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Post-Women’s Day Blues

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International Women’s day has been and gone. The colourful meme’s that dominated social media platforms last week are left to stagnate in a cyber graveyard of past timelines; the resurrection of such causes only to appear again for most people the same time next year. Yes, indeed… For many, recognition of female moral value is like the solar eclipse of a patriarchal world – there’s a fancy spectacle for a little while, but it’s forgotten almost as soon as it began. A cosmic wave of energy that captivates a whole nation, only to disintegrate when the light returns, wiping away all memory of something deeper being at stake. And while such celebrations are important, they’re more of a wake-up call. A reminder of how far we’ve yet to go in the quest to end to the commodification of women in our society.

But that quest doesn’t end, or begin, with female humans. If you are serious about justice for women but are not vegan, you are willfully choosing to ignore the violence and injustice we unnecessarily inflict upon female animals and their reproductive systems. These animals are subject to artificial insemination (forced impregnation), have their babies taken from them to either be killed or forced into servitude themselves, and after a life of having their reproductive organs abused beyond repair, are sent to be slaughtered themselves.

There is no non-arbitrary reason for distinguishing between the exploitation of human females and the exploitation of non-human females. All sentient beings are equal for the purpose of being used exclusively as resources. All sentient beings possess fundamental interests in not suffering and in continuing to live, regardless of species. Singling out humans as deserving of our respect in not being commodified, yet failing to extend that same respect to animals, is to engage in nothing but speciesism. Like racism, sexism and homophobia, speciesism places the individual outside of the scope of our moral concern based on irrelevant criteria. Sentient beings possess the same fundamental interests in not being exploited whatever their species. To deny animals the right not to be used as property, as things, based on nothing but the fact that they’re not human, is no different to denying women their right to bodily integrity because they’re not male. The same stands with respect to racism, homophobia, and any other form of fundamental human injustice.

The bottom line is that, you cannot rightly consider yourself a feminist if you arbitrarily deny the billions of non-humans we exploit and kill each year the right not to be exploited for their reproductive processes. You cannot consider yourself to be an “animal lover” if you engage in the unjust and unnecessary exploitation of animals for food, clothing, entertainment and experimentation. If you care about women’s rights, you go vegan. If you care about morality and want to do right by animals, you go vegan. Anything to the contrary is merely to speak soft words while your actions perpetuate the injustice you claim to reject.

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