#30 Veganism Needs To Be Intersectional

Photo by Jinen Shah on Unsplash

Veganism is not here to change the world. It has always been here, perhaps as long as humans have existed. It is always been here as just one lens to equality, it’s not the only lens.

– ep. 30

Veganism has sky-rocketed globally in the past few years, as a result of our collective evolution into more eco-conscious beings. Although, as we explore the belief more, major flaws begin to arise in terms of our understanding of the philosophy and how its roots of intersectionality and non-western, culturally rich history is being erased as quickly as the belief is gaining popularity. 

What we are now seeing is the belief gradually becoming a radical ideology, perpetuated by the white, privileged, hipster image of an ideal vegan, that favours animal rights and livelihoods over human ones. Despite veganism blossoming from the belief of equality for all walks of life, it has become, yet again, a breeding ground for white saviourism that fails to acknowledge the colonial origins of unethical farming practices and instead sanctions indigenous communities for their “non-vegan” ways that not only are an integral part of their culture but are also not environmentally or ecologically damaging.

This episode aims to redefine veganism by emphasising on the importance of intersectionality through decolonising the philosophy, and reconnecting it back to it’s non-colonial roots, as a way to say that all lives really do matter, human and non-human.

Episode Structure:

  • Veganism statistics from The Vegan Society
  • Distinguishing the difference between plant-based diets and veganism and how understanding the difference is a key step in correctly defining the belief
  • Defining veganism as a philosophy rather than an ideology, giving Jordi Casamitjana’s case as a key example where the tribunal court ruled ethical veganism to be legally protected
  • Looking at intersectionality under two umbrella sections: sustainability and ethics
  • Need for vegans to pay a close attention to the process in which vegan food and fresh produce is manufactured/farmed, especially in terms of the carbon footprint of food items
  • Major emphasis on the need to decolonise veganism as a way to make the belief as ethical as possible
  • My own experiences of white veganism and inability to detect the issue
  • Discussing two key problems with white veganism:
  • 1. White veganism is colour blind (vegan meals being catered to white needs, veganism originating before colonialism, tendency for POCs to be vegan compared to white people, creating a climate of hostility and discrimination by keeping ethnic minority needs/wants out the picture)
  • 2. White veganism disregards human suffering (issues with white saviourism and the urge of white vegans to reprimand those that engage with the meat/dairy industry despite knowing its colonial past, inaccurate sanctions on indigenous non-vegan farmers/communities by large-scale conservation organisations compelled to do so by the white vegan movement, disregard by white vegans of infringement of worker rights that farm popular vegan produce)
  • Emphasis on the need for veganism to remain a philosophy instead of an ideology that’s supposed to change humanity for the “good” and for inclusivity for a belief that was never colonial in the first place


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