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Ethics & Justice


We all know what racism and sexism are, but what exactly is speciesism ?


Just like racism or sexism, speciesism is rooted in the same hierarchical mindset: the idea that some lives are inferior than others because of arbitrary criterias such as race, gender, or species, which is the root cause of all oppression, and the root cause of some of the biggest crimes against Humanity, especially the crimes against African people throughout History, considered inferiors by their oppressors for centuries.

In reality, whether we are talking about white supremacy, male supremacy or human supremacy, in the end we are talking about the fight against the systemic oppression of a group of individuals who are denied their right to live and right to be truly free, through political, economical and institutional means.


Simply put, we are talking about the fight against the belief that one race, one gender or one species, should have the right to dominate, control, exploit, humiliate, abuse and murder another with impunity.

Ultimately all forms of oppressions are connected, however justice must be blind to colour, gender but also species in order to be morally consistent. After all can we really claim to be against oppression while supporting one ?

Of course not, otherwise it would be a contradiction, just like we cannot pick & choose who to oppress against, since that's the epitome of oppression. That is precisely what understood Black liberation activist Dick Gregory, who became vegan in the 60's following Martin Luther King's non-violence principles, and who once said "because I am a civil rights activist, I am also an animal rights activist. Animals and humans suffer and die alike. Violence causes the same pain, the same spilling of blood, the same stench of death, the same arrogant, cruel and vicious taking of life. We shouldn't be a part of it."

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So what exactly is veganism ?

Contrary to popular believes, veganism is not a diet, or a new movement from the West. It is a social justice movement, against the systemic and institutional oppression of non-human animals, and an ethical standpoint and lifestyle that aims to reject, as far as possible and practicable, all forms of unnecessary harm, abuse, pain and suffering against non-human animals regardless of their species, which is rooted in African ancestral spirituality and peaceful values.

In addition, it is also about rejecting the status of non-human animals as commodities, objects or properties owned and trade by humans, and putting an end to their exploitation in food, research, fashion, entertainment, or any other area where they have no rights to live their full life or to be free. 

For instance that is the reason why Martin Luther King’s widow, Coretta King, went vegan after her son, Dexter Scott King, convinced her that going vegan was the next logical step to living a non-violent lifestyle, which was Dr King’s philosophy.


Other notable mention includes Gandhi, Rosa ParksAngela Davis or Alice Walker, who were not eating animal flesh either for the same reasons, as well as many non-western cultures for centuries such as Rastafarians, Buddhists, Hindus and many African cultures who mainly eat a plant-based diet, which in addition is healthier, more affordable (rice, beans, potatoes, corn, plantains, lentils etc) and therefore accessible to everyone, unlike animal products, which are still a luxury for many.


But isn't eating animals part of the African culture ?

Nigerian poet and writer Chinua Achebe once said "Until the lions have their own historians, the History of the hunt will always glorify the hunter".


When we look at the African history, eating animals only became a regularly part of the African diet when it was imposed on African people by slave owners and colonisers, who used food as a way to make them forget about their cultures and identities. Before this, African people were mainly eating animal flesh for survival reasons, when there were not enough plants available. 


There was a real respect for non-human animals, hence why for example in Ancient Egypt, the Pharaoh Akhenaton banned animal sacrifices, as a form of respect toward them.

But what about African communities who rely on animals ?

While consuming animals is occasionally a necessity for a minority of African people in order to survive in rural areas, it is still important to point out that consuming animals is not essential for the survival of the vast majority of African people and Afro descendants who wouldn't consume animals if they didn't like the way they taste.


Yet, while veganism is on the rise in Africa, factory farming is growing exponentially to meet the demand of the growing African population. In these farms directly inspired by the West, and from which most animal products now come from, the environment and workers rights are often ignored, causing harm to local communities, and especially animals, who only see the daylight on their way to the slaughterhouse, who are locked up in tiny cages, mutilated, and treated like commodities, in the same way or worst than African oppressors used to treat African people.

The problem is that humans have victimised these farmed animals to such a degree that they are not even considered victims, simply because they are not elephants, giraffe, lions or human beings. However it is important to learn from History and remember that what is considered normal & legal today is not necessarily moral

And what about small local farms instead then ?

Contrary to popular believes, small local farms are not a solution for Africa either, since by being small, they cannot feed a growing population, and will require to waste even more land to feed even more animals. Instead of wasting all this land to feed animals and eat them, we could grow tasty, healthy, sustainable and affordable plant-based food directly for all African people and therefore fight hunger, support & empower African farmers and develop food sovereignty in Africa.


Last but not least, consuming animals is not a necessity for most African people, and while having better animal welfare standards, smaller farms are still rooted by the hierarchical supremacist mindset that some lives matter less than others, and therefore should be denied their right to live and to be free.


Again justice must be blind from race and gender, but also from species in order to be morally consistent, which is the core of African ancestral values. Ultimately like Afro feminist and social justice activist Alice Walker once said: "animals were not made for humans, any more than Black people were made for whites, or women for men"


Society's hierachical worldview: Not the way forward

Ultimately, following the Western model by increasing factory farms or small local farms cannot be the way forward for Africa. Going back to our African vegan roots is by far the most logical way forward from both an environmental and health perspective, but also from an ethical point of view if we claim to be aligned with our compassionate, peaceful and panafricanism values.

In addition it is a great way to connect with our African heritage, cultures & traditions, without compromising on taste or pleasure. 

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