My fellow anti-Trump comrades, I’ve been soaking in everything you have to say since Trump won and am so grateful for the insight and raw emotion you’ve been sharing. And now I’m going to ask you to further open heart and mind.
We cast “votes” all the time through our daily choices. And in one major area, you have likely been unwittingly voting for the very things you’re against by virtue of being against Trump. You cast this vote every day, several times a day.
The good news is you can change this particular vote for good starting today. And if enough of us do this and continue to make it more accessible and socially acceptable, the positive impact would be absolutely mind-boggling.
If there was ever a time to open your heart and mind to a rapidly growing social justice movement that has been begging for you to get on board to benefit our planet and everyone on it in a shockingly extensive myriad of ways, now is the time.
The best part is that you will not have to wait for any legislation, which is likely now not coming anytime soon and which would have been insufficient anyway. This is not dependent on any government action, just the power of the people.
The Fox Guarding the Hen House
You know how people who voted for trump fixate on feeling “judged” by those who are against him, obtusely insisting that their “personal politics” have no ethical implication for oppressed groups and the environment?
You know how Trump voters apparently deny the science behind climate change, since they voted for a climate denier?
Well, one is doing both of the above by continuing to reject the rapidly growing social justice movement called veganism. Please, please, please stay with me.
(Note - If this is not something you can think about right now because your own safety is your number one priority, please consider scrolling down to the final section "Pro-intersectional Vegan Leaders" who argue that veganism is a necessary component of social justice for all – and if you are concerned with the idea that veganism is a privilege, please see the section above that, "Addressing the Vegan Privilege Paradox.")
By rejecting veganism, one is insisting that their “personal choice” to remain supportive or indifferent toward systemic animal exploitation and slaughter has no ethical implications for anyone else, including the totally vulnerable individuals who are violently bred, fattened up with resource-intensive feed, and then forcibly killed in the prime of their youth by the tens of billions annually. This occurs mostly just so people who belligerently refuse to choose otherwise can feed on, wear, and use their bodies at their whim despite having no actual requirement to do so. (Answer this: why do you specifically require animals to be used and exploited for your food, clothing, entertainment, etc.?)
One is being anti-math and anti-science by continuing to fund animal agriculture by using any animal "product," because animal agriculture is again totally unnecessary, yet it's a leading cause of climate change and almost every environmental ill facing our planet, from water scarcity to climate change to deforestation to species extinction to the ravaging of the ocean and more. It is quite simply destroying our planet and our ability to thrive on it.
Overshooting our planet's ecological limits is what happens when we constantly breed tens of billions of domesticated confined mutant animals into existence (including those on the smallest and most local of farms) and use 45% of the planet for an entirely unnecessary and extravagant activity: accommodating and fattening up young, hungry animals with plants grown and diverted for that purpose before slaughtering the animals as infants, adolescents, or exhausted mothers/"breeders." When we eat female reproductive secretions (milk and eggs), only fertile females can be used, requiring us to slaughter unusable or used-up animals, whether as babies or mothers, as often as we breed them.
We are actively turning abundance into scarcity so we can feed on death, including the maternal secretions that were meant to give or nurture life.
What the hell else could the ultimate outcome of such an obscene undertaking as "animal agriculture" possibly be other than widespread attitudes of supremacy over oppressed groups and unabashed ecological destruction?
It is not an exaggeration to say that speciesism (the assignment of different values, rights, or special consideration to individuals solely on the basis of their species membership) is a root cause of humanity's crises due to the violent and destruction behaviors it provokes, including behaviors that are counterproductive to our own "superior" interests.
The environmental destruction of animal agriculture is not only what common sense shows, it's also what the science shows. You can believe the science and take action, or you can ignore and deny the science. The science even explores why people continue to ignore and deny this science, finding that "reducing global meat consumption will be critical to keeping global warming below the ‘danger level’ of two degrees Celsius," but “public disengagement with the diet-climate relationship is… the product of a lack of awareness that has been sustained through government inaction."
Remaining disengaged from the consequences of animal agriculture has required a shocking ability to unplug from reality and poses one glaring contradiction after the next. For example, Sierra Club is begging people to make an emergency donation to become a “Wilderness Guardian” to stop Trump's efforts to derail everything they've achieved. So what's destroying the wilderness and the creatures in it? A few things, but scientists say that the animal agriculture is “likely the number one cause of modern species extinction,” and World Wildlife Fund says animal agriculture is responsible for 80% of deforestation. By all means, donate to Sierra Club if you want. But you cannot become a "guardian" of the very thing you’re simultaneously destroying by funding animal agriculture with your daily choices. This is like the fox guarding the henhouse.
You don't have to take it from vegans or animal rights groups. Even investors and corporations can't deny this any longer.
For example, a bunch of big shot investors managing over a trillion dollars in assets have launched an initiative to encourage food companies to diversify to vegan plant-based proteins to help to reduce the massive environmental and health risks of animal agriculture. The founder of the initiative calls our over-reliance on factory farms "a recipe for a financial, social and environmental crisis." (Remember, factory farms exist to meet demand that can't be met by pasturing animals due to land requirements of the latter. Therefore, demand for animal foods from small farms creates demand for factory farms, and that's where an estimated 99% of animal products are actually derived.)
Another example you'd be hard-pressed to dismiss, Wikileaks leaked a secret document Nestle sent to the US government several years ago warning that because a calorie of meat requires ten times as much water to produce as a calorie of food crops, the planet is on a “potentially catastrophic” course to run out of fresh water as developing nations eat more meat like the US. In fact, they specified that if the rest of the world mimicked the animal-based US diet, the planet would have run out of fresh water 15 years ago. The report was called, "Forget the Global Financial Crisis, the World Is Running Out of Fresh Water.” But unsurprisingly, when the report leaked and Nestle was questioned, they became evasive and vague so as not to cause a backlash amongst meat-loving consumers, and they continue to sell dairy products. Fear won the day, and the media (including social media) barely covered it.
The Trump administration is counting on you to ignore the science and remain disengaged.
They are counting on you to keep being assured by anti-vegan nonsense put forth by people whose paychecks and/or deeply ingrained habits depend on their not understanding the science and ethics. This body of easily debunked yet popular and often viral propaganda is growing proportionally with the body of scientific evidence proving the benefits of plant-based diets and the explosion of the vegan movement itself. It relies heavily on mischaracterizing vegans as clueless pariahs deserving of exclusion and mockery. (Hmm, never seen that tactic used before to invalidate people speaking out against a popular wrong of their time!) It also relies on grossly oversimplifying and twisting research results to paradoxically make veganism and plant-based diets appear actually harmful to animals, the environment, and health, which would be laughable if it weren't so dangerous..
They are counting on you to feel good about misleading “humane” and “sustainability” claims slapped on a packaged dead bodies or reproductive secretion. To not do the math to realize that pastured, “grass-fed” animal farming scenarios can only feed animal flesh and secretions to a small portion of the population and still requires violating and killing mothers and their offspring against their will.
They are counting on your to continue to choose foods, products, and industries that commodify animals for human use and just ignore the better alternatives, which are only for "those people." Not you.
They are counting on you to maintain the status quo.
Due to how vested we are in the current system of animal slaughter and our fear of the social costs of opting out, it's hard to look objectively at this issue – and we therefore wildly underestimate the scope, cruelty, and terrible consequences of our systemic use and trashing of other animals by the billions.
It's not our fault, until we know better. As my friend Carl D. Scott, a former slaughterhouse worker turned vegan activist, shared, "We used to think humans *needed* meat, dairy, and eggs in order to be healthy. So we started farming animals, and we created a culture and a narrative around the human-animal relationship, which accepted their exploitation as a necessary evil. However, we now know, with scientific certainty that we *don't* need those things, and that changes everything. We now have an opportunity to redefine our relationship with the other animals we share the planet with. In fact, it is more than an opportunity. It is an obligation."
When something we think of as a "necessary evil" isn't actually necessary, that just makes it, well, evil.
The sickening, surreal mix of frustration, confusion, sadness, and hopelessness you may feel in the wake of the election realizing so many otherwise good people voluntarily choose oppression and environmental degradation, and choose hate over love, is what millions of vegans have been feeling this whole time – except we’ve only had a measly 1-2% with us in our fight and have encountered mostly uncomfortable apathy regarding the kind of brutality we wouldn't even inflict on the worse criminals on earth.
What’s popular is not always right.
You know after this election that you may have wildly underestimated certain things. That we cannot believe that something is right simply because it is popular and done by so many people. That something that is popular can in fact be horribly wrong. That propaganda that encourages us to make decisions that harm others can work on lots and lots of people. That good people can do bad things. You now must acknowledge possibilities you previously weren't willing to. Things that don't even make sense.
Please consider how you may have also underestimated some of this in yourself due solely to having been socialized and indoctrinated into violent behaviors against other species communities, as most of us were. Consider how – and why – you have been indifferent and complicit to this point in your life in an inexcusable atrocity of epic proportions against those communities.
The act of taking an ethical stance against the use and exploitation of all sentient beings, not just some, may allow you to connect the rest of the dots you've already connected so far (or what you've always known and never had to "connect") against injustice in other forms, and take a more consistent and coherent position against all exploitation. You may then understand these forms of injustice were already deeply fused together to begin with.
You can also reduce demand for health care due to diseases known to be related to consuming animal products, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease, the number one cause of death. Oxford University researchers estimate a global vegan shift would save over 5 million human lives along with a trillion dollars in healthcare for this reason. (Hello? Read that again.) Going vegan would be the most radical thing you could to negatively impact big pharma, allowing you to help pull the rug out from under Trump and his 1% cronies. Additionally, GMOs exist to make possible the downstream feed crop production that feeds tens of billions of animals each year (estimated anywhere from 56 billion to over 150 billion) so 7 billion people can then eat the much smaller yield of animal-based foods, not to feed 7 billion people plant-based foods.
The wasteful, reductive, and polluting nature of using animals to feed and clothe more than a small portion of the population can’t be changed no matter how many tech fixes are proposed. It’s due to the law of trophic levels – meaning massive piles of plants are reduced to much smaller piles of animal products, creating waste like feces and emissions in the process. This also means there is much more money to be made by keeping animals in the food system, despite how antiquated it is to do so. The more water they guzzle and feed they inhale, the more money is to be made on resources bought and sold. We're talking about a continuous cycle of living animals being bred, fed, watered, slaughtered, processed, packaged, refrigerated, and shipped, for all eternity. This keeps agriculture artificially inflated, and then the byproducts are pushed on us in everything from candy to clothing to protein powder. Animal foods are presented as an important necessity while the ability of plant foods to provide the same nutrients much more kindly and efficiently is trivialized.
Even back in 1964 in the book “Proteins: Their Chemistry and Politics,” Dr. Aaron M. Altschul broke it down for us, “No matter how it is analyzed, there is no question that the cost of animal products is materially greater than the cost of vegetable products.” He points out that farming animals vs. plants provides the smallest yield of protein. I repeat, smallest yield of protein.
In the meanwhile, the waste created by these animals by no fault of their own becomes the horrible problem of mostly low-income communities, disproportionately impacting people of color, a form of environmental racism. Since these animals produce far more waste than is usable or safe, massive manure lagoons are leaked or pumped into bodies of water and even sprayed over fields with the particles settling over the communities.
If you truly believe the propaganda that a diet free of animals' flesh or secretions will prevent us from thriving, or is dangerous to human health, when the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professional takes a clear stance that vegan diets are healthful and appropriate for individuals in all stages of life, I have some slaughterhouse scrapings like eyeballs, lips, and assholes mushed together in a cancer-causing stick between two pieces of bread to sell you.
If you think veganism won’t make a difference, you're insisting that personal actions have no impact on anyone else, so you're therefore free to cause whatever harm you want. Systemic change begins on an individual level until critical mass is reached. Today's vegans are early adaptors. A boycott of animal agriculture will completely mess with the economy and mentality Trump will inherit and change the game for the better.
As vegans, we're not trying to achieve the impossible. We're trying to accelerate the inevitable.
Doing the Very Things You're Against
Are you doing the very things you say you're against by virtue of being anti-Trump? For example, if you don't want others exploited because they don't look or communicate like you, like Trump wants, then stop brutalizing others for the crime of not being born human. (And if you don't think what we do to animals is brutal, even on the smallest and most local of farms, it's because we have to either disassociate or become desensitized to find any of it even remotely acceptable.)
If you don't want to create scarcity out of abundance, like Trump wants, then stop buying into the cruel extravagance of animal agriculture.
If you don't want to choose fear and a need to exert arrogant superiority over terrified victims, like Trump wants, then stop having others – who have committed no crime and who can't even defend themselves – exploited and killed on your behalf.
If you don't want to choose might over right to maintain violent traditions and attitudes and entitlements for which we have no vital need whatsoever, like Trump wants, then help break the cycle by making better choices.
If you don't want to see our planet ravaged by climate change and resource depletion and waste and pollution, like Trump wants, then stop being complicit by funding an industry whose damaging tentacles reach into almost every aspect of our planet's degradation, to a decidedly absurd extent considering most still refuse to acknowledge it.
If you don't want the bodies of females to be violated and objectified, like Trump wants, stop eating her reproductive secretions (for which we have manipulated her body to take; she isn't "giving them" to us.) Stop eating her flesh. Stop wearing her skin. Stop paying to be entertained by her confinement. For goodness' sake, stop treating others like pieces of meat, literally.
If you want to put your money where your mouth is, you can align your actions with the beliefs you already hold: that it's wrong to inflict intentional, preventable harm on others, especially the most vulnerable. Rejecting this would create a ripple effect on so many levels, and you can do it every day, multiple times a day.
As Robert Grillo asserts in his fantastic new book Farm to Fable, our socially conditioned belief that we should use and exploit animals goes mostly unexamined and therefore unchallenged, while popular culture continually reinforce these beliefs and behaviors. This allows us to remain willfully ignorant of the very violence we enthusiastically condone.
Have you ever actually looked into how animals used for meat, milk, eggs and otherwise are slaughtered even under the "best" of conditions (something completely omitted from all marketing of the products of animal slaughter)? Here's a totally unbiased, PG, and informative rundown on Wikipedia. (If you refuse to look at this, ask yourself how you can support something so horrible you can't even learn about it.) Which of these things would you want done to you, or a pet, or even your worst enemy? Yet these are things we are doing to the innocent and vulnerable – but kept out of sight and out of mind – not for survival, but just because we can. Because might makes right.
We do this while simultaneously demanding social justice for the groups of vulnerable, oppressed animals we call humans.
Although I see this glaring, heartbreaking contradiction every day, I've been afraid of offending others. I always bite my tongue, filter my emotions, careful to stay within the comfort zones of what's "appropriate" (we eat dead animals, we don't talk about killing them). This meme hilariously sums it up.
But last night I had a nightmare that I was the one trapped in an animal farm, surrounded by udders robotically being milked by metal machines, pigs being pushed out to slaughter, and people outside eating them with gusto. Imagine if it was us being treated this way. We compare human-on-human atrocities to humans slaughtering animals, and we base horror movies and terrifying Halloween attractions around the way we treat animals, and we have the nerve to call this treatment "humane?"
Otherwise progressive people cannot coherently continue to view human violence towards other beings with indifference, and actually fund this violence with their daily choices, while fighting against other forms of injustice. Especially not now.
This contradiction is something that philosophers have explored in academic research. For example, to explore why the progressive idea of extending a modicum of respect for the most basic right of non-humans – to not be used and killed when it can so easily be avoided – is still mostly shunned, trivialized, or ignored altogether by otherwise progressive people, watch Canada Research Chair in Political Philosophy at Queen's University Canada Will Kymlicka's life-changing lecture "Animal Rights, Multiculturalism, and The Left" co-written by Sue Donaldnson (or read it here).
Moving Backwards Requires a Giant Leap Forward
Trump is a climate denier who vowed to slash spending on climate and clean energy if elected. He has threatened to get rid of the Environmental Protection Agency. He wants to revive the dying coal industry. His plan for his first 100 days in office states he will "lift the restrictions on the production of $50 trillion dollars' worth of job-producing American energy reserves, including shale, oil, natural gas and clean coal" and allow the Keystone Pipeline to move forward.
