mona can elevate this experience and ensure it also unites all species simply by embracing RZA’s words: “Our task must be to break free from prejudice and to see ourselves in everyone else.”

What Is Speciesism?

Speciesism – like sexism, racism, and other forms of discrimination – is an oppressive belief system in which those with power draw boundaries to justify exploiting or excluding those who are more vulnerable. A human supremacist line of “reasoning” is used to defend treating other living, feeling beings as research tools, food ingredients, fabric, or toys – even though they share our capacity for pain, hunger, fear, thirst, love, joy, and loneliness and have as much interest in freedom and staying alive as we do.

How to Help Animals

There are easy ways to help end speciesism – we can all put the principle of equal consideration into practice every single day with the products we buy, the food we eat, the clothes we wear, and the way we choose to spend our time.

These choices are a form of non-violent protest that make a real difference – both by reducing the profits of corporations that harm or kill animals and by creating a growing market for cruelty-free products, vegan food, compassionate fashion, and animal-free entertainment.

To learn more about making kind choices, visit the “Living” section of our website and order our free vegan starter kit.