vegan daemon

Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs, No. 4

LGBT Compassion

One of the newest additions to the “Intersections” category on my blogroll, LGBT Compassion is a

coalition of San Francisco Bay Area gay animal advocates (and some non-gay friends) working to promote awareness of animal welfare, health, environmental, and civil rights issues within our community – along with any other important social issues that we feel strongly about.

We feel that the LGBT community, having experienced discrimination, oppression and suffering ourselves, having special health issues, and often having unique bonds with companion animals, should be open to learning and helping others who may not be able to speak up for themselves – whether human or non-human.

Their motto: Fighting oppression and discrimination for all. Love it.

I first learned of the group through its investigation into San Francisco’s live animal markets, where chickens are kept and displayed for sale in plastic bags (!). If you haven’t yet, definitely go check ’em out.

PETA Asia-Pacific: Urge Egypt’s Prime Minister to Stop Cruel Pig Cull

When I saw that PETA was campaigning against the pig culls in Egypt, I was excited. Last I checked, the WSPA had reached a standstill with the Egyptian government, which was insisting that the culls had ceased, despite evidence to the contrary. Writing about the issue at change.org, I wanted desperately to offers readers an opportunity to take action. But nada – until now.

When I actually read the sample letter provided by PETA, though, my heart sank. Rather than calling for an end to the culls, PETA asks the government to “Please place a moratorium on the pig cull until guidelines can be put in place to ensure that the killing is as humane as possible.” This despite the fact that the culls are wholly unnecessary – an inefficient way to guard against swine flu. And this comes not from animal advocacy groups, but government experts (such as those at the UN) – who, on the whole, aren’t really known for their animal-friendly views.

Add to the mix the possibility that the culls might have as much to do with religious discrimination as swine flu paranoia, and PETA really dropped the ball here. Not only has the group failed to defend the pigs from slaughter – it also failed to take the majority Muslim government to task for oppressing the minority Christian farmers. PETA even reinforces the government’s bigotry by pleading for a “humane” pig cull at a later date!

Oh, with friends like these…

Suicide Food: Wintzell’s Oyster House

Dead Nude Oysters!

See also: Pig Tails Barbeque for Dead Nude Pigs!

Animal Person: On Cat Killers and Mental Competency

In a larger discussion about a serial cat-killer case in Florida, Mary makes the following observation about cat hatred:

I do find it interesting that there is a subculture we’ve all seen via vicious bumperstickers that attest to the existence of people who hate–and I mean hate–cats and want to see them dead or dying. I also find it interesting that I’ve never heard of a woman among their ranks. I don’t trust people who hate cats because there’s something else going on there. Cats represent something: independence. Cats are slaves to no one, at least according to their reputation, which in my experience holds true. And people who want to kill those they cannot control scare me.

Likewise, cats are the stereotypical companions of lonely, childless (as opposed to free), man-hating, hairy-legged, spinster aunt feminists.* Women who have no need for men, so much so that they’ve opted to live out their lives in the company of cats instead. Women who have broken free of male ownership. Women who are every bit as independent as their “pets.” Like “their” cats, such women are the subject of sadistic, violent hatred, usually from men who resent their freedom.

* (And also gay men, i.e., “less than men.” “Real” men prefer dogs to cats, particularly big, vicious dogs, such as pit bulls and rottweilers. No cats or Pomeranians for the Brawny man, nosiree!)

Stephanie @ Animal Rights @ Change .org: Scientists Use Pigs Instead of Embryonic Stem Cells to “Avoid the Controversy”

Faced with opposition from anti-choice groups, researchers at the University of Missouri have decided to forgo (human) embryonic stem cell research in favor of (non-human animal, specifically pig) stem cell research in order to “avoid the controversy altogether.”

In other words, experimenting on cells? Unacceptable! Vivisecting living, breathing, sentient non-human animals? Bring it!

