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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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8. Factory Farming and the American Prison Industrial Complex (PIC)


8 Factory Farming and the American Prison Industrial Complex (PIC)

A strong comparison can be made between factory farming and the American prison industrial complex (PIC). Arrigoni et al. use the term “animal industrial complex” (52) to liken the treatment of animals on factor farms to the American prison system. Indeed, the PIC and the animal industrial complex are seemingly similar.

The current American prison system, which is a for-profit industry, was created in the era of President Ronald Regan (Pelaez 5). Pelaez’s essay, “The Prison Industry in the United States: Big Business or a New Form of Slavery?” discusses the process by which the prison system in America has become increasingly privatized, as a work-for-profit labour camp. Pelaez asserts, “[p];rivate prisons are the biggest business in the prison industry complex” (5). During slavery, people were used as free labour. The tradition of getting free or almost free labour has continued since the abolishment of slavery when “… a system of “hiring out prisoners” was introduced in order to continue the slavery tradition” (3). Charges would be levied against freed “slaves” for committing “crimes” such as “… not carrying out their sharecropping commitments … or petty thievery–which were almost never proven–and ←29 | 30→were then “hired out” for cotton picking, working in mines and building railroads” (3). More than half of the prisoners in the southern states that were “hired-out” from “1870 until 1910” (3) were Black; this was not a coincidence by any means.

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