Where Would We Be Without The Bees?

 Bees are one of the most important insects; they must be protected. We must find a way to save them, and ultimately, save ourselves.

Bees are fuzzy little insects that are one of the biggest contributors to pollination in the world; however, 23.2 percent of honeybee colonies have died over the last winter, causing extreme concern for the future of agriculture. In addition, over the past year, multiple types of bees have been added to the endangered list.

“If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would have only four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.” Maurice Maeterlinck said in his book, The Life of the Bee.

Bees and other pollinators account for the production of one-third of the world’s crops, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

Concern arose in 2003 after many beekeepers reported missing colonies of bees. This mysterious disappearance of Honeybees became known as Colony Collapse Disorder, and its cause stumped scientists for years.

A Harvard study suggested that the onset of the bees’ extinction was triggered by the use of plant pesticides like Neonicotinoids and Sulfoxaflor.

Sulfoxaflor is a systemic pesticide, meaning it makes the whole plant poisonous. Once the plant absorbs the pesticide, its nectar and pollen become toxic to bees.

Sulfoxaflor was approved in 2013 by the US Environmental Protection Agency, but was challenged in a federal appeal court after increased concern for the dying bees surfaced.

After studies showed its harmful and often deadly effect, the court overturned its approval of Sulfoxaflor in September of 2015.

The court’s decision was significant because it effectively repealed a deadly pesticide to bees.

Helping bees can be an easy thing if everyone contributes to the effort. There are plants like Catmint, Chives, Wild Lilac, and Indigo that one can plant that help create new habitats for bees.  For more information on how you can help ease this, visit this separate article.

It is important to be familiar with our need for bees. They are not our enemy, but more of a tiny friend.

 

 

Veganism in American Food Deserts

According to the American Nutrition Association, a food desert is a part of the country deprived of fresh and healthy foods including fresh fruits and vegetables. This is due to a lack of grocery stores, farmers markets and healthy food providers. Food deserts are much more prevalent in poor black neighborhoods; with predominantly white neighborhoods having 4x the grocery stores. Some individuals may be able to use a form of transportation private or public to overcome the obstacle of distance; but some simply can’t.

Rural food desert – residents must drive more than 10 miles to the nearest supermarket.

Urban food desert– having to drive more than a mile.

Those who live in an American food desert usually have to buy from small corner shops that usually do not carry fresh food; but imperishable food such as canned, dried, processed and tinned foods. That or eat fast food, if they can’t make the trip to the nearest market. This can make it very difficult to make healthy eating choices. 

But difficult doesn’t have to mean impossible.

Here is some data according to a National Consumers League survey taken from 20 corner grocery stores in the District of Columbia.

  • Every corner store they surveyed had some sort of fresh produce.
  • Bananas, apples, and oranges were the three most common types of fresh produce available – with bananas being the most popular.
  • 40% of stores had more than three types of produce available.
  • 70% of stores displayed their produce in highly visible places such as near the cash register or somewhere near the front of the store.

This isn’t very much to work with, no. But paired with canned and dried plant food such as beans/lentils, pasta and vegetables, you may be able to make healthier choices than you would be eating packaged and dried meat. 

And of course, there is always vegan junk food as well that will definitely be in store – if you’re not as concerned with health than you are ethics.

There is also fast food, which many people who live in food deserts may have no choice but to eat. Luckily, there are plenty of vegan fast food options! You can always check Urban Taste Bud for complete vegan menu options at your local fast food place. 

Living in a food desert isn’t easy or ideal, but there are ways to get fresh food in your area!

The National Healthy Corner Stores Network is comitted to making fresh food more accessible nationwide in food deserts, mobile produce vans and mobile markets are also becoming more available. If it’s not in your area, you may be able to change that with enough time and support (and bugging the higher ups in your community about food accessibility in your county / town).
In the mean time, veganism very well may be accessible for you! If it applies, you can always check out or article on low income veganism as well.

Resources to Go Vegan with Dietary Restrictions

We live in a society that conditions us to  believe that we need meat and animal products.

