We asked Avvika’s Filip about the frames of vegan intersectionality

We asked Filip, guitarist of the czech-swedish vegan anarchist band Avvika, about the ethical frames of vegan intersectionality and how to politically navigate veganism as an activist praxis and tool for liberation. In the lyrics of their song “Eternal Treblinka” Avvika speak about the correlation of totalitarian genocide and the taboo of speciesism as the totalitarian zoocide rooted in the epistemics of human hierarchical “objectivity”.

Filip: Personally, veganism is an important commitment in my life. I am happy every time I see new people turning vegan and honestly a bit sad when people turning back to this way of living. As well, people like to say that “it’s everyone’s choice”, but is it everyone’s choice to have a slave or beat their wife? I will still be on the side of the oppressed rather than fully respect the choice of somebody taking control over someone elses life. Yes, it might sound overexaggerated, but that’s a problem of those who read it, not mine. That’s the whole problem coming from speciesism – to see some beings as “just” animals and peoples choices as a principle with higher value.

Though, I find veganism as a path rather than a solution. It’s a choice how to live in the place and the time I/we live in. For me it’s a way, not a goal at all. It’s the least, the most passive act and basic ground of what each of us can do or choose. It’s just a start within the long run for animal liberation. I consider human beings as animals too, so for me it goes hand in hand with anarchist revolution, whatever that means. Veganism is also an act of solidarity.

Veganism got a bit trendy in some circles, which I can’t say I am a big fan of. I think, that to realize something shall come through (self) education or more sources of information rather than from fashion. Because what happens is that people quickly become vegans without really knowing why and then they conclude that it doesn’t make any sense to them, so they stop. But still I obviously welcome this trend much more than if it was trendy wearing fur, or go hunting, you know.

I think it is a mistake to think that nowadays you can boycott anything by just choosing a different product. Let me show some examples of what I mean: Most known vegan milk companies are owned by the biggest dairy corporations of the world. I heard there is some (anti)social media page called something like “compassion pizza” and there is list of places where you can get pizza with vegan cheese. These sellers never wanted to make a vegan restaurant or even don’t care, they just realized that they can sell a bit more if they include vegan cheese to the menu, so “compassion blog” actually made free advertisement to all the restaurants which mostly profit from selling meat and dairy products. That’s what I find dangerous about this trend.

Many people think that the choice of vegan cheese and soy cappuccino makes some change. All the food industry is a greedy monster (actually not just the food one, any industry is evil to all life). And especially so called green capitalism is a great example of how this system takes whatever comes from people who have some potential to question or critique inequalities and power structures. The system takes it, absorbs it, turns it into some product and sells it back to you. That’s why capitalism is more efficient than any dictatorships. It makes almost everything possible if you can afford it and people believe that that’s the freedom, just to get higher in this competition to be able to pay for it. It’s „democracy“ when you can have nearly everything if you have enough money, and it’s even easier if you are white and “at best” male. Then you have an „equal way“ to power.

That’s not freedom! We live in a „man made hell“!

We created a mantra which is now much bigger than us, than any each of us. The most of people’s values and relationships are capitalist ones; to see something or somebody else valuable according their social status or profit potential. The animal industry with vivisection is just a peak of insanity and ignorance of this society. And it is a big example. I don’t believe in liberty and harmony within capitalism. Capitalism with it’s own stupidity like economical competition, global “free” markets, the prison system, national states, police and more and more … . All of that is not gonna change by buying vegan coffee. That’s why I wouldn’t call veganism (without anticapitalist critique) as ethical.

I see the way to animal liberation through abolishing  thedomestication of animals (including us people). Domestication by work, money, industry, church, alcohol, social (gender, sexual) norms, etc. All of it just creates an alienation. Yes, I know that many could oppose these opinions and say that people with these ideas can just move to the forest and shut up. But I am talking about abolishing domestication, not hiding from it. Last, but not least, in a region where I am from, or even country (probably like in the most of Europe) there is not much natural (not man-made) forest which is not considered as private or state property where one could stay and live wildly without further repressions anyway.

We have to strike back, not hide or escape!

No one is free, untill all are free.

GO VEGAN! GO FURTHER!

Filip//AVVIKA

Avvika – Eternal Treblinka

You can find an explanation of this song here. Here are the Czech and Swedish translations of the lyrics.

The beginning of Genesis says that God created man in order to give him dominion over fish and fowl and all the creatures. Of course, Genesis was written by a man, not a horse. There is no certainty, that God actually did grant man dominion over other creatures.

What seems more likely, in fact, is that man invented God to sanctify the dominion that he had usurped for himself over the cow and the horse, over the pig and the bird. Yes, the right to kill an animal is the only thing that all mankind can agree upon, even during the bloodiest of wars.

We have been at war with the other creatures of this earth ever since the first human hunter set forth with spear into the primeval forest. Human imperialism has everywhere enslaved, oppressed, murdered, and mutilated the animal peoples.

All around us lie the slave camps we have built for our fellow creatures, factory farms and laboratories, Dachaus and Buchenwalds for the conquered species.

We slaughter animals for our food, force them to perform silly trics for our entertainment and delectation, gun them down and stick hooks in them in the name of sport. We have torn up the wild places where once they made their homes.

Speciesism is more deeply entrenched within us even than sexism, and that is deep enough.

The most calamitous and fragile of all creatures is man, and yet the most arrogant. Is it possible to imagine anything so ridiculous as that this pitiful, miserable creature, who is not even master of himself, should call itself master and lord of the universe?

The domestication of women followed the initiations of animal keeping, and it was then that men began to control womens reproductive capacity, enforcing chastity and sexual repression.

A greedy monster devouring with a thousand mouths.

The spirit of Capitalism made flesh.

