Carnival of Empty Cages 2

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.

Carnival organizer vegankid writes about love, loss, and a few animals lucky enough to escape the fate of the discarded in no token mother’s day:

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 it’s always encouraging to find we’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 don’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.

The Vegan Vulcan traces how she became vegan in not so ethical vegetarian:

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.

Kristy of Bluer Than Pink searches for her passion and decides that it’s living by example by sharing her love for food. In her post Passionfruit she writes:

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.

Tara of Tara’s Ramblings blogs on her transition to veganism with photographs of meals and links to her favorite vegan products. From Going vegan?:

I’m feeling myself being pulled more and more towards this. Though I don’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 McDonald’s breakfast sandwich this morning–I have always loved these–and it tasted just…wrong. I mean it tasted normal, but just wrong. I suppose for once I couldn’t get out of my mind (previously easy to do) exactly what I was eating. Of course, that’s blatantly sitting on an english muffin staring you in the face. A lot easier to ignore when it’s cooked inside the food.

The Broke Vegan writes about being vegan and fairness:

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 Master’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 “healthy” food (tofu, especially, is the poster child for “healthy food”) and MAN FOOD, namely BK’s burgers. And, you know what, I don’t think that’s cool. As someone who loves burgers, I don’t like one of my favourite foods being used to shame men into thinking that if they aren’t “carnivores” then they are less manly. I, frankly, see it as BK emasculating men who don’t want to buy their product. And, really, if anyone is going to be emasculating men around here it should be us feminists. I’m kidding! Jeez, y’all can’t take a joke. What are you, a bunch of humourless feminists? Ha, ha. But I’m serious about the BK thing. And that’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.

The Disillusioned Kid also writes on the manliness of eating meat. From Flogging the dead cow:

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.

Food Specifics

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.

In Closing

This last-coming submission from Ninth Wave Designs on the novel Weight is a wonderful closing to the carnival:

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.”

That’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.

Please visit the carnival home for information about hosting a future issue of the carnival. Hosting carnivals is fun. The next issue will be August 1, 2006, at two peas, no pod.

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10 thoughts on “Carnival of Empty Cages 2

  1. Hmmm… I feel weird commenting on this. I appreciate the viewpoints presented and I really empathize. I think you’ve collected some great posts. I do think the way people treat animals as some kind of lesser, disposable beings that don’t deserve basic dignity (or even a relatively pain-free life) is really messed up — and at the same time, I’m not vegan. I think that’s a big reason why you aren’t getting a lot of comments, because even people who sympathize but who aren’t vegan will probably feel really uncomfortable talking about it. I know I do.

    And now I feel compelled to try to explain myself: I’m not trying to invalidate anyone’s choices because I really respect veganism, but… I don’t think there’s any way to live life that’s completely ethical or keeps other living things from dying or suffering (because even plants suffer when you kill them and eat them). Unforunately reality interferes with the ideals of a lot of anti-oppression work, and I think animal rights is probably the most difficult to balance in that respect. So I see no reason to completely cut animal products out of my life, though I wouldn’t mind being mostly vegetarian (I really like cheese :P), and I try to eat organic, cruelty-free products. I think the best I can do is hold a deep respect for the plants and animals I eat, and try to understand where my food comes from — which most people don’t bother to do. I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree.

    And even now, though I want to support you and the work you’re doing, I feel awkward about commenting at all. I’m hesitant to post because just the act of disagreeing about veganism seems invalidating and rude, even if I genuinely sympathize with your values and support anyone who chooses to be vegan. It’s one of those matters which makes people who disagree with you about it feel deeply guilty (which they’ll then attack you for), or, if they respectfully disagree, they’ll still feel like saying anything at all will seem like an attack even if it’s not intended as such. On the other hand, I think you’ve done a great job here and deserve to hear about it.

    *sigh* Far too complicated for something so simple.

  2. very very nice carnival!!! I’m very impressed with it!

    (ps. the woc carnival is going through the same thing, not a lot of people submitting–if you find a solution to it, let us know! 🙂

  3. earlbecke, I am a huge believer that it shouldn’t be all or nothing (heck I’m not vegan enough to some people) and people should cut out the forms of animal cruelty that they’re willing and able to in their own lives. You’re thinking about where your food comes from, and doing what you’re comfortable with and believe in to reduce animal suffering. Do you have suggestions of how I can be more welcoming for non-vegans? I want to strengthen the community of vegan bloggers and draw out nonvegan allies who can relate to a love of animals in their own lives.

    brownfemipower, I’ll try to submit more stuff to the women of color carnival. I just forget and lose track of carnival deadlines with so much other stuff going on. I wonder if we could set up E-mail reminders?

  4. Excellent job! And no I’m not saying that because my post is above. I actually wanted to recommend more posts, but didn’t get around to it (its been a bad couple of weeks).

    Anyway, I love how you quoted each link, it made me want to go and read more for quite a few of them.

  5. Thanks Ariel. I am sorry that I didn’t email you anything. I had intended to write something about passion and got all tied up in knots about what veganism means to me… Anyway, great work.

    We (at two peas, no pod) will be hosting the next Carnival in August and I would love to encourage people to submit posts (their or someone else’s) to us at

    I am particularly interested in the life cycle of veg*nism:
    1. The story of when and how people became a vegan or vegetarian
    2. The evolution of people’s reasons for staying a veg*n
    3. The most frustrating aspects of being a veg*n
    4. The most rewarding aspects of being a veg*n
    5. Whether or not people make much of an effort to “convert” others to veg*nism and what people think of this as a concept.

    It would be great to hear from people from all over.

  6. I don’t think there’s any way to live life that’s completely ethical or keeps other living things from dying or suffering (because even plants suffer when you kill them and eat them). Unforunately reality interferes with the ideals of a lot of anti-oppression work, and I think animal rights is probably the most difficult to balance in that respect.

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