Trigger warning for rape and animal abuse mentions
I started this project with a desire to educate the world that being a feminist needed to include not just women (and other genders), but non-human animals. The entire animal industry (milk, meat, eggs, fish) is based on the exploitation of the female reproductive system. Female animals are forced into a never ending cycle of artificial insemination, impregnation, childbirth, use of her milk or eggs, and separation from her child. This happens over and over and over again, until she can no longer give birth or produce milk. At which point she is not sent to a pasture to live out the rest of her life, no, she is sent to slaughter.
Yes, all animals, male and female, are forced through physical trauma, it is the female animals that endure the post pain–both physical and emotional. Most dairy consumers I have interacted with insist that cows “need to be milked.” But cows, like other species with mammary glands, do not produce milk until they become pregnant. Dairy cows are forcefully impregnated on what many in the industry call a “rape rack.” Once the cow gives birth, her calf is taken away from her–most likely to become veal. The mother cow morns her calf, crying out in despair. At this point, she is milked until she cannot be milked anymore, and then she is impregnated again. This is not a “need to be milked,” it is being “forced to have a baby so that she can produce milk that will hurt her if it isn’t released from her udders.”
This abuse forced on cows, and other non-human animals, is the main reason I believe feminists should be vegan. I am not the only one that thinks this way. For my project, I interviewed 25 vegans who also identify with feminism. I asked them a series of questions including asking them what the correlation between veganism and feminism is, and if they think feminists should be vegan. I also asked each interviewee for their favorite vegan recipe. And thus, the feminist vegan cookbook was born. It starts with definitions of feminism and veganism, and continues into interviews and recipes.
I had a lot of fun with this project. Everyone was very articulate with their responses, and responded within a timely manner. I was surprised at how many people agreed to an interview! I had planned on asking 12 people to participate, expecting only five people to actually follow through. People were so excited to help me out. One of my favorite interviews was my friend Angela. She’s been vegan for about 3 years, and feminist for about the same amount of time. When I asked her if she sees a correlation between feminism and veganism, this was her response:
“I think it comes down to society collectively losing the ability to empathize with a certain category of being (women, nonhuman animals) because there are false hierarchies in place. these hierarchies place men above women and humans above animals. the myth is that men are entitled to women, its right to control us because they are superior. humans are entitled to animals, its right to control them because we are superior. these ideas have both become further and further entrenched in our cultural story for thousands of years through many different types of propaganda. but these ideas are not working seamlessly in our world, more and more people are understanding the injustices that occur and speaking out against them.”
This response clearly outlines what I’ve been thinking about the issue as well. One of the goals of feminism is to stop the needless exploitation of women’s (and other genders’) bodies, yet feminists forget that animals are being exploited for their bodies too. Humans are not entitled to animals’ bodies no more than men are entitled to women’s.
This zine was really fulfilling to complete and I hope that people learn something from it. It is an important topic that should not be ignored. Through working on this project I realized how passionate I am about animal rights and feminism, separately and together. Before this project, I had thought activism was going out and protesting. But now, I realize that activism is creating awareness and encouraging change.
Also, you should try this recipe:
Natalia’s Fettuccine Alfredo
- 1lb fettuccine noodles (dried)
- 1 can coconut milk (or 1 and 1/2 cups)
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- dash of onion and garlic powder (optional)
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Cook fettuccine noodles according to package instructions. I always add a little extra olive oil and salt to keep noodles from sticking together.
- Blend remaining ingredients in blender, then pour over drained and cooked noodles. Cook on stove with medium heat until Alfredo sauce begins to thicken slightly.
- Serve hot!