Dislocation of oppressive systems

seeiDo you think anybody can sucessfully sell their speciesism by pretending to be anti-racist? What about people who believe that racism and speciesism are dislocated systemic forms of oppression and who prefer to stay uninformed about oppressive mechanisms/methods?! 
, gruppe messel

Your effective activism is everything


Anything you think is reasonable to do for Animal-, Earth-and Human Rights is effective activism. Liberation work functions in all layers on all levels – also because that’s how dense oppressive structures and systems work. Uprooting deeply engrained injustices makes your individual power necessary all around.

Gruppe Messel, Tierautonomie / Animal Autonomy

Human societies “love” nature while they negate it


Nonhumans talk with nonhumans
Nonhumans talk with ‘nature’

Humans talk about nature
and define it.

Who respects nature more? Who is more positively relevant to nature as a whole?

Nonhumans are. Human societies “love” nature while they negate it.



Specific criterions of speciesist humiliations: (1) designation as a “food” resource

Fragment: Why is it important to highlight the specifics of an oppressive system: The structure of denial and negation mostly serves to “legitimize” oppression/injustice, and these kinds of ‘humilitation’ take specific forms and function as instruments of oppression. In the case of speciesism the title as: food i.e. being designated to be the food the oppressor “nourishes” him-/herself from, plays a most tragically remarkable role.


Where intersections turn crossroads: shared factors of oppressive functions, separating markers. Seeing what makes each case unique might help putting the puzzles together.

If you keep relegating animality into reductive frameworks while doing animal advocacy work, your activism isn’t really aware of the scopes of ethical, political, sociological interfaces between nature-animality-humanity …

Messel; Nonhuman-inclusive; Animal Autonomy

applying_what_frameworksWhere intersections turn crossroads: shared factors of oppressive functions, separating markers. Seeing what makes each case unique might help putting the puzzles together.

With all the intersections (and what I’d additionally call the interfaces equally) given, there are also clearly factors that in the end of the day categorically separate one system of oppression from another, and in the case of the functionalities of nonhuman animal oppression we have these unique markers that we must address in order to analyse what exactly this phenomenon ‘speciesism’ is.

The mechanisms of sexism, racism, ableism and basically any way in which living individuals are actively and passively negated can be understood in their specific manifestations, that are specifically experienced by the individuals and groups who become victimized and who are affected. Intersectionally in terms of nonhuman oppression we would need the factor of having experienced being designated the role of actual “food” for example in a completely righteous manner, not in an ambiguous state. We can’t deny that nonhumans know what they are the victims of, that would be highly biologistically speciesist. The complexity of oppression is fully known by the affected nonhuman individuals and groups.

That being said one must add that it is true that life is being negated in its dignity in any cases where oppression takes place. It would be problematic to draw lines of known -isms and for example overlook individual cases of denial of the right to life and dignity.

When we involve the complex-of-nature for example we are going to get rather into understanding how life overall is being classified and negated in a fundamental way, and that not just an oppressive class, but the individual enactor of destructivity is the thinking and acting agent that should be taken a look at (after all ending destructivity is an emancipatory process at its best).

If a nonhuman animal that is considered to be a “farmed animal” crosses a street where people walk and don’t expect him/her, and if a  human who is oppressed crosses a street, we categorically have the scenario that no matter what the nonhuman animal will be considered a lower life in the specific sense of a food provider and a utilitarian-type “resource”. The nonhuman will be excluded from the human race – which is a problem in itself – but be be relegated in the realm of “nature”, which is the sort of “antagonist” to human”” existence. This makes up speciesism and such type of specifics need to be analysed in all detail.

When activists solely focus on nonhumans, they tend to leave nonhumans within the biologistic speciesist paradigm. Intersectionality gets us away from biologist patterns to a partly ambivalent extent. Yet what makes speciesism speciesism, and what makes oppression oppression, and what makes humanity in total to have lived on a specifically nonhuman animal and nature oppressive basis and on other oppressive bases that affect any life in any possibility? I want to face human-created histories in terms of all existent injustices equally.


Pastoral speciesism

In context with my fragment: Many forms of speciesism.

„Gentle“, aestheticised oppression:

Pastoral speciesism
‘domestication’ –
the act of keeping nonhuman animals
to gain every right of passage,
to define, use, kill, prepare, ingest the nonhuman animal other.


Fragments on species-derogation, previous list: Speciesism an animal hatred.

And which cultural diversity are you talking about?


“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


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?)

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


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


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 … .