Lisa Kemmerer in London 06.09. 7PM

lisa banner

We are happy to announce that Dr. Lisa Kemmerer will spend an evening with us in London, speaking on ‘Ecofeminism: Bitches and Bollox’.

Dr. Kemmerer, professor of philosophy and religions at Montana State University Billings, is the author/editor of nine books and a hands-on activist for the animals, the environment and social justice.

Dr. Kemmerer will address ‘Ecofeminist theory [that] connects animal advocacy with other social justice movements, highlighting the importance of a more expansive vision of liberation. In this view, anymal activism requires solidarity with other social justice causes such as [those against] racism, sexism, ableism, ageism, heterosexism, and classism’

We are inviting people of all genders to join us for this very special evening at the London Action Resource Centre (LARC).

Free Entry!

The pre-party will begin at 6PM where our allies from the LARC will kindly provide vegan snacks (Thank You!) and you will have the opportunity to meet and chat with our organisers. Books, zines and art work will also be for sale.

Dr. Kemmerer’s talk will begin at 7pm. The audience will have the opportunity to ask questions afterwards.

Please share this event widely!

Here are the details:

 

Address: 62 Fuelgate St., London, E1 1ES

Free Entry + All welcome

Doors open: 6pm

Talk begins: 7pm

Accessibility: The room is wheelchair accessible and there are also gender neutral toilets.

This event will operate under out Safer Space Agreement but please be aware that it is open to the general public. If there is anything specific we can do to ensure your safety beforehand, please let us know!

4 Reasons the ‘No More Chick Shredding’ Rhetoric is Problematic

written by: aga | she/her

CW: discussion of violence towards animals; (cis)sexism

The problematic message shown on this meme of 4 fluffy chicks has been making the rounds on social networking sites amongst animal advocates for the past year or so. It reads: ‘World First! Germany to end the mass slaughter of male chicks in the egg industry!’ (see picture below. Not sure who to credit for it but I think I saw it on Animals Australia first a long time ago).

Screen shot 2015-04-01 at 21.28.57

Picture of 4 chicks on light blue background. Top left corner in the colours of the German flag. Text: World First! Germany to end the mass slaughter of male chicks in the egg industry.

Chick Shredding is a thing?

Not only the meat, dairy and egg industries but any for-profit institution that depends on animals will always rely on the exploitability of those assigned female, so as to be able to reproduce the ‘goods’ they provide endlessly, be it flesh, eggs or milk. If you would like to learn more about how exploitative the egg industry is check out animal aid and viva! (the viva link will take you to a video still of a very ill factory farmed chicken) .

Whereas female assigned animals are exploited until they are killed when their reproductive organs give up, male assigned chicks, just as calves, are not profitable, and thus disposed of. Chicks conventionally go through a process called ‘sexing’, where humans decide which animal is male and which female. The male ones are picked out, thrown onto  a conveyor belt that transports them to their brutal death, being shredded or ground up, whilst conscious.

Another option, often used by smaller farms is to either gas the animals, suffocate them by means of a deadly foam, or simply to throw them into rubbish containers.

Political Background

In Germany the Green Party has been heavily involved in making chick shredding a political topic however their successes don’t have much impact upon individual animals nor onto chicks as a whole. Regulations such as forbidding 1-day old chicks to be killed in one part of Germany (North-Rhine Westphalia) have no impact whatsoever, and if anything just prolong the suffering these animals have to endure, keeping them alive in horrendous conditions for longer.

Now the German government is aiming to implement a technology that allows for the sex­determination of an embryonic chicken. The, amongst the scientific and animal activist community, highly celebrated technology is aimed at reducing the numbers of killed male chickens, by terminating their development during their embryonic stage (Leipzig University 2015). The idea is being developed by Leipzig University veterinarian scientist Prof. Dr. Maria ­Elisabeth Regina Krautwald­ Junghanns.

Let just quickly point out the betrayal by this woman who is, as I will show now, not only advancing capitalism but also misogyny. The whole sexing procedure has not only got misogynist effects but also major cissexist implications. What I find the most perverse about Krautwald Junghanns leading this development however, is that she is a veterinarian, a professional who is trained in the medical care for birds.