Better than anything else, the “controversy” over embryonic stem cell research illustrates the hypocrisy inherent in the views of so-called “pro-lifers.” Far from being “pro-life,” their concern for cells over the lives of actual living, breathing, post-born, sentient animals – human and non-human alike – reveals their true agenda: sperm worship and the subjugation of women. By lauding mere cells (as well as embryos and fetuses) as important as human lives – indeed, more so – they create a world in which it’s acceptable to hijack the bodies of women in order to gestate and grow these cells. Once the cells develop into post-born babies, “pro-lifers” cease to be concerned with the quality of their lives. (See, for example, right-wing views on welfare reform; SCHIP; and subsidized childhood lunch programs, for starters.)

Additionally, why don’t non-human animals ever qualify as “lives” to those in the “pro-life” movement? Unlike cells, non-human animals are living (i.e., post-born) and sentient: they can think, feel and suffer. Cells cannot; until at least the 25th week of pregnancy, neither can fetuses. While cells, fetuses, non-human animals and humans are all “living” in the general sense of the word, only the latter two are actually living a subjective life – what we usually think of when we say that a being is “living” or has a “life.”

Embryonic stem cells and fetuses, though not sentient, do possess two qualities lacking in non-human animals: human DNA, and the means with which to control women’s bodies. Speciesism and misogyny, like PB&J, I tell ya.

In this case, the fates of women and non-human animals collide: whereas deference to religious conservatives on matters of reproductive rights strips women of their autonomy and bodily integrity, non-human animals become the “uncontroversial” subjects of gruesome – and questionable – scientific experiments.

Amy Stein: Domesticated

From photographer Amy Stein comes Domesticated, a book of photos examining the relationships between human and non-human animals.

Says Lisa at Sociological Images,

Photographer Amy Stein staged the following pictures in an effort to start us thinking about our “paradoxical relationship with the ‘wild’” in terms of development (e.g., housing tracts and roads), animal adaptation to new environments (and foods), ownership of animals (pets), hunting (for food, pleasure, and trophy), and risk (to them and to us).

You can view a gallery of 25 of the images on Stein’s website.

Also of interest: her Women & Guns project.

Sociological Images: Feed Fathers Man Food

In honor of Father’s Day, Lisa shares a grocery store ad for savings on “beef” when the consumer purchases a certain amount of Proctor & Gamble products (how fitting!). It’s billed as a “Father’s Day gift giving guide” because manly masculine men need their protein-packed, violently-produced “meat,” dontchaknow.

And no, this isn’t a retro advertisement, though it could be.

Sociological Images: Africa Is Wild, And You Can Be Too

Lisa looks at a series of ads for Wild Africa Cream, a South African liqueur. In the ads, both men and women – and whites as well as people of color – are depicted as “exotic” “wild” animals, such as cheetahs. An anomaly, to say the least.

Writes Lisa,

We have posted before about the tendency to associate black people, especially black women, with animals (see here, here, here, and here), as well as the historical roots of this discourse. But, in this case, the advertising uses both black and white, male and female models. […]

I think what is interesting here is the association of Africa itself with animalism and primitiveness (an association that no doubt also colors our thinking about black people). (Notice that the first and only Disney film to be set in Africa, The Lion King, included only animals.) Catherine MacKinnon coined the term “anachronistic space” to refer to the idea that different parts of the globe represent different historical periods.

In line with this tendency to think in this way, in this advertising it’s almost as if black Africans are meant to represent white humans’ own more primitive past (ergo the drink “unleashing your wild side,” whoever you are).

While the use of Africa and/or people of color to represent a “primitive” time in human evolutionary history is obviously racist, using non-human animals as signals of primitiveness is similarly speciesist. All animals (or rather, species of), be they tigers, zebras, pigs, cows, or humans, are as evolved as they need to be, given the environment in which they evolved. (Well, save for those genetically engineered by humans, for purposes of exploitation.)

“Primitive” is a subjective and relative term, one which functions as a stand-in for “less than”; perhaps orangutans consider humans “primitive,” given our inadequacies in regards to arboreal locomotion.

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