Natalie Portman – a newbie vegetarian-to-vegan convert, thanks to Jonathan Safran Foer’s welfarist Eating Animals (zuh?) – recently caused a stir when she compared the consumption of “meat” to the consumption of women, i.e., in the form of rape:
He posits that consideration, as promoted by Michael Pollan in The Omnivore’s Dilemma, which has more to do with being polite to your tablemates than sticking to your own ideals, would be absurd if applied to any other belief (e.g., I don’t believe in rape, but if it’s what it takes to please my dinner hosts, then so be it).
Naturally, Portman’s remark(s) unleashed a torrent of speciesism – to which Carol Adams responds with a vegan-feminist lament.
(This is the point at which I’d normally swoon over Ms. Portman – but I’m still somewhat heartbroken over her Jane Hancock on the “free Polanski” petition.)
In what’s shaping up to be a series (see also: Mark’s conversation with Andrew Zollman of LGBT Compassion), author/activist Mark Hawthorne interviews vegetarian (vegan?) / feminist Carol Adams. The two touch upon sexism within the animal rights movement, masculine vs. feminist models of change, the gendered nature of animal exploitation, and guerrilla activism. Keep it coming, Mark!
Stephanie details an alarming trend: as Spanish animal advocacy groups work to bring an end to bullfighting, promoters of American rodeos are promoting the “sport” as a “humane” alternative. Clearly, the question she poses – Are American Rodeos More Acceptable Than Spanish Bullfighting? – is a rhetorical one, and the answer is a resounding hell no! Here, colonialism meets speciesism, and everyone loses. Save for the colonizers, of course.
In this vintage ad for baby meat – err, canned animal meat for babies – Swifts promotes its “beef, lamb, pork, veal, liver, heart” for the husky baby set. While “husky” seems to have fallen into disuse since I tagged along while my mother took my brother clothes shipping in JC Penney’s “husky” boys’ department, back in the day it was apparently a positive attribute. Or at least it was desirable for male children; girls, probably not so much (and certainly not into toddler- and child-hood). In this context, the promotion of “meat” makes perfect sense; “meat” is a masculine food, just as “husky” is (was) a primarily male body type. File this one under “men eat meat, women
are meat eat lettuce.”
In contrast to the retro ad above, this menu and attendant website for the Brick House Tavern & Tap is circa 2009 – making it that much more exasperating. Women are “good girls” who eat steamed broccoli and baked potatoes; men are “bad boys” who consume chickens, pigs and cows. Food is either “dominant” (read: masculine) or “submissive” (feminine). Men live in caves and pack heat. Ladies exist to be sexualized, objectified and consumed. Yawn. Haven’t we seen this all before?
Katie Drummond and Veganacious give us 13 (more) reasons to dislike PETA.
Oh, and Vegans Against PETA is now on Twitter. Just thought I’d throw that out there.
Via AHA, an animal welfare group, in its Ocober eNewsletter:
When 9-year-old Beth* was sexually abused by her stepfather, she told the prosecuting attorney that someone else knew about it — but that he couldn’t talk. She was referring to her beloved cat, Oreo.
Beth explained that Oreo would bravely lie outside her door at night and hiss whenever her attacker appeared. In trying to protect her, the loyal black and white cat also became another victim of violence; Beth’s stepfather would always brutally kick Oreo away from the door.
Beth’s revelation gave the prosecutor an idea. She decided to have Oreo examined by a veterinarian. The results were chilling. Sure enough, poor Oreo had sustained injuries consistent with being physically abused.
When the prosecutor submitted the veterinarian’s report to the jury as evidence showing a pattern of violence in the home, Beth’s allegations gained credibility. In a way, Oreo was able to testify, convincing the jury that the traumatized little girl had been telling the truth.
Beth’s stepfather was convicted and received a long prison sentence. Meanwhile, Beth and Oreo were finally able to experience what every child and animal deserves: a safe home.
Of course, I’d be happier if AHA were to live by its words (“every child and animal deserves a safe home”); in the meantime, please donate your time, money and energy to organizations with consistent, compassionate principles. Believe it or not, they’re out there!
* Consumed is actually the latest issue of Bitch magazine – Volume 44, to be exact – which, come to think of it, may or may not contain a piece on nonhuman animals and food. Probably not, since I think I’d remember if it did, no?
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