Her blog is full of deliciousness, so I’m excited that there will be a cookbook! I don’t think I can commit to being a recipe tester myself right now but if you think you can, get in touch with her.
Intersectionality Includes Animals January 26, 2010
Anyone who has looked at this blog will see that the bloggers here share many of the same concerns as Renee: the treatment of farm workers (as well as slaughterhouse workers); the sustainability of veganism; PETA (there have been so many posts slamming PETA on this blog I can’t even link them all); racism among vegans & AR activists (ditto); whether a vegan diet is cheaper; how vegan doesn’t always mean “cruelty-free”; factors that affect access to vegan food (this has come up in numerous posts & comments); etc. Royce also wrote an eloquent response to an earlier post on WM about these topics.
The bloggers here see veganism as part of a larger anti-oppression movement. We, too, are frustrated & angered when vegans do not have a similarly intersectional approach.
That said, despite the complications sometimes involved, we are obviously still vegan for a reason.
Two parts of the post struck me particularly: Renee says though she eats meat, she “would certainly not support intentional animal cruelty.” This is something I have heard meat-eaters say not infrequently. Even leaving aside the issue of taking away an animal’s life (if one could leave that out of the equation!), information on how farmed animals are treated (beaks cut off without anesthetic, tails cut off without anesthetic, hung upside down on a slaughtering line & cut open while alive, boiled alive, kicked around by slaughterhouse workers, stuffed in wire cages unable to walk — to name only a few examples) is widely available & has received a lot of attention in the press over the last few years. This information is not a secret.
Intentional animal cruelty is central to the meat industry in places like the US, because it means more animals can be killed faster; to do otherwise would cut into profit. (& “happy meat”? A myth.) I’m not sure how much more intentional one could get.
The second part that struck me was the statement that some veg*ns use “their choices as a stepping ground to moralize to others.” This, too, is something that I have heard used many times in reference to veg*ns, though I’ve also heard similar statements used to critique feminists, anti-racist activists, etc. — it’s very easy to accuse someone of being preachy. I find it frustrating that the dominant ideology — to eat meat, in this case — is not recognized as an ideology, that the status quo is unquestioned & those disagreeing with it can be accused of moralizing while those in line with it are not espousing any moral view at all. (There’s lots about this in the recent book Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism, discussed here.) Let’s at least be honest about the fact that the ideology of meat is indeed an ideology, & its proponents can be as moralizing as anyone else.
I’m curious. Is veganism important to you in selecting a partner? Over the past eight years, I have had a strict vegan-only policy. I tried to date someone who was not vegan about 10 years ago and it just didn’t work because I kept wanting him to change.
Is veganism a deal breaker for you?
Pragmatic? January 23, 2010
Newkirk published a defense of Peta in the Guardian on Thursday.
Her defense is of two different arguments used against Peta: 1) Their use of what Newkirk calls gradualism, and 2) Their offensive ads.
What do walruses, tigers, and the Javan rhino have in common?
According to this they are the “10 most threatened species of 2010.”
Critical Animal Studies Conferences January 19, 2010
The 9th Annual North American Conference for Critical Animal Studies will be hosted at SUNY Cortland this year on Saturday, April 10th. The theme this year is “Abolition, Liberation, and the Intersections Within Social Justice.” I’m very excited about this conference, and plan to submit a proposal to present, and I’m super excited to see what sort of conversations can emerge from a conference that is dedicated to looking at intersections between animal abolition and other justice movements.
What I also find interesting is that this conference does not seem to be exclusively for academic types, but welcomes (encourages) proposals from activists, non-profits, and other non-academic members of the community. They are also open to formats other than simple presentations of papers, and list on their website such examples as theater and workshops.
I hope that many of our readers will submit proposals to the conference and/or attend in April. Proposals are due by February 15th.
For those on the other side of the Atlantic there is the European Critical Animal Studies Conference which is on April 23rd. Unfortunately (in my opinion) this conference has a different theme, The Future of Animal Studies, and has, as far as I can tell, already decided on speakers and so as no call for proposals. It is however the first European critical animal studies conference over there, and so is I guess expected to begin with developing a telos for themselves.
As I’ve expressed before, I’m very glad that animal studies is emerging as a serious area of academic and intellectual inquiry.
Yesterday The Guardian published an opinion piece entitled “The Five Fatal Flaws of Animal Activism.” The author, Victor Schonfeld, details his own life of caring about animals and then how his Animals and Us two part series on the BBC to demonstrate how organized groups have not accomplished much for animals, and how fresh perspectives are necessary.
But I’ve been inspired to make my own list of five weaknesses of animal activism which, in my opinion hinders the liberation of nonhuman (and human) animals.
Animal Advocates, based in the Los Angeles area, has been rescuing and rehabilitating wildlife since 2002. On Saturday they received a coyote rehabilitation permit from Los Angeles, and so are now authorized to rehabilitate sick and orphaned coyotes. In the past they would have to drive the coyotes to rehabilitation clinics further out after holding them for up to forty-eight hours. This is I think fantastic news for coyotes who have had some negative press from a couple of biting incidents back in September. It seems that most coyotes who would bite people would be sick or injured (or have had poor interactions with humans either through people feeding them or more negative actions).
Animal Advocates also rescues and rehabilitate other wildlife in Los Angeles County, and if you see sick, injured, or orphaned animals in LA you should call, (310) 877-4770, or visit their website, which also has resources for finding similar organizations in other places, as well as a DOs and DON’Ts of dealing with coyotes.
I think it is important that organizations that ease the strain on both human and non-human urban dwellers. In the urban ecosystem coyotes play a vital role as one of the top predators in urban environments keeping the populations of rats and mice in check. Any organization that helps the nonhuman, nondomesticated members of our communities is doing something right.
You can also visit the Animal Advocate facebook page which seems to be updated more often than the website.
reflections on Elysia chlorotica January 15, 2010
Earlier today I read an article about a slug discovered that possibly produces chlorophyll. I posted it to my facebook, and sort of forgot about it. It was interesting to me, but not mind blowing: it just sort of fit in with the ways I’ve figured that nature worked, that is not fitting into simple reified categories.
Then Elaine posted on Vegan Soapbox about this slug with links to posts I have written about species being socially constructed, and the potentiality of trans-speciality. Now I’m looking at this creature again and several things are crossing my mind.
Things I’ve found interesting:
Critical Animal explores the faultiness of comparing animal abolition to things most of society already agrees are wrong.
Scientists are exploring ape language, from the NYT.
Vegan Bake Sales for Haiti, from the PPK.