Vegans of Color

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

Eating Cat Is the Same as Eating Cow January 2, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — johanna @ 3:17 pm
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Thanks to Kanika for the heads-up on this one: Pet lovers protest cats on the menu in China. I’ve said it before, & I’ve said it again: it gets under my skin when Westerners criticize Asian nations for eating cat & dog. Meat eaters have no excuse; why should this be any more or less horrifying than eating cow or pig? Oh yeah, because they happen to judge that one animal is cute & one is not (I even met someone once who said she was a “cute-itarian” & wouldn’t eat pigs because she thought they were cute, but all other meat was fine to chow down on). As Angry Asian Man says:

In the face of articles like this, you can’t deny it: they eat cats in Guangdong. And they cook ‘em up good. And I’ll admit, that grosses me out a little. Then again, I also have to ask, so what? How is this more or less humane or disgusting than the practice of eating any other animal?

I was glad to see that sentiment expressed on a major blog (one of my favorites!) that isn’t about animal rights; maybe it will make some folks think.

Oh yeah, & what about when veg*ns criticize dog- and cat-eating? It’s so often steeped in colonial racist attitudes. To quote Angry Asian Man again: “The insinuation is that [Chinese] restaurants [that serve cat] — and by extension, Chinese people — are inherently dirty, strange and exotic.”

The article points out that some Chinese have been protesting this practice (I’d be curious about the ratio of flesh-eaters to vegans among them), though of course it mentions that PETA has been condemning it as well.

 

Adopt Merida (SW Michigan) March 12, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — johanna @ 7:34 pm
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Merida is a gorgeous Maine Coon cat.

Merida

She is missing a foot, but according to Adopt-a-Pet, the rescue group currently fostering her in Allegan, Michigan, she is sweet & very playful & doesn’t seem to think there is anything she can’t do!

If you, or someone you know, is interested in adopting this lovely kitty, contact Adopt-a-Pet at the link above.

And as always, this is Elaine Vigneault‘s idea; I like to quote her reasons for highlighting homeless animals on her blog, because they’re nice & succinct:

1. To remind my readers of all the companion animals who need homes
2. To highlight the personhood/personality of animals
3. To give link love to animal rescue organizations
4. To lighten my blog’s mood a bit with adorable animal pictures

 

Making Connections… or Not February 22, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — johanna @ 8:41 pm
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I’ve just discovered the Pittsburgh group Animal Freedom, which does animal rights work that seeks to incorporate a broader understanding of other social justice issues too.

Check out the syllabus of their Animal Rights Study Group. Lots of good stuff in there!

One linked reading that particularly drew my attention was a letter from a Korean person objecting to the way a campaign against the Korean dog meat trade (carried out by Westerners) was run.

I am afraid those pictures [of dogs destined to be eaten] make viewers hate all Korean people because I saw a lot of comments on the internet with racial hate toward Koreans…. However I don’t believe those Koreans, who see dogs and cats as food, will listen to others (especially westerners) who have also two morals in their way of living. For example, Western people are eating much more meat in daily life than Korean people….

I find this quote particularly interesting, given that the president of Kinship Circle, Brenda Shoss, recently commented on my post in November criticizing their own campaign to stop the cat & dog meat trade in Korea & the Philippines. Shoss seems to think that I missed Kinship Circle’s point, but I feel that the points I made about the colonialist nature of such campaigns still stand, & were not addressed.

 

Adopt Victor (NYC area) February 11, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — johanna @ 6:26 pm
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Every week, Elaine Vigneault features an adoptable homeless animal on her blog. She does this, she says:

1. To remind my readers of all the companion animals who need homes
2. To highlight the personhood/personality of animals
3. To give link love to animal rescue organizations
4. To lighten my blog’s mood a bit with adorable animal pictures

All of which are wonderful reasons, & I love her idea. So I’m stealing it. I’m not sure I’ll manage weekly animals, but we’ll see.

I plan on featuring animals from all over the US, but I’ll start with one close to home, one that I know personally: Victor.

Victor

Victor is a total cuddlemonster. I know him through volunteering with the rescue group that is fostering him. Normally, when we have the cats in cages at Petco for adoption days, many of the cats are shy or aloof, because they’re scared. Victor is the most insistent on snuggles, by far. Plus, he is one of the most handsome kitties I’ve ever seen!

Victor is FIV+, which means that he needs to be a solo cat, or live in a home with other FIV+ kitties. (EDIT: Perhaps not!) However, he is currently very healthy & could provide so much love to someone for years. If I didn’t have 3 (FIV-negative) cats of my own already, I would so bring him home — & that’s what all the other volunteers say too!

You can contact the rescue organization & find out when to come see Victor here. Spread the word to all your NYC-area friends who could give Victor a loving home!

 

Colonial mentality in US-based activists? Say it ain’t so! November 26, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — johanna @ 11:38 am
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EasyVegan.info has posted some recent calls to action from Kinship Circle. They were apparently sent out to Kinship Circle’s e-mail list with the subject “One Country’s Companion Is Another’s Cuisine.”

That’s a very true statement, but my heart sank nevertheless as I looked at some of the alerts. Headlines include No More Dogs for Dinner in the Philippines and Outlaw Korean Dog/Cat Meat Trade For Good.

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t think people should be eating dogs or cats, just as I don’t think they should be eating cows, sheep, pigs, or chickens. But there’s a long tradition of the United States, & the West in general, telling other countries (hint: the non-white ones; sometimes they’re referred to as “the developing world” or the “global south” or “the third world”) what to do — and colonialism & imperialism are hardly things of the past.

Given this background, I find it highly, highly troubling that organizations like Kinship Circle are encouraging people in the US to write to the governments of Korea & the Philippines condemning their cat/dog meat trade. It certainly isn’t going to win the animal rights movement any friends over there. Like the Philippines hasn’t had enough with hundreds of years of colonialism (first from Spain, then from the US) that it is still scarred by today? Do they really need — or want — more Americans telling them what to do? Do United States-based animal rights activists think that this is going to be received warmly? Oh, thank you for enlightening your little brown brothers! I don’t think so.

I find it disturbing for the same reason I am wary of how feminists here respond to the issue of female genital mutilation: feminists in the US rightfully condemn this action. But swarming into African countries where this is still custom, with the attitude (conscious or not) that you’re going to save your slightly backwards sisters from their barbaric cultures? Not productive. Not helpful.

And in the case of eating animals, it’s not like we’ve made such amazing progress trying to get folks in our own country to stop, which I think makes it even more obnoxious that we’re being encouraged to lecture other countries about this nasty habit. (Not to mention I really, really hate the whole dogeaters thing.)

So what should United States animal rights activists with a yen to become involved internationally do? How about connecting with local animal rights activists abroad & listening to them, learning from them & trusting in their knowledge of, & experience with, their culture? And letting them take the lead in their own countries? That’d be a good start.

ETA: I just noticed that, in an article that Kinship Circle sent out along with the action alerts, they say: “In 2007, Koreans and Filipinos acknowledged global opposition to dog meat with rules to Westernize their dog-eating ways.” (Emphasis mine) WOW. Well, at least you’re clear about the intentions you have, huh? Not just to quit with the dog-eating but to Westernize, which is a hardly-veiled way to say “colonize.”

 

 
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