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Going vegan isn’t always easy. I grew up in a single parent and low income household with anemia. In addition, I am allergic to nuts and soy. So I more than quite a bit of people know that cutting out animal products doesn’t have the same level of difficulty for everyone. But can’t go vegan? I don’t know. You can decide for yourself! I will keep working on this list as more people come to me with different situations they think they can’t go vegan in, in hopes of helping them.

I can’t go vegan because…

I’m anemic

I live in a low income household

I’m allergic to nuts and soy

I have Celiacs disease

I have Gastroparesis

I have to eat a low fiber diet

It would be hard to maintain my cultural identity

I am underweight

I am diabetic (external link)

I have an eating disorder (external link)

I have Hypoglycemia (external link)

I have an autoimmune disease (external link)

I have IBS (external link & P.S Freelee The Banana Girl had/has IBS!)

How Inclusive Is Your Social Justice?

I really do love social justice.

I’ve done an article like this before, but not in this depth. I left a lot out because one was just supposed to bring to light that climate change did hurt us people of colour, I some way. And the other was just an essay for a magazine and another blog.

Unfortunately, when many non vegan human rights activists talk or think about veganism, they consider it only an animal rights issue. They do this, completely forgetting that the same damage that kills animals ties in very closely with how the same environmental destruction is killing people.

So here’s how the consumption of animal products is causing climate change and environmental destruction:

– Meat consumption uses 11x the fossil fuels than a plant based lifestyle

Animal agriculture is proven responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions (All transportation exhaust accounts for is 13%)

Studies actually suggest that animals and their byproducts account for upwards of 51% of greenhouse gas emissions. That’s 32.6 billion tons of CO2 per year.

Methane is 86x more destructive than CO2 on 20 year time frame. Cows that we mass breed for meat consumption produce 150 billion tons of methane per day. (And that’s the low figure, 250-500 liters per cow x 1.5 billion cows is 198.1 billion gallons a day). In fact, US methane emissions from livestock and natural gas are nearly equal.

Livestock is responsible for 65% of all human-related emissions of nitrous oxide – a greenhouse gas with 296 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide, and which stays in the atmosphere for 150 years.

Animal agriculture water consumption ranges from 34-76 trillion gallons annually (PDF). It is responsible for 80-90% of US water consumption. It’s not hard to see why, either. Just the feed for livestock uses 56% of the U.S water (PDF).

442-8,000 gallons of water are needed to produce 1 pound of beef, 477 gallons of water are required to produce 1lb. of eggs; almost 900 gallons of water are needed for 1lb. of cheese & 1,000 gallons of water are required to produce 1 gallon of milk (PDF).

Animal Agriculture is responsible for 20%-33% of all fresh water consumption in the world today (PDF).

Livestock or livestock feed occupies about 1/3 of the earth’s ice-free land. (45% of the earth’s total land.) 1/3 of the planet is desertified, with livestock as the leading driver.

A farm with 2,500 dairy cows produces the same amount of waste as a city of 411,000 people.

Animal agriculture is responsible for up to 91% of Amazon destruction. (1-2 acres are destroyed every second)

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(source two, source three)

The leading causes of rainforest destruction are livestock and feedcrops.

136 million rainforest acres have been cleared for animal agriculture.

And here’s how that’s devastating for people of colour:

Deforestation wise

The Indigenous are displaced, rarely are their rights recognized. Cattle farming is causing the most damage.

1,100 Land activists have been killed in Brazil in the past 20 years.

They’re being hunted by murderous cattle ranchers. 452 indigenous people were murdered between 2002 and 2010, sharply up on the 167 killed during the previous eight years.

Water wise

Californias drought raises produce cost for the entire nation

West Nile Virus numbers skyrocketing thanks to drought, a virus that effects poverty stricken areas the most.

Grain wise

(I know it’s more about availability than quantity, but it’s wasteful all the same.)

We’re criminally wasting grain on mass bred animals that could be fed to starving humans

Millions of people may die in the next few years because of inadequate world grain reserve (90% of it is fed to animals)

Climate change wise

A WHO assessment concluded that climate change is expected to cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths per year between 2030 and 2050; 38,000 due to heat exposure in elderly people, 48,000 due to diarrhoea, 60,000 due to malaria, and 95,000 due to childhood undernutrition*

Children and the elderly are most vulnerable.

