Leil-Zahra Mortada

making noise, and more noise

Animal Dissidence on Adha

While I mourn a dead comrade, and as I am worried sick for loved ones in jail; and yes, there are people dying, and there is war, and there is poverty, and occupation, and and… .there is also the very essence of human repression and exploitation of the planet and its species. Unbelievable crimes committed in the name of “food”, and “art”, and “science”, and “culture”, and religion, and tradition. Unimaginable suffering inflicted and absolute disregard for life around us. El-Adha is one of those days when animals are slaughtered en masse. Every year many speak against this, and as every year many (including friends) ridicule this and joke about this massacre in the most offensive of ways.

Fighting for a better wold and against injustices cannot be partial. Our future is linked to the future of the planet; and believe it or not, to the future of the animals that live with us on it. Who we are is shaped by how we live; and the chain of repression includes animals. Fighting against cruelty to animals does not undermine our fight for justice or freedom, on the contrary, it is an integral part of it. Fighting animal slavery does not divert attention from the suffering of humans, on the contrary, it is at the very heart of it. The meat and dairy industries, and the excessive mass-production and obsessed consumption, are responsible for atrocities to the planet, to food sovereignty, to the environment, to the livelihood of farmers and peasants, to workers’ rights and the ecological system.. etc..etc. A long list of crimes that intersect with and are totally in line with our struggles. Feel free to make your choices about supporting these industries or not, about eating meat or not, but do not, in the name of our fight for justice, undermine the fight against this grave injustice.

On this day, I’d like to invoke the spirit of the anarchist rebel Louise Michel, who even on the burning barricades was taking care of animals despite her comrades’ disapproval. Louise tied links between the subjugation of animals and the subjugation of humans writing that “the more ferocious a man is toward animals, the more that man cringes before the people who dominate him.” She also wrote that “as far back as I can remember, the origin of my revolt against the powerful was my horror at the tortures inflicted on animals. I used to wish animals could get revenge, that the dog could bite the man who was mercilessly beating him, that the horse bleeding under the whip could throw off the man tormenting him.” A hierarchy of exploitation and a cycle of violence that is enforced as an inherent behavior and a sacred local culture. There is nothing sacred about mass-killing and all the exploitation and torture that comes before it, and if there is, it should be challenged.

Of course the issue of the killing of animals on Adha was used in racist and Islamophobic attacks, and I am aware that the fight against cruelty to animals can be filled with colonialist stigma and white supremacist discourses. But it is our role to challenge these discourses and attack them while staying true to our politics in refusing the injustice that is aggravated on this particular holiday.

It is certainly not only about what happens on Adha, meat markets are working year round and are equally outrageous. Adha is a good day to discuss meat production as a whole, and its impact on our economies, environment, and our social psychology – the relation between meat and an image of wealth, economic class, and power – especially on days like Adha.

One can be vegetarian/vegan or not, it is your choice, the way we all have our contradictions. But do not justify this, especially not in the name of the fight for justice dissing it as a trivial cause. This carries grave disrespect to the long history in the fight of animal liberation movements. Listen to the debate before taking it so lightly. It is not the fight against cruelty to animals that undermines our fight for freedom and justice; it is the opposite that does.

Happy Eid.

p.s. Please cut out the images of happy lambs on your greeting cards. It is a way too much judging what you do to them.


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