It is the contention of this paper that animal liberationists have misconstrued and misused Bentham’s “famous footnote” as an advocacy of species equivalency of interests, as though he were an incipient opponent of what has come to be known as “speciesism.” The context of Bentham’s footnote was of mistreatment of others that are capable of feeling pain. He was advocating in the footnote for laws that would end what he viewed as instances of cruelty toward animals. He was not advocating for vegetarianism or an end to killing animals where they can be of benefit to human beings, where “we are the better for it.” Humans are not “the better” for wanton cruelty or tormenting others for “sport.” We should treat others with the respect they deserve. That also includes how we handle others’ views, written or spoken.
"Bentham and the “Famous Footnote”,"
Between the Species:
1, Article 6.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/bts/vol23/iss1/6