Condemning Barbaric Traditions Is Not Racist!

Neoliberals use “racism” as a cudgel against all who disagree with any of their positions. To them, the ultimate epithet to hurl at an opponent is “racist!’ They use is against the entire right (often accurately) and against most on the political left, (rarely accurately). Their litmus test for piety is political correctness, and the penultimate sin is to appear politically incorrect. In their warped worldview neoliberals place cultures and barbaric traditions above all other concerns. Doing so validates their imagined holier-than-thou superiority.

                                                                                                                                                  – Roland Vincent



by Marcia Mueller

The neoliberals did invent a really effective weapon to bully and silence opponents. Political correctness works for several reasons. Calling people the usual epithets—racist, bigot, xenophobe—is about as bad as tagging them as pedophiles. So most people want to avoid being targets.

Political correctness is also a great weapon for the witