The Animal Advocates group is promoting Meatless March at Smith College! Animal Advocates aims to promote animal justice through a lens of intersectionality. The US movement for animal justice has faced criticism for being “white-washed.” Shelby Kim ‘18, who leads the Animal Advocates meetings in Helen Hills Hills Chapel, expressed this concern to the group at the general interest meeting last week. Smithies for animal justice understand that it can be hard to get behind a movement for animal rights while there are still unequal rights for people. How do we reconcile protesting hierarchical stratification of race and class with the exploitation of animals? Does talking about one invalidate the other? Can our social justice encompass other species?
The Animal Advocates group at Smith wants to cultivate these conversations among the student body, exploring categorical overlap between animal rights and human rights. For example, reproductive justice is a central topic of animal rights and human rights discourse. “Consumer culture is systemically exploitative”, says Julianne Borger ’21. The exploitation of both humans and animals is often perpetuated through similar tactics; exploring these intersections can give us a better grasp on how to combat injustices.
While some people approach plant-based living out of concern for the environment, their personal health, or in protest of exploitative consumerism, others do so from a place of compassion for animals. Animal Advocates encourage attending Cooking Up Compassion, a discourse-over-dinner event series spearheaded by Shailee Shah ’20. The next Cooking Up Compassion dinner will be February 26th in CC 204.
While the Animal Advocates are centering on a message of animal justice through intersectionality, Meatless March is a collaborative social justice effort. Smith Students for Food Justice and the Green Team are also sponsors of the challenge, supported by the Center for Religious and Spiritual Life. Activism looks different for everyone; for some, it’s switching to a plant-based lifestyle. If this effort piques your curiosity, Meatless March can make your approach to learning fun! On the agenda for Meatless March are student-led cooking workshops, eco-friendly crafts, movie nights, guest speakers, dinner discussions, and trips to local animal shelters.
To learn about how animal justice may enhance other areas of your activism and self-care, join the Animal Advocates group in the Bodman Lounge at Helen Hills Hills Chapel on Thursdays from 8:30pm-9:30pm.