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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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1. Understanding Colonialism, Neo-colonialism and Post-colonialism and Their Relationship to the Eco and Ego Models


1 Understanding Colonialism, Neo-colonialism and Post-colonialism and Their Relationship to the Eco and Ego Models

We found new uses for animal parts in plastics, detergents, tires, cosmetics, dyes, contraceptives, crayons, and more. This went hand-in hand with our portrayals of them as “dumb animals,” making it easier to overlook their abuse and ignore their manifold social and emotional lives. Only animal behaviors with an economic impact merited attention. For example, factories had to deal with the tendency of animals to injure others or themselves when forced to stand in cramped feedlots in ankle-deep excrement, or when packed in tiny cages. (Arora 28)

Before one can contemplate what veganism is and where vegan-based ethics falls in the spectrum of consciousness and the animal rights movement, it is imperative to understand the distinctions between neo-colonialism in contrast to post-colonialism. This distinction is relevant in order to understand the heart of colonial hierarchies and their values, and how these systems represent the antithesis of veganism. Veganism is a way of being in the world that seeks to do no harm to others—humans, animals and the Earth. Neo-colonialism is the antithesis of veganism. Neo-colonialism asserts a type of domination within a framework of top-down rule, and does not, in any way, ←3 | 4→regard veganism as having any worth. Colonial dominion is predicated on the belief that only a few, worthy people can rule over the many below them. Viewing the world through the lens of a post-colonial perspective...

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