PETA’s suggestion that anti-animal idioms such as “bring home the bacon” can easily be replaced with kinder expressions (“bring home the bagels”) seems to have gotten some folks’ knickers in a twist as Ramon Presson’s piece (“Dec. 11) attests.
Women, people of color, members of the LGBTQ community, and others have felt the sting of hateful language, and research has shown that the words we use affect the way we think and act. If you call animals “it,” you are reinforcing the idea that they are little more than inanimate objects, rather than thinking, feeling individuals. If you talk about “beating a dead horse” or “killing two birds with one stone,” you are trivializing cruelty to animals.
If we can choose language that encourages being kind rather than callous or cruel, why wouldn’t we?