And which cultural diversity are you talking about?

goethe_c800_farangis_yegane

“Law and rights are inherited, like a perpetual illness. They are dragged from generation to generation and shift lightly from location to location. Reason becomes nonsensical, advantage turns plague, woe you who are a grandchild. The question of the right which is born with us, is rarely being raised.” – from Faust 1. part, J.W. Goethe

cultural_diversity_anthropocene_speciesism

When it comes to violence to any bodies,
what point will I make with showing culturally diverse forms of joy from causing death, destruction, torture, pain.

When it comes to learning about and connecting
with the fragility of sensitive gentleness of life’s individuations,

for my own inner and outer moral progress and that of my social ties with coinhabitants, fellows,
here is where I have to learn from cultural diversity and that entails
also the nonhuman cultural diversities.

(palangLY; which of the layers of cultural diversity are they referring to, aiming at what?)

Being radical antispe …

animal_sociology_gruppe_messel_2csmall

A very rough expression of a feeling in regards to radical antispeciesism facing a conflict of being stuck in the middle of biologistic ‘animal lovers’ and nonhumanity-oblivious social justice clusters … :

If social justice work categorically excludes animal bodies, it’s questionable to my point of view. Saying this I don’t mean the type of implication that bases on “mild” speciesist, biologistic views of animality.

I come myself from a ‘mixed’race’ background and I have grown up in a country where you would face exclusion if you did not fit into the right image of the virtual “false-ethicity-person” and the right klischee going along with that. It’s not like all foreigners or poc or mixed-race individuals were equally accepted or discrimnated against. Much was and is dependent on the social function society ascribes you to take in the place you live.

Seeing a lot of people who come from socially comparable backgrounds such as mine working rightly for social justice, I wonder why the majority misses out on antispeciesist intersectionality though? To my point of view social justice can’t just evade questions of how concepts about animality and nature have been constructed in our societies. How can social justice turn an oblivious eye on zoocide and ecocide, when exactly those are facts that result from the very same foundations on which other oppressive systems thrived, and when those facts are taking place are all around us?

I believe that justice for humanity can hardly base on the oppressive constructs of animality and nature anymore, without being prolonged types of injustice.

Gender and animal sociology, snippets

mother_2cccc
Genderroles, animal sociology and „instincts“
We want to liberate from gender roles for human parenting, yet we assume that nh-animals only lapsed with seahorses, earthworms, kiwis, etc. and their genders and procreational evolution.
What exactly are “motherly instincts”, and what are “fatherly instincts”? Do we even see fathers in the prisoned life nh-animals are stuck in by us? How do we know what would be the typical behaviour for nh-animal families and their social networks in their own chosen contexts?

mother_2b
Defining Nonhumans as ‘INSTICNTUAL’ is species-derogative and biologistic …
Please quit reducing nonhuman motherhood to “maternal instincts”.

interfaces
Instead of shrinking everything about nonhuman animals to “instinctuality”: I can represent nonhumans by discarding speciesist ascriptions, and frame them with liberated / autonomous perspectives, as mutual interfaces.

Corey Lee Wrenn: Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: A critical review

This is an older article, but still as relevant …

Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: A critical review

Corey Lee Wrenn

Melanie Joy’s 2010 book, Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows:  An Introduction to Carnism, explores the social psychological processes behind our confused and often contradictory treatment of nonhuman animals based on arbitrary characteristics and meanings that we, as a society, attribute to them.  Joy defines carnism as “[…] the belief system in which eating certain animals is considered ethical and appropriate.”  (30)  Unfortunately, the belief system she attempts to capture is painfully insufficient in explaining speciesism.  I criticize Joy’s work on three major points.  First, her argument offers nothing intellectually novel.  Second, Joy’s conceptualization and critique of carnism is speciesist, counterintuitive, and is theoretically impotent.  Third, her proscriptions for change are confusing and inappropriate.

What’s new here?  Explaining differential treatment and systems of exploitation

Regrettably, Joy’s work offers nothing sufficiently new to the literature.  Neither Joy’s explanation of why we treat species differentially nor her explanation for why we use nonhumans at all is unique.

Joy takes a social-psychological approach to explaining embedded nonhuman animal consumption.  She offers carnism as a tool for understanding why we love some nonhumans and hurt others.  However, this phenomenon has been heavily theorized in nonhuman animal studies for some time now.  Indeed, Gary Francione has been promoting the idea of “moral schizophrenia*” for several years.  Made famous in his piece, “We’re All Michael Vick,” first published in the Philadelphia Daily News in 2007, Francione understands our differential treatment of species to be a product of moral and cognitive confusion:

There is something bizarre about condemning Michael Vick for using dogs in a hideous form of entertainment when 99 percent of us also use animals that are every bit as sentient as dogs in another hideous form of entertainment that is no more justifiable than fighting dogs: eating animals and animal products.

Francione’s famous example is surprisingly similar to Joy’s introductory illustration of carnism.  She asks us to imagine eating a “delicious” cow’s flesh stew at a dinner party, only to find out the cow’s flesh was actually golden retriever flesh:

If you are like most Americans, when you hear that you’ve been eating dog, your feelings would automatically change from pleasure to some degree of revulsion. [….]  How can a food, given one label, be considered highly palatable and that same food, given another, become virtually inedible?  […]  Why is it that we have such radically different reactions to beef and dog meat?  (11-12)

This analogy adds little, if anything, to Francione’s conceptualization.  One notable distinction is that Joy invariably focuses only on inconsistencies in flesh consumption, whereas Francione routinely challenges all nonhuman animal use.

In her book, The Sexual Politics of Meat:  A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory, first published in 1990, Carol Adams, too, has explored this topic.  Terming the phenomenon “compartmentalized compassion**,” Adams rightly criticizes how the suffering of one group often receives higher priority than that of others.  Joy makes no reference to either predecessor; nor are Francione and Adams likely to be the only theorists to have breeched this topic.

In explaining the institution of nonhuman animal use, Joy describes carnism as a self-perpetuating system that is entrenched with the help of ideology, symbolic and physical invisibility, and powerful agricultural elites. Yet, for well over a decade, sociologist David Nibert has been exploring the social psychological detachment responsible for ongoing prejudices against animals.  Nibert has long argued that our taste for nonhuman animal products is socially constructed and determined by the interests of powerful agribusiness.  So, again, there is nothing revolutionary about Joy’s observations.

A focus on carnism is inherently speciesist

Perhaps the most glaring inconsistency in Joy’s carnist thesis is the explicit focus on nonhuman animal flesh consumption.  She makes little to no reference of the gross injustices inherent to the production of dairy, egg, wool, honey, leather, fur, etc.  Neither does she make mention of other systems of exploitation outside of dietary consumption such as nonhuman use in entertainment, companionship, and experimentation.  In other words, Joy’s carnism theory is nothing more than a vegetarian argument.   Quite ironically, she challenges society’s confused thinking about nonhuman animals by compounding that confusion with a highly contradictory argument:  She urges us to consider why we would eat one nonhuman and not the other, yet she says nothing as to why we would avoid flesh but not other products or practices.  Joy promotes a vegetarian belief system that only partially addresses speciesism.  And, in promoting vegetarianism, she ignores (and thus neutralizes) the morally imperative vegan belief system.  This is unfortunate, and frankly counterproductive, as people who ascribe to her prescribed use-specific vegetarian belief system will fall short of making the necessary paradigm shift away from speciesism and will not in any way address the underlying problem of use in general.

Bearing Witness

Joy’s solution to the carnist belief system is to engage in what she calls “bearing witness.”  While she fails to adequately explain, as a social psychological matter, what bearing witness exactly is, it basically entails personal identification with those who suffer and subsequent empathy.  It is this empathy that has the ability to dismantle the system of carnism.  How exactly she expects society to navigate this path of “bearing witness” and overcome enormous social psychological barriers is unclear.  Regardless, once one has become “witness” (whatever that means), she then advises readers to reduce consumption of nonhuman animal products

While eliminating your consumption of animal products is ideal, just reducing the amount of them in your diet can have a significant impact on the animals and on yourself; for instance, a person who eats meat once or twice a month consumes far fewer animals than someone who eats meat daily.  Clearly, this helps the animals.  But you, too, benefit, as you feel more integrated in your values and practices. (147)

So, in other words, Joy devotes approximately 150 pages to challenging systems of inequality and the social psychological barriers to nonviolence only to backpedal in her conclusion and reinforce those barriers by portraying reductionism as virtuous.