Why We Should Not Celebrate The End of Chick Shredding in Germany

1 Animal welfare perpetuates exploitation

The ‘No more chick shredding’ campaign is an attempt to improve the lives of chicks, whilst minimally compromising human gain. That is exactly what animal welfare is about. Welfare legislation changes are often just bureaucratic and the real life impact is so minimal because they are only put into place to keep consumers willing and interested in continuing their relationship with animal products. So animal welfare legislation actually benefits the industry in the long run.

Animal welfare improvements make it very easy for us to forget that it is indeed not normal, natural and necessary (Melanie Joy) to ingest animals. Supporting animal welfare decisions without interrogating their purpose, just as the meme above asks us to do, merely perpetuates speciesism and justifies our participation in animal exploitation.

2 Nationalism and heroism are part of the narrative

The colours of the German flag in the top left corner of the meme are not merely informative, telling us what country passed the law against chick shredding. It also creates so called ‘soft power’ (Joseph Nye) for Germany as a state. The ‘No More Chick Shredding’ campaign by the German government and the international narrative of celebration and victory for the animals surrounding it, positions Germany as a pioneer in science and animal welfare. This invites additional positive international attention and so gives soft power (as opposed to hard economic or military power) to Germany. The meme portrays the country as a hero for the animals: You look at the cute fluffy chicks, see the German flag, read the words ‘Germany to end mass slaughter’ and make a mental note of how good Germans must be if they care about these cuties. This might not be the biggest reason why this meme is problematic, but I feel that even the smallest instances of nationalism are worth to be rejected.

3 Bad for animals good for capitalism

As mentioned above, this campaign is not so much a win for the animals as it is for capitalism and the poultry industry specifically. It actually allows for more efficient mass slaughter, without all the extra costs the useless (that is inedible and thus unprofitable) male assigned chicks bring to the equation with the space and labour demand they create only to be killed. This also means it will be financially viable to increase the exploitation of female assigned chicks.

Veganism is a booming market and animal industries are aware of that. Companies profiting off animals need to keep themselves viable and so invest more into deceptive advertising and lobbying that allows them to spin their products as animal friendly. This ‘end of chick shredding’ campaign is one such example. It is nothing more than a response to increased consumer awareness and a growing dissatisfaction with animal exploitation.

4 A super sexist Idea

As mentioned above, the idea of embryonic sex determination is harmful and has far reaching consequences for our understanding of gender also amongst humans. I feel that this decision is also partly informed by the mainstream understanding of sex and gender and reproductive organs.

So by ‘sexing’ the chicken eggs we determine which egg is worthy of life (the female assigned one) and which one isn’t (the male assigned one). The worth of the egg then is equal to the exploitation potential the individual that the egg might turn into bears. If that individual turns out to have the right reproductive organs it is deemed valuable and will thus be subjected to a life of torture.

You know how doctors tell pregnant people whether their foetus will be a boy or a girl based on the genitals they can see? The parallel here is that, just like female assigned chickens are exploited for their reproductive organs, people who are commonly assigned female are also reduced to their reproductive organs and whether or not they are existent, functioning and available for men to use. This obviously also perpetuates the cissexist myth that your genitals determine your gender and that there are only two genders. So the sex determination process in animals is not isolated from the myths we learn about assigning genders to humans and vice versa. They both inform and justify each other. This is part of what Carol Adams calls the ‘Sexual Politics of Meat’.

References:

Melanie Joy – Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows

Joseph Nye – Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics

Carol Adams – ‘The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory

Poison – Zine Contribution by Casey

This poem was published in the second issue of our zine. Thank you Casey ❤

poison

Lauren now goes by the name Casey.

This is the transcript of poem:

Poison

What is it that poisons you?

is it the words you were told when you were growing up, trying to put you in a

corrupt confined catergory

a tick box, decisions had to be made on the spot

you were 13 you didn’t know the meaning of the word sexuality

you didn’t know, when you grow up you’ll be sexualized objectified and

oppressed. You didn’t know you’d be told that the beauty that nature holds

doesn’t hold itself upon you until the hairs are no more. You didn’t know that one

night you’d try with all your might yet the word no still didn’t stop it occurring.

Re-occuring the nightmares and dark visions you have, your outfit of more

importance than the crime you never asked for.

They want you to hide your nature to hide your body to hide the things that

distracts men most.