We are moving backwards, so we need to take a giant leap forward. When they go low, we go high, right? If they're going to do even more damage to our planet, we need to take real actions that fight it and mitigate it even faster. This means fully embracing things like hybrid and electric cars and public transportation, recycling, and solar panels. We can then amplify those efforts exponentially by shifting to a plant-based vegan diet.
You may not know that nearly 1/3 of our planet’s freshwater and more than 1/2 of all water in the US is used for these systems, mostly to grow their feed, but feed-free (vegan) diets use far less water. Just look at these undeniable facts. When you fly over the country and see agricultural fields, you are looking mostly at fields of animal feed. The amount of energy and other resources we devote to this unnecessary and harmful undertaking is astounding.
We talk about food waste, but animal agriculture is actively wasting massive amounts of food before it even hits the shelves, inherent in feed conversion ratios. And then much of it is wasted on top of that after it's purchased. "The amount of energy required to produce meat is "significantly" more than that for plant-based food production," and therefore "every bit that goes into the garbage is far more costly than each bit of plant matter." Yet did you know tens of millions of "surplus" gallons of mothers' milk is simply dumped by farmers every year, before it even reaches the consumer? This exemplifies the disgusting arrogance of animal use.
Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) water scientists found "there will not be enough water available on current croplands to produce food for the expected population" unless "the proportion of animal based foods is limited to 5 per cent of total calories and considerable regional water deficits can be met by a well organised and reliable system of food trade."
And an April study published in the journal Nature Communications called "Exploring the biophysical option space for feeding the world without deforestation" found that vegan diets have the best land use and are in fact, of all diets they compared, are the only way to feed the global population by 2050 without another tree being felled. (If you heard otherwise, it's because a subsequent study on land use and carrying capacity was grossly misreported by the media.)
It's coming up on ten years ago when the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN FAO) released Livestock's Long Shadow. Henning Steinfeld, Chief of FAO’s Livestock Information and Policy Branch and senior author of the report, said: “Livestock are one of the most significant contributors to today’s most serious environmental problems. Urgent action is required to remedy the situation.”
Guys. The science says we need to shift away from farming animals to avoid dangerous climate change. To save human lives and trillions in healthcare. To avoid dangerous water depletion. To have enough food for everyone without tearing down what's left of our trees. And by the way, the oceans are in major trouble as well due to humans removing sealife from them. They say it's urgent. They say we can't disengage regarding this any longer.
We can't resist oppression or do anything else for that matter without an inhabitable planet. We cannot coherently fight against Trump and keep doing this.
Please don't underestimate how powerful going vegan now would be on so many levels. They say a disaster needs to happen to awaken. Trump winning has got to be it.
Addressing the Vegan Privilege Paradox
Although due to our current slaughter-based system it is a privilege to have access to a variety of affordable plant-based foods (as well as autonomy over our own food and clothing choices), dismissing veganism on the grounds that it's a privilege is likely inconsistent with many other privileged choices and is a paradoxical cop-out if one have access and autonomy. (If you don't, please see this honest conversation about circumstances that make veganism a challenge.)
First we need to acknowledge that animal products only appear to be the reasonable, affordable choice because the system has created this highly profitable illusion. The low prices of such a resource-intensive undertaking are the result of tax subsidies, so no one realizes it. Attorney David Robinson Simon estimates that while US taxpayers spent yearly $17 million to subsidize fruits and vegetables, they spend $38 billion yearly to subsidize meat (meat includes eggs) and dairy. Yes, that's BILLION. If these subsidies for the most resource-intensive foods were eliminated, we would see that the true privileged extravagance is of course animal foods.
The existence of people who need to violate and slaughter animals for their very survival (actually an extremely complex problem with solutions other than livestock, who have often wiped out ancient crops and water sources) doesn't excuse or justify those doing so for pleasure. The latter group is actually jeopardizing the survival of the former group, since choosing animal foods when we don't have to drives up the cost of staple crops for everyone and use vastly more natural resources. For example, all of the ocean's major fishing stocks are exploited or collapsed because people eat fish for pleasure, obviously screwing over those who do so for survival. And why would one actively create more food scarcity in the name of one's own extravagant privilege to eat fattened up cows, pigs, chickens, etc.? Because we insist it's a privilege not to?
