Peter Singer’s quote, “To give preference to the life of a being simply because that being is a member of our species would put us in the same position as racists who give preference to those who are members of their race,” reflects his view on ‘speciesism’, a term used to describe discrimination based on species membership.
In this context, Singer is saying that preferring humans over animals just because they’re part of the human species is akin to preferring one race over another just because they’re part of the same race. Singer believes this is unjust and equivalent to racism. This perspective is deeply ingrained in Singer’s philosophy of animal rights, where he argues that all beings capable of suffering are worthy of equal consideration.
According to Singer, species should not be a determinant for considering the rights and interests of a being, just as race should not be a determinant for considering the rights and interests of a person. Therefore, in Singer’s view, it is unjust to give automatic preference to the needs and interests of humans over those of other animals, just as it is unjust to give automatic preference to the needs and interests of one race over those of another. His argument is that we should extend the same principles of equality and non-discrimination that we apply among humans to other sentient beings as well.