European explorers and colonists, who at home abused, slaughtered, and ate animals to a degree unmatched in human history up to that time, sailed forth to other parts of the world representatives of a religious culture that was as theologically arrogant and violence-justifiying as any the world had ever seen.

In the made-for-TV culture the only addmitted genocide is now part of history. “It’s comforting – it’s over”.

But aren’t the Auschwitzes of today animal farms, transports, laboratories and slaughter houses that are so carefully hidden from view? Where the most defenseless of the world’s victims are merely seen as material.

Nowhere is patriarchy’s iron fist as naked as in the opression of animals, which serves as the model and training ground for all other forms of opression.

Sight, sound and smell. Death on monumental scale.

No one wants to hear it, no one wants to see.

All unseen and unheeded, this horrible crime is

buried out of sight, wiped out of memory.

…thou shalt not be a perpetrator; thou shalt not be a victim; thou shalt not be a bystander. …”If learned throughout society, those three commandments could help people see that choices we make determine the extent to which we are perpetrators, victims, or bystanders in a society that has long been carrying out a holocaust against animals and other beings and ecosystems while declining to recognize it as a holocaust.”

“the point of understanding the Holocaust in Europe is to prevent and halt other ones, not to remain narrowly focused on that particular one, traumatic though it was.”

Credits: from S​/​T 12″, released26 February 2014

Connect:

http://avvika.musicforliberation.com/
http://avvika.bandcamp.com/

Der Freund als Seele, die Seele als Freund

In der alt-iranischen Kultur galt Gott als das Prinzip aller Dinge und nicht als Schöpfer der Perfektion der Phänomene/der Welt.

Jede Seele eines Lebewesens galt als Haus, Sitz und Mitte des “Freundes” زوُش = زاوُوش – so lautete ein Name der alt-iranischen Gottheit/en.

Gott, der das Prinzip aller Freundschaft/Liebe bildet, ist Seele jedes Lebewesens, und so ist die Seele jedes Lebewesens auch die Grundlage der Freundschaft/Liebe.

In jeder Seele befindet sich dieses Prinzip der Freundschaft/Liebe und es bildet den Anlass der Suche und des Findens.

خدا، در فرهنگ ایران، «ا صل همه چیزهاست»، نه شخص خالقی که فراسوی چیزها وگیتی میباشد. پس جان هرانسانی، خانه ونشیمنگاه و میهنِ «دوست = زوُش = زاوُوش» هست که نام خدای ایران بوده است. خدا که اصل دوستی است، جان هرانسانیست، پس جان هرانسانی، اصل دوستیست. اینست که باید درجان هر انسانی، این دوست، این اصل دوستی را جُست و یافت.

– M. Jamali

An individual’s narrative – Animal Autonomy

Every individual animal has a narrative (in context with her experience of her habitat and environment).

Denying nonhuman animals their own languages, as autonomous communicative systems that linguistically have evolved independent of human linguistics, means denying animals moral agency, let alone the experience of an individual narrative.

Biologism and epistemological humancentrism reduce nonhuman animals to mere ‘explicable organisms’.

TIERAUTONOMIE / GRUPPE MESSEL

Why using the dead bodies of Nonhumans for art is not okay

If you consider yourself an anti-speciesist:

Using dead nonhuman animal bodies in art and for design, displays, etc. can never be consensual, because you don’t understand enough what a nonhuman individual might want or not want, to be able to definitely claim that he/she was okay with you using his/her body.

Don’t use nonhumans bodies in arts.

Why can’t you make vegan arts if you call yourself a vegan? Where should veganism unnecessarily end?

Check out alternatives, like the technique of artists like Keng Lye, for example, who creates realisitc 3-D arts.

How to dismantle speciesism?

Speciesism

– is not something unintentional, even if automatized for a big part in peoples thinking,

– it’s embedded in human history, it did not come overnight,

– it has many forms and problematic facets,

– and it is interconnected.

If we look at the foundations of this concept of species hierarchy (i.e. speciesism), we can see that a.) their fallacies can be dismantled, and b.) there is no option of not trying.

On what does speciesism base?

Different key aspect of speciesism lay in our perspectives and epistemologies coming from our angles of Religion/Spirituality, Rationality/Science, Philosophy, Culture/Civilization, Individuality/Society, in other words: the same factors that influence our outlooks on other humans and nature/the natural world.

The conflicts stemming from the systems underlying our views are comprehensive. Speciesism however is an expression of the fallacies of such systems.

This fragment as a PDF

TIERAUTONOMIE / Gruppe Messel

A not so clear relation: Animal Agency and Morality

Animal Agency and Morality

IS “MORAL AGENCY” A VALID CRITERION FOR CLASSIFYING DIFFERENT FACETS OF ANIMALITY?

The idea of “moral agency” resumes similar anthropocentric allocations in terms of biological and cultural demarkers, such as the conservative (species-hierarchical) hypotheses about Nonhumans have done.

The construction of “morality” as an act, should however ideally draw on non-anthropocentric perspectivic angles, to enable itself to touch upon the grounds of the large spectrum of co-existential modalities.

Questions:

1.) Which features, abilities and attributes are typically assumed as making up “animal agency” and, respectively, as typically making up “not-animal-agency”?

2.) On which criterions do these classifications base?

3.) What would a map of “animal agency” look like from a nonanthopocentric perspective?

TIERAUTONOMIE / Gruppe Messel

Mitgefühl als bedingter Gerechtigkeitsaspekt

Überlegung zu: Pazifismus

Zum Schutz von Leben hat Mitgefühl erst dann einen effektiven Sinn, wenn die Gerechtigkeit als Inhalt und Ziel dabei nicht aus den Augen verloren wird.