Well my body is mine, you have to deal with that. Deal with your mind don’t

become a corrupted twat

What is it that poisons you?

You being the oppresser

You were told that eating meat, spreading violence and dominanting was what

defined your gender. You’re lied to, we all are. This corrupt system trying to

cover up the scars, the dead bodies in the ground that this economy is built on. It

disgusts me that people still think we are equal. How dare you? I got asked one

day. They looked me up and down and here I’m thinking I want to shrink into the

ground

Shrink no more I will do. Shout out loud more for you, for the younger

generations this worlds going down and don’t let it take you too.

Human Milk for Human Babies – Zine Contribution by Kaya

This is a copy of Kaya’s written contribution to our zine on Human Impacts (transcript below). Thank you Kaya ❤

human milk for human babies 1human milk for human babies 2

Transcript:
Trigger Warning: Discussion of discrimination against breastfeeders and descriptions of violence towards animals.

Having been vegan and an animal rights activist for 3 years there was never any doubt in my mind that if I were to have a child, they would be brought up vegan and animal conscious also. When I became pregnant at the end of last year I went through a transformative process so unexpected and beautiful; I was suddenly rooted to the ground in a way I hadn’t imagined. This little life inside me was to inherit so much; so much opportunity to make a difference and so much magic the universe has to offer. But also she was to inherit all of the terrible impacts we humans have on our surroundings and the beings we share them with. I promised her I’d do my best to show her the truth of the food, clothing, research and sporting industries and teach her to look through the barrage of lies and propaganda spilling out of a capitalist world that thinks nothing of abusing and destroying for a profit and thinks everything of promoting a brainwashed population that doesn’t realise the monumental violence and suffering in almost every aspect of their consumption.

One of the best gifts I could give this child would be the gift of veganism. To not have been hoodwinked and tricked by society into eating and wearing animals as a child is something that I expect every vegan wishes had been their story. The ‘choice’ that non-vegan parents claim to be promoting is nothing of the sort. By feeding unknowing children and babies animal products we are actually removing all ‘choice’ from the matter. If I had been fully aware and informed as a youngster, I would never have chosen to hurt animals through my diet or fashion or entertainment. But I did, and I regret every mouthful, every leather shoe, every sip of cows’ milk, every ride on a horse’s back. So I promised my unborn child that I would never put her in that position. I would feed her healthy, kind food that had not come from violence. Food that would nourish her body as well as her soul. And that all starts with milk from me, her mum.

When Ivy came into this world, a screaming, magical, hungry friend was delivered to me. We were instantly inseparable and my devotion to her is on a whole new level of carnal depth. The moment she first fed from my breast was unforgettable. It felt so simple and right. My body was producing just what she needed and the joy and love involved in that symbiotic act of feeding kept me on cloud 9. But as instantly as I felt joy I felt an intense sense of pain, fear and guilt. The dairy cows. Women of another species who are forcibly impregnated and their babies taken away from them soon after birth or at most just weeks after their little lives have begun. If male, the babies are either brutally killed or kept chained to a pen and artificially fed to make ‘veal’ (body parts from baby cattle). If female they are subjected to the same sad fate as their mothers – enslaved in the dairy industry. As I looked at little Ivy and felt the intense emotion that connects a parent and their child in an indescribable way, I thought how it would feel to have her forcibly taken away from me. How I would scream and fight and cry, broken at losing the most precious and vulnerable part of me. If anybody has heard the howling bellows of a screaming mother cow who’s just had her baby taken away they will not be in any doubt at the level of terrible despair of these women. Footage of cows trying desperately to reach their missing babies and lunging desperately at enclosure gates is commonplace. That most farmers are men makes it even more chilling. Sexism and patriarchy transcends species.

