Malzoan (n.) A person who condones, promotes, or actively engages in non-human animal exploitation, subjugation, reproductive abuse, torture, murder, consumption, or commodification.

From Latin malus (bad, wrong, evil) and Greek zôion (animal) with the suffix -an (adhering to or following).

Literally, “a person who is harmful to animals”.

Malzoism: the philosophy and worldview thereof.

Antonym: vegan (-ism)



Background of a new term:

In 2011, Dr. Melanie Joy introduced the word “carnism” in her book, “Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism”. In this fantastic work, she examines the belief system that allows most people to turn a blind eye towards the source of their meat-centric meals, while paradoxically showering affection upon other animals. She defines carnism as “the dominant, yet invisible paradigm in modern culture supporting the choice to consume meat”.

While this is a perfectly suitable term when discussing the human psychology of consuming animals and their products, (and it has become a quite popular in the vegan community to refer to meat-eaters as carnists), “carnism” falls far short of actually defining a more general anti-animal belief system: one that accepts the exploitation of animals for any reason, not just as food.

The term “vegan” was coined in 1944 by Donald Watson when he founded the Vegan Society. The modern definition of veganism is:

“A philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.”

The term “carnism” certainly addresses one of the most obvious and common forms of animal exploitation around us. However, it really is not a true antonym of “veganism”. It only refers to eating animals or animal-derived products. For that reason, I have introduced a new term: “malzoism”. Like “veganism”, “malzoism” also refers to all animal exploitation, not just consumption as food:

“A malzoan is a person who condones, promotes, or actively engages in non-human animal exploitation, subjugation, reproductive abuse, torture, murder, consumption, or commodification. The philosophy and worldview that is accepting of this behavior is known as malzoism.”

Malzoism is therefore the opposite of veganism.

A malzoan is anyone who is not a vegan.

Venn Diagram depicting the differences between Malzoism vs Veganism. Bottom line, there is no overlap as vegans are not malzoans and thus, do not engage in malzoism.

Venn Diagram of Veganism vs Malzoism. Notice the lack of any overlap.

Modern humans exploit animals in a variety of ways, and these can be broadly categorized into the following areas:

  1. Food: One of the most common ways humans exploit animals is by using them as a source of food. This includes meat, dairy, eggs, and fish. Animals raised for food are often kept in confined and inhumane conditions, subjected to painful procedures like castration and dehorning, and slaughtered inhumanely.

  2. Clothing: Animals are also exploited for their skin, fur, and feathers, which are used to make clothing, accessories, and household items. Animals raised for their skin or fur are often kept in cramped and filthy conditions and subjected to painful and inhumane methods of killing.

  3. Experimentation: Animals are used in scientific research to develop new drugs, test the safety of consumer products, and study disease. These experiments often involve subjecting animals to painful procedures and conditions, including testing cosmetics on animals, poisoning, and infecting them with diseases, and subjecting them to psychological stress.

  4. Entertainment: Animals are used for human entertainment, such as in circuses, zoos, aquariums, and rodeos. Animals used in these settings are often subjected to cruel training methods, cramped living conditions, and denied their natural behaviors and habitats.

  5. Wildlife trade: The trade of live animals, animal parts, and products derived from animals is a significant contributor to animal exploitation. Animals are captured from the wild and sold as pets or used in traditional medicines and other cultural practices.

  6. Pet industry: Animals are bred and sold as pets, which can lead to overbreeding, neglect, and abandonment. The pet industry also involves inhumane practices like puppy mills and animal hoarding.

In conclusion, animal exploitation is a significant issue in modern society, and humans have exploited animals in a wide range of ways for various purposes. Recognizing the various ways in which we exploit animals is crucial for developing strategies to minimize or eliminate these practices and promote more compassionate treatment of animals.

© Michael A. Slusher 2014