While writing an essay on eruptions of national socialism and racism in the Norwegian black metal scene I came across a disturbing reminder that vegetarianism, environmentalism and animal activism are not inherently related to political orientation or ethical stance. To put it bluntly, vegans can be racists and/or neo-nazis too.
Before I go on with this post I want to make my own position clear: I am anti-racist as well as anti-speciesist, and just generally against anything that leads to cruelty, injustice, suffering, fear... I have a deep respect for all forms of life and although I have no magic answer for how we can all co-exist peacefully and happily I believe that if we all were aware of and cared about how our attitudes and actions (or inaction) impact others we would be moving in the right direction.
In the spirit of this project of awareness and concern I decided to do a few web searches to see what comes up when I try to combine vegetarian, veganism and animal rights with human rights or anti-racism as search terms. Here's a sprinkling of what I found, which wasn't nearly as much as I had hoped. This issue begs further investigation.
From the Vegetarian Resource Group: How is Animal Rights Related to Human Rights?
Sistah Vegan: "Decolonizing our diets" and more on the intersection of race, gender, class and veganism from a black female perspective
Triangle Vegetarian Society: vegetarianism, ethics, social justice
Roots of Compassion: activists against abuse, exploitation and oppression in human-animal relations but also sexism, racism, capitalism and hierarchy in general
LA Indymedia.org: Feature categories include Animal Rights, [Anti-]Racism, Environment
David Alan Nibert: Animal Rights/Human Rights: Entanglements of Oppression and Liberation [book]
University of Toronto Coalition for Animal Rights and the Environment (CARE): Factory Farming and Human Rights