Self-Portrait of a Vegan*

March 6th, 2009 7:25 pm by Kelly Garbato

2009-03-06 - South Park Kelly 04

Oh, yays! I received a copy of Joan Dunayer’s Animal Equality: Language and Liberation – along with a grande Kong for lil’ Rennie, and a few boxes of vegan cranberry pills for my silly, womanly urinary tract (tmi?) – in the mail today. That’s me – or rather, my South Park doppelganger – holding a copy of the book and frowning (about to scold someone, somewhere, no doubt) – up above. South Park Kelly circa 2006 sported a kissy face, but no more. (Who’s got time to make love when there’s a war raging out there!?)

Focusing on language and animal liberation, as the subtitle suggests, the book

shows that deceptive, biased words sustain injustice toward nonhuman animals. Speciesism, the failure to accord other animals equal consideration and respect, survives through misunderstanding and ignorance.

Contrasting evolutionary reality with popular notions of human uniqueness and superiority, Animal Equality discredits the term “lower animals.” Compelling evidence of nonhuman thought and emotion debunks language that characterizes other animals as unreasoning or insensitive.

Vivid exposés of hunting, sport-fishing, zoos, aquariums, vivisection, and “animal agriculture” reveal the cruelty that misleading words legitimize and conceal. Animal Equality leaves no doubt: speciesist abuse relies on euphemism, doublespeak, and other linguistic ploys.

Dunayer even offers a super-handy glossary at the back of the book, complete with problematic words and possible alternatives! (Instead of “spare ribs,” say “pig ribs” – and so on.)

What this means for you, dear readers, is that you can expect an increasingly insufferable vegan language monitor in the coming days.

(OK, well, maybe not ’till next month. I’ve got to set up the garden and lay down the mulch before the weeds run amok. Priorities!)

* I call this one The Veg*n Language Police, naturally.



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2 Responses to “Self-Portrait of a Vegan*”

  1. River (Wing-it Vegan) Says:

    Oh I hope your womanly urinary tract feels better soon! That sucks! Cranberry does help, so hopefully you will feel better in no time!

    You’re almost 29 and eight quarters! Granny!! :)

    Enjoy your book and good luck with the garden!

  2. » Blog Archive » “Pet,” “companion animal,” or… “nonhuman companion”? Says:

    […] As I mentioned previously, the book concludes with suggestions for improvement, including a list of problematic terms and possible alternatives, the use of which can help combat the speciesism embedded deep within our language. No doubt, readers will be familiar with many of the speciesist terms identified by Dunayer: “euthanize” vs. “murder” or “kill,” “bacon” vs. “pig flesh,” “animal research” vs. “vivisection,” “it” vs. “he” or “she,” etc. The list of problem words also includes a number of terms which initially surprised me: “brutal,” “bestiality,” “humane,” “neutered,” “spayed” – the list is long. While flipping through the thesaurus, it became clear to me that I’ve quite a bit to learn. […]

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