And is this why you personally support violating/slaughtering animals? Is that why you steal, too; because some people have to steal to survive?
Vegans simply choose not to put the flesh, skin and reproductive secretions of other animals whether plucked from their habitats or systemically bred, violated and killed for that purpose by the tens of billions annually in our mouths or on our bodies, because we believe the sicence saying we have no need to be eating or using them and it’s time to move on.
It’s highly unethical to keep doing this when we don’t have to as we would never want it done to us. This massive slaughter system and its downstream production occupies nearly half of our planet and is at the heart of our most urgent environmental problems. The solution to these concerns is straightforward. We simply have to make other choices.
In fact, there's a school of thought that says the idea some lives and bodies matter less than others and therefore can be exploited, used, and killed at the will of those self-appointing themselves as “superior" is the root of all “isms,” and we play into it unwittingly. We can't treat people "like animals" unless we treat animals "like animals." Humanitarian anthropologist Dr. Paul Farmer said, "The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world.”
Pro-intersectional Vegan Leaders
If despite all this, you're thinking we need to put all our efforts into helping oppressed and marginalized groups of people right now, vegan doesn't stop you from these efforts! Being vegan doesn't stop one from being, say, anti-racist, any more than being anti-racist stops one from being anti-homophobic. As opposed to having a limited carrying capacity, justice is like a circle that widens, or a muscle that grows. For me, veganism opened up a floodgate to learn more about other issues.
At a recent gala for Farm Sanctuary, powerhouse Senator Cory Booker, a vegan person of color, said of animal rights during his speech, "So much of what the mission of humanity is, indeed the mission of the ideals of this country is to expand compassion, expand love." He quoted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." (Speaking of MLK Jr, his oldest son has been vegan for 20 years and Coretta Scott King, his late wife, was vegan for the last 10 years of her life, making it quite conceivable that Dr. King himself would have explored veganism had he lived longer as a logical extension of his fight for justice.) He said our collective destiny shouldn't stop at other human beings, it's also our planet, environment, and animals as well, and regarding the idea that veganism can't make a difference, he said "cynicism is a refuge of cowards." Again paraphrasing MLK, he pointed out it's not the violent action of the bad people, it's the appalling silence and inaction of the good people. He said if only people knew about what was going on, more people would make the change.
How could they not?
If you believe that animal rights and veganism are simply distractions from human social justice issues, as I once did, here's someone whose ideas might crack your brain open. (Note - My intention is NEVER to "shame" anyone, whether or not a person of color, for not being vegan.) Aph Ko is founder of Aphro-ism and Black Vegans Rock. On her blog, she argues:
There’s almost something tragic and comical about activists failing to realize the blatant missing piece to the activist puzzle: that your own oppression is anchored to your citizenship as a “sub-human” or “animal” in contemporary society. This is what makes racism, sexism, and all other “isms” possible [and she includes prejudice against low-income whites]... If we’re not organizing around this human/animal divide, then we aren’t properly getting to the root of our oppression.
Can you imagine we are fighting this hard all while ignoring the very root of oppression? That's like putting a band-aid on a broken leg.
She also points out that "Systems of oppression need sub-humans in order to feel superior." It seems that 99% of people, even otherwise progressive people, on some level feel this false sense of need to oppress certain animals. Since it's not actually a need at all, why else are we doing it?
To paraphrase Dr. Breeze Harper, known as Sistah Vegan, we frame what we think of as justice through the lens of the society we live in. So justice is framed through a sexist/racist/speciesist lens because we live in a sexist/racist/speciesist society. To delve into the difficult subject of white fragility and ethical food consumption, watch her presentation at a conference put on earlier this year by the organization Interspecies & Intersectional Justice. To quote: "Love is not coddling, love is not pandering to the emotional needs of the status quo" because we don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. "Because the consequences are far worse than hurt feelings."
