Read VAI’s Dr. Linda Alvarez latest article on mental health, racism and the animal rights/vegan movement, in T.O.F.U. Magazine’s latest issue #12.
Title: Ups and Downs – Facing Racism in the Animal Rights/Vegan Community, by Linda Alvarez, PhD.
Excerpt: “People are often shocked when I tell them that the animal rights (AR)/vegan movement is one of the most racist spaces I’ve ever been in. They wonder how and why racism is even an issue in a space where animals are supposed to be the focus. It seems counter intuitive because of the perceived altruism of people invested in protecting and advocating for non-human animals.
The assumption being that such altruism logically extends to other species, namely humans. However, altruism toward a particular species does not equal altruism toward all. In fact, the animal rights movement is rife with contradiction. For example, there are individuals who have dedicated their lives to dog rescue, yet see no problem with hunting or factory farming. Others adamantly support wildlife conservation efforts, but do not think twice about animal testing. Some believe that no animal should have a human “owner,” i.e., all animals should be free agents in the world, while others believe that human guardianship (confinement) is the only way to protect certain animals.
A growing group in this movement focuses on plant-based eating and social media posts of vegan food as their way of supporting animal rights, while others view veganism as a diet with no real connection to the issue of the rights of other sentient beings. Thus, there is no consistent ideology guiding the movement aside from doing no harm to animals, where “animals” are relevant and determined by individual perceptions of what animals deserve protection and what an individual may or may not classify as “harm”.
The lack of a cohesive or guiding ideology means that many issues are subject to interpretation; boundaries are blurred in terms of what exactly the animal rights and vegan movements intend to accomplish. This is one of the reasons why I believe racism continues to be a pervasive element in the AR/vegan community. In this movement, racism has…” Click HERE to download the entire article. Or HERE on FB.