Also posted on The Dodo When promoting veganism, we’re often confronted by claims of care toward humans as though they negate the importance of going vegan. Veganism is trivialized as something for “animal lovers,” not for humanitarians and social justice … Continue reading
Excerpt from “5 Reasons For Why Animal Rights Are a Feminist Issue” by Aph Ko
Full Article Here
1. Animal Bodies Are Objectified, Too
To be objectified means that one’s body and life exists for the pleasure or benefit of someone else.
Non-human animal bodies are reduced to fleshly things (literally) that can be consumed, or used in painful or unethical scientific projects.
They are not culturally seen as independent beings that experience pain, pleasure, and a range of emotions, and that exist in social networks.
2. Animal Bodies Are Used to Normalize Rape Culture
Animals are sexed. The tortures inflicted upon animals, then, will be specific to their sex and it is no surprise that for female animals, their capacity to breed overwhelmingly dictates how their bodies will be controlled.
Female animals endure a life of repeated rape and perpetual pregnancies and after they’re “spent”, they’re slaughtered.
As feminists, to consume raped and tortured non-human animal bodies, while fighting against rape culture, seems a topic worthy of investigation.
4. Domestic Violence Harms Animals
There’s a clear correlation between hurting non-human animals early in your life, and then harming humans.
The correlation between violence against children and women, and violence against non-human animals demonstrates how patriarchy harms those of us who are minoritized and oftentimes powerless.
4. Intersectionality Must Include All Oppressed Groups
The language that surrounds non-human animals constantly makes use of a moral hierarchy that suggests certain bodies are more valuable than others.
It is ridiculous to try to “rank” how bad each group has it, or to assume that all of our attention must be devoted to one group’s fight for rights, or to assume that if much of our attention is focused on one group at a certain time, that must mean the other groups are less important or “have it better.”
All of these spheres of oppression are byproducts of the same systemic evil—an evil that is heavily steeped in white supremacist patriarchy.
To declare that one of these groups is “treated better” than the other is to completely miss the ways in which these oppressions are intertwined and even depend on one another.
5. Our Society Spreads Lies About Animals, Too
Most of us as feminists already know that cultural scripts are used to naturalize problematic behaviors.
Similarly, there are scripts in animal-eating spaces that naturalize horrible systems of oppression. This script deflects from the systemic reality that non-human animals are tortured, slaughtered, and raped so that we can eat to satisfy our addictions to taste.
Apathy towards violence should never be fostered in any social justice movement.
Cultural scripts perpetuate myths and traditions. Scripts allow us to feel comfortable with problematic behaviors. They allow us deflect responsibility for the choices we have the power to make.
I went to a livestock auction in late November. It took me a while to process the experience because it was so traumatic. For anyone who isn’t familiar, livestock auctions are where farmers buy and sell the animals they exploit. … Continue reading
I am not an “animal person” – never was. But it doesn’t take a special kind of person to know that suffering and killing are wrong.
Spending so much time at a sanctuary, I find myself more invested in the stories of the individual animals.
The oldest potbelly pig Charlie has some digestive issues so he gets Metamucil everyday with his food, and Country Time Lemonade to watch it down!
Everyone has their own diet to meet their special needs. The folks in Animal Care work so hard to take amazing care of everyone.
Carmen the Barbados sheep is a natural sheep with no wool, who sheds excess fur. Yup, that’s right, thick “wool” that needs to be sheared is not natural, it’s the process of thousands of years of selective breeding. Carmen came to Animal Place a young lamb, very lucky to be alive at all. She was being raised on a small family farm in rural Nevada County when she broke her leg. For weeks she stumbled around on the farm as the leg became infected. The property owners did not provide any veterinary care, at which point a neighbour intervened and convinced the owners to sign custody over to Animal Place. They rushed her to the UC Davies veterinary centre, but they were unable to save the leg. She now hops around on 3 legs, and seems pretty happy. She’s a little shaky, probably because it’s hard work on her muscles to support herself. She’s certainly enjoying herself here!