Ivy and I have had a few bumps in the road when it comes to breastfeeding. She was born with a tongue tie that wasn’t diagnosed until she was a month old, by which time my milk supply had almost disappeared due to her not being able to take enough milk and my body not producing enough in response. I had no idea about any of this and had thought that 6 hour long feeding stretches and constant screaming was normal for a newborn. Eventually she was admitted to hospital and the paediatric team there said she was putting on weight ‘dangerously slowly’ and she needed supplementing with formula milk. I explained that we were vegan and I didn’t want her to have cow’s milk, but they insisted there was no other option as soy was ‘not safe’ for young babies and human milk was not available unless she was in intensive care. I burst into tears. Delirious with exhaustion and with a team of Doctors standing over me telling me how important this was, I agreed. The feeling of hopelessness and disgust at watching the nurse bottle feeding my baby with cows milk formula was almost unbearable. When it came to my being shown how to hold the bottle I couldn’t connect to what my own hands were doing. This beautiful innocent young baby sucked trusting and contentedly at the teat, her big blue eyes looking up into mine, and all I could think was how much I had betrayed her and the mother cows this milk was stolen from. And their killed babies it was intended for. I cried so much that night on the ward, feeling like a failure and apologising in my heart to Ivy and to the cows who suffer unheard. I’m sure to a non-vegan this sounds ridiculous, hilarious even. But that’s just because they are so disconnected and have no grasp on the reality of dairy products. It’s simply breast milk stolen from a grieving mother, who will year after year suffer the unimaginable heartbreak of forcible impregnation, having her baby taken away and having her breast milk sucked out of her body by machines for human consumption.

Ivy did not react well to the formula. While on it, she projectile vomited, was constipated and was in a lot of gas pain, writhing and crying through the night. Amazingly this is not the case now. I found there is a fantastic network of people who share their milk to guardians unable to breastfeed. As soon as we were discharged I started looking for another way, and I managed to connect with a local donor who gives bags of their frozen breast milk so I could supplement Ivy in a natural and nourishing way. Her tongue tie has been sorted and I’ve been working hard to build up my own supply so thankfully we are a good breastfeeding team now and she’s getting about half of her nourishment from my body, with the donated breast milk making up the other half.

I am so disappointed that the medical team are working within such an oppressive framework where guardians are being pushed into making choices so damaging to them and to the cows and their babies.

The negative health impact of dairy consumption is only just being seriously recognised by the science community leading to a British Medical Journal labelling human consumption of cows milk a ‘myth’. We know that incidences of hip fractures, a key indicator of osteoporosis or ‘brittle bones’ in humans, is highest in demographics that consume the most dairy, and lowest in areas which consume no dairy. We know that dairy and other animal derived products actually sap the calcium and phosphate from our bones due to them putting our bodies into a state of acidosis. We know that dairy cows are one of the most abused and tortured group of beings on the planet – and the very nature of forced pregnancy, baby snatching and leeching breast milk from grieving mothers sits very uncomfortably to those who dwell on the reality of it. We know humans only need breast milk for the very beginnings of life, and that human breast milk is the only acceptable source. The dairy industry has long enjoyed dominance, quietly and secretly enslaving cattle to be used as milk machines and disposing of their babies, mere ‘spare parts’. Commercial formula milk companies have been pushing bottle feeding onto women for decades, and the result is a brainwashed flow of guardians who don’t question why.

I believe it’s time for that to stop. Time for guardians to help each other if breast milk is needed but not immediately available instead of perpetuating an already critical level of abuse and oppression of cows by reaching for the formula bottle. We have the power to change this!

Photography: Almeria, Spain – by Esther

This is a copy of Esther’s contribution to our zine’s second issue on human impacts (Below the original images and the text transcript). Thank you Esther ❤

almeria, spain

The text reads:

26.000 hectares of greenhouses. Most of them are poorly constructed with toxic plastic tarp. The area reeks of toxic pesticides. Those who harvest the fruit and vegetables are not provided with protective masks and they are so severely poor that they live in shelter made from trash. The ocean and its inhabitants are also being poisoned.

 

Image Descriptions:

Top Left: View onto the valley of greenhouses next to the ocean. This is where more than half of Europe’s supply of tomatoes, courgettes, cucumbers and peppers comes from.

Top Right: Billboards advertising the produce in the region.

Bottom Left: One of the many huts constructed out of trash, tucked between rows of greenhouses. A hut like this often houses families with children.

