Speciesism can be defined as the belief that non-human animals warrant no place, status or recognition in the world other than what is arbitrarily decreed for them by humans, whose material and other interests as the dominant species will always take precedence. Like most other ‘-isms’, the power of speciesism lies in its generally taken-for-granted, uncritically accepted, nature. In this paper, I examine the influence of this pervasive mentality in two otherwise quite unrelated incidents, one involving an unknown ex-fisherman from a peripheral part of South Australia, the other centred on one of the country's best known environmental entrepreneurs who lived in the public eye, as well as three shark attacks which took place in different locations on the Australian coastline. In conclusion, I suggest that the distinction between endangered and non-endangered animals is also speciesist in character, and should be critically assessed in that light, rather than being held up as a sign of enlightenment where environmental matters are concerned.

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