Vegans [and to a lesser extent, vegetarians] are often portrayed as being manically concerned with animals solely to the detriment of all other interests. Whether true or not, seen as good or bad by each individual, what I want to focus on is how the stereotype is a good warning: while getting animals away from their slavers and our plates is the concrete goal most of us are focused on, it isn’t the only issue. It isn’t only animals affected by factory farming.
Where does the water for crops intended for livestock come from?
Out of whose mouth are the crops taken from in order to supply cheap, hormone-boosted, gristly flesh to the poor, when we could all just as easily be eating the crops meant for livestock (who naturally wouldn’t consume such an amount or even the type of grains they’re being force-fed)?
The answer is exploited countries and nations. Not only have we over-fished our own oceans, depleted our own grain supplies, destroyed the majority of our forests, we have, with a less violent if no more discreet manner, imperialised and dominated other countries with bunk trade agreements; governments have offered up their people for wealth all over the world. But we none of us have anything to trade with, and it is no longer a matter of money: you can pump as much money as you like into a starving community, but if there is no food to buy because it is all going to the rich or to livestock, it is a bogus move. Money only has worth so long as its worth can be expressed in the act of purchase.
Veganism is as much about class warfare and recognition as it is about a higher conscious.
With this knowledge, can we afford to condemn all the workers who are slaves to a system they themselves can’t escape, without at least first offering up a chance to alternatives? The answer is no. But in order for every chance to liberate animals to be taken, we must first ‘steal’ from our own. And we cannot only focus on this, though it must always be primary in our actions. We must move toward a new way of living with focus on the community; which group of people who could sustain their own fruit, vegetables and grain, would allow anyone else to starve or suffer? But in the current climate, where people rely on meat to eat – involving a whole culture of over-breeding, hormone-torture, despair and death to meet targets for whole groups of living beings to die, and as such is always limited by nature and conscience – who can afford to give away anything?
We must become wholly intersectional. Exploited communities – even farmers – suffer because their governments cause them to suffer. Their and our governments, having agreed to such whole-scale slaughter, not to mention cheap or forced labour globally, have given away their ability or power to oppose it, having been the ones who first implemented it for their profit.
We cannot both support a government and fight against it. We are struggling against the very force put in place by our masters (but what else can they be called? We have the freedom to ignore their speeches on TV, but not to turn away from any policy they put in place without risking arrest, fines, further taxations, etc), and so, fighting under such a government, we are doomed to failure; our alternatives are to move away from current governments or else to involve ourselves in the guilt of such monstrosities as poverty and slaughter, no matter our individual actions or intentions. If we stand by the powers that first put in place the actions we now oppose, what would our hypocrisy achieve? You can say to me you are hoping for change, but can you tell me with any certainty it will change? For whom, to what end, and how long are you willing to wait, when you can change the very direction today?
Veganism which accepts the current ways of body-politics, world trade agreements, and has no intention of building a community first with those around them, is utterly worthless. It is an individual act which involves closing the eyes. You become no better than the person who ignores the truth of farms and the grisly end that meets the poor creature no matter what their lives are. It is as good enough for that person to simply make sure meat isn’t on their plate, not to change the fate of the creature where that meat was taken from.
Yes, it is an overarching aim, but we know our concrete ones!
I say again, we cannot stand by a government and stand by those it sends to their deaths.