– Of those, women are effected the most.

100 million people could die from climate change by 2030, people in third world countries are disproportionately affected

Obama says climate change kills more people than terrorism

India heat wave death toll rises as drought worsens

60% of Africans fear climate change over any threat to their lives (even above terrorism)

The death toll in Pakistan continuous to rise due to climate change fueled heat waves

Climate change is the greatest threat to people of colour

What is the impact of climate change on health?

Although global warming may bring some localized benefits, such as fewer winter deaths in temperate climates and increased food production in certain areas, the overall health effects of a changing climate are likely to be overwhelmingly negative. Climate change affects social and environmental determinants of health – clean air, safe drinking water, sufficient food and secure shelter.

Extreme heat

Extreme high air temperatures contribute directly to deaths from cardiovascular and respiratory disease, particularly among elderly people. In the heat wave of summer 2003 in Europe for example, more than 70 000 excess deaths were recorded2.

High temperatures also raise the levels of ozone and other pollutants in the air that exacerbate cardiovascular and respiratory disease.

Pollen and other aeroallergen levels are also higher in extreme heat. These can trigger asthma, which affects around 300 million people. Ongoing temperature increases are expected to increase this burden.

Natural disasters and variable rainfall patterns

Globally, the number of reported weather-related natural disasters has more than tripled since the 1960s. Every year, these disasters result in over 60 000 deaths, mainly in developing countries.

Rising sea levels and increasingly extreme weather events will destroy homes, medical facilities and other essential services. More than half of the world’s population lives within 60 km of the sea. People may be forced to move, which in turn heightens the risk of a range of health effects, from mental disorders to communicable diseases.

Increasingly variable rainfall patterns are likely to affect the supply of fresh water. A lack of safe water can compromise hygiene and increase the risk of diarrhoeal disease, which kills approximately 760 000 children aged under 5, every year. In extreme cases, water scarcity leads to drought and famine. By the late 21st century, climate change is likely to increase the frequency and intensity of drought at regional and global scale1.

Floods are also increasing in frequency and intensity, and the frequency and intensity of extreme precipitation is expected to continue to increase throughout the current century1. Floods contaminate freshwater supplies, heighten the risk of water-borne diseases, and create breeding grounds for disease-carrying insects such as mosquitoes. They also cause drownings and physical injuries, damage homes and disrupt the supply of medical and health services.

Rising temperatures and variable precipitation are likely to decrease the production of staple foods in many of the poorest regions. This will increase the prevalence of malnutrition and undernutrition, which currently cause 3.1 million deaths every year.

Patterns of infection

Climatic conditions strongly affect water-borne diseases and diseases transmitted through insects, snails or other cold blooded animals.

Changes in climate are likely to lengthen the transmission seasons of important vector-borne diseases and to alter their geographic range. For example, climate change is projected to widen significantly the area of China where the snail-borne disease schistosomiasis occurs3.

Malaria is strongly influenced by climate. Transmitted by Anopheles mosquitoes, malaria kills almost 600 000 people every year – mainly African children under 5 years old. The Aedes mosquito vector of dengue is also highly sensitive to climate conditions, andstudies suggest that climate change is likely to continue to increase exposure to dengue.

All populations will be affected by climate change, but some are more vulnerable than others. People living in small island developing states and other coastal regions, megacities, and mountainous and polar regions are particularly vulnerable.

Children – in particular, children living in poor countries – are among the most vulnerable to the resulting health risks and will be exposed longer to the health consequences. The health effects are also expected to be more severe for elderly people and people with infirmities or pre-existing medical conditions.

Areas with weak health infrastructure – mostly in developing countries – will be the least able to cope without assistance to prepare and respond.”

WHO (World Health Organization)

Work wise

(The issue of crop workers is valid, until it is brought up with the intent to derail the issue of meat processing workers. Then it becomes a red herring.

1. Veganism is about doing the least harm, creating the least damage. We know there is exploitation where our fruits and vegetables are concerned, we just know that there is also abuse where meat is concerned- and that we are able to cut it completely out. So we did. Have never met even one vegan that wasn’t interested in making working conditions better for these workers. I myself am making real effort to only buy from local farmers, that becomes extremely difficult when you are low income.

