Renee at Womanist Musings says: Vegans, Vegetarians It’s Time To Talk. In the post, she explains the problems she sees with not eating meat, & with veg*ns & animal rights activists.
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.