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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Feminism and Veganism

Happy cows at Poplar Spring Farm Sanctuary, living out their lives for themselves.

These are two –isms that I’m not afraid to label myself with.

I was deeply inspired by this blog post by Voracious Vegan writer Tasha on the Choosing Raw website. In fact, at work, before I could stop myself, I began to cry a little when she said, “As a woman and a feminist, I demand the right to protect my body from reproductive exploitation, and I want the same for all the females on earth, no matter what the species.” This really speaks to my heart as a human and as a female.

I remember watching a documentary showing a momma cow being separated from her child. The momma was struggling to escape the grasp of the cow hand in a herculean effort to reach her child. The calf was screaming and trying to reach its mother. Of course, since they were in a factory farm, they ended up being separated in the most rough, cruelly inhumane way possible.

The insanity is that these things happen every day, every minute. The sheer amount of pain and grief that goes into a single glass of milk is so mind-boggling that it defies description. A female cow is forcibly impregnated, then her children are separated from her practically at birth, and, if male, are sent to be raised as veal, or, if female, are raised to endure the same perpetual grief as her mother.

How is it possible that in this day and age people simply accept that things like this happen? So that they can have an endless waterfall of milk? Insanity! Of course, the exploitation of female (and male!) animals does not begin and end at milk production, but for some reason the production of this particular food stuff speaks to me as a woman and I find it a fitting example the correlation between feminism and veganism.

Tasha describes my beliefs much more eloquently than I can. I encourage you to read her post and think about the connections between veganism and feminism. Her words thoroughly describe the powerful correlations between women’s struggle and the struggle that our farm animals face everyday. She talks about it with such passion and clarity that her words will speak to your very soul.

It is things like this that reinforce my choices. I’m grateful for the reminder, even if it brings me to tears at work. However, it also makes me want to run outside and yell the truth out to everyone, grabbing people by the shoulders and yelling at them to see the truth. Yet, at the same time, it also makes me want to give up, curl up in a ball, and cry, cry, cry. If you, like me, can’t bring yourself to the intense, in-your-face-activism of many vegan organizations, but you want to do something for the plight of these animals; please read my post here on being an example of vegan awesomeness. It’s not as action oriented as many approaches, but it is a different take on the usual kinds of activism and I feel like it can be very successful in its own way, especially when it is consciously directed.

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