Over lunch, I caught myself admonishing the dogs, a few of whom promptly inhaled their food and then went scrounging around their siblings’ bowls in hopes of catching a stray piece of kibble, thusly: “Don’t be little piggies!”
I followed that up with a quick correction: “Not to insult pigs, of course.”
Except, conjuring up metaphors of pigs in order to scold someone for being greedy or gluttonous does, in point o’ fact, constitute an insult to pigdom. Even if done in a loving and affectionate manner, for all involved (and oh how I loves the piggies!). After all, the insult relies upon supposedly porcine faults: greed, gluttony, eating and indulging to excess, obesity in the form of pork fat, etc. Strip the stereotypes away, and the saying no longer makes sense.
A more appropriate phrase, then, might be “Don’t be heterosexual white fundie Christian dudes!” or something similar.
Or, more to the point, “Don’t be a Kenneth Lay!,” “Why you wanna be an Enron exec!,” or “Not my Nigel!”
See? Purge one speciesist insult from your vocabulary, gain a whole slew of novel, creative and varied slurs. It’s like going vegan, but verbal. The possibilities are endless!