Vegans of Color

Because we don’t have the luxury of being single-issue

Veggie Pride comes to the UK April 14, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — johanna @ 9:13 am
Tags: , , ,

Next month, the first Veggie Pride Parade in the UK (warning: extremely garish webpage) will take place in Birmingham.

I’m still not excited about the use of “pride” by veg*n groups.

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11 Responses to “Veggie Pride comes to the UK”

  1. When I saw the headline “Veggie Pride Parade,” I actually thought you were talking about a parade for GLBT vegans, so strong is my association of pride parades with the GLBT community. So yeah, I totally agree that it’s some serious appropriation. I mean, yeah, a veggie parade is super cool, but why the pride part? What does that really add to it? Is it really worth hurting and alienating people by including it? There could be tons of great names for a parade like that — the Eat Your Veggies parade, Parade of the Valiant Vegans, Veggie Joy, or something.

  2. benio Says:

    The Veggie Pride is a demonstration held each year since 2001 in France, and since 2008 in Italy. Its purpose is to express publicly the existence of those who refuse to eat animals and their solidarity with the victims of animal exploitation and slaughter. The name “Veggie Pride” implies that we proclaim that by being vegetarians we are doing what is right, because it is right to refuse to kill animals for our consumption; while instead, the carnivorous society tries to make us feel ashamed of that choice, through scorn and jibes.

    On the contrary, the events called “Veggie Pride” which will take place in New York and in Birmingham are attempts to celebrate veganism as a “personal lifestyle”, which is something there is no reason to be either proud or ashamed of. If, as those events imply, it was only a matter of personal choice and preference, it would be neither right nor wrong to be vegan.

    Please refer to the international Veggie Pride site, http://www.veggiepride.org/ for more information on the Veggie Pride demonstrations, which this year will be held on May 16 in Lyon, Milan and Prague.

    The New York and Birmingham events, instead, are misappropriations of the Veggie Pride name, and have nothing to do with the real demonstration.

  3. Kula Says:

    My loathing for the word ‘veggie’ knows no bounds.

  4. derarchimedischepunkt Says:

    I came across the “pride” word a couple of years ago in relation to the british Animal Rights organization “Animal Aid”: http://www.animalaid.org.uk/h/n/CAMPAIGNS/philosophy/ALL/400/ I don’t like the word pride so much, cos I think some things are or should be self-evident. Of course I am “proud” about this or that, but exactly my “pride” keeps me from the necessity to highlight that.

  5. ray k Says:

    vegetarians in the UK are still treated as laughable anomalies. the uk government recently made changes to the nutritional requirements for school meals which veered away from actualy nutritional valur and into specifying the inclusion of animal produce in meals.

    there is still a lot of stigma attached to those of us who refuse animals produce. if we are not portrayed as bobblehat-wearing aneimic weaklings, we are shown to be bomb-throwing balaclava wearers.

    the truth is, we’re a part of society, and we shouldn’t have to pander to any expectations.

    as much as any minority, we are the mass.

    I’ll be there fr a laugh, hopefully i’ll meet some RAFA* symapthisers to slink off to the pub with,

    although i must agree, the website is HIDEOUS.

    *http://www.myspace.com/realaleforall

  6. I think there’s something very snobbish about deciding that you’re too proud to express that you’re proud.
    And no, frankly, it’s not so self-evident to be vegetarian. If it was, how come 99% of the world population has missed the obvious? It’s not self-evident, because we humans are strongly social animals, and tend not to question what we see everyone else doing. It was not self-evident to be an abolitionist in 1860 US, to be a non-antisemite in 1935 Germany, to be a non-heterosexist in 2009.
    To say it is “self-evident” implicitly includes “for the happy few (like me)”. It is to set us apart from the common (sinning) humans.
    The Veggie Pride approach is quite the opposite of that. See the Veggie Pride manifesto (http://www.veggiepride.org/en/manifesto.html):

    “To refuse to rob sentient beings of their sole possessions, of their very flesh, of their very lives; to refuse to take part in a concentration camp system which turns their short lives into perpetual torment; to refuse to do all of this for the mere pleasure of the palate, for the satisfaction of a habit, of a tradition: To refuse to do such things should be just plain decency.

    However, history does show how difficult it is, when barbarity is the social norm, to simply say No.

    We wish to declare our pride at saying No.”

  7. johanna Says:

    I’m curious: how many of the folks who don’t see anything contentious about using “pride” are queer, of color, etc.?

    I also find it hilarious that people think that not using the term “pride” means that you can’t express your pride or be proud. Wow, such limited imaginations.

    • There are quite a few “queer, of color, etc.” folks who don’t see anything contentious about using “pride”. But if *you* see something contentious about it, please speak for yourself. What is it that bothers you?
      As for your second remark: Could you explain better? I don’t quite get it. Perhaps because my imagination *is* limited?

      • johanna Says:

        David — obviously not all queer folks or POCs will agree on any issue. I was specifically wondering about this thread, because it’s been my experience before that often the folks who are most vociferous that “pride” is a-okay are folks who have no investment in the concept rooted in other identities.

        And I was clear about what bothers me about the use in the post I linked, which I wrote but perhaps you didn’t read.

        As for other ways to celebrate veganism w/o appropriating the concept of “pride”–as discussed previously (including on my previous post), there are lots of other things you could call the parade: [city name] Goes Veggie Day, Celebrate Veggie Day, etc. etc. etc. A parade itself implies pride, so why the need to appropriate Pride w/a capital P?

    • benio Says:

      Johanna,

      I am not sure that I understand what you want to know. I know several vegan gay persons who use to attend the French VP. Some of them are openly engaged in the French animal liberation movement. And many of the persons who organize, or help organizing the VP, are engaged in other political movements.

      I wrote a text about the political meaning of the Veggie Pride, in which I compared the oppression of women and the exploitation of the animals. In this text, I said that “animals” or “women” are not biological or ontological categories, but political categories; in other words, that these groups are composed by individuals whose identity is defined by the concrete political oppression that they suffer.

      In Europe, the intersection between all kinds of political oppression is recognized by a large part of the animal liberation movement. That said, the aim of the Veggie Pride is to say that we are vegetarian and vegan because we refuse to kill the animals, because we are against the slaughter of the animals. In the text I mentioned above, I tried to explain that this message is absolutely political, and that non human animals are political subjects as well as humans. Those who think that the message of the Veggie Pride is not political because it does not talk about the political oppressions of humans, reproduce the ancient division between “humans” and “nature” which is the basis of speciesism.

      I have the impression that the way of thinking of the American animal liberation movement is very different from ours. It must be for this reason that the organizers of the American “Veggie Pride Parade” decided to transform the political message of the French Veggie Pride in a simple carnival. That is a pity.

      I would be happy if you read my article and tell me your opinion! It can be read in French, here: http://www.veggiepride.fr/home/documents/reflexionsVP/5-animalPolitique.html (there is also an Italian version on the Italian website of the VP).

  8. I have a minor issue with the name of the parade, but I think the idea of it is too good to ignore. I will be participating this year, marching with a sign :)


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