Monday, 15 November 2010

intersectionality 101: addressing racism and classism in animal rights activism (a talk)

As you may remember I went to the Gold Coast for a couple of days to present at the Animal Activists Forum. I presented, with Katrina Fox on intersectionality in animal rights. It was mostly a primer, a basic introduction to intersectionality. Going in, I assumed that it would all or mostly be new concepts for people, which is why I made it really basic and really casual, lots of chatty examples and things. No jokes, because I'm not very good at that sort of thing.

If you're interested, the text of my talk is up at The Scavenger: Addressing racism and classism in animal rights activism.

Overall I was quite happy with it. It was very condensed, as we only had thirty minutes between the two of us, so there were lots of leaps and gaps and so much covered, but still, I understand it's the first time this sort of topic has been brought up at the forum, and lots of talking came out of it, and I hope that it's a conversation that can filter through AR in Australia and keep moving, because I find that intersectionality is severely lacking in Australian AR.

7 comments:

Tahn said...

Love it! Well done!

vegetus said...

Nice piece. How did it go down at the conference? I thought I should mention some problems with your terms for animals in certain situations. Hope you don't mind.

"Farm animal" implies that an animal exists to be in a farm. However, the term "farmed animal" indicates an animal, who happens to be subjected to farming practices. This is more inclusive and points out the individual animals situations as many species can be farmed in different circumstances and are subjected to the same problems as traditional "farm animals" such as cows, pigs, chickens etc (This also applies to "lab animal")

"Pets" is also a term that is not so appropriate as it implies the animal exists solely for the benefit of humans. "Animal Companions" suggests there is a relationship between human and non-human. Some people prefer to use "pets" because they feel that a companionship cannot occur between humans and non-humans. I'm not sure if this is what you were aiming with with your article, though.

Cindy said...

No need for jokes, Steph! I reckon your words were thoughtful, accessible and they didn't come off as self-righteous. I hope they've generated lots of discussion.

steph said...

@Tahn thanks!

@vegetus thanks for pointing out the problems with some of my terms. I get how your point about farmed animals applies to animals in labs, but would you suggest using 'animals in labs' as a way to talk about it? 'labed animals' obviously doesn't work. I think my talk went down quite well, there were some people who came up afterwards who had clearly felt attacked but overall I think most people took it in pretty well.

@Cindy thanks! It seems to have generated some discussion, though I'm not sure of the thoughtfulness of the discussion going down in the comments on my post right now!

steph said...

@vegetus oh re: pets, with my article animal companions probably would have been the more appropriate term.

vegetus said...

@Steph re:lab animals I've usually seen it as "animals in laboratories" eg Animals in Laboratories Week and sometimes as "animals used in experimentation" which is a bit more long-winded.

I'm glad it went down well. What did the people who came up afterwards say, what were the issues raised? (If you don't mind sharing that is, feel free to email if you prefer)

Kate said...

Interesting talk. I know that Target have a policy on fair worker treatment through all suppliers, so that's why I hope that the products I buy from there are not sweatshop, but I guess how can I really know without going to the factory myself...