Here are the original images:

almeria1almeria 3almeria 2

 

 

Thoughts on Human Impacts – Zine Contribution by Caitlin

This is a copy of a written piece that was contributed by Caitlin to the second issue of our zine (transcript below). Thank you ❤

 

CW: Mention of sexual violence; author’s edit:  The word ‘rape’ from the original essay is replaced by ‘exploit’.

thoughts on human impacts zine contribution caitlin

 

Human impacts

We live in a world of excess. We look up to those who have it all, big cars, posh houses, fancy food and lavish parties. We have all been brainwashed into the idea that to be happy we must be rich, successful and beautiful. Essentially we have all become victims of our own aspiration, slaving away at our desks day and night to pay for the next great expenditure, a new car to match our neighbours new BMW and other status symbols so we can appear like we have it all. These are perfect symptoms of a society which is lost and doesn’t know where it is headed. We have lost touch: with nature, as we spend our time inside, our friends as we never leave our desks to pay for the next TV and even ourselves, as we try and portray to our neighbours that we are successful and our ‘friends’ that we are perfect on social media.

This is the aim of the rich and powerful the top as this keeps them in pocket and keeping us forever miserable and wanting more. What is being conveniently hidden from us is the impact this is having on the planet, other people and the animals. As we get richer we consume more, we get even greedier and our taste gets crueller. We demand cheap clothing which is the result of child labour in poor countries, we demand more materials as we buy more and we exploit the oceans, land and animals to satisfy our taste buds. We have all fallen victim to the idea that we need this amazing thing, whatever it may be and when we have it all, all of our problems will; be solved, we will finally be happy. But we won’t, we never will. For as long as we base our self-worth on material objects and shallow appearances, we will never be truly happy. We will carry on raping mother earth and all of her beauty for the sake of selfishness and greed.

However as vegans, environmentalists, feminists, anti-speciesists or however you chose to identify, we have the power to change this. We have the power to end this pointless greed. This chaos that has ensued, we can take power away from the major cooperation’s and take back who we truly are. We can take back mother earth and work with her to bring back our rainforests and finally find peace; we can stop pointless discrimination against each other and live a peaceful existence with the animals we can liberate. We can take our world back and our lives and then, and only then will we be truly happy.

Film: Human Impacts

Noreen shared this beautiful piece with us, dealing with identity, speciesism, cruelty and love. You can also find Noreen’s poem, published in the second issue of our zine here.

The film is in German, but still worth watching for those who don’t understand the language.

Content warning: images of circus horses, a chicken farm and a meat aisle in the supermarket (not graphic/gory).

 

 

 

Liberate Your Language – Zine Contribution by Elecia

Here is Elecia’s contribution to the second issue of our zine (transcript below). Thank you Elecia ❤

Liberate Your Language

 

Content warning: discussion of disordered eating and homophobia.

Have you ever been in a social situation where something someone else has said has made you feel uncomfortable? Suddenly your heart starts beating faster. Your hands might shake a little (or a lot). You find it difficult to think of how to respond. Whether you should even bother to respond at all. Time slows down, and you want to escape the conversation on as quickly as possible.

This happens to me a lot. At first, I wondered if I was just an awkward person (this is probably somewhat true) or maybe incredibly sensitive. The first time I noticed was during a period of intense emotional difficulty and disordered eating – any mention of how my body looked had me wishing for the ground to open beneath my feet. After this, I struggled admitting my sexuality was definitely not heterosexual to people I didn’t know in case they were purposely (or even accidentally) homophobic. Now, as soon as anyone mentions any kind of animal exploitation, I look for the easiest exit.

I’m telling you this because people do not always consider the feelings or responses of those around them. We all have different experiences. I’m telling you this because it is so important to think about what you say before you say it. This is not about policing freedom of speech. It’s about not oppressing minorities.

Let me explain – comments about how my body looked were directly related to my gender identity and I felt under pressure to conform to societal standards. Placing value on women’s bodies is sexist objectification. It is so normalized that many people do this without even realizing.

Let’s move on. I experienced homophobia in different ways growing up –from people ‘innocently’ using the term ‘gay’ as an adjective to describe anything that bothers them, hearing others spread jokes about lgbtqia+ individuals and having slurs thrown my way. It’s no surprise that people find coming out difficult.

What I have been struggling with recently is correcting people that assume that I must be heterosexual. Will I get looks of reproach? What if they make my work place uncomfortable? Will I be unsafe? Why the fuck should I even have to consider these things?

