Transitions by Esther Nelson

It’s been a rough couple of years.  Even though thousands of miles distanced us from the first-discovered Covid-19 outbreak (late 2019) in China, the virus soon traveled the world, doing what viruses do best—infect us, spread, morph, and then infect us, spread, morph all over again.  More than five million people worldwide, including close to one million Americans, have died as a result.  Shutdowns affected us economically and socially, making it difficult (sometimes impossible) to stay connected with family and friends.  

An effective vaccine arrived on the scene in early 2021, yet many Americans (half?) eligible for vaccination have refused the life-saving injections, citing a variety of reasons:  distrust of the vaccine—“It was developed too quickly;” invincibility—“I never get sick, never even had the flu;” and individualism—“Nobody gets to tell me what to do with my body.”  (Many of those “hands off my body” people, though, have no problem telling those of us who have a uterus what we can and cannot do with its contents.)

Continue reading “Transitions by Esther Nelson”

We Are All Earthings: Speciesism and Feminist Responsibility Toward Animals by Amy Levin

Amy2“earth’ling: n. One who inhabits the earth.” – Earthlings, 2006

“We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature, and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creatures through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion.” -Henry Beston, The Outermost House

I was passing out leaflets at Columbia University a couple weeks back, when a passerby who took a pamphlet on veganism and the cruel uses of animals turned back around to approach me. He said, “I am a vegetarian, so I understand not eating meat. But what is wrong with some of the uses of these animals? What is wrong with seeing eye dogs?”  A valid question indeed, and one I had to pause for a moment to answer. I mustered up something along the lines of the ways that many of the seeing eye dogs in the industry are unfairly treated or neglected. “Oh, he said.” He seemed content with an answer he could relate to – suffering. In my experience leafleting and participating in animal rights advocacy, I receive a number of questions, many of them wanting to know the same thing, what is WRONG with the horse-drawn carriages at Central Park? And each time I (and I presume many other activists) offer similar answers, the suffering answer. But there is another layer, beyond the quick, violent spark of imagination that connects physical pain with empathy. And it has to do with power and structural inequality, and the use of one group for the benefit of another. And it has everything to do with feminism. Continue reading “We Are All Earthings: Speciesism and Feminist Responsibility Toward Animals by Amy Levin”

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