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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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14. Circuses and Marine Parks

Extract

14 Circuses and Marine Parks

The modern circus has been evolving into a progressive form of entertainment from its origins. When one thinks of a circus, images are conjured up of wild animals: bears, lions, tigers and elephants being made to perform for human entertainment. The modern circus has its roots in the Roman Circus Maximus which included animals and enslaved people entertaining the fickle public. Murray’s essay, “Circuses Are No Fun for Animals”, describes the different types of entertainment prevalent in Roman circuses including “… equestrian events, and, later, wild-animal displays … Little attention was paid to those injured or killed during these events—slaves and animals—because they were “nonpersons” according to Roman law” (2).

The Romans were very war-minded people who placed great emphasis on maintaining hierarchies of separation and power over enslaved people. It is little wonder, then, that the same system of domination over human and non-human others existed and continues to have a place in the kind of circus that enslaves animals.

It is important to note that while the job of a Pullman porter no longer exists, systemic racism does; as do colonial attitudes which ←57 | 58→perpetuate the enslavement of othered beings for entertainment such as in marine parks and circuses. Public entertainment ventures such as SeaWorld, MarineLand and Ringling Bros Circus use force and the confinement of animals to reap profits. In the past few years, with activists exposing these vile practices, many of these enterprises have...

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