And finally: it is unbelievably hard to listen to people discussing how much they enjoy to consume corpses and drink milk stolen from mothers. Admitting veganism to carnists usually results in either: silence, jokes ridiculing your choices, brushing your comments off, or concerns about your health (don’t fucking talk to me about my ‘diet’ after two years of disordered eating. Seriously). Most of this does not oppress me as a human, but affects all of the animals that are exploited by our species.

Basically, I’m trying to say that people often say things to me that oppress me as a bisexual woman and single out veganism as a negative difference (thereby oppressing animals). Sometimes it’s unintnional. Sometimes it isn’t.

The language we use helps us to create and shape our understanding of the world. Active campaigning and growing awareness means that many terms are now understood as oppressive to marginalized groups. Toxic words are no longer tolerated. It is up to us to ensure that we are not harming people because of the words we are using. Stop throwing around ableist terms like ‘stupid’. Don’t use the word ‘bitch’ to describe people you don’t like (it’s sexist and speciesist!) Don’t assume someone’s gender identity and sexuality. It’s hard to catch yourself at first, and you might feel embarrassed swallowing your pride to apologize, but creating an inclusive and supportive environment is crucial.

We need our language to reflect our politics. We take a stance against violence. Let’s not engage in microaggressions that harm others.

~elecia

Cut The Crap – Zine Contribution by Amy

This is a copy of Amy’s contribution to the second issue of our zine. Thank you, Amy! ❤

(Transcript below)

amy cut the crap zine 2

Transcript:
Ginny Messina, the vegan dietician, made a brilliant point in a recent Facebook post about the World Health Organisation report on the link between red meat and cancer:
“It is very likely that this will increase animal suffering since it will drive people to eat more meat from chickens–animals who suffer more and in far greater numbers.”
Turkeys and fish will also be victimised by red meat’s bad publicity. I saw so many vegans sharing articles about the WHO report, without any mention of the suffering that the animals go through.
As advocates of animal liberation, we need to cut the crap and just communicate the point we’re trying to make. Stop trying to convince people to go vegan for their health. They’ll go back to their carnist ways as soon as they see contradictory evidence, or as soon as their health fails due to their poorly-researched diet. That’s if they even go vegan at all – like Ginny says, they’re more likely to just swap out cows and pigs for chickens and fish instead.
The environmental argument is stronger, but it still misses the point we’re trying to make: animals should have rights. They should not be tortured and killed for our pleasure. I feel that the environmental argument is a last-resort, only to be used for unapologetic speciesists who laugh at the idea of animals having rights.
We need to stop using the health argument. If we’re trying to campaign for a completely vegan diet, then the evidence just isn’t on our side.

Art: Human Impacts – Zine Contribution by Noreen

Noreen made a film about Human Impacts. Here are some stills from the film accompanying a poem written by Noreen with the transcript below. You can find the original German audio-visual work by clicking here.

Content Warning: Speciesism.

Thank you Noreen for your contribution! ❤

noreen film noreen film zine second issue 2

I look into the mirror.

I see a person.

Everybody likes this person.

Everybody except of me.

My mirror image is a stranger.

A girl with black hair.

A girl with rouged eyes.

A girl wit a painful

and longing look.

 

I have to be this person.

Everybody wants me to be this girl.

Everybody except of me.

 

I have the longing to be myself.

Be the person hiding behind the face.

Show everybody who I am

how I feel and what I feel.

 

You don’t understand me.

You can’t understand me.

You don’t even try.

I’m hated for being myself.

I’m not accepted for being different.

 

Where is your tolerance?

Your sympathy?

 

In our society we eat meat.

We eat animals.

Living beings.

 

That’s normal and normal is good.

Abuse them.

Kill them.

Eat them.

 

Humans destroy our environment.

The nature, our earth.

Humans hurt themselves.

They make war.

 

Humans behave intolerant.

Have no understanding for

different sentiments.

 

Why we do that?

Where is our compassion?

 

“I see a world, which is different.

A world giving love and not only take.

Where you can be how you are,

Without the fear to show who you are.

 

Understand – No you don’t have to.

And I don’t have to justify,

explain or defend myself somehow or other.

 

I don’t condemn you for ignorance.

So don’t condemn me, because my heart screams after a free world.”

I want Peace

Love for All.

A FREE WORLD.