(HUMANITY) Im rechtlich durch Menschenrechtskonventionen abgesichterten Bereich, braucht das sensible Gleichgewicht des „Friedens“ eine gewisse Absicherung durch Maßnahmen, die „schützende Gewalt“ nicht immer und nicht gänzlich ausschließen.

(ANIMALITY) Im Falle oppressiver Gewalt gegen Nichtmenschen erwarten wir von Menschen die Freiwilligkeit und appellieren an das Mitgefühl, weil wir die Nichtmenschen in einer speziesistischen Gesellschaft und Welt gegenwärtig auf keiner gesellschaftlich und politisch konstituierten rechtlichen Grundlage schützen können.

Mitgefühl allein reicht in der Konfrontation mit nakter Gewalt aber in keiner Form aus.

Die einzige Grundlage, die eine Chance auf das Recht des Schutzes vor Gewalt (systemischer oder individueller Natur) bietet, ist die grundlegende Einforderung von Gerechtigkeit.

(Pazifismus im Kontext mit‚Humanity’ und ‚Animality’ als politisch definitorische Bereiche.)

TIERAUTONOMIE / Gruppe Messel

What is Animality, and what it isn’t

You are at risk of engaging in rhetorical branding if:

… ANIMALITY equals:

pigeonholing nonhuman animal otherness in (philosophical, religious, scientific, biologistic, aesthetic, anthropologic) terms of excluding zoopolitical spaces of animal autonomy.

… and if HUMANITY amounts to:

“we”, the “Homo sapiens”.

A new discourse needs fresh approaches – not just a new labelling system for an ongoing current of stable fallacies.

 

We speak with each other, somehow

First I ought to say I hope that nobody who might be picking up on this will be trying to take the issue in a simplisitc way. It is in no regards.

I’ve discussed the theme of ANIMAL LANGUAGES before in an essay I wrote a couple of years ago, and I am coming back to this topic in form of a additional project that I want to start on this site:

A Human + Nonhuman mutual translation project.

This is gonna be difficult, because I don’t want to imposed neither any potentially restricitve definitions on my nonhuman fellows that I am working with, nor do I want to cater to the chorus of voices who seek to belittle Nonhumans on the basis of their cultures and languages being different and for us not translatable.

But right here I must pause, because: why can’t we translate Nonhuman Animals?

As I previoulsy suggested, as anti-speciesist I don’t see a difference when it comes to trying to unserstand “my opposite” – I think we can try to understand each other possibly, if we come to see our own language (and parameters) as relative.

I come from a non- or der anti-biologistic and anti-humancentric approach, and I only want to turn my views into public input, because it is horrifically ridiculous and more than that tragic, that we narrow down the idea of language to a contemporary and highly restricted definition of the term.

Animals …

We speak. We all have different approaches of how we try to understand each other, but to draw a line based on biology is problematic, as long as we fail to question that parameter of explanation.

I suggest to get away from any speciesist paradigm (see fragment of forms of speciesism) and use plain and naked reason to find solitions to accepting communication as a fact in itself (without further reproach to explicability within a humancentric dominant context) and I believe a broadened classification of ‘language” in terms of our own human language even is needed, and which can’t aswell be narrowed down to a set of neurological and technical terms.

 

Kritisches Weißsein, Rassismus und Veganismus

Kritisches Weißsein / kritische Weißseinstudien / kritische Weißseinsforschung und Rassismus sind immernoch unbearbeites Gebiet im akademischen und aktivistischen Bereich in der Tierbefreungsbewegung / Tierrechtsbewegung im deutschsprachigen Raum. Wir haben zum Thema einige Texte und Autor_innen vorgestellt. Hier soll nochmal darauf hingewiesen werden, und wir möchen den Lesern zum Themengebiet “vegane Intersektionalität unter dem Gesichtspunkt kritischer Weißseinsforschung” empfehlen:

Dr. A. Breeze Harper: Die Sistah Vegan Anthologie.Eine Buchvorstellung Vortrag: Vegane Nahrungsmittelpolitik: eine schwarze feministische Perspektive

Anastasia Yarbrough: Weißes Überlegenheitsdenken und das Patriarchat schaden Tieren.

 

When speciesism feeds speciesism, and why AR activists should not fall for unproductive rhetorical twists

When speciesism feeds speciesism, and why AR activists should not fall for unproductive rhetorical twists.

From a recent discussion / Gruppe Messel

This Text as a PDF (link opens in a new window)

Two debates, the same problem with speciesist rhetorics blurring out a reasonable, coherent discourse.

A.)   The (unfortunately) highly controversial debate about Halal and Kosher slaughter methods.

B.)   The ‘humane meat’ marketing campaigns, using Animal Welfare as the as a vehicle for their sales boosting.

In both these speciesist segments – the one religious, the other one more plain-culturally based – you face an upholding of speciesist ideological tenets, additionally to the front-fight of defending a speciesist practice.

Why are we discussing these two examples of speciesist praxes?

Pro-arguments defending these two praxes, that are finding their basis in cultural reception, have permeated the AR debate to some extent on outreach strategies in regards to multiculturalism and culture – assuming “traditions” to be fixed societal phenomena/entities, immune to continuous ethical historical change.

—-

The Problem of rhetorical twists permeating the AR discussion in the case of A.):

The basic argument from an AR side defending religious slaughter methods, as no less “cruel” than pre-stun methods, goes that Nonhumans suffer either way, conditions in slaughterhouses might even be worse, at least as bad, and that all slaughter must stop.

Usually missed in this string of argumentation is a more detailed critique why e.g. slaughterhouses such as those designed by Temple Grandin are for example “as bad” as religious slaughter methods: So called “humane” slaughter methods have to be criticized and critically examined in their own respect.

