Is a vegan lifestyle really a “cruelty free” lifestyle? Why is it so easy to prioritize cruelty inflicted on animals over cruelty inflicted on brown people? Why can people list a whole litany of wrongs committed against animals by the food industry–but at the same time those people “never really thought” about what happens to the workers?Yes, that.
Should I consider these things while contemplating veganism? Should I mourn them?
Can I bring myself to say with a straight face that I no longer eat meat because I care about ending violence against animals? Can I say to the workers, to myself, that even animals are more important to me than they are, than I am? Can I continue my own people’s erasure? Can I continue mine?
How do I make eating vegan/vegetarian a political choice about liberation without making the sacrifice one set of beings make with their bodies more important than another set of beings?
I mean, there's no easy answers. There's no one product to boycott, or class of products to avoid that can save your soul and make you a perfect ethical consumer. Tomatoes and peppers and cucumbers are usually as tainted with suffering as meat. And meat is often as tainted with the suffering of humans as it is with animals.
And yet it's the suffering of animals that's so often given preference in these discussions.
I know I've said this before (in a slightly different context), but we in the West live off of the backs of most of the rest of the world. Pretty much everything you touch is laced with cruelty. Calling a vegan diet "Cruelty free" privileges the suffering of animals over the suffering of your fellow humans.