Joy also advises the newly “witnessed” to support advocacy organizations.  Strangely, she makes no mention whatsoever of any vegan or abolitionist organizations–the only advocacy organizations that seriously challenge the “carnist” society she takes issue with.  Instead, she relentlessly promotes PETA and HSUS.  PETA, being a welfarist organization that focuses on reforming nonhuman animal use, has nothing to do with abolishing carnism.  What’s worse, HSUS has openly denounced any intention of ending nonhuman animal use and is completely antithetical to Joy’s argument.

Beyond its glaring theoretical miscomings, Joy’s work does stand as an interesting review of important sociological and psychological concepts and their relation to nonhuman animal exploitation.  However, as I previously stated, this is far from uncharted territory.  What’s more, Nick Cooney has recently released a book, Change of Heart:  What Psychology Can Teach Us about Spreading Social Change, which explores the social psychological aspects of systems of inequality and how to effectively challenge those systems.  While Cooney is affiliated with The Humane League, a notoriously welfarist nonhuman animal organization, Change of Heart remains largely unbiased and objective.  Furthermore, his work is significantly more comprehensive.

*I recognize that this term is ableist.  Read Francione’s discussion of this concern here.

**I also take issue with the condenscending connotation of this term and the ecofeminist rejection of rights.

Suggested by the author:

Source: http://www.examiner.com/vegan-in-roanoke/why-we-love-dogs-eat-pigs-and-wear-cows-a-critical-review (last visited 02.04.2013)

 

Nonanthropocentric perceptions

animal_degradation_1a

As a PDF

Society acts as if animal degradation and zoocide were irrelevant, they separate these type of phenomena from questions about human existence and environmental ethics. Such blind spots form part of a lacking ability to speak about the fundamentality of the human-animal relation in constructive terms.

The only way humanity’s large collectives correlate to nonhumans is by assuming the own existential meaning could be placed on top of nonhumanity in arbitrary hierarchies, assuming that animal existence was of lesser meaningfulness in the universe, in the big scope.

However, animal history, past and present, can’t be relegated into these spaces humanity have created … for killing and torture, or equally into the communication structures of demeaning anthropocentrist propaganda, into any of the institutions of speciesism (ranging from zoological gardens to natural science museums), or into cultural murderous-rape habits of consumption:

Nonhuman cultural history is the life of this universe’s animal inhabitants, and not all human individuals would ever lie about this “crossroads truth” in human perception.

Gruppe Messel / Tierautonomie / Animal Autonomy

Antispeciesism is not necessarily what speciesism isn’t

antispe_and_speciesism

People who consider themselves to be antispeciesists mostly don’t see or don’t want to discuss the links between: ecocide, genocide and zoocide. The term and notion of a zoocide does not even exist for most in that correlation in their terminology. Many still hold the same assumptions about animality that base on ethical histories and theories within philosophy, religion, natural sciences that are the very cause of speciesism. Loving nonhuman animals at the same time as quoting biologist data for instance and instead of coining own liberated terms,
antispeciesism today does not equal consistent antispeciesist thought so far. It helps with the symptoms but harms at the same time, by cementing nonhumans into a slippery slope concept of freedom and dignity pushed upon them.

Rights claimed only go as far as theories about nonhuman animals are compatible with it. Not breaking with the power of human definition, antispeciesism today misses to acknowledge that nonhuman animals are oppressed in the first place in their very own qualities of who they are, in their identities independent of humancentric frameworks. And that happens parallel to them being bereft of their physical freedom and integrity, parallel to being tortured and murdered and physically objectified to a human will to cause them the ultimate pain … .

spegiesism_is_like

Physical death and the lust of viewing

If veganism excludes in the ingestion of animal parts, why not the visible use as objects to watch for trifle reasons. Does anybody have to see death on display in order to get enlightened, informed or educated? And even that would be a trifle reason to objectify the psychical integrity of a dead animal.

Who would it be okay to display? Whose body parts would you display? Unter what circumstances?

A human is supposed to look relativeley anonymous in order to be publicly diplayed, with nonhuman animals people suppose their individiality does not count “as much” when taxidermically prepared. We face many double standards in who can be and who can’t be displayed and the manner and purpose of displayal.

A long and highly problematic issue. However as vegans and even more so as animal rights and animal dignity allies we state that:

bodys and body parts of animals are ethically extremely problematic and should never be used in exhibits – neither in informative nor in arts displays. The only exceptions should meet equal standards such as in e.g Guidance for the Care of Human Remains in Museums, or Exhibition Ethics, meaning equally, nonhuman animal remains should if also only be exhibited as valid agents of (inter-species) social life, taking into consideration the physical integrity and diginty of an individual nonhuman animal’s life. Everything else comes down to an objectification of nonhuman animals.

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Negative interfaces of ethical failure:
Displays of human bodies/body parts in exhibitions
Displays on nonhuman animal bodies/body parts in exhibitions are degrading.
Feeding the objectifying voyeurism of human spectators, educating them in talking about others, and not about being empathetic and concerned about the other, dead individual. Or would you display your loved ones for everyone to watch dead on display?

Gruppe Messel / Tierautonomie / Animal Autonomy

 

Is the utilization of ‘animal bodies’ the source speciesism? Where does animal degradation start?

How will human societies depelop a understanding of animal degradation and speciesism? An example of animal degradation in context with normalized species-degogative views on horses specifically can be seen in this photophaph for instance:

speciesism
Unknown photographer, found on FB in someones timeline. Showing this image only serves the purpose of documentation and sensitization in terms of leading an anti-speciesist discourse. (Using this image does not imply that we see such photographic arts / aesthetics as ethically tolerable or as supportive of serving nonhuman interests in any possible way.)

The degradation of nonhuman animals: does the consumption come first, the utilization, or the speciesist ideologies and beliefs?

A short critique of anti-carnism-centered approaches such as in the movie ‘the end of meat’.

The degradation of nonhuman animals and how that goes together with the consumption of nonhumans is something I really wonder about. Movies like “the end of meat” very much assume an anti-carnism position, seeing the main problem in the biggest scale of speciesist industries, namely the meat, milk, egg industry.

But what we really have, what is taking place, is stretching out over virtually every aspect of human domination of ‘nature’. And this is why I personally put the killing and degradation of nohuman animals in a context of zoocide taking place, alongside the dimensions of genocides and ecocide in human history.

I wonder if human societies will automatically stop degrading nonhuman animal cultures and their natural ecosystems when they stop torturing and murdering them on this unimaginably large scale in the meat and food industries. I wonder if the acceptance for otherness of nonhuman animal cultures and individuals will grow in societies in the moment a society would stop killing them, eating them, and utilizing them primarily for reasons of their own human survival – and only partly for reaching a fully functioning future of nonhuman animal and animal-ecosystems rights and liberty?

In other words will we stop seeing the world flat in regards to nonhuman animals and their natural habitats because we stop commiting a large part of zoocide and ecocide? I hope that will be so, but I have doubts.

Looking back at the history of speciesism shows that the causes for human hubris over nonhumans and nature are very deeply installed in the history of human civilisations (Aph Ko discusses the question: ‘what are the roots of animal oppression?‘ in this interview).

I believe that working against all forms of speciesism (see also: aspects of speciesism), and against forms of animal degradation has to take place, on all levels where nonhumans are othered in destructive, degrading and harmful ways. Only so we will ensure that society develops an enlightened and reconciling view on nohuman animals, and only so the spaces will be protected and the rights granted where animal individuals and groups live (animal cultures).

Also the language in regards of ‘nature’ seems insufficient to me in approaches such as in the movie ‘the end of meat’. The meaning of nature is not contextualized with the question of animal habitat but rather with protecting resources for human survival. Animals as friends, as envisioned in this movie, needs the contextualization of animal liberation/animal right with ecopolitics on a very tight level.

This comment is however not meant to be a negative critique, it is only a trial to point out problems that seem untouched by that type of mainstream approaches in veganism. And that is also why I chose to name this specific movie, since it typically represents the mainstream thinking of how the problems of animal oppression can supposedly be stopped and addressed by ending the animal farming industries, instead of dismantling the working variables of systematic and individual animal oppression as they occur on any given level.