The argument against the relativization of ‘different speciesist practices’ as in the case A.) from an AR position can be:

Why are we fighting to be able to film abuse in factory farms, when in the end of the day the comparably more abusive form of “handling” does not make any difference at all? After all we are always trying to alleviate any comparably more “extreme” forms of suffering in a situation where we can’t stop speciesism overnight. We do that, alongside with campaigning for veganism!

The trap with religious animal killing practices is that the degree to which killing becomes a deed of “good” is mostly being overlooked let alone critically discussed. Can you really expect strict believers to end killing Nonhumans, if it’s on behalf of an “almighty God” who decrees you to do so?

From an AR point of view we would say that no religion/religious tradition/belief whatsoever must come before either Animal Rights or Human Rights, equally.

—-

The Problem of rhetorical twists permeating the AR discussion in the case of B.):

Anecdotal example: A German animal advocacy group advertises for “humane meat” with the slogan: “For a life before becoming meat” (http://www.provieh.de/downloads_provieh/01_ki_schweine.pdf, 5/11/14), the same slogan is being used by the Austrian Green Party (http://www.gruene.at/europa/2-welle,5/11/14).

The problem being that cultural tenets of speciesism are not questioned, nor what strategies are effective at what given context. Strategies and analyses seem to fall short to a short-term mass-movement idea and behaviour within the AR community.

– There is no clear line drawn towards the impacts of what comes along as cultural heritage.

– Activists fight against the symptoms, not the cultural roots of speciesist rethorics that enables speciesist practices to be culturally active.

On one hand “humane slaughter” advocacy has moved “down”, in terms of Animal Advocacy ideals, to some of the “stricter” Animal Welfare organizations, like the CIWF with for example their recent campaign “Better-Chicken.org”: it seems that such welfarist pro “humane meat” campaigns throw the baby out of with the bathwater, since instead of trying to seek alleviating suffering with the goal of ending speciesism overall as a target, they are of course prolonging speciesist culture.

However, AR advocates who do distance themselves from such campaigns, seem to fail to address (analytically and strategically) how important it is to target the functionality of speciesism and its rhetoric in the plain culturally-based sense.

– AR places its critique more at the sociological and the psychological level, not as much on the anthropological and cultural level, and when at least not with a distanced view.

– A question would be e.g.: How does the argument “I only buy organic humanely slaughtered meat” set in? Why is it accepted in society seen from a cultural / anthropological critical perspective?

This type of question has to be contextualized with how a culture works, and how the individual takes a role within this cultural setting for example.

 

A vegan economy? Where to start.

Human society annexes every ‘natural’ space, primarily through societal economic processes.

‘Nonhuman Animal Rights’ thus have to cover all spaces on the globe – within human communities and within the natural environment overall.

In regards to creating a ‚vegan economy’:

1. First of all we should address the history of ‘rule and possession’.

a.) Different economic models have been historically existent. Which components came into play for forming current economical models (i.e. the capitalist economies and socialist inspired economies) in pure economic terms, politically, socially?

b.) Which forms of political rule went along with ‘ownership’ and ‘dominion’ (annexation of ‘nature)? And what created the basis of legitimization in rule, such as in: monarchies, democracies, tyrannies, as grounded for example on: religion, ideology, philosophy?

c.) How did forms of ‘rule’ and ‘authority’ interact with exploitative contractualist agendas such as imperialism, colonialism, nationalism?

An aspect to highlight: Legitimization falters or ends where the ‘entitlement’ for ‘rule and possession’ excludes and comes into conflict with interests / rights of other human beings, other animals and the ‘natural’ realm / ‘nature’.

2. Secondly we should see how ‘economy’, as a societal material construct, and ‘nature’, as an borderless/undefined space, conflict.

a.) What stands at the centre of the conflict between our human-centred economic matrices (as systems of ‘rule and possession’) versus ‘natural’ and autonomous life? What are core reasons for conflict? (The reasons might stand alongside the questions of legitimization.)
b.) Society’s inability for groundbreaking political change, and the inability for change on the private scale (in the individual’s life in society) as being part of society, extends the need for the legitimization of ‘dominion’/’rule’, exploitation and destruction – it otherwise leads to rebellion.

What can be alternative forms of economic societal organization?

3. How does veganism – as entailing some of the key aspects needed to form a pacifist eco-consciousness – offer ways out of economic systems that utilize ‘nature’, nonhumans and “powerless” humans, in different degrees, as resources or as in the case of humans, as partly involuntary collaborators?

a.) Discuss the need for veganism to become aware of its own politicalness, in problem-solving and problem-creating terms.
b.) The core of veganism, taken as a social revolutionary ‘movement’, mainly differs from other liberation movements because of its primary focus on nonhuman animal exploitation and nonhuman animal murder / zoacide … .

Economic ethics or non-ethics:

Where does profiteering from (or/and voluntary collaboration with) ecocide and zoacide mainly begin?

How are humans affected today by the consequences of economically driven ecocide and zoacide, ethically?

How do you think should ethical vegans work against ecocide and zoacide, despite the “vegan revolution’s” minority constellation within society?

Vegan Türkiye about intersectional vegan outreach and Nonhuman Animal Rights

Four Questions … we asked Vegan Türkiye about intersectional vegan outreach and Nonhuman Animal Rights within the struggle for a redefinition of what an ‘all-encompassing’ political freedom would ideally mean

A compact interview N. Eyck (NiceSwine.Info) led with the progressive Turkish vegan activist group Vegan Türkiye, with some pressing questions about a country’s movement that is bringing impulses for redefining veganism from an activist level as an ethical / political tool.

This text as a PDF (link opens in a new window)

Visit Vegan Türkiye’s blog on: http://veganturkiye.blogspot.de/, join them on Twitter: @veganturkiye.

N Eyck: Do you think that the vegan Animal Rights / Animal Liberation movement in Turkey is in a sense “forced” to be intersectional, i.e. are human rights and environmental justice issues inevitably a core part of the vegan AR/AL movement in circumstances of political oppression on a scale such as you currently face them within Turkey?

Vegan Türkiye: First of all, we can say that people inTurkey are under political pressure about what they eat, what they wear, with whom they make love and even how many children they should have. Today inTurkey human rights can be discussed frankly especially after the coups done. However, many people think that the struggle for animal rights should not be started before the end of human rights violations. That is, it should be known that there are human rights instead of ”earthlings rights”. By referring to Tom Regan we tell them that if we wait for the developments of human rights, time for animal rights will never come.

The Vegan movement in Turkey refuses species and class discrimination, it defends LGBTI rights, opposes each kind of urban renewal done for the purpose of annuity and each kind of ecological destruction. On the other hand, working class and traditional reflexes of the left focusing on labor struggle open their doors to this Vegan movement. Collective consciousness occurred with Occupy Gezi (Gezi Park Resistance) shows itself also in the vegan movement. For instance, in occupiedGeziParkthere was a vegan cuisine, which became both a meeting point of Vegans and a place where some met with veganism for the first time.

Some infirmaries, vets those were open and free for 24 hours were set for the animals affected by tear gas used during the occupation, and also announcements to take the animals in safer places were done during the day. One other bad memory from those days was that, the people supporting the animal rights were taken into custody from the commemoration done for all living beings killed / died during occupation.

Streets, squares, academies are not the places where people talk what kind of groups are marginalized, anymore. Vegans naturally reflect their political ideas to every area of life; but, the matter is actually being able to reach the main idea and giving animals right to be free. Furthermore, it is important to be able to make people believe that it is not only activists’ business; it is also each person’s business to deal with animal rights invasions.

N. Eyck: Blogging and social networking plays an essential role in the vegan AR/AL outreach work and info exchange and distribution inTurkey. On a parallel level, could a closer international reciprocal exchange (of ideas and about problems faced), create a new momentum and open up new possibilities for our movement’s progress everywhere? In other words: is there a need for a “round table” in the global vegan AR / AL community to learn from each others experiences, etc.?

Vegan Türkiye: As you said before Internet is a vital tool to make the animal rights movement known all over the country and to share materials related to the movement.  By using the Internet animal rights supporters make brainstorming and inform others as an individual, as a group and even as a civil defense organization. Although each of us has different ethics – it is obvious that we have different action and discourse types. There are sometimes misunderstandings and fierce quarrels, but we haven’t experienced that those quarrels have turned into scandal, yet. We all follow us as online, and support one another. Animal liberty movement is being continued by ceaseless information shared via Internet. In this context, we will not be wrong if we say that the animal liberation movement is fed by social media and blogs.

Globally, more crowded, radical or creative communities are already being followed. A big form of an entity in which different experiences from different countries are shared can be installed instead of a ‘global online’ as a single entity; because, animal rights supporters sometimes ignore the local socio-economic and cultural differences, that is, the kind of struggle for animal rights in a place can be harmful in another place, that is why, everybody should be careful about the movement. Besides having connection via internet, animal rights supporters can also keep in touch face to face even a few times in a year in order to share their knowledge, experiences and problems that they have faced.

N Eyck: Is Animal Rights theorizing and having ones own outspoken (or thought) standpoint about Animal Rights popular within the vegan community inTurkey?

Vegan Türkiye: Animal rights movement is so new in terms of organization. Even if some animal liberation activists are in the movement for so long time it can be said that we are now in trial and error period. Some approaches and works done in abroad lead us in this movement. InTurkey we have failed to have a common main discourse and the reason is actually not to be able to create a cultural base. Meanwhile, the first Turkish work written on veganism was published last year. The book written by Zülal Kalkandelen and Can Başkent was made with readers as online. It’s not a theoretical book, but it’s important for the readers to shed light on animal rights.

N. Eyck: Do you think that a practical and basically political vegan approach can establish a form of veganism that is less convenience foods and less consumerism-orientated? And can veganism become what it wishes to be: a cornerstone for food justice for our entire planet?

Vegan Türkiye: Of course, after a while what I wear, what I eat questions bring other questions, such as how much and from where I consume. You start to question the system established on exploitation. There is a growing bazaar for Vegans and corpus is taking advantage of it. As everybody’s consumption habits and cultures are not the same, we are offering alternatives for vegans.

Some people think that they can share the movement without giving up their comforts. This side of the movement is definitely open to be questioned but we warn them to use the ecological products. We also remind people that they themselves can minimize the ecological damage of the products that they buy. According to the system that we are in, we have some problematic issues. At that point brainstorming should be done with other political and ethical vegans.

People love statistics. It would be tangible if you talk to people about what percentage of agricultural land planted to feed farm and diary animals or what percent of animal testing worked for humans in fact. It is effective to say that a century ago some rights which were deemed impossible, we have today, and that it is possible to turn into a vegan world, perhaps inevitably.

N. Eyck: Thank you so much for this interview!

Besitznahme durch Abwertung und Definition. Beraubung tierlicher Autonomie.

Wenn Nichtmenschen nicht autonom wären, und nur der Mensch es wäre, wann in der Evolution und womit hätte diese menschliche Autonomie dann angesetzt, und warum sollte tierliches Handeln und Denken nicht als vom Menschen und seiner Objektivitätswahrnehmung autonom anerkannt werden?

„Seinen eigenen Gesetzen folgend / early 17th cent.: from Greek autonomia, from autonomos ‘having its own laws,’ fromautos ‘self’ + nomos ‘law.’“ – Zoe Autonomos

Besitznahme durch Abwertung und Definition. Beraubung tierlicher Autonomie.

