Vegans of Color

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

Who Pays the Emotional Cost of Killing Animals for Food? March 30, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — johanna @ 1:54 pm
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I recently read Making a Killing: The Political Economy of Animal Rights (by Bob Torres of Vegan Freak fame). It’s a good read, & I recommend it. What I want to share is a snippet he quotes from Gail Eisnitz’s Slaughterhouse: The Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect, and Inhumane Treatment Inside the U.S. Meat Industry (a book I haven’t read). It’s from an interview with Ed Van Winkle, a man who’s worked in many slaughterhouses. Here he talks about what it’s like killing pigs all day as a “sticker”:

“You may look a hog in the eye that’s walking around down in the blood pit with you and think, God, that really isn’t a bad-looking animal. You may want to pet it. Pigs down on the kill floor have come up and nuzzled me like a puppy. Two minutes later, I had to kill them — beat them to death with a pipe. I can’t care.

“When I worked upstairs taking hogs’ guts out, I could cop an attitude that I was working on a production line, helping to feed people. But down in the stick pit I wasn’t feeding people. I was killing things. My attitude was, it’s only an animal. Kill it.

“Sometimes I looked at people that way, too,” he said. “I’ve had ideas of hanging my foreman upside down on the line and sticking him. I remember going into the office and telling the personnel man that I have no problem pulling the trigger on a person — if you get in my face I’ll blow you away.

Every sticker I know carries a gun, and every one of them would shoot you. Most stickers I know have been arrested for assault. A lot of them have problems with alcohol. They have to drink, they have no other way of dealing with killing live, kicking animals all day long. If you stop and think about it, you’re killing several thousand beings a day.” [emphasis mine]

Who works in slaughterhouses? Who bears the mental toll of this kind of work? Predominantly lower-income people of color. In addition to the horrible emotional strain of having to kill for a living, such work is also incredibly dangerous (& needless to say, filled with labor law violations). Human Rights Watch issued a relevant report in 2005: Blood, Sweat and Fear: Workers’ Rights in U.S. Meat and Poultry Plants.

Yet another reason to avoid eating meat (“humanely” slaughtered meat is not an improvement for the animal being killed, of course, & thus not a solution either).


Shameless Plea for Publicity March 23, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — johanna @ 8:15 pm
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I saw this from It’s Easy Being Vegan. It’s from VegNews:

March VegNewsletter Question of the Month + Giveaway
Blogs: They’re freakin’ everywhere. No matter what you’re looking for—from serious news content to the opinions of more than a few lunatic minds—you can find a blog to fit your fancy. Naturally, there are about a bajillion vegan blogs of all stripes: food blogs with coma-inducing photography, abolitionist blogs with political content, and blogs dedicated to veg resources. Those categories don’t even begin to scratch the surface of all the other kinds of blogs that happen to be written by us veggie types. So this month, what we really want to know is: What are your top five favorite blogs?

Send us an email by March 31 and tell us all about which blogs you love and why. Is it their design? Their in-depth recipe details? The amazing products they feature? Whatever the reason, we want to hear it. You may just see your favorite blog honored in our VegBloggy Awards, coming soon to a July+August issue of VegNews near you!

To even out the technology-heavy question this month, we’ll be selecting one respondent to win a ’70’s Throwback Gift Bag. We’re sure you’ve all read the groundbreaking “History of Vegetarianism” article in the current issue, which covers the emergence of the ever-expanding modern veg movement (and if you haven’t, you may want to step away from the screen and give it a gander). Remember what the animal-product-free lifestyle was like before there was The Web, much less Web 2.0? In honor of times past, this month’s giveaway will feature our signature VN tote bag filled with goodies that are sure to take you right back to the golden age of disco.

If anyone’s so inclined, please feel free to e-mail VegNews with your affection for this blog! I am guessing a lot of the blogs mentioned will be food photography/recipe blogs, which are great, but I personally would love to see more blogs that look at veg*nism in wider cultural & political contexts: hey, like this blog!

Anyway, it’d be sweet to get some more readers — & some more bloggers! — so if you enjoy this blog, please let them know! Thanks.


More on Groups like PETA & Race March 21, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — johanna @ 4:48 pm
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Over at La Chola here; lots of discussion in the comments. Jennifer Rogers has a post as well here.


What Will the Hipsters Come Up with Next?

