nonhuman animal advocacy

Abolition, Liberation and Veganism

I'm glad The Vegan Police has a post discussing "Abolitionist History 101: Animal Abolition and Racism." In the post, The Vegan Police challenge the post-racial appropriation of "abolition." The post seeks to challenge readers ignorance and encourage us to dig deeper and learn something about the past and present abolitionist movements with regard to the historical and ongoing captivity of Blacks and other people of color in the United States. (Read more...)

Exploitation and Resistance: The Story of Tilikum

Last Wednesday, Tilikum, a free-born orca who's been held captive for over 26 years by the zoo and aquarium industry, killed Dawn Brancheau, one of his human overseers at SeaWorld Amusement Park where he is currently being exploited for human amusement and commercial profit.

While commonly referred to as a "trainer," "overseer" more accurately describes the role Brancheau played in watching over and directing Tilikum's and other orcas' forced labor at the park. That is, overseer puts the training orcas like Tilikum experience, as well as their performances, into the proper context. (Read more...)

Talking About Transphobia and Ecofeminism With Ida Hammer

The following interview was originally published on the Bitch magazine blog.

A number of ecofeminist writers have written in deeply offensive, often terribly misguided, ways about trans people and have done a lot of damage to the movement’s credibility as open, accepting, and working for the liberation of all people. Why do you think transphobia persists and continues to come up again and again in ecofeminist rhetoric and activism?

In order to understand why transphobia and cissexism persist and are continually perpetuated throughout feminist communities, particularly the vegetarian-ecofeminist community, it is important to consider the origins of anti-trans advocacy as a conscious project of prominent, elite White feminists in the 1970s. In the late sixties and early seventies, trans people were very active in the women's and queer liberation movements. The Compton's Cafeteria and Stonewall rebellions of the sixties are evidence of that, as are women like Beth Elliott of the Daughters of Bilitis, Sandy Stone of Olivia Records, and Stonewall veteran Silvia Rivera who was a founding member of the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activist Alliance. (Read more...)

Falando Sobre Transfobia E Ecofeminismo Com Ida Hammer

A entrevista a seguir foi publicada originalmente no blog da revista Bitch. É parte de "The Woman biótica" série sobre o ecofeminismo por Brittany Shoot.

Ida Hammer tem escrito no The Vegan Ideal por vários anos como uma forma de analisar e desconstruir opressões que se sobrepõem. Seu trabalho é focado em desfazer a transfobia nas comunidades vegetarianas e ecofeministas. Ida estava cansada de falar recentemente comigo sobre como o privilégio cissexual mina muito da escrita ecofeminista e como ela tem esculpido um espaço seguro para si mesma dentro de um movimento muitas vezes anti-trans. (Ler mais...)

Political Correctness, Political Expediency, and Veganism

The following is was written for and originally published on the Living Opposed to Violence and Exploitation (L.O.V.E.) blog.

While L.O.V.E. takes an anti-oppression approach based on the vegan ideal of nonexploitation, there are many nonhuman animal activists who fear that as long as veganism takes into account the oppression of human animals, it will take away from opposing cruelty to nonhuman animals. The argument goes as follows: if we advocate against oppression as it targets human animals whilst advocating against oppression as it targets nonhuman animals, then people – having a finite amount of resources – will refuse to oppose the exploitation of nonhuman animals since it would include the "baggage" of being "packaged" with also opposing the exploitation of human animals, something, it is assumed, potential nonhuman animal activists are likely to be disinterested in. (Read more...)

Class Privilege in Anti-Sex Worker, Anti-Homeless Activism

Jenna directed me to an important post by Johanna at Vegans of Color reminding us: "Don't Use Classism and Anti-Sex Worker Rhetoric to Protest Fur." Johanna's post provides a needed look at the anti-homeless and anti-sex worker rhetoric of a few nonhuman animal advocates.

In a post titled "Fur is for Beautiful Animals and Scary Hookers," "Vegan Shoe Lady" proudly quotes PETA's Ingrid Newkirk as saying, "Fur has lost all its cachet. It's yesterday. I see prostitutes in Atlantic City wearing fur." Shoe Lady goes on to suggest that nonhuman animal advocates refer to women wearing fur by saying, "She's probably a hooker. Tacky coat, lower-class manners – no one respectable presents themselves that way." (Read more...)

Mirha-Soleil Ross on Justice for Sex Workers and Nonhuman Animals

Today (Dec. 17) is International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. In honor of this day I'd like to share some excerpts from a couple of interviews with Mirha-Soleil Ross, a vegan, transsexual and sex worker justice advocate, regarding her seven-part monologue, Yapping Out Loud: Contagious Thoughts from an Unrepentant Whore. In Yapping Out Loud, Ross addresses "anti-prostitution discourses and campaigns, detailing the way they impact, often tragically on prostitutes' working conditions and lives." In the following excerpts Ross confronts the anti-sex worker discourse in relation to nonhuman animal advocacy. (Read more...)

The Absurdity of 'Triage' and the Need for Social Change

In response to a recent blog post by Steve of L.O.V.E. on "Holistic veganism," Elaine Vigneault responded that she works within a "triage" framework. I understand the "triage" concept as Elaine and others use it in relation to nonhuman animals, but I also think it's a flawed and problematic metaphor.

Triage is where a degree of urgency is assigned to those with wounds or illnesses in order to most effectively treat the patients or casualties. By definition then, triage takes place after the harm has already happened, and is therefore incapable of dealing with the cause of that harm. As Steve says, it's about handling the consequences of exploitation without actually addressing the exploitation as the cause. So I think Steve hits on exactly why is "triage" is failing, and is doomed to always fail. Read more...

Taking the Exploitation of Bees into Consideration

Congratulations to Noah Lewis for successfully raising the funds he needs to update the "Why Honey is not Vegan" site!

In the first official update to the site, Noah talks about being biased toward a vegan world. I think he make a great argument about how veganism is about creating a world based on nonexploitation, which of course means starting from a bias favoring the nonexploitation of other animals.

I've noticed this is contrary to some who attempt to take a "nonjudgmental" position by making concessions for some forms of exploitation, such as the exploitation of honey bees. Read more...

A Conversation on 'Why Honey is Not Vegan'

The "Why Honey is Not Vegan" site is the most popular and authoritative online resource for veganism and honey bees. The site is the first result on Google when searching for "vegan" and "honey," and has been sited in multiple books, including the American Dietetics Associations' book on sports nutrition. With the help of Kickstarter, a new fundraising website, a project has been started to save the "Why Honey is Not Vegan" site and give it a complete overhaul.

I first learned about the website in Spring 1999 when my new girlfriend at the time brought printouts of the site – printed out at her office on honey colored paper – to a weekly activist meeting. I later first contacted the author of the site in 2004 when I was doing research for an article that asked, "Is Honey Vegan?" – my first official assignment as the newly hired staff writer for a national nonprofit corporation. Two year later I meet the author, Noah Lewis, when he came to work for the same nonprofit. We have worked closely ever since – including leaving the nonprofit we worked for with in hours of each other because we had views regarding the role and importance of anti-racism that were not shared by management. We've since gone on to work together and separately on a number of projects on a range of social justice issues. To say that the "Why Honey is Not Vegan" site has had an influence on the last ten years of my life would be an understatement.

I sat down last night with Noah to discuss the site and what can be done to help keep it alive.