(Fragment)

Wir sprechen eher den Tieren ihre tierliche evolutionäre Autonomie ab, statt dass wir an totalitäre Strukturen in der Menschheit im Bezug auf Nichtmenschen und die natürliche Umwelt glauben. Unser Blick auf Nichtmenschen und die „Natur“ ist in einer Art verstellt, dass unsere Abwertungen vor uns selber akzeptabel erscheinen.

Der Missstand der Ungerechtigkeit ist, dass wir versuchen die tierliche Autonomie zu zerstören (physische Eingriffe und Maßnahmen) und mittels Speziesismus (geistig ideologisch) zu unterminieren.

„Besitz“ ist die Folge der Absprache tierlicher Autonomie.

„Tierverteidiger“ die für die physische Unversehrtheit von Nichtmenschen plädieren, den Nichtmenschen aber weiterhin ihre eigene tierliche Autonimie (vom Menschen und an und für sich) absprechen, betreiben eine unbewusste radikale Form des Anthropozentrismus und des Speziesismus.

Wir verbinden den Würdebegriff mit der Fähigkeit eines eigenen, unabhängigen Daseins (Autonomie).

Durch speziesistische Kunstgriffe bereiten wir den geistigen Boden in einer Gesellschaft vor, um den Besitzstatus eines Lebewesens zu legitimieren und als vertretbar erscheinen zu lassen.

Was ist unserem allgemeinen Verständnis nach Autonomie, siehe z.B. Wikipedia (für den vielleicht breitesten Allgemeinplatz) http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autonomie?

Wenn Nichtmenschen etwas haben – „the wild and tamed beast“ – dann ist es Autonomie. Sie leben „von Natur aus“ in der Natur autonom – wenn wir sie nicht ihrer Freiheit berauben. Wir behaupten, Nichtmenschen seien Instinktbestimmt, und genau da setzt die Besitznahme durch arbitäre Abwertungsmechanismen ein: Wir machen uns Tiere nutzbar und „Untertan“, indem wir sie ihrer Existenzautonomie mit der Behauptung des Instinktverhaltens (kausaltiätsbestimmtes Verhalten) zu berauben versuchen.

Die Abhängigkeit von Lebensnotwendigkeiten als Instinktgeleitetheit zu interpretieren, ist eine Form der Minderbewertung der Angreifbarheit, der Verletzlichkeit und Bedingtkeit des Lebens – jedes Lebens. Jedes Lebewesen ist abhängig und bedingt, aber gleichzeitig auch autonom. Autonomie ist der zarte Keim der Verletzlichkeit tierlicher und menschliche Würde … .

Da ein Tier autonom handelt und denkt, ist es autotom. Der Vesuch der Eingrenzung tierlichen Denkens in anthopozentrisch definierte Parameter, ist eine Besitznahme durch die definitorische Interpretation tierlichen Denkens und Handelns.

Tierautonomie – tierliche Autonomie; ein paar eklektisch ausgewählte interessante Aspekte

Animal Autonomy:

In Veterenary Care:

Here I would simply suggest that “animal autonomy” is worthy of careful attention from philosophers and scientists and veterinarians. Animals are self-governing and make meaningful choices, in ways very similar to humans. As with our fellow humans, we should strive to understand and respect the preferences of other creatures. Research in ethology is continuing to explore how to understand animal preferences and how these preferences are expressed in observable behaviors. It is worth noting, too, that although the language of “autonomy” has not yet been strongly present in the veterinary literature, the concept has been important in the animal ethics literature more broadly. Tom Regan, for example, talked in his ground-breaking The Case for Animal Rights(1983) about animals as autonomous beings, with their own interests and desires. Regan even includes a very interesting discussion of what he calls “preference autonomy” and explores some of the ways in which autonomy in animals is different from autonomy in humans.

Animals and Autonomy. Can this vitally important ethical concept be meaningfully applied to animals? Jessica Pierce, Ph.D. in All Dogs Go to Heaven

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/all-dogs-go-heaven/201303/animals-and-autonomy

 

Animal Sanctitiy and Animal Sacrifice: How Post-Dawinian Fiction Treats Animal Victosm by Marian Scholtmeyer, Dissertation, 1989, pp. 57.

Animal Ethics:

Kantian ethics is normally not the place to look for an account of  direct moral obligations towards animals, as Kant claimed that we only owe animals indirect moral duties, out of respect towards the rest of  humanity. In chapter four, I consider modern reinterpretations of Kant’s arguments to provide support for the claim that animals should be  considered ends-in-themselves. I argue that despite the strength of these accounts, the concept of agency and selfhood that I support provides a better foundation for claiming animals as ends-in-themselves, and that respect for animal autonomy can be grounded on a Kantian argument for the respect of autonomy more broadly. I claim that in virtue of their agency and selfhood, animals should be considered ends-in-themselves, thereby including them in the moral community. My view is novel in that it includes agency, selfhood and autonomy as those features which make anyone, human or nonhuman, morally considerable.

Agency and Autonomy: A New Direction for Animal Ethics by Natalie Evans. Dissertation.

https://uwspace.uwaterloo.ca/bitstream/handle/10012/8158/evans_natalie.pdf?sequence=1

Animal Rights / Animal Liberation

How can I save an Animal today or stop these atrocities now? Even for just a few critters. Because that’s the context we so often miss. It’s about Animal autonomy, not about how the government turns on the people that care about the Animals. But while I’m on the subject, it’s nothing new!

Walter Bond, Green is the New Rage, http://supportwalter.org/SW/index.php/2011/06/24/green-is-the-new-rage/

Animal Caregiving

Kerulos Center Caring for the Caregiver  Project. The project’s overarching goal is to foster awareness and support for animal care organizations and caregiver wellbeing to help achieve the vision of a compassionate, ethical, trans-species society founded on mutual wellbeing.

http://kerulos.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Kerulos-Caring-for-Caregiver-Report-Final.pdf

Alle Links: 25. März 2014.

