objectification

Should animal lovers eat Peeps?

Did you know that Easter Peeps are made out of boiled skin and other byproducts of the farming industry? Please find out where gelatin comes from if you’re supporting its production – it involves animals suffering and losing their lives.

Never fear, vegan Easter is sweet! You can get vegan marshmallows and easter candy. You can make Devilish Potatoes (via Mercy for Animals) instead of deviled eggs, dye and hunt for vegan eggs, or make a vegan Easter basket. Start some seedlings for a spring garden or plant a tree or flower bulbs.

Easter is supposed to be a celebration of renewal and new life, and is often celebrated in a very child-centered way. Rather than objectifying and exploiting rabbits, chickens, cows, pigs, and other animals, why not set an example for children that demonstrates our respect for others of all species, and for the earth that we all call home? In the words of William Blake, “For Everything that lives is holy, life delights in life.”

A sandwich that’s bad for everybody

Have you heard about this secret menu at McDonalds? How about the McGangBang? I hadn’t heard of it until the other day when it was mentioned casually in a slideshow of other fast food secret menu items on Huffington Post. Personally, I can’t imagine wanting such a thing, even back when I was an 18-year-old dedicated carnivore: Something about the name just feels wrong.

Thankfully, the fine feminist folks at Shakesville have done a great job of pointing out the sexism implicit in this sandwich name — a sandwich which, I’d like to point out, is neither good for women, or animals, or the men to whom this kind of thing is marketed (and who this kind of food is harming, with all of its saturated fat, cholesterol, and other nastiness).

Loving sloths

If you haven’t heard, Kristen Bell likes sloths, and her husband, Dax Shepard, got one brought to their house for her birthday. Here they are telling the story in a cute segment from NPR’s Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! (with a transcript if you prefer that over audio). And here’s the video they talk about in the segment — personally, I think it’s pretty adorable to see someone so excited to meet a sloth that they break down.

This story is so great on one level — I love that Ms Bell loves sloths so much. I love that her husband is so thoughtful to set this up for her because he knew it would mean so much to her, and that he’s so supportive and sweet about her emotional reaction. I love that when they got the sloth in their house that they were responsible about it, adjusting their homeowners insurance and bringing in a professional handler and a little play structure for the sloth — it looks like she mostly just played around while Kristen gazed at her adoringly. I also feel like it’s really great that humans are starting to love animals so much that this is a part of our popular culture.

On another level, and I hate to be a downer, but animals shouldn’t be treated like actors, or party entertainers, because they’re not able to consent to the situation, and are deprived of their autonomy. I guess I could imagine a situation where an animal is somehow orphaned and rescued, and for whatever reason can’t be rehabilitated to live freely in a safe, natural habitat, so they could maybe be a mascot for their species to help educate people about how awesome they are (some wolves come to mind, but don’t quote me on that). But why wouldn’t an animal in that situation be given safe haven at some sanctuary? For every two-toed sloth (or pony!) who has a lovely afternoon at an adoring fan’s birthday party, there are a whole lot of other animals who probably have a really crappy day sitting in a cage or being forced to do the same uncomfortable movie shot over and over and over. (This is why I’m such a fan of Andy Serkis.)

No judgements here for Kristen and Dax — they obviously have their hearts in the right place. But if we really love animals, how should we treat them, ideally? Is it appropriate for our love to be objectifying, focused on our own needs and desires? Or should love come with respect for others’ autonomy?

Speaking Truth to Power: Understanding the Dominant, Animal-Eating Narrative for Vegan Empowerment and Social Transformation

Speaking Truth to Power: Understanding the Dominant, Animal-Eating Narrative for Vegan Empowerment and Social Transformation

Powerful stuff from Melanie Joy:

We can practice proactive, rather than reactive, veganism. When we practice proactive veganism, we resist the carnistic fictions and we hold onto the truth of our experience without invalidating others…

Click here to read the rest.