Perspectives both groups/movements can gain from each other about our overlap and practical ways we can all offer mutual support in achieving our campaign goals.
Some vegan perspectives might feel foreign to those who haven't before considered the emotional lives of animals, but under the right circumstance people can come to understand and sympathize e.g. a fellow volunteer at the domestic violence shelter who's vegan and you come to understand their passion and dedication is only furthered by this philosophy.
- 1 What do we mean by alliance?
- 2 Low Impact Lifestyle
- 3 Human Rights
- 3.1 Labor movement
- 3.2 Anti-Racism / Anti-Apartheid
- 3.3 Anti-Sexism / Civil rights
- 3.4 Disability Rights
- 3.5 Indigenous land rights / Investment
What do we mean by alliance?
At basic it's just an expression of approval with one another e.g. an anti-fracking camp has a bunch of signatures on it's website from local charities and business showing the extent to which the campaign aligns with popular local opinion.
More than that it's a commitment to joint co-operation, where volunteers will sometimes spend time helping out each others campaign.
So some animal shelters volunteers put extra work into taking in domestic violence victim's companion animals as a priority, volunteers at the domestic violence shelter help out at the animal sanctuary to say thanks and get to know each other better so they can form a closer working relationship.
With contentious alliances it could be the party for the animals in Denmark and the conservative pro-hunting party writing a bill together to subsidize turning over more farmland to wildlife habitat.
Low Impact Lifestyle
Advocate these individual actions:
- Buy vegan food from relatively cheap, efficient and ecological local food schemes.
- Buy vegan food staples with long shelf longevity and rare plant foods for your own impact and also to make it more efficient to produce, therefore cheaper for others.
- Buy vegan food reaching peak ripeness that has been over-stocked and you’re sure you can plan to use it in a meal that day or the next.
- Buy/sell second hand, recycled or ecological supporting items.
Help organize a veg box or field to street local food distribution network.
Petition shops to use better stocking and shelving practices.
Petition/donate/fundraise for land to be opened up for allotment clubs.
Advocate these individual actions:
- Give away/collect items for free to friends and on sites like freecycle, freeshops or really free markets.
- Compost or feed to animals the organic waste you can’t avoid and build a compost toilet.
- Forage and glean food on public paths or where there will be no perceptible difference to farmers (keep in mind safety advice written here).
- For the adventurous, go dumpster diving, table surf or prepare roadkill (keep in mind the safety advice written here).
Help organize a food not bombs stall for serving free delicious freegan food in public squares, gives a strong statement while inoffensively feeding food to the hungry, making for a perfect opportunity to advocate to the public.
Help organize a housing or workers co-op like a social center, hotel, shop or gym with ecological commitments and incentives for people to be vegan or freegan.
Help organize/donate/fundraise to restore shrub land for use again e.g. overgrown apple orchards and hazel coppices. As well as manage land to encourage wild edible plants, reintroduce animal species and maintain diverse forests that would encourage tourism and local artisan industry.
Talk to food sellers to put aside food they would otherwise throw away for yourself and others to collect on bin day.
Map foraging and gleaning locations, plus organize events to go out and for example help each other shake apple trees and catch in nets.
Guerrilla garden public spaces and abandon plots of land.
Petition farmers to sow seeds once a year, but not to till or spray pesticide at the edge of their fields, to allow wildlife corridors in hedgerows. Build a relationship by organizing with the farmer to glean fields that could not be sold that year or paying for the right to pick grown or wild food at the edges of the field by hand.
Labor movement perspectives
Against violent industry which traumatizes workers, where low income and immigrant communities are often pressed into being there to survive.
There's good reason for labor movements to also promote veganism because lower income people are hit the hardest as they struggle to weather economic shocks.
Despite products from unjustified animal slaughter and forced breeding/confinement being easy products to notice in the shopping isle and want to avoid, we of course shouldn't downplay the hard lives of farm workers in our advocacy and be humble about how much research we've been able to put into everything we buy.
An example of good farm worker advocacy is to lobby and vote representatives to overturn California’s “50-mile” rule that negatively impacts the education of children of farm workers. Donate or participate in school supply drives for the children of farm workers, as well as food drives. 1
Donate or work with animal charities which help working donkeys and horses which in turn helps their owners. For example the Palestinian Animal League has veterinarians give first aid, do research and help come up with community action plans.
In many vegans and environmentalists desire to insensitive more farmland being reverted into wildlife habitat, we can also take up the fight against current old growth deforestation and tailor our advocacy to the unsustainable rate which will leave less jobs in the industry in the future. Direct action campaigns can in some circumstances also reach out to workers to negotiate ground rules for the protest or so they're at least not surprised and worried.
Anti-Racism / Anti-Apartheid
Although the origins of many recipes in the black community of the Americas can be traced back to before slavery, as African, Native American, and European foodways have influenced it. Many of the foods used and associated with the cuisine originate from the limited rations given to slaves by their planters and masters. These were often not the healthiest of foods and simply had to be used in such a way to provide high amounts of calories to balance out spending long days working in the fields.
In the US city planning during and after slavery, through the influence of racist governors and racist hate groups served and serves to segregate black and other minority people. Lack of shops selling fresh or healthy foods within reasonable distances from where people live or work.