2.  When the issue of these working conditions is brought up and you attempt to derail them with “vegans exploit farmers for their produce”, you have destroyed your own argument. Vegans are not the only people that eat fruits and vegetables, everyone does. They have to. You have attempted to make yourself feel better about the fact that you unnecessarily fund two exploitive industries by pointing out the fact that we may be forced to fund one.

3. Coincidentally, the consumption of meat calls for 16x the produce to be grown in order to also feed the animals we unnecessarily breed en masse.)

Slaughterhous workers have a much higher chance of being perpetuators of domestic violence due to trauma, desensitization and the normalization of violence.

– They have high risk of becoming alcoholics and/or developing PTSD.

They’re usually poor immigrants who have no other choice.

In 2005 there were 2,270 injury claims made by meat processing workers.

Chicken workers not allowed bathroom breaks, forced to wear diapers.

Chicken farmer dies after lifelong exposure to chicken droppings. (Animal waste in high volumes can cause lung disease)

Migrant workers abused in the shrimp industry

Waste wise

Pig waste thrown on houses

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“Social justice is based on the concepts of human rights and equality, and can be defined as “the way in which human rights are manifested in the everyday lives of people at every level of society”

“Intersectionality (or intersectional theory) is the study of overlapping or intersecting social identities and related systems of oppression, domination, or discrimination.”

Just something to think about…

Abuse Is Abuse

This isn’t my usual informative article, just a small think piece. This is all just my opinion, and some facts that emphasize my point.

Content warning: This article is based on themes that include rape, sexual abuse, and infanticide, but there will be no graphic pictures. If that still bothers you, you can check out another not so sad social justice article of mine.

“You cannot be a feminist and not be vegan.”

This is a sentence used very often in the vegan community. It’s seen as incredibly problematic, insulting, and dehumanizing to rape victims.

Why?

Rape: unlawful sexual intercourse or any other sexual penetration of the vagina, anus, or mouth of another person, with or without force, by a sex organ, other body part, or foreign object, without the consent of the victim.

These animals are victims.

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Cows are usually put on a device called a rape rack. This holds them in place while the farmer penetrates both her vagina and anus simultaneously to inseminate her with bull sperm. This is so she will become pregnant (because like humans, this is the only way cows will give milk.) will have to endure this every 9 months until her body can no longer give milk.

When the baby is born, if they are female- she will be faced with the same fate. If they are male- he dies.

Male calves have no monetary use in the industry and will be sent to be slaughtered for veal.

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Calf awaiting slaughter in a veal crate.

Calves have been known to scream and cry for their mothers until their throats bleed. Mother cows have roamed for miles and miles looking for their young.

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And they aren’t the only ones exploited for their female anatomy.

A similar situation is pushed on hens. Their anatomy is exploited and modified to be taken advantage of for humans. They are also artificially inseminated for the poultry industry and layer hens don’t have it much better.

Much like cows, mother hens have their babies taken away from them. It’s the same situation, if the child is female- she is exploited in the same way as her mother. If he is male, he is killed immediately either by suffocation, gassing, or being shredded up alive.

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There are no regulations in even “free range” or “grass fed” that prevent this.

This is infanticide. This is murder and how can it be excused?

Will you excuse it with…the animals don’t know what is happening?

Factory farmed animals have been shown to become depressed as a result of their mistreatment. They know exactly what is happening they just don’t know why.

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This pig will never actually get to see her babies.

The point is. Rape, molestation, slavery, and infanticide are all feminist issues, right? Why does it suddenly become okay when it’s done to an animal? If any of these things happened to a human even once-let alone continually their entire life, there would be uproar.

Why is it okay for only some females to be raped hurt and exploited? And it’s not as if the animals forget, they remember exactly what’s happened to them:

So the question becomes not if you can be a feminist but not vegan, but why would you want to be?

Low Income Veganism (Improved)

I try to keep my veganism inclusive, I myself am not rich. My entire life I have lived in a low income single parent household and at one point my family did need assistance from food banks. I am no stranger to poverty or budgeting.

Many people will tell me that veganism is a privilege, that my assumed raw organic whole foods vegan lifestyle is unattainable for most people. That would be correct- if I led a raw, organic, whole foods vegan lifestyle.