Filed under: Uncategorized — johanna @ 4:31 pm
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Ugh, this is from the NYC events list Nonsense NYC:


New York City Chinatown Garbage Tour

Did you know you could make art out of dead animals? Artist Nate Hill is going to show you how to collect dead animals from the garbage in Chinatown to make your own personal taxidermy. This is the first NYC Chinatown Garbage Taxidermy Tour. You will learn how to dig in the garbage for dead animals. You can make art out of these animals. I’ve found everything from sharks to frogs to plain old unidentifiable crap. Sometimes I find nothing interesting, but that is what makes it fun. You never know.

Special for this tour only: Co-host Carlen Altman, appetizers, and haphazard display of how to put animals together on the ground.

Southeast Corner of Canal Street and Lafayette Street, Manhattan
9p rain or shine; $free

So nasty. And it’s not lost on me that this tour, which purports to show you where you can get lots of CRAZY DEAD ANIMALS, takes place in Chinatown. Because, you know, those Asians eat all that weird shit, right? “[E]verything from sharks to frogs to plain old unidentifiable crap,” apparently.


White People Like Veg*nism March 18, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — johanna @ 7:24 pm

I know I’m late in posting this & probably you’ve all already seen it, but the satiric blog Stuff White People Like has declared veg*nism as a “white thing.”

The irony, of course, is that in putting a photo of Bob & Jenna Torres (of Vegan Freak fame), they are using a non-white dude to illustrate their point about veg*nism being just for white folks.

The comment section seems to be a mishmash of the usual stereotypes about veg*nism & outright trolling (I haven’t read the whole thing & don’t plan to), but there also seem to be some vegans of color asserting their existence too.


MySpace for Black Veg*ns

Filed under: Uncategorized — johanna @ 6:28 pm
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SoulVegFolk is for “Black folks who are vegans, vegetarians, fruitarians, raw foodists, etc. to share the joys, pains and crazy of their diet/lifestyle.”

(hat tip to Elaine Vigneault for the link!)


Animals in Gaza Protest March 17, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — nosnowhere @ 7:02 am

from last week, via Sabbah’s Blog:

Gaza Strip, Tuesday, 11th of March 2008 (PCAS)– As siege of Gaza Strip still hitting all life aspects, some activists against siege expressed their anger towards the silent world. Tens of horses, camels, sheep, goats and donkeys rallied in front of the UN headquarters in Gaza City on Tuesday in protest of Israel’s crippling blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian activists fitted the animals with signs in various languages reading, “Where is the world’s conscience?” Save the children of Gaza”, “Gaza is dying; end the siege,” “Is the UN an international lie?” and “The UN has to end the siege of Gaza.”

Sami Akila, the spokesperson of the Sunna’ Al-Hayat society and the organizers of the rally said if the animals’ messages reach the international community, Gazans will try sign language in an attempt to make their appeals understood.

“We know that animals in the world are fed to glut, while the children of Gaza suffer from hunger and anemia and most of them go to sleep without having supper. You are concerned about dogs more than your concern about us contradicting your own human values and the treaties you signed and failed to implement,” Akila said, addressing the UN.


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.


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


Some POC environmentalists don’t want to give up their meat either

Filed under: Uncategorized — johanna @ 6:03 pm
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Via Racialicious, the Black. Brown. Green. website, which links environmental & racial justice issues. Sounds good, right?

The Living Green page categorizes some things folks can do to go green as follows:

Just Do It. Things so obvious you’d be crazy not to start doing them today.
Step It Up. Things that take a bit more effort but make your life happier, healthier, easier and greener.
Go All The Way. Things that most people consider “die-hard” but are quite sensible, simple, and relatively inexpensive to implement.

There are lots of the usual suggestions, like composting & using compact fluorescent light bulbs. Also mentioned is the idea of having less kids.

What’s left out? Oh yeah. Eating less meat & dairy, or even — shock — cutting them out altogether. I’m glad that at least the page doesn’t play the “happy meat” game, by suggesting people eat “free-range” animals that have been named & cuddled before slaughter. But ignoring the environmental consequences of animal agriculture? Especially when another potential hot-button issue among environmentalists (having less kids) is mentioned, I don’t see the reasoning behind leaving this omission.

The website is still under development, so maybe this issue will be addressed somewhere, but it’s regardless very disappointing to not see the environmental toll of meat-eating mentioned in what is, right now, the most useful part of the site.


Two quick links before bed March 6, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — johanna @ 11:23 pm
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Feminist and Antiracist Arguments for Veg*nism is a round-up by pattrice jones of some interesting recent blog posts.

And over on Vegan FAQ, this great post addresses meat-eaters who bring up the line about how the Indians used the whole buffalo. Then the omnis claim that they are honoring Indians, & Indian traditions, when they eat meat. In short: um, no.