Animal Species and the Language Police

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has taken offense to phrases that they say trivializes cruelty to animals. They call it “Speciesism”. In a recent Twitter post, they wrote “Words matter, and as our understanding of social justice evolves, our language evolves along with it. Here’s how to remove speciesism from your daily conversations.”

PETA suggestions for replacements of what they consider ‘Anti-Animal’ Language.

The response to this tweet was not particularly supportive of the concept. For the most part, the internet laughed.

“So you’re saying that there’s more than one way to skin a cat.”
“You’re flogging a dead horse.”
“So you’re advocating violence against flowers now.”
“PETA probably has bigger fish to fry…oops.”
“So, Curiosity thrilled the cat (not killed).”
“Hey peta! You forgot to let the weather know it has to stop raining cats and dogs.”
“I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag, sound too pig headed, but want to address the elephant in the room, there is more than one way to skin a cat.”
“We should also address the 800-pound gorilla in the room who is the perfect weight because we don’t body shame here.”

There are hundreds of phrases that are inspired by animals. Do they trivialize cruelty to animals or are they simply a reflection of our interesting and complex language? How is our language being shaped by the growing influence of Pressure Group Language Police?

‘Hop like a bunny’ over to The Phrase Finder for an excellent compilation of Animal Inspired Phrases. If you don’t follow this link then all I can say is “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.”
For more Animal Idioms, with some fun photographs, ‘train your eagle eyes’ onto 25 Amazing Animal Idioms. I’m not ‘sending you on a wild goose chase’, really!

What is your favourite animal idiom?

 

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