The fact of the matter is that plant based food is cheaper. Before you comment how expensive mock meat is compared to your regular processed grocer meat, that’s not at all what I mean!

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Most of countries least expensive food staples are vegan! In most other countries (I cannot think of one where this is not the case) the cheapest staples are some sort of lentil, cheap grain, and a fruit or vegetable. This makes sense because when you buy meat you’re buying the time it took to raise the animal, the food and water it took to feed the animal, and the labor for all of this included!

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That being said, a plant based diet can be accessible for other low income households! Here is how I would suggest you shop if this lifestyle interests you for either health, animal rights, environmental or even social justice reasons-

Grocery list:

You need a good base protein. Your choice of this is in no way limited and while there are many vegan proteins I’m trying to stick to the cheapest stuff.

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– Kidney beans

– Lima beans

– Chickpeas (you can also turn this into hummus for a quick and cheap snack)

– Lentils

– Pinto beans

– Black beans

– Black eyed peas

And I really like to have a grain side with that! It’s filling and tastes good with just about any bean-

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(In order of what I assume is least to most expensive)

– White rice

– Brown rice

– Jasmine rice

– Black rice

– Quinoa

Another cheap meal is one with a pasta base! I can usually find pasta for $1 a pound or at LEAST under $2. Nothing fancy just regular dried pasta. (Check the ingredients for egg!)

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– Spaghetti

– Farfalle

– Angel hair

– Fusilli

– Fettuccine

– Linguine

– Penne

– Rigatoni, ect.

I have these with vegetables or sauces to make a meal! Here are some examples of how you can make cheap pasta:

Broccoli pasta-

Boil broccoli until soft. Add more water if there isn’t much left, and add the  uncooked pasta to the broccoli. Leave it to boil with the broccoli until the florets become mushy. Drain the water and serve with seasoning! I add vegan friendly Italian dressing or balsamic vinaigrette.

Zucchini pasta-

Sautee zucchini, tomato and onions in oil and seasoning until soft and set aside. Boil pasta noodles, drain, and mix with the vegetables.

Pasta with marinara sauce-

Just cooked pasta and marinara sauce! Both ingredients are around a dollar and if you want you can add baked tofu or textured soy protein to the mix! Both should be on the cheap side since soybeans are such a widely grown ingredient.

More cheap foods:

– Corn

– Squash

– Other canned vegetables

– Frozen vegetables

– Potatoes (like $2 for 30 potatoes!)

– Fruit (I’ll go more into this)

– Cereals (try original cheereos, bran flakes and add your own raisins, nut milk is usually the same price as dairy milk!)

– Oatmeal

Soups are also a very good and lasting meal for low income families to make! Make a good vegetable soup with vegetables broth, corn, squash, zucchini potatoes, frozen veggies, beans, tomatoes, onions, and make it to last days! Serve it with rice or alongside pasta (or better yet add the pasta inside!) to have a good, hearty, and long lasting meal that will yield leftovers.

Back to fruit. There are fruits that are pretty much cheap year round- oranges, apples, bananas. And then you’ve got your fruit that’s least expensive by season.

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January

Grapefruits, lemons, oranges, tangelos

March –  April

Pineapples

May

Apricots, cherries, mangoes, pineapples,  strawberries

June

Apricots, blueberries, cantaloupe, kiwi, mangoes, plums, raspberries, strawberries, watermelon

July

Apricots, blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, kiwis, mangoes, peaches, plums, raspberries, strawberries, watermelon

August

Apples, apricots, blueberries, cantaloupe, kiwi, mangoes, peaches, raspberries, strawberries, watermelon

September

Apples, cantaloupe, grapes, mangoes, persimmons, pomegranates

October

Apples, cranberries, grapes, persimmons

November

Cranberries, oranges, pears, persimmons, pomegranates, tangerines

December

Grapefruits, oranges, papayas, pears, pomegranates, tangelos, tangerines

And I’m not saying these fruits are cheap in these months! I’m saying they’re cheaper than usual, if you’re on a tight budget you definitely probably want to stick to apples, bananas and oranges as your base fruits!

Melons especially are cheap around these times mainly cantaloupes and cantaloupe / banana smoothies are delicious!

Also- check if your store has a damadged produce section! You can get damadged or otherwise ‘defective’ fruits and vegetables for almost free! The fruits especially I use for smoothies and the vegetables sautee or soups!

Snacks:

For those of us who have more than one job or don’t have a lot of time, on the go snacks are important too!

Most of the snacks I suggest include peanut butter! It’s cheap and full of protein, (if you have a peanut allergy try another nut butter, if all nuts, don’t worry there are some more quick and cheap nut free snacks)

– Peanut butter and jelly sandwich

– Ants on a log

– Pretzels and hummus

– Peanut butter and banana sandwich

– Dried fruit and nuts (mainly cheap dried fruit like raisins and nuts like peanuts)

– Dried cereal (rice crispies, cheerios, ect.)

– A tin of smoothie

So based on that, your low income grocery list will probably look something like this:

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– Beans (pinto, chickpea, lentil, kidney, black, ect.)

– Pasta

– Potatoes

– Oatmeal

– Cereal

– Peanut butter

– Wheat bread

– Onions, Tomatoes

– Potatoes

– Apples

– Bananas

– Oranges

– Corn

– Frozen veggies

– Rice

– Squash / Zucchini

If I forgot something, let me know! Of course you can add and subtract to fit your budget and taste, but I just wanted to supply a general guideline for affordable plant based food! You can let me know what I can improve in the comments ~

Edit: Some people have told me that they live in an urban food desert and can only or mostly afford fast food. If that is the case for you, don’t worry! There are a lot of vegan fast food options.

“The Dreaded Comparison”

Content warning: This article contains my personal take on topics like Slavery, Genocide, the Holocaust and brief mentions of sexual assault.

Yes, I mean this.

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It’s not a rare analogy, and it’s not new. It goes back to even 1988.

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I have to say; as a person of color, this used to make me extremely uncomfortable. Not just because the topic was being brought up (which alone would be enough for any person of any color to become a little upset)- but because I felt like not only was my ancestors suffering being derailed, it was being compared to that of animals. I mean, humans are above animals. Right?

As a vegan of colour, I would have to strongly disagree. I won’t get into why I think human suffering and non human suffering is the same. That isn’t really the point. Honestly, I dont think they need to be or that the animal rights movement even benefits from them being compared, but they are. Lots of comparisons are made besides black slavery. I’ve seen parallels between the Holocaust, and the Trail of Tears being made. Farm Animal Rights Movement founder Alex Hershaft was a Holocaust survivor who saw the parallels between Auschwitz and the slaughterhouse.

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PETA’s “Holocaust on your Plate” exhibition consisted of eight 60-square-foot (5.6 m2) panels, each juxtaposing images of the Holocaust with images of factory-farmed animals. Photographs of concentration camp inmates were displayed next to photographs of battery chickens, and piled bodies of Holocaust victims next to a pile of pig carcasses. Captions alleged that “like the Jews murdered in concentration camps, animals are terrorized when they are housed in huge filthy warehouses and rounded up for shipment to slaughter. The leather sofa and handbag are the moral equivalent of the lampshades made from the skins of people killed in the death camps.”

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The exhibition was funded by an anonymous Jewish philanthropist, and created by Matt Prescott, who lost several relatives in the Holocaust. Prescott said: “The very same mindset that made the Holocaust possible – that we can do anything we want to those we decide are ‘different or inferior’ – is what allows us to commit atrocities against animals every single day. … The fact is, all animals feel pain, fear and loneliness. We’re asking people to recognize that what Jews and others went through in the Holocaust is what animals go through every day in factory farms.”

