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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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10. It’s Official—Animals Are Sentient!


10 It’s Official—Animals Are Sentient!

Only recently have laws been created, worldwide, to recognize that animals can think and feel, echoing what many indigenous belief systems already understand. Proctor defines animal sentience as “… the ability of animals to experience pleasurable states such as joy, and aversive states such as pain and fear …” (628). According to the European Union Lisbon Treaty of 2007, animals have been legally recognized as having sentience. The treaty states that “… the Union and the Member States shall, since animals are sentient beings, pay full regard to the welfare requirements of animals …” (Marabelli 6).

Following the European Union’s momentous decision was India’s 2013 decision to recognize dolphins as sentient, thereby granting dolphins the status of “non-human personhood” (M. Adams 2). Adams’ article, “Dolphins Granted Personhood by Government of India”, contends that the Indian government’s decision to recognize dolphins as thinking, feeling beings is an important precedent “… making India the first nation in the world to recognize the unique intelligence and self-awareness of the cetacean order (a class of aquatic mammals) …” (M. Adams 1). Along with the decision to recognize dolphins as ←41 | 42→non-human persons, India has also banned “captive dolphin shows” (M. Adams 1). Dolphins, like other beings, have a “self awareness” (M. Adams 1), and researchers have observed that they have a highly complex language with which they communicate. Adams explains:

[D];olphins have their own complete language, much like humans … the main difference between dolphin language and...

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