Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Everyday Vegan Racism (and Sizism): PETA Calls Meat-Eaters Fat Pigs

Yeah, you read that right.  PETA is degrading pigs to insult overweight people in a new blog post entitled, "PETA Warns Baton Rouge: 'You Are What You Eat'."  Speciesism and fat-shaming all in one.  Great stuff.  Oh, but wait, there's more:  Sexism, classism, disableism, and racism, too!

PETA blogger writes:
Vegans weigh an average of 18 percent less than meat-eaters, and they are less prone to heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. I'd call that a good reason for Louisianans to cry "wee, wee, wee" all the way to the produce aisle.
This is a great example of how not to conduct advocacy.

1. Many vegans weigh less, but almost a third do not.  What about fat vegans, PETA? Are they disgusting pigs, too?

2. Apparently the only good people are the super thin, sexualized women they prostitute in their campaigning.

3. The only pigs that overeat to the point of gluttony are those pigs who have been genetically altered by modern agricultural practices.  The intention is to create an endless appetite to get them up to market weight as fast as possible.  Surely, PETA must be aware of this?  Even if pigs were naturally gluttonous, who are we to mock pigs for that?  Aren't we supposed to be working to recognize pig personhood?  To end pig oppression?  I also find "wee wee wee" infantilizing . . . but, I'll choose my battles.

4.  Louisiana is marked by extreme poverty and has a high population of people of color who are still reeling from a legacy of slavery and continuing discrimination (and continuing slavery as well, actually. Louisiana is the world's prison capital, with one in 14 men of color behind bars laboring for free).  Poking fun at Louisiana's weight problem is poking fun at poor people and people of color.  These are people who are suffering under institutionalized violence.  These are people who do not have access to the healthy lifestyles that privileged middle-class white people do, like those folks who dominate the Nonhuman Animal rights movement.  Baton Rouge ranks #4 in concentrated poverty, and ranks second to last in regards to children born prematurely and living in poverty.  Baton Rouge is plagued with food deserts and a substandard public transit system.  As many as 100,000 Baton Rouge citizens live in a food desert.  It's not a matter of simply eating healthier, it's a matter of having access to healthier options in the first place.

5.  Knowing that Baton Rouge has such a high population of people of color and has a legacy of slavery, animalizing residents is especially problematic.  Animalizing slaves and their descendants was a means of maintaining white superiority and justifying institutionalized discrimination.

6. Life threatening diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer kill.  They cause immense suffering for the people who live and die with them, and immense suffering to their friends and families.  I don't find PETA's jab at serious disease cute or funny.