Animal Rights and the Holocaust, Wiki

A lot of black activists have also made some comparison between the suffering of their ancestors and that of animals. Sistah Vegan added the following to PETAs campaign:

Because of my background in having read literature about the connections human rights has to non-human animal right (Dreaded Comparison by Marjorie Spiegel, Eternal Treblinka, by Charles Patterson), I understood that PETA’s intention was not to equate black slavery to non-human animals in a derogatory manner. Within the context of Spiegel and Patterson‚s work, I analyzed PETA as implying that the exploitation and torture of non-human animals comes from the same master/oppressor ideology that has created atrocities like African Slavery, Native American genocide and the Jewish Holocaust. Marjorie Spiegel, author of The Dreaded Comparison: Human and Animal Slavery, notes:

“Comparing the suffering of animals to that of blacks (or any other oppressed group) is offensive only to the speciesist: one who has embraced the false notions of what animals are like. Those who are offended by comparison to a fellow sufferer have unquestioningly accepted the biased worldview presented by the masters. To deny our similarities to animals is to deny and undermine out own power. It is to continue actively struggling to prove to our masters, past or present, that we are similar to those who have abused us, rather than to our fellow victims, those whom our masters have also victimized.

This is not intended to oversimplify matters and to imply that the oppressions experienced by blacks and animals have taken identical forms- but, as divergent as the cruelties and the supporting systems of oppression may be, there are commonalities between them. They share the same basic relationship- that between oppressor and oppressed.”

Even Russel Simmons has been known to make such a comparison, notably when he this time likens carriage drawn horses to Slavery and the Holocaust:

“There were people for slavery, remember? Slavery was fine. There were people who put people in ovens. There are all kinds of ethnic cleansing, people for it. The horses matter, the promises you made matter. [Referring to Mayor De Blasio] You got in office because we put you there. We put you in and we can take you out.”

Again, I am not white. My family is Black, Native, and Chinese. So I can understand why people get upset- I just personally don’t find it offensive anymore.

Why?

First- because I don’t see anything wrong with being compared to animals. In order for me to take offense in having my suffering compared to an animals, I would first have to think I’m above them. This is not the case. I know every soul on planet earth is just as beautiful and meaningful as well as important as any other. So when someone says “Animal agriculture is the slavery of the 21st century” that doesn’t bother me. Do others have the right to be offended by such comparisons? Absolutely! But the two situations are mutually horrific, and I can’t pretend that one tragedy isn’t a bad as the other because one of the victims can’t express themselves the same as the other. Forceful artificial insemination isnt rape, because they’re cows. Factory farming isnt slavery, because they’re animals. You can take any tragedy happening to humans today, and if you replace the human victim with that of an animal- the situation becomes normal and okay.

Second- because I also believe (bear with me) that slavery and animal agriculture aren’t the same, but that the same ideology that fueled racism fuel’s specieism.

Here in the United States, the NAACP and others are now painting animal rights activists as white racists in order to marginalize and dismiss us. I can’t help but think that this sort of “analysis” that persists in painting our movement with a broad brush is the same disparagement that people engage in when the truth makes them uncomfortable. Racists dismissed Martin Luther King as a womanizer. Colonists dismissed Gandhi as a short brown man in a loincloth. Sexists dismiss feminists as ugly, angry women.

Yet many people of color work every day to change attitudes toward animals. My own beliefs, and those of many of my colleagues, sprang from an understanding of right versus wrong. It is not racism that inspires us, but justice. I ask other people of color who have had eggs thrown at their windows or experienced other forms of racism to stop condemning for a moment and to consider that what they are now saying about animals- that animals are lesser beings whose suffering can be dismissed- was once said about them and was used as an excuse to keep them in bondage

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– Alka Chandna, PETA. (A vegan of colour)

But that’s not really the point either. In the end, all of this is for animals. Veganism is a selfless movement. Everything we fight for is for animals and the planet. Don’t get me wrong, humans will benefit from worldwide veganism. But we would do it even if it didn’t! Again, don’t get me wrong, it’s extremely important to consider other social justice movements when promoting veganism or even just as we live our day to day lives. Not just because we don’t want to hurt the image of the movement- but because it’s the right thing to do. But since we are talking about the image of the vegan movement, this begs the question; does this comparison help animal rights?

The answer is probably no.

When people make these comparisons, they’re looking to open peoples eyes. Make other people see what they see in hopes that they’ll realize that their lifestyle is harmful. What they actually get, though, is this:

image

Is this a rightful response? I don’t think so, because the animals didn’t do anything. They didn’t make the comparison they don’t know why they’re being abused and they are the only beings in the animal rights movement anyone should be focusing on. Not the vegans who somehow make you want to abuse them.