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Towards a Vegan-Based Ethic

Dismantling Neo-Colonial Hierarchy Through an Ethic of Lovingkindness

Micol Kates

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.

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Introduction—Towards a Vegan Ethic


This work will demonstrate the pivotal role that veganistic (my word)—in contrast to humanistic, principles and vegan-based ethics play in industries where animals have been and continue to be used for people’s comfort. Offering a critique of a neo-colonial theoretical perspective will demonstrate the need for a greater awareness of animal rights and vegan-based ethics. Within the patriarchal social model, colonialism, and its contemporary counterpart, neo-colonialism create hierarchies of “us” and “them”: the exploiters and the exploited. It is useful to draw salient parallels between the treatment of non-humans and the ways in which colonialism has been used and continues to be used in contemporary neo-colonialism to oppress othered people. Othered, a term used by Ashcroft, et al. in Post-Colonial Studies: The Key Concepts, refers to anyone who has been pushed to the margins by those who occupy central positions of power (155). This work examines three areas that are becoming more reflective of the need for vegan-based ethics namely, farming and food production, scientific “experimentation”, and animals used for “entertainment”. Three important examples are used to highlight issues of colonial subjugation of people that parallel ←1 | 2→the experiences of animal beings. These are the American prison industrial complex (PIC), African American Pullman Porters, and the nazi1 concentration camps which allowed for “scientific experimentation” to be conducted on both humans who were not considered as having any worth, as well as on non-human animals. Vegan ethics are guiding principles of respect that seek to redress the...

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