Panda is a cow who was being raised at a school, as part of an FFA or 4-H program. Someone broke into the school at night, covered him in lighter fluid, and set him on fire. When he was found, the person raising him for slaughter wanted to save him – meaning save him so that he could sell him at auction to be killed later. A private donor stepped in and helped Animal Place save his life.
It’s easy to see a case like Panda’s as simply as aberration, but the fact is that this kind of extreme cruelty is the inevitable result of seeing beings as things. When animals are converted into things for our purposes and are legally owned, we can’t expect for them to be treated with any respect or dignity or justice. If they happen to be treated well, that’s great, but it’s just lucky. The harsher reality of their mistreatment is built into the consciousness that looks out at the world of other animals and sees things to use for our selfish purposes. The problem is use not treatment. We react to “cruelty” cases with repulsion whenever the cruelty at hand is not the institutionalized, business-as-usual cruelty inflicted on animals every single day. The basic moral principle that underlies our opposition to these individual cruelty cases is that it’s wrong to cause unnecessary suffering and death to sentient beings. So, since we don’t need to eat animals, any suffering or death inflicted on them for food production is precisely the unnecessary suffering and death we oppose in individual cases.
Most of us are already committed in principle to do no harm.
We’re already vegan in our hearts and minds.
“There are no magical slaughterhouses where animals are fed their favorite meal, make a last phone call to a loved one and voluntarily hold their breath until they die. The act of slaughter is violent, vicious, bloody and hellish. The animals do not sacrifice themselves for your pleasure, tradition or greed. They are dragged in kicking and screaming until their last breath. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you can eat meat, dairy and eggs and remain disconnected from this violence. The only way out is VEGAN.” – Gary Smith
“We owe the animals our profoundest apologies. Defenseless and unable to retaliate, they have suffered immense agonies under our domination that most of us have never witnessed or acknowledged. Now knowing better, we can act better, and acting better, we can live better, and give the animals, our children, and ourselves a true reason for hope and celebration.”
– Will Tuttle
“In order to live non-vegan, you have to accept that it’s okay to subject others to pain for your pleasure. And the day you stop accepting that is the day you go vegan.” – The Abolitionist Vegan Society
Not a week goes by that I don’t hear another carnist bring up some version of “plant rights” in an attempt to justify consuming animals – and that’s the key point here, in an attempt to justify consuming animals.
People generally have no problem letting house plants die, stepping on grass and flowers, using chemicals on their lawns, letting fruits and vegetables rot in the fridge, cutting down a tree to make a wider driveway, growing a vegetable garden and apple picking – but mention that you’re vegan or advocate for animal rights and all of a sudden these acts are made equivalent to slitting an animal’s throat.
To be clear, I do believe that we drastically underestimate the complexity and interconnectedness of all life on earth. The world would be a much better place if we afforded plants even a fraction of the sensitivity and concern that we’re capable of affording human beings. But this is a far cry from equating them with animals so that one can feel better about eating pig flesh instead of lentils.
Simply put, while plants respond to stimuli, they lack subjective awareness, a nervous system, and pain receptors. It is imperative that we love and respect all life, but that doesn’t mean that there are not fundamentally different life forms that warrant different treatment. There is a reason why we don’t avoid stepping on grass but do avoid stepping on a dog’s tail. There is a reason why we take children to pick apples and not to slaughterhouses.
It is also worth noting that besides the sentience/subjectivity/pain part of the distinction, anyone who is genuinely concerned with protecting all life forms from death, as though they are equal, ought to be moved by the fact that it takes up to 15 pounds of plants to produce just 1 pound of meat. Consuming animal flesh and animal secretions requires far greater amounts of plants to be killed than if we eat the plants directly. In short, someone eating an omnivorous diet is responsible for far more death of every kind of life form than someone who consumes plants directly.
If anyone in your life is still not convinced that there is a fundamental difference between plants and animals, that the fact that plants are complex life forms does not justify killing animals, then propose the following to them: “I’ll make you a deal – you watch a series of ‘humane’ slaughter videos and I’ll watch a strawberry harvest.” Checkmate.
“The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world.” – Paul Farmer