Vegans of Color

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

Asia for Animals Conference in Bali July 31, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — johanna @ 2:16 pm
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The fifth Asia for Animals conference will be held in Bali, Indonesia August 27-29th. It is billed as an “animal welfare” conference, so I’m guessing there will be talk of “happy meat” & the like (the menu will be “vegetarian — mainly vegan with the exception of certified free-range eggs in some dishes”). I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, given that Humane Society International is one of the sponsors, although perhaps they are more radical than the Humane Society in the US (hey, one can dream…).

I’m really interested in hearing more about who the primary attendees of this conference will be: Local Asian AR activists? Foreigners who don’t live in Asia? Expatriates from Western countries like the US who now live in Asia? And who will be on the panels?

I noticed in the conference description that the location is described as “until recently an idyllic fishing village on the eastern coastline of Bali.” There are many things that could explain the “until recently”; excuse my cynicism in wondering how much tourism has to do with it. It seems like the phrasing is geared towards appealing to tourists, as is the longer description of the area. The FAQs seem similarly aimed, with questions like: are there doctors or pharmacies near the conference? (In case you get sick from the weird Asian food, right? Or in case you’re worrying about your health just going to one of those funny countries?)

I was excited to hear about an Asian animal issues conference. I’m disappointed that the publicity for the conference seems aimed at foreign tourists, & that it fails to problematize the issue of tourism, though. If any VoC readers attend, please do let us know how it goes.

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The Real Cost of Earth Balance June 21, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — johanna @ 7:24 pm
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Deb over at Invisible Voices wrote recently about what really goes into those tubs of Earth Balance margarine that many of us vegans swear by. Here’s what a representative from Rainforest Action Network told her:

If killing orangutans were the only problem that existed with palm oil [used in Earth Balance], then maybe Earth Balance could get off the hook. But it simply is not. Every where that palm is grown — very much including Peninsular Malaysia — involves clear cutting rainforest and planting massive monoculture plantations — with serious consequences for both endangered species (the tapir lives in Peninsular Malaysia.. does it deserve to go extinct?) and the climate. It also involves displacing communities off their traditionally owned land, which regularly occurs in Peninsular Malaysia. Particularly in Peninsular Malaysia, migrant workers from Indonesia and India are forced into modern day slavery, forced to work for minuscule wages while paying back the companies for their their transportation from their country of origin. It’s a wreck. (emphasis mine)