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...)

Veganism, Privilege and Liberation

In 1947, at the 11th IVU World Vegetarian Congress, Donald Watson, representing the Vegan Society, gave a speech on veganism where he said "that the vegan believed that if they were to be true emancipators of animals they must renounce absolutely their traditional and conceited attitude that they had the right to use them to serve their needs. They must supply those needs by other means."

This is an argument for liberation, as opposed to an argument for rights or equality. As a liberation-oriented approach, veganism addresses the structure of the oppression of nonhuman animals. (Read more...)

Veganism, Allyship and Solidarity

I oppose seeing ourselves as saviors (or even the "voices") of other animals. I think that leads to the protection problem I've been posting about. Human (even vegans) benefit from the exploitation of other animals, which is central to their oppression. We are all part of this system of speciesism and human supremacy, and that's what I believe veganism is meant to challenge. (Read more...)