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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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5. The Ego and Eco Models Further Explained


5 The Ego and Eco Models Further Explained

In a similar vein to Carol J. Adams’ ovic (my word replacing the word “seminal”) thesis, Hawthorne’s, A Vegan Ethic makes the connection between meat-eating diets and patriarchy, and posits that “[i];n a patriarchal social system, no female-human or other animal—is seen as having ownership of her body” (55). Adams, in her luminary text, The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory calls out the heinous, inherent misogyny present in the Ego culture, where the rape of women is comparable to the torturous abuse of female animals in factory farming; a treatment accepted as the norm. Female pigs, as one example, are kept in gestation crates for the short time they are alive in factory farms, also called agri-farms. A gestation crate is a small, metal box, with metal bars, like a cell, in which the pigs are separated from their piglets, save for the slats in the crates.

Milk cows too in factory farming have a sad, brutal fate:

In order to produce profitable amounts of milk, a cow must be impregnated on a yearly basis. Dairy calves are taken away within hours of birth so that humans can drink the milk. Mother cows bellow after their calves when they are taken from them and have even tried to hide their babies. Due to frequent ←15 | 16→milking, cows often develop painful udder infections … The normal lifespan of a cow is twenty...

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