Note:

The difference between mainstream veganism and our individual group’s approach has much to do with:

  • whether or not to appreciate animal cultures and individuals in a non-biologistic frame,
  • and whether or not humancentric ideals are questioned or not in terms of affirmatively assigning nonhumans own ways/contexts of moral agency, own fully fledged ways/contexts of ethical values, of own fully fledged complex language-systems (and that thus also a lingua franca between humanity and animality is not just something fictional but rather something possible and something basically valid)

We need new and different sets of terms than the ones we have in our societies so far when we discuss nonhuman interests. A difference is clearly if someone is willing to take the discussion into wider fields than what we have so far even and in particular in human animal and critical animal studies – given that these are the very studies that deal with animality in the supposedly most progressive ways.

To our point of view the entire mainstream approach and consensus that we have – practically in ethical veganism and in direct or indirect animal liberation activities and theoretically in academic animal liberation approaches – all don’t manage to coherently jump the crucial lines … and thus they lack credibility in our point of view:

We still have too much unnamed speciesism in the anti-speciesist movement, and we still have too much omission of aspects of nonhuman autonomy in the animal-nature-continuums and nonhuman culture/s in an oppressive world. We finally don’t even speak about a zoocide taking place on all levels that oppression, violence, destruction, annihilation and negation can politically take place.

Outside looks on cultures of nonhuman animality

being_an_animal_1a

Confining animality
(the actual ‘being-an-animal’)
into biology-centered frameworks
still poses an unsolved problem
within AR.

Gruppe Messel / Tierautonomie /Animal Autonomy

How does someone view other animals:

Changing the images society and people have constructed in their thinking and in their outlooks about animality takes more than our vegan lifestyle, more than campaigning for final goals. It needs that we straightforwardly postulate (emancipation!) different viewpoints, different angles of viewing the world’s animal individuals, their socio-ecological contexts, and their cultures in the given oppressive contexts.

From a biology-centered viewpoint people/society want to assume that nonhuman animals don’t decide, don’t think, don’t reason, don’t experience oppression in contexts of their evolutionary cultures. A biology-centered viewpoint compares animality with humanity and pinpoints certain physical functions as markers for the ability to ‘reason/think’. Philosophy again constructs a notion of borders within reasoning around the human self or certain human selves.

It takes more than animal liberation on the physical level to change and widen the perspectives on human-nonhuman conflicts, quite obviously. Saying this, nonhuman animality isn’t solely a recipient of oppression exerted by human beings in their cultures; in contrast I believe that the human forms of oppressing nonhuman animality has a lot to do with the agency of animality on levels our society typically ignores, levels our society might not have tried, been able or willing to name, but these levels are parts of the animal-nature-continuum and the big scope of its cultural wisdom, richness, smartness, cultivatedness, decisiveness … .

Just try it, you might very well know how cultures aren’t restricted to humanity – that we all need to build new perspectives on animality, animal individuals and on the entire social codes built between humanity towards animals. Try and ask your vegan friend what she/she makes of establishing an emancipated view (in regards to language, philosophy, and common sense) on the human-animal conflict and human-animal interaction. I assume she/he still thinks that it’s perfectly fine to keep the cornerstones of speciesism in the “active-mode” (i.e. religious speciesism, philosophical speciesism, speciesism in the natural sciences, sociological speciesism, legal speciesism, cultural speciesism, aesthetical speciesism, speciesism in all segments of how we define the scope, meaning, content, value, sense of life) and that she/he will try to not seek for new ways of ending the ‘massmurder taking place on the biological argument’, the individual degradation on the level of cultural difference between speciesists and nonhumans. They will however not be able to accuse you of anthropocentrism, because they can’t rule the aspect of animal-cultures-on-more-than-the-biological-level out.

Religion and Science both have created oppressive constructs about Nature

alternatives

Alternatives in the oppression of nature-as-a-context-of-living-beings:

a.) “dominium terrae” [bible, says humans should rule and subjugate the world]

b.) “nature-as-a-resource” [the endeavours in the natural sciences have always been going along with generating economic benefits for any oppressive human castes]

Both spiritually in most religions, and philosophically in most sciences: Nature is seen as a means, a tool, a “material” that can be reduced in its autonomous sense and value.

Gruppe Messel / Tierautonomie / Animal Autonomy