Welcome to the second issue of the Carnival of Empty Cages, the collection of blog posts celebrating compassion, veganism, and animals. This issue’s theme is passion. What gets you going? Read on to find out.
Looking at Oppression
George Dvorsky, Canadian transhumanist philosopher, writes on The myth of our exalted human place on his blog, Sentient Developments. He argues that transhumanists and animal rights activists are on the same wavelength, and critiques speciest:
At the very core, though, what the speciests cannot bear is when an animal’s life is ‘put ahead’ of a human’s. More accurately, what they find repugnant is the thought of a human death when a cure could have been developed through animal experimentation — the underlying assumption being that an animal’s life does not have the same value as a human’s. To the speciest, the animal’s suffering is either not really happening (i.e. the misconception that animals don’t really feel things the way people do), or that its suffering is a justifiable sacrifice in the name of science or in helping more ‘worthy’ human lives.
The animals in my life provide an unmeasurable amount of inspiration in my life. When i think of their stories and look at them, i know that my role as a mother cannot simply stop after feeding time. Lets look at Trombone. Trombone came into my life last year. I was at a friend’s house when we received a call explaining that Trombone was in the back of a pet store awaiting his sentance of death by freezer and wondering if either of us would care for him if he were to escape from prison. Any animal lib kid is well-aware of what we call vegan guilt. Well, of course we said yes (even though there were already a dozen animals between the two houses). And thus began Trombone’s life as a liberated political prisoner.
Brownfemipower writes about how
Animal rights are being used as a way to further animalize and violate people of color. She writes:
Radical women of color activists, unlike most of the white dominated animal rights organizations, have long recognized the link between animal health and community health–government endorsed mass extermination of animals was used as a blatant tool of genocide against native peoples. And it is the Native women of Canada and Alaska that first recognized changing migratory patterns of caribou and increased levels of dioxins in the fatty tissue of the animals they eat.
It is our breasts that fill with poisons from the animal meat we eat, it is our wombs that create diseased eggs, it is our children that are born without skeletons and die from government handouts or gas station hot dogs induced diabetes.
Becoming and Being Vegan
Being vegan can sometimes be isolating, so itâ€™s always encouraging to find weâ€™re not alone. Isil of The Veggie Way reports that Dr. Janez DrnovÅ¡ek, President of Republic Slovenia, is possibly the world’s only vegan head of state. She quotes him:
We donâ€™t always realize how we treat animals, how we manage them. They are living creatures. … Just think of all slaughterhouses and production of beef or poultry where conditions for animals are impossible. Often animals are transported in trucks without any water, which is extremely cruel.
Many moons ago (winter of 2001, to be exact) I became a vegetarian. Kind of. I felt that by eliminating meat from my diet, I was making an ethical choice, good for the environment, good for animals, good for me. But this story is not praise of myself, and my dietary “ethics”– it is a story about waking up from what I consider to be the myth of ethical vegetarianism.
The strangest thing happened after a few months of being vegan I suddenly felt a lot of clarity about everything, the interconnectedness of everything (animal rights, environment, women’s rights, peace and more),I even had clarity about how the current relationship I was in at the time was not suitable, yes I know i’m starting to sound like a hippy or maybe a little crazy, but it was truly a beautiful feeling.
Yes food is my biggest passion and is very much connected to my veganism.
Iâ€™m feeling myself being pulled more and more towards this. Though I donâ€™t ever see myself as a vocal advocate, nor as agonizing over every single purchase I make, as some do, even eggs and dairy foods are sounding less and less appealing to me. I had a McDonaldâ€™s breakfast sandwich this morningâ€“I have always loved theseâ€“and it tasted justâ€¦wrong. I mean it tasted normal, but just wrong. I suppose for once I couldnâ€™t get out of my mind (previously easy to do) exactly what I was eating. Of course, thatâ€™s blatantly sitting on an english muffin staring you in the face. A lot easier to ignore when itâ€™s cooked inside the food.
Part of the reason veganism has finally become part of my life is because I believe life should be fair. I believe that no living creature is more significant than another. I do not believe that the life of a cow is less important than mine. I do not believe that I am better than another because I have a Masterâ€™s degree. I do not believe that I am inferior because I am a woman or because I am Black. I do not believe I am superior because I am married or because I have a boy and a girl, etc. etc. Because of this, life gets very hard sometimes.
Masculinity and Meat Politics
Our own tekanji analyzes the sexualization of meat in response to a Burger King commercial in I’m So Glad I Stopped Eating at BK. She writes on the emasculation of men who don’t love meat:
They quite obviously draw the line between â€œhealthyâ€ food (tofu, especially, is the poster child for â€œhealthy foodâ€) and MAN FOOD, namely BKâ€™s burgers. And, you know what, I donâ€™t think thatâ€™s cool. As someone who loves burgers, I donâ€™t like one of my favourite foods being used to shame men into thinking that if they arenâ€™t â€œcarnivoresâ€ then they are less manly. I, frankly, see it as BK emasculating men who donâ€™t want to buy their product. And, really, if anyone is going to be emasculating men around here it should be us feminists. Iâ€™m kidding! Jeez, yâ€™all canâ€™t take a joke. What are you, a bunch of humourless feminists? Ha, ha. But Iâ€™m serious about the BK thing. And thatâ€™s not cool.
There is also a discussion of the Burger King commercial on the veg_feminism LiveJournal group. LJ user xmorningxrosex writes:
So. veg*n guys must not exist. because we all know that you need meat, and lots of it, to be a man. and women can’t eat meat without seeming unladylike. no, salads and diets are for women, big piles of meat are for men.
Note the way that meat is associated with strength and – at least impliedly – sexuality. Your very manhood is determined by whether or not you maintain a sufficient intake of dead animals. If you should fail in your duty to maintain this intake tean it is incumbent upon your female partner to “drag” you to an appropriate meat dispensary (cooking it at home is clearly insufficient) and put this right. Maybe you should go the whole hog and move to the States while you’re at it. Just to make sure.
Katie the Frugal Veggie Mama writes about the importance of veggies sending good food to represent our cooking:
I always have angst when I bring food to my kids’ classes. I always feel like vegans/vegetarians can’t send in a less than amazing treat or people will turn their noses up. Tuesday evening found me biting my lip while searching for the perfect treat. Just to make it interesting, several kids in the class have allergies to chocolate and peanuts. What’s a frugal veggie mama to do??
She develops a molasses cookies recipe!
Speaking of food, Christy and Paul of Two Peas, No Pod share photographs of their hearty tofu scramble breakfast.
Every Saturday we get up at 7am and go to the Farmers’ Markets with my Mum. When we get home, we take full advantage of our newly acquired fresh produce (and the fresh home-made tofu that we buy there too), but having a hot breakfast of scrambled tofu, garlic mushrooms and tomatoes with sourdough toast. We also try to make fresh celery, carrot, apple and ginger juice.
It is the most delicious way that I can think of starting the weekend.
Space travel was a larger-than-life factor in the mythos of my childhood, and I was familiar with the story of Laika’s trip into space as part of that myth. The story I read in grade school never mentioned that she died during her mission, but I knew without being told. For some reason all of the great expansive American optimism associated with our early space program, contrasted with my instinctive sense of Laika’s cruel claustrophobic end, generated a deep conflict in my young mind that is still with me. Winterson has unexpectedly found a way to address my early established deep sense of suspicion, and offers a balm with these words: “Laika was free.”
Thatâ€™s all for this issue. The vegan blogging community is awfully quite and made me collect a lot of these posts myself, so I want to say a special big thanks to those of you who submitted things: vegankid, Brownfemipower, Kristy, and NWD.