Letter: Rights of woodlice

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Paul Rees (letter, 17 July) accuses me of what might be called "speciesism", which he equates with racism and homophobia, because I believe that human rights take precedence over the so-called "rights" of animals.

Society condones the exploitation of animals for recreational meat-eating, companionship and so forth. Within this tradition, we can argue about acceptable standards of animal welfare, but when it comes to animal rights, then Mr Rees's logic is impeccable - there can be no compromise.

So, will the pet-owning public give up their animal "slaves"? I think not. Mainstream society is inherently speciesist. This is just as well, because I would like to accord greater rights to my child than to a woodlouse without being branded a racist.

ALASDAIR MITCHELL

Stocksfield, Northumberland

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