 

Seeing Big Birds

More on: Animal Portrayals.

Big bird cartoon by Ken Eaton

The family of the big walking birds, like the Moas (extinct), Nandus, Emus, Ostriches, Elephant Birds (Aepyornis maximus, extict). They tend to be seen only in regards to their being different than the “typical” flying birds, and their size is highlighted as if they had something absurd about them.

Table I.

We attribute certain animals to certain stances we have towards them; each species, each subspecies, has a certain box that a “human cultural context” holds ready for them.

We lack the ethical barrier, the healthy taboo, to understand that nonhumans are not to be threatened, ridiculed, hated, and relegated into irrelevancy if we want to have a comprehensive ethical outlook on the world – the kind of taboos we have learned and are constantly in a process of learning when we face each other.

Table II.

Seeing nonhuman animals of today, we like to relate them to their ancestors in a fascinated yet freak-show-like way: we look how they compare in sizes, who ate who, and why they wouldn’t “survive” or evoluted, we say they look or looked “weird” or awesome. 

 Table III.

In past cultures and civilizations nonhumans were perceived with myth. Now, even extinct and ancient animals that we have never seen in real life, are placed by us into this taboo free zone, where we feel they reinforce our current objectifying speciesist attitudes.

Images:

TableI.:

“Bones from the moa – a large, flightless and extinctNew Zealandbird – were collected from the early 19th century. Public servant and naturalist Walter Mantell was an important collector of moa bones. He sent large collections to Richard Owen of theBritishMuseum, who was the first scientist to identify moa species. Here, Mantell is fancifully depicted perched on a partly skeletal moa. The document under his arm refers to his government work setting aside land reserves for Māori.”

http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/artwork/37312/walter-mantell-riding-a-moa

Table II.:

Hundsköpfige, Kopflose, Einäugige, Fußschattner (Herodot), Ident.Nr. VIII A 1607. Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Ethnologisches Museum.

http://www.smb-digital.de/eMuseumPlus?service=ExternalInterface&module=collection&objectId=617600

Table III.:

“A rock painting that appears to be of a bird that went extinct about 40,000 years ago has been discovered in northern Australia. If confirmed, this would be the oldest rock art anywhere in the world, pre-dating the famous Chauvet cave in southern France by some 7,000 years.”

http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/news/2010/06/bird-rock-art-could-be-worlds-oldest/

All links: 20. March 2014

 

(Human Rights) No Freedom of thought over there … with no change in sight.

Why is free thinking banned in places like Iran? Because of the clerical “power” and the ones who support this type of system.

People are getting used to how things are in a place like Iran, from the outside at least. I can’t imagine that people inside of the country can get used to the praxis of public hanging or any type of public execution, punishment or routine torture tactics (http://iranhr.net/).

Well, there is just one place that’s as frustrating an example of political failures mixing with a totalitarian style reality of a religion, such as we have it in Iran. I was wondering if anything about the persecution of Sufis has changed in Iran. Nothing has changed, things get worse and the situation seems paralyzing. Below are some links that I found in that context.

Yet, another thing I was wondering about, was, when was Persia invaded by the the Islamic Arabs? So I took a mini excursion back into past history. I do wonder what created these strange divides that we find culturally in Iran up til today. Here is what Wikipedia says about the Muslim Arab invasion:

The Battle of al-Qādisiyyah (Arabic: معركة القادسيّة‎; transliteration, Ma’rakat al-Qādisiyyah; Persian: نبرد قادسيه‎; alternative spellings: Qadisiyya, Qadisiyyah, Kadisiya), fought in 636, was the decisive engagement between the Arab Muslim army and the Sassanid Persian army during the first period of Muslim expansion. It resulted in the Islamic conquest of Persia

Sasanian general Rostam Farrokhzād (remembered as an historical figure, a character in the Persian epic poem Shahnameh) faced with the Arabs had to experience this:

During the final day of the battle, there was a heavy sandstorm facing the Sasanian army. Rostam used a camel loaded with weapons as shelter to avoid the sandstorm. Not knowing that Rostam was behind, Hilāl ibn `Ullafah accidentally cut the girdle of the load on the camel. The weapons fell on Rostam and broke his back leaving him half dead and paralyzed. Hilal beheaded Rostam and shouted “I swear to the god of Kaaba that I have killed Rostam.” Shocked by the head of their legendary leader dangling before their eyes, the Sasanian were demoralized, and the commanders lost control of the army. Many Sasanian soldiers were slain in the chaos, many escaped through the river, and finally the rest of the army surrendered.

So here are some links on the situation of Sufis and other oppressed groups / people / individuals in Iran:

Witness Statement of Hamed Khajeheian: A Sufi Persecuted (2013) iranhrdc.org

Iran Continues Crackdown on Sufis (2013) HuffPost

Be the voice of political prisoners in Iran
http://cfppienglish.wordpress.com/

Ayatollah Hossein-Kazamani Boroujerdi, a senior member of the Shiite Muslim clergy, is presently serving the eighth year of an 11-year sentence handed down to him by the Islamic Republic’s courts for advocating the separation of state and religion inside Iran.
http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/4158/ayatollah-hossein-kazamani-boroujerdi

From Tahereh Ghorrat-al-Ain’s death at the instigation of reactionary mullahs [1] to today we have witnessed a century and a half of struggle of Iranian women for social justice and gender equality. It has cost the lives of thousands of women.
http://www.iran-bulletin.org/witness/ghaffar2.html

The Perils Of Religious Persecution In Iran (2013) Forbes Mag

Finally:

2011: According to BBC Persian, the largest mural in Iran (5,000 meters), found along the walls of Mashad’s Ferdowsi Square, was removed in the course of one night as part of the municipality’s “beautification” efforts. The mural had only been completed a few months ago, and depicted scenes from Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh.It had taken a team of workers a year to create. Source: fesenjoon.tumblr.com

Oh yes, let’s of course not forget about freaking gender segregation, it’s reality!!!

(All links 18th March 2014)

 

Animal Knowledge

Animal Knowledge

Palang LY

This text as a PDF (Link opens in a new window)

It’s astonishing, why are we willing to accept that the burden of proof lies with the nonhuman animals and their allies, to make clear who they are, when a human-centred society doesn’t even have the will and ability to see the full spectrum. Why do we, their allies, bow in to human methods of research on things that can’t be proven and that don’t have to be proven?

Their individual life’s dignity does not need to be proven; it needs to be acknowledged, without restrictive conditions.

What the AR community should learn is to claim the rights, the foundation of dignity, the freedom that really lies outside of paradigms that were (and are) installed to quite contrarily draw lines as aggressive borders.

We tie our human standards and insights on a.) language and b.) on our specific capacity to utilize nature, and we see both these things as qualifiers that are intertied: Language plus the capacity to utilize nature as a resource!

It never occurs to us that other beings could have a more sustainable and clearly wise concept of how to live on planet earth, that their ancestral relation over millions of years has given them insight on how to interact in other ways with nature and their natural environment.

We would deny that, because we don’t accept that nonhumans have concepts. We think concepts can only occur with certain qualifiers … , and we think that nature couldn’t have possibly taught nonhuman animal ancestors things they decidedly built their cultures on.

We think nonhuman animals don’t decide these things.

I could go on, but my point is that we as AR people err so bad, because we don’t want to take the stance that would make us jump in the cold water of radical new perspectives in terms of: de-humanfocusing and thus deconstructing sources we refer to as basis of knowledge about life.

We keep putting new wine into old bottles when we don’t come up with a new architecture of basic knowledge.

 

Why speciesism is evil

Why speciesism is evil

Palang LY

We don’t need to discuss whether a person or group is evil in all aspects, when we want to evaluate if an act of speciesism (committed by a person or group) is evil and condemnable.

In general often people who commit any type of evil, do not seem to their social environment like they would hold an “evil” potential, meaning, that a person can have different aspects about them, or also purposely mask their not-so-good sides. Another thing to keep in mind is that every chapter of human history taught us, that what some might have felt as beneficial to them, was plain evil to others who were negatively affected by a “gain” of someone else.

Speciesism is a (specific) form of oppression – and as such it is evil:

A.) Assuming that speciesism was merely a historical accidence, would mean to deny that nonhuman animals could have ever been perceived as something else than “objects”, and with that as “objects of speciesism”. Acts of speciesism are conscious acts of violating other (animal) individuals. Nonhuman animals are not automatically only viewable as objects.

My position is, that our degrading views of nonhuman animals today and in our shared history (i.e. the arguments with which we mark the nonhuman animal world as less- or non-relevant), are kinds of attitudes based on a totalitarian layer that society continuously enacts and that is functioning by society’s willingness to accept this form of a system; we compel and force members of our society to adopt speciesist attitudes, that however we can step out of such a system and resist, like we can equally resist to take part in other forms of oppressive structures.

B.) To assume that speciesist acts could be done without any conscious form of evil will and behaviour, means that we rule out the quality of evil which we face in the given oppressive context that speciesism marks. Every “procedure” done, that violates the physical and mental integrity of a nonhuman animal individual (directly or indirectly), is a conscious act and an act of will – even when the human individual who commits this act, finds and is offered and taught excuses to rationalize his or her deeds as necessary or non-evil.

Speciesism is evil because it masks as being an acceptable form of viewing nonhuman animal others as:

ownable, definable, edible, usable, ignorable … as passive objects.

I do think that as an Animal Liberationist one is accountable to tell the facts about the forms of conscious human evil that we face in speciesist oppression.

A fragment on insect mythologies and insect representations, and why symbolism is not sufficient to explain the relation

More on: Animal Portrayals.

A fragment on insect mythologies and insect representations, and why symbolism is not sufficient to explain the relation

Palang LY

This text as a PDF (Link opens in a new window)

Insects in mythology are mostly explained as a phenomenon that stands for a “symbolism”. It seems that authors / researchers find it hard to imagine that for instance the Scarabaeus (attributed in the Egyptian pantheon to the God Kheper), a “dung beetle”, was appreciated for more than just that, what humans attributed to him in terms of their own anthropocentric concept of the earth, its meaning and the universe.

What if for instance the early Egyptians did see a world of unique value in the life and activities of the scarab beetles?

It could likely be that it was fascinating to observe, how the beetles rolled this ball of soil and dung, to think about what meaning the beetles might have given to their existence on earth overall. Maybe it was that ancient civilizations / cultures still had the ability to take nonhuman animals as cultures. A small beetle that rolls a ball like a planet, from which new insect life would spring forth … .

A typical thought you find on the topic of nonhuman animals and nature in mythologies is, that humans would imbue nature with meaning. Quite contrarily, people could have felt that nature did in fact have meaning, and that nature (being) is meaning.

As far as I could find out now, the most prominent mythologies about insects and alike, evolve around: bees, butterflies, spiders, scorpions, cicadas and the scarab beetles.

Additionally, if we add the heavy weight of underlying such a relationship in mythology to our today’s definition of “symbolism” – that is if we say that i.e. such insects were mere symbols for anthropomorphic attributions – then we should scrutinize more closely the epistemological history of “symbols” and the term’s etymology to shed light on the construct we apply here.

Images:

1. Eric Carle, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, 1969, http://www.eric-carle.com/ECbooks.html#anchor707516
2. Carl Spitzweg, Der Schmetterlingsfänger, 1840.