And in his piece "Slavery. It's Still A Thing.", writer and activist Christopher-Sebastian McJetters (above) asks (and answers with his signature bluntness and sass):
Why does one form of slavery get a pass, while we recognize the obvious violation of the other? And why do we get so doggone angry and uncomfortable when we identify these parallels?
More recently, he writes, "With a Commander-in-Chief who is a climate denier, we no longer have the luxury of time to be entirely generous in our vegan advocacy."
What about anti-sexism? Vegan Feminist Network sums up that In The Sexual Politics of Meat, iconic feminist author Dr Carol Adams points out that sexism and speciesism have the same roots of patriarchal oppression in a class-based society.
In the piece "A Call to Feminists," Butterflies Katz and Angel Flinn point out that "the entire animal industry is built on the exploitation of the female reproductive system." If you can read that piece and still not see the connection, I'm at a loss.
Carol Adams herself writes:
I coined the term feminized protein for eggs and dairy products: plant protein produced through the abuse of the reproductive cycle of female animals. Feminized protein is taken from living female animals, whose reproductive capacity is manipulated for human needs [actually, human desires].
She adds, "The radical truth is that people can be perfectly happy as vegans, but the dominant culture can’t or won’t acknowledge this." Again, why is this? As Dr. Melanie Joy explains, it would challenge our identity as a human, which for all our lives has equated to imaginary superiority over other animals.
The fact that women who are mothers, who know firsthand the fierce maternal instinct often described as animalistic, can actually consume milk taken from a fellow mother of another species (taken along with her baby, otherwise there's be less milk to sell) shows this striking disconnect resulting from powerful propaganda and social conditioning. See Mothers Against Dairy to learn more about this issue.
What about gay rights? VegNews did this fantastic piece with prominent gay-rights and animal activists about how LGBT rights and animal rights are connected, including the following excerpts:
Ari Solomon: In the simplest terms, I believe that most LGBT men and women understand firsthand what’s it like to be oppressed and bullied... I try to make the case that because we know how it feels, we should be more inclined to go vegan and get involved with trying to end the war on animals.
Jasmin Singer: I believe that the fundamental connection between gay rights and animal rights, as well as countless other rights movements, is the mindset of the oppressor, which is always based in the thought that, "I am better, and more important, than they are."
The above is just a small excerpt of all that the fantastic pro-intersectional vegans have to say about the intersection of exploited/oppressed humans and animals. I hope I have done their words a fraction of justice.
Dr. King described Jim Crow as something a white man could take comfort in no matter how poor he was: "...no matter how bad off he was, at least he was a white man, better than the black man." Ironically, he framed Jim Crow metaphorically as a real crow the poor whites could eat; a bird to feed on as "their last output of psychological oblivion." Perhaps to well-off white men, animal bodies are just another "other" to dominate – and also, in the ultimate act of dominance, literally consume. But to the underprivileged, women, people of color, and other oppressed groups, dominance and perceived superiority over animals means that no matter how bad one has it, at least they are not an animal, which is perhaps why it's so hard for even those subject to oppression and violence themselves to make this particular connection.
Now is the time to amplify our impact and help close the justice gap.
We are building up a vegan critical mass and right now is the time to get on the right side of history and give a giant f*ck you to the disgusting violence and apathy of the world Donald Trump wants while forging a totally new path to the kind of peaceful, inclusive world we really want and deserve. We need to be just as clear and assertive in our vegan advocacy as we are in our other forms of advocacy, because people deserve the respect to be told the truth. We need to raise the bar, not lower it.
Leo Tolstoy once said, “As long as there are slaughter houses there will always be battlefields.” And Jewish author and Nobel Prize winner Isaac Bashevis Singer wrote, "In relation to [animals], all people are Nazis; for the animals, it is an eternal Treblinka." If we are against human wars and holocausts, we will only continue to reap what we sow by perpetuating them against other species communities. We actually do so on a much, much larger scale from a numbers standpoint. The amount of humans killed in all wars and genocides in history combined is equal to the amount of animals we kill every five days (619 million). No more. This cannot keep happening on our watch.
For love to trump hate, you must go vegan. Because fighting for what's right is worth it.
& join vegan transition Facebook groups and Meetup groups!