Towards a Vegan-Based Ethic

Dismantling Neo-Colonial Hierarchy Through an Ethic of Lovingkindness

by Micol Kates (Author)
©2020 Prompt XIV, 70 Pages


The book draws links between colonial and neo-colonial power structures which have sought to maintain hierarchies of dominance, resulting in cruel practices towards people at the bottom of the hierarchy and animals, who, in a colonial mindset, only exist for human gain. To counter these harm-based ideologies, and practices, veganism, as an ethical movement, is seeking to give voice to all those who support animals, and the rights of animals, while also seeking to give a voice to animals themselves. Additionally, veganism seeks to challenge the old-guard power structures and cruel practices perpetuated by colonial and neo-colonial systems associated with the dominant Ego power structure. Vegan ethics represent a shift from the dominant Ego model of human relations represented by a pyramid of power towards an Eco model of human relationships in which all Beings have equal worth and agency.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • Acknowledgements
  • Foreword
  • Introduction—Towards a Vegan Ethic
  • 1. Understanding Colonialism, Neo-colonialism and Post-colonialism and Their Relationship to the Eco and Ego Models
  • 2. A Brief Definition of the Ego and Eco Models
  • 3. Shamanic Clowns, Fools and Children: Shifting the Paradigm
  • 4. Buddhist Lovingkindness as a Path to Veganism
  • 5. The Ego and Eco Models Further Explained
  • 6. Why Veganism? How Veganism Can Topple Neo-colonialism in Theory and Practice
  • 7. Animals as Food: Farming Practices and Food Production
  • 8. Factory Farming and the American Prison Industrial Complex (PIC)
  • 9. Animals as Guinea Pigs in the Name of “Science”?
  • 10. It’s Official—Animals Are Sentient!
  • 11. The Nazis’ Human Holocaust and the Extreme Extermination of Animal Beings at the Hands of “Science”
  • 12. Animal Entertainment—Fun or Torture?
  • 13. Pullman Porters
  • 14. Circuses and Marine Parks
  • 15. Final Thoughts
  • References


I would like to thank, in a broad way, everyone who has done important research in the field of animal rights, and whose research has had an impact on my own, namely Peter Singer, Carol J. Adams, Michael Pollan, Namit Arora, Lesli Bisgould, Wendy King, and Jennifer Stopford.

In a more specific way, I’d like to thank my amazing professor, Dr. Lisa Micheelsen for her constant support, encouragement, and breadth of knowledge. If everyone were to have a professor as awesome as she is, I think we’d all be truly unstoppable!

I would like to also thank my awesome mom, Dr. Isabella Colalillo Kates, for her tireless editing help, and her constant support. My sister, Samantha for being very supportive, my aunt Dr. Giuliana Colalillo, Catherine Legere, and our fur family members, past and present: they are loved.


I first met the author of this volume when she took a graduate course towards her Master’s degree from me. Throughout our work together, we established that we shared a common interest in animal advocacy and a common belief that using animals in the service of our own interests in a modern, industrialized society is seriously, ethically flawed and problematic on many levels. This shared passion lead to many interesting conversations, and eventually, when Micol was ready to embark on the final project for her Master’s degree, she approached me to supervise her. Certainly, this is not my usual area of academic study—I am a Classicist by trade (of all things!) —but a large part of my work does rely on an appreciation of critical theory and theoretical issues, particularly in relation to race and gender in the study of the past, both of which represent historically silenced perspectives. The critical study of animal issues is emerging today, much like race and gender, as a realm of such serious academic discourse. Still, however, it remains relegated to the sidelines of academia, much like feminist critical theory was in universities prior to the 1970s. Critical animal studies have yet to attract a great deal of attention on an institutional level, although the signs are that there is progress being made in this direction. Still, few universities have faculty who work in this area as a mainstay of their research, and given the pressing need for such research, and the shortage of “experts” to supervise it, we both decided that my lifelong interest in the issues involved and the ideals of animal advocacy made me as good a choice of supervisor as any. Perhaps unorthodox and less than ideal in some ways, the arrangement seemed to work well for both of us, and Micol went on to create a tour de force ethical manifesto which utilized both her considerable writing talents and her astonishing and deeply moving work as a visual artist. Rather than simply researching and compiling data, Micol’s work generates new knowledge and new ways of knowing, which are certainly going to be vital to our own human well-being if we hope to adapt to the changing realities of life on a planet Earth that simply cannot sustain us in the fashion to which we have become accustomed. Since our work together, Micol has continued to be a vocal proponent of the need to change violent practices to which we have become numb and willfully blind, and this book is a reflection of her ongoing dedication to and passion for that purpose. I was thrilled to hear that this book was being published, and I was very pleased and honoured to be asked to write this foreword.


XIV, 70
ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2020 (March)
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Oxford, Wien, 2020. XIV, 70 pp., 1 b/w ill.

Biographical notes

Micol Kates (Author)

Micol Kates received an MA in interdisciplinary studies in 2017 with a focus on veganism and ethnobotany. She is a teacher and tutor in post-secondary institutions. Kates is interested in pursuing work in animal rights and created an on- line petition asking the Canadian government to create an amendment to the Canadian Charter of Rights to give animals rights. The petition received more than 5,000 signatures. Kates is also a visual artist and landscape photographer. Kates is also a visual artist and landscape photographer. See her website at www.micol-kates.wix.com/lanscape-photography.


Title: Towards a Vegan-Based Ethic