Speciesism 101

Michael Valpy on the coyote’s problem.

Image of God, or imago dei, is the theological doctrine that humans are created in God’s image and therefore have inherent value independent of their utility or function, something not awarded to coyotes but underscoring how we think of them.

Thus in the competition between humans and coyotes for space and goods, coyotes get trumped because they look like evil dogs and don’t have souls (or guns) despite ranking high in the hierarchy of sentience, the capacity to feel pain. Their moral weight is further reduced on government websites, where they are labelled predators, pests and nuisances.


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