Multiple people have posted signs that say, 'End the Animal Holocaust, Abolish Animal Slavery' and 'Animal Lives Matter', and they’ll call critics who don’t like what they’re saying 'speciesist.'
ANYA ZOLEDZIOWSKI: Several high-profile vegan influencers are facing criticisms for comparing the slaughtering of animals to the Holocaust and the meat and dairy industries to rape and slavery—feeding into mainstream veganism’s stereotype as a lifestyle choice for fit, rich white people.
One said, “animal lives matter,” while another was called out for doing blackface after she painted her face and skin black. Multiple have posted signs that say, “End the Animal Holocaust, Abolish Animal Slavery,” and they’ll call critics who don’t like what they’re saying “speciesist.”
“Anytime there is an attempt to equate the Holocaust with other events, it’s deeply offensive to me, as it is to many Jews and those survivors,” said Abraham Silverman, a 78-year-old Holocaust survivor and manager of public relations at a Canadian branch of B’nai Brith, a global Jewish human rights organization…
When veganism’s biggest stars use language deemed oppressive, it further isolates racialized people and religious minorities in the movement. “This creates a reality where people from oppressed communities don’t want to be involved in the vegan movement,” said Paula Meninato, a vegan Latina activist and artist based in Philadelphia.
It’s concerning, Meninato added, and undermines the fact that veganism actually has roots in racialized communities. Many Indigenous peoples have also spoken out against militant forms of veganism for perpetuating colonialism and failing to acknowledge the relationships Indigenous communities have to land and animals…
Australian animal rights activist James Aspey, 34, has been vegan for more than eight years and is best known for going a full year without speaking to draw attention to his cause. He has given speeches internationally and boasts 254,000 followers on Instagram.
The first line of Aspey’s Instagram bio says, “Animal rights is an anti-Holocaust movement,” comparing the slaughter of animals to mass execution of persecuted people. Throughout his page you can easily find several posts referencing the Holocaust, slavery, rape—and a comment where he says “animal lives matter.”
Many posts are screenshots of his conversations and debates with people who disagree with his messaging. “Please tell me you’re vegan, because if you aren’t, you support the rape and slaughter of female earthlings and that is very NOT FEMINIST,” he says to a woman in one post.
In a statement to VICE World News, Aspey refuted the idea that his posts alienate people. “If people are so easily hurt that hearing a word can cause them significant trauma, I would suggest they have a lot of healing to do before they use the internet, which has violence and triggering words all over it,” Aspey said.
“The truth is, they aren’t actually hurt by hearing the word ‘Holocaust,’ they simply disagree that non-human Earthlings deserve to have their situation described using the same terminology that was used to describe human atrocities, and that is because they are speciesist.”
In some cases, when the behaviour is called out, the influencers double down on their posts or draw attention to critics by posting their exchanges, some public and some private, which can result in racialized and religious minority vegans getting trolled and doxed.
Aspey said Jewish people, feminists, and other marginalized groups should feel compelled to join the vegan movement because they understand what animals are going through. “Accurately describing the animals plight as a Holocaust should get Jewish people (and all people!) to realize how serious this matter is,” he said. SOURCE…