Sunday, September 27, 2009

NZ Vegan Podcast Episode 39 - Just another moment in the life of a vegan animal rights advocate in a speciesist society

Listen HERE

Just having a little whine today. Things have just GOT to change!


  1. The following comment was sent as an email because I guess you can't copy and paste into blogger comment fields (grr) so I am posting it because I think he made some really good observations.

    Thanks Mesiu, as always :-)

    Hi Elizabeth,

    I wanted to post this as a comment, but I started it in a text editor and now there's no way of copying it into the comments field …

    I'm sorry you had to experience this situation with that manager. From 38 podcast episodes and all your writing I've been able to get an idea of how sincere and sensitive you are.

    I think you have made some points later in this episode that can rudimentarily explain the stance which people take up on their exploitation of non-humans. Like that shadow, which reminds me of Plato’s Parable of the Cave, once again. They who escaped the shadow want to show their new wonderful way of life to all the others, but all they face is incomprehension, rejection, and threat.

    I'm neither a psychologist nor a sociologist, and I would be very pleased if you and Roger would talk about the roots of certain reactions from non-vegans on another show, but I have made my own little observations.

    As far as I have encountered similar situations with people I know well enough, I can tell that they would say things like that (and will continue to consume animals, even though they – almost always – have a sense of the wrongness of it and they know there are plentiful alternatives) because they are
    - afraid of admitting that they were wrong or misled all along, or of admitting that they just didn't care about the impact of their consumption
    - afraid of having to change their lives once they know the whole truth
    - afraid of having to tell their friends, parents, co-workers, etc. that they won't take part in this socially requested behavior any longer
    - afraid of looking unmanly and tender-hearted among their peers

    The last point obviously applies to men only, but I would guess that men are having a harder time with the other points as well, compared to women.

    In general, to avoid any serious consideration of the issue, they make fun of your attitude, say veganism is for wimps and hippies, reject your views as extreme, or claim that they could never give up this or that product, so that they have made their statement which allows them to close that case. Sometimes people tell me they plain don't want to know about it, but that's rare.
    It's because speciesism is so deeply entrenched in our society and thus in our minds, people don't even recognize that it is there at all.
    They think they can be funny about our use of animals, because they don't see a problem with it. Everything is fine with having a steak, everything except for those annoying animal people, you know?

    Keep on going! You always remind me of how important it is to work for a change, and to never give up.


  2. Yeah what's the deal with the no-pasting textfield?

    I know a way around it, but now it seems you can paste into the textfield. Is it an option in the blogspot blog options?

  3. Hi Elizabeth,

    I'm sorry that particular man made those unfortunate comments. Sadly it is not unusual.

    I feel male gender stereotypes have a lot to answer for in this regard. Certain entrenched gender stereotypes like domination and control are interwoven in many men's psyches and it's reinforced in society.

    Misogyny is a manifestation of domination. People [men], who are in the dominant class are already playing power games. And it's easy for them to try and associate with the dominant role in other forms of inequality eg racism, speciesism, homophobia, etc. Veganism is a threat to this part of their identity.

    The contempt is so great that accompanies these comments, veganism is truly a threat to these particular men. I think that misogyny and speciesism are closely intertwined in comments such as this.

    I experience this speciesism on occasion. It's good to confront it. It's about time that vegans call it what it is. And it's offensive and inappropriate. There is no sense to it, and if only men realised how immature they sound. It's almost like they think it's their "duty" to keep control, keep the status quo by making these kinds of comments. Some men who are insecure such as this person in your podcast associate veganism and vegetarianism with being feminine, being weak, with compassion, "faggoty" - all these attributes that they consider real men are not. Of course this is all in their head, but then speciesism is all in their heads and has no basis in truth.

    If only they didn't believe everything they think ;)

  4. Thanks from me too, Mesiu! You have elegantly articulated lots of ideas that were swirling around in my head after listening to Elizabeth's podcast last night on my way home from work. I'm sorry you had that experience too, Elizabeth, but it will happen again and you'll be ready with your well-considered response next time. As shall I! :) Keep up the valuable work you are doing - we need it and the animals need it.

  5. Thank you for these great comments and I will try to check out the pasting option as well, thanks Gordon.

    These are all really inspiring observations. I grew up in a society where boys are so pressured to be "tough" that we had the highest male teen suicide rate per capita in the world at one point. They wouldn't ever allow themselves to be "soft". I am pretty sure it hasn't changed much, and I'll bet it has a lot to do with our farming background—you can't have feelings if you are going to kill thousands of animals a year, steal their babies from them, treat them like "things".

    They've got it all wrong.

    I think we need to let men know the truth, that it is way more strong and admirable to choose not to be a bully, not to hurt and beat and overcome and kill. (Despite what the movies tell us). What we do to all other animals is bullying them (monstrously), and we are doing it just because we can and want to just like bullies in the playground, and that is cowardly, bullies are cowards. I have way more respect for anyone who chooses to be benevolent and merciful, who chooses to not use their strength to hurt, someone who has the strength to be kind and gentle.

    We can, we must help them see this. It is hard for many boys in many societies, they are forced to be so "tough" and it is not tough at all. We can emphasise this! We must let them know it takes a lot more strength to stand up to society and other men and NOT be a bully, and that has way more valor. That is admirable and truly strong. Young boys need help with this as do young men and grown men. It is a paradigm shift on so many levels.

  6. Hey Elizabeth, I really love your podcast - this was the 1st one I've listened to! I have to say, much props for being such a voice for truth and animals (and vegans!) in NZ!!! Wow! I lived on the South Island for three months, 7 months ago and it's just such a ...(what do I say?) I just think it is especially "weird" to be a vegetarian or vegan in NZ. I guess the "Kiwi Way" may be changing, ay? Thanks to people like you, Kiwis can be introduced to another way of thinking and may see that although the nature of NZ is very peaceful and beautiful, the reality of the present situation with animals is NOT! Thank you, Jessica (from the States)

  7. Sorry you had to go through that experience... Unfortunately there are many people who are disconnected from any empathy or respect for Others. When I hear comments like the one that was directed at you I just judge the person as being very insecure... They are the brutes with the problem. Not the ones who hold life in high regard. Things will change in time... just stay the course. :)