In many countries dairy is used as part of free and subsidized lunches, despite high percentages of the countries population being lactose intolerant. This means those immigrant communities who are most likely to need help are being served something that actively harms them and not being replaced with anything that would make up those lost calories and nutrients.
If our reasons for wanting to abolish animal agriculture is either to reduce sentient beings unjustified suffering or because we're morally oppose to the exploitation of other sentient beings then we should also seek to research and support human rights boycotts that align with our ethics.
Holocaust survivor Dr Alex Hershaft:
- There are a lot of similarities between the way the Nazis were killing our people and the way that we kill animals. For one thing, the identification of the victims by tattooing or branding their skin. For another, was the use of cattle cars to transport our people to the gas chambers, the crowded housing in wood crates. The deception and the hiding of the crime behind slaughterhouse walls or death camp walls.
- What do you say to the people that are offended by that comparison?
- Right, so we're not comparing victims here, obviously because I am a Jew; I am much more sensitive to the persecution of Jews. Because I am a human, I am more sensitive to the oppression of human beings. But because I am also concerned with the moral universe, I am also very concerned, with the oppression of all living beings, including sentient animals.
Educate about the unhealthy legacy of the slave diet. Promote modern healthy and ethical adaptations of food cultures.
Lobby for the renovation of village/town planning policies to end fresh food deserts. Support community shops & allotments that start up to increase accessibility. 2
Lobby your school board and state for healthy plant based meals. 3.
Advocate the boycott of Israeli goods, drawing attention to recently occupied settlements industries and water theft. Promote Palestinian goods and advocate against foreign gov subsidies and for sanctions to be put on Israel.
Anti-Sexism / Civil rights
Against violent industry which traumatizes workers who face an increased likelihood of abusing their partners and children.
Against entertainment which revels in the the brutality of two animals taken away from their natural habitat and tortured into having to fight for it's life.
Against advertisers commodifying women's bodies to advertise meat.
Many vegans take issue with the rape and specifically gendered exploitation of dairy cows who are forcibly inseminated on what farmers call “rape racks” and who cry out when they have their calves taken away. Both cows and hens are imprisoned so that their female bodies can be robbed of their milk and eggs.
Work to connect shelters for domestic violence, drug rehab and homelessness to centers who will foster a person's companion animals as a priority to limit the chances of that person refusing help.
Petition against the building of and for the closure of slaughterhouse's in your area.
Advocate against the farm industry using bestiality (rape) for their own sake:
- Each boar had his own little perversion the man had to do to get the boar turned on so he could collect the semen… He might have to hold the boar’s penis in exactly the right way that the boar liked, and he had to masturbate some of them in exactly the right way. There was one boar, he told me, who wanted to have his butt hole played with. “I have to stick my finger in his butt, he just really loves that,” he told me… he’s one of the best in the business. 4
Help rescue dangerous dog breeds and fighting cocks into a calm environment, to end the sport and demonstrate that it's our attitude towards animals that is hurting them and not essential to male animals nature or choice. 5
Advocate against the uncaring attitude that some men feel they need to display that contrasts them with how they see women e.g. beef burgers and steak are somehow manly.
Against vegan groups commodifying women's bodies to advertise their organizations:
- They’re using naked women not to raise awareness and stop animal exploitation, but to raise money and awareness about PETA. The “sex sells” tactic, I have argued, is indicative of the non-profit industrial complex, where compromised messages and fundraising are prioritized over actual social change. Really, PETA is ignoring this research even though it has been demonstrated that their tactics do not help Nonhuman Animals. They will continue objectifying women because it “grabs the headlines.” Can it be any clearer that this is not about social change effectiveness?
- Of course, while this study demonstrates that there is no effectiveness, there is also a huge body of research that demonstrates that the sexual objectification of women is directly linked to violence against women and the devaluation of women.
When meat eaters try to justify the killing of non-human animals they often reach for the idea that humans have some superior ability which entitles them to control the lives of those without that ability. How this intuition plays out in society has lead to disabled people working below minimum wage or the putting off of tax payers money towards accessible public amenities like bus stops with the right pavement height for wheelchair users.
In the same vein if a vegan person is the one bringing up the argument of you wouldn't treat marginal human cases like you would animals, there should be time spent acknowledging both the unique capabilities of non-human animals and the unique perspectives of disabled people that would improve our understanding of society. So as not to come to the end of a discussion solely focused on connecting two negative intuitions about disabled and animal rights.
Indigenous land rights / Investment
Ally your organization with and follow indigenous land rights struggles and be available to support. For example in small acts of resistance like a group of indigenous Tahltan people blockading a road to try to reverse over-hunting on their territory. Or in larger cases like the moment the Belo Monte Dam construction was proposed in Brazil which is set to cause huge devastation to the rainforest and reduce fish stocks upon which Indigenous in the area, including Kayapó, Arara, Juruna, Araweté, Xikrin, Asurini and Parakanã, depend for their survival. 67
Advocate for treaty rights to reject coal, oil or extreme energy extraction projects because they shouldn't be forced to bring further climate chaos or ecological destruction on themselves. 8
Advocate for investment in seed diversity; seed banks and rare food markets. Stave off soil erosion as opposed to climate change causing animal farming.
Offer workshops and resources to indigenous communities who want to protect their environment, for example in the case of industrialized fur farms which use toxic pollutants and disturbs the local ecology.