“Is slavery – owner, victim, profit, domination – exclusive to the human race? Have blacks, Jews, women and children been the only victims of this atrocity? Have not cows been enslaved? What about pigs, chickens, turkeys, fish, sheep? If they’re not enslaved, then what are they? Free? Can slavery have a victim that is neither a human, nor an animal?

  • There are species of ants whose behavior biologists describe as "enslavement" of other ants, but really, aren't all parasites slavers of a kind? They subsist on the labor of another without offering any benefit. And yes, I would consider a draft horse a slave. Cows and chickens might be a different story, because they wouldn't exist at all except for our exploitation of them. Jun 21, 2018 at 1:24

1 Answer 1



This kind of fallacy — an informal one, Nota Bene — is a sort of backwards version of Equivocation.

It can be described such:

  1. We have [Condition A] which is characterised by [Characteristics A].
  2. [Characteristics A] are bad.
  3. We label this condition by the label [label A].
  4. Therefore: condition called by [Label A] is bad.

So the label in this case is "Slavery".

The equivocation comes when we attach the term "slavery" to something else.

  1. We have [Condition B] characterised by similar but not identical characteristics, [Characteristics B].
  2. We choose to attach [Label A] to [condition B]
  3. Because we call [Condition B] by [Label A] — and [Label A] was previously used to denote something that had bad characteristics — this means that [Condition B] has bad characteristics.

In brief: the label — and your personal interpretation of it — does not automatically mean that two different situations are the same and can be valued the same.

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