legal system

Asking the Right Questions

A call for papers has been sent out by folks "looking to anthologize the voices of queers involved in animal liberation." I think it would be wonderful to see more interaction between queer theory and veganism. But some of the questions suggested as topics for this book really bothered me, specifically:

Why do queer activists in Uganda but animal activists in the USA bear the brunt of police suppression in their respective countries? Are they similarly subversive of "cultural" practices that turn out to be critical to the maintenance of state power?

(Read more...)

Pet Ownership and Police Violence

On the LA Eastside blog, Browne Molyneux posted about the "Symbolic Gestures of Nothingness" made by a PETA volunteer who targets working class people of color in downtown LA's Fashion District for illegal animal sales. In her post, Molyneux makes two points: 1) targeting "illegal" pet sales doesn't challenge pet ownership; and 2) targeting people of color working on the street perpetuates racism and classism.

Recalling Missed Connections

About six years ago I co-organized a panel discussion on the connections between domestic violence, child abuse, and animal cruelty. The panel featured a professor of psychology distinguished for his work on the subject; an executive director of an ecofeminist and animal defense organization who founded a program addressing the issue being discussed; and a staff member of the area YWCA (where the discussion was held) who worked on domestic violence issues.

At the time I thought this panel discussion was "progressive" in addressing the interconnections of violence against women, children, and other animals. In hindsight, I realize the panel lacked a real commitment to anti-oppression, social change, or a true intersectional approach. There are many things that are problematic with the discussion's framework. (Read more...)

Health as Wealth

On July 19, Breeze Harper, founder of the Sistah Vegan Project, spoke at the University of Pittsburgh on connecting our diet to social justice in a talk titled, "Race, Class, Food and You!" [based on her book chapter "Decolonizing the Diet: A bell hooks approach to Nutritional Liberation for 'At Risk' Youths".]

The challenge, Harper noted, is that "America's concept of wealth and success is monetary and material based, and not rooted in the wealth of a healthy mind, body and soul." And while many people are concerned with healthy eating, Harper explained that the consequences of unhealthy eating habits for middle- and upper-income white youth "are far less life threatening than that of low-income Black and Latino boys who collectively practice junk food consumption and are already 'at risk' in achieving a healthier life." (Read more...)

Amusing Oppression?

I came across this disturbing video today called "Spiders On Drugs." It was posted on a blog under the heading "Laughing at Spiders."

My initial reaction was horror at what I thought was perhaps an actual video involving drug experiments on spiders. How could someone think giving drugs to spiders is funny? On more than one occasion I've sat in awe quietly watching spiders just like these build their beautiful webs.

Then I caught on that it wasn't a real experiment. But it made no difference to me that it was actually a "joke." In fact, that someone had intentionally set out to make vivisection into a joke is just as bad.

As the video went on it became offensive on a whole new level. Not only was the video speciesist and anti-nonhuman animals, but it took on wholly racist overtones. (Read more...)