Species are socially composed by human animals into a vertical chain of worth. Species, gender, class, race, ability, size and age structures of nations are material extensions of patriarchal logic. Vegan Feminism is the way onward and upward.
Assigned “edible animals” have a unique type of non-status in the species pyramid of patriarchy that is obscured by generic terms like speciesism and human supremacy. These animals share no allowable claims to personhood and space; they are treated as a horde not as individuals; most of the places they inhabit are unlivable.
Another feature of consumable animals is that they are a mainstay of “men” made structures across time and location. Whichever human animal society you study, – tribal, spiritual, religious, monarchical, feudal, nation state, capitalist, etc – has been built on the use of these animals and their secretions.
Capitalism, for instance, is dependent on food designated animals to achieve and reproduce itself. Inducting them is not simply adding another product to the economic system. Eating flesh (and plants) fuels both capital and labor to carry out their unequal power roles. Huge profits are made by businessmen in the purchase and sale of bodies, dismembered parts, human labor, land, buildings, machinery, insurance, feed grains, fertilizers, water systems, fossil fuels, electrical power, transport, veterinarian skills, pharmaceuticals, human healthcare (to deal with the symptoms of eating other animals) and funeral industry services. The wealth gained is spent in part to boost more growth in buying and selling death, contributing to the expansion of the whole economy.
Some theorists think capital is structurally indifferent to edibly purposed animals in the process of production and reproduction. The hypothesis maintains that capitalism has no innate requirement for animals but merely makes use of them as opportunistic instruments to create another market for profits. If there was no significant demand for animals in the future due to growing consumer awareness of animal suffering and of impacts on the biosphere, the system would move on to capture more lucrative ventures.
Historically however, in lived practice, “extra-economic” inequalities have always been part of the inner workings of capitalism and key to its dominating and alienating success. Animal and human animal subjugation is a legacy from pre-capitalist times, a social inheritance baked into capitalism’s nature. The economic model evolves past oppressive ties in varied ways to suit its own drive for accumulation.
The capitalist productivist mode could not endure without the nation state to regulate it. Unrestricted market relations would end in a destructive free for all in an economically lawless world.
In relation to consumable animals, state entities mediate the production and reproduction of such animals for capitalists. Welfare state provisions/subsidies keep the system hardy, along with cruelty prevention laws (extolled by animal advocacy nonprofits), to ensure animals remain captive to capital use and keep the public content.
What might we learn about social transfiguration when we start with the premise that eating animals is a keystone to the existence of capitalism, nation-building and male dominance not merely a correlation? Could it be the adoption of Vegan Feminism, the commitment to veganism and to solidarity with anti-patriarchal-capitalist-racist organizations?
Nonhuman animal welfare fixtures and their fixations have omitted this assessment altogether. They have dominated public policy shaping for nonhuman animal exploitation redress, without reference to the interconnections between patriarchal capitalism and the consumption of other animals. Their short-sighted step-by-step proposals to the government and industry are otherwise known as incrementalism and siloing. Championing veganism and human equality coalitions in unison, as the solutions to animal and human animal oppression, go against the establishment’s standard practice of fundraising, publication, and lobbying to reduce harm. What becomes of redress when mediocrity and decontextualizing injustice are the plan for change?
A Vegan Feminist paradigm recognizes eaten animals’ full structural position in the world through authentic ways of seeing, knowing and interceding.
*The revelations of this piece are not original to me