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The term speciesism has been used to describe discrimination on the basis of species, by analogy with such terms as sexism (discrimination on the basis of sex) and racism (discrimination on the basis of race).

In practice the term is used to refer to discrimination against non-human animals by human beings. Anti-speciesism is advocated by some animal rights philosophers such as Peter Singer.

Generally speaking, Asian cultures influnced by Jainism, Hinduism, and Buddhism have been somewhat less speciesist than Western ones, possible because a belief in reincarnation effaces moral distinctions between those currently incarnated as humans and those currently incarnated as animals.

See also discussion under Physicalism