Dismantling Neo-Colonial Hierarchy Through an Ethic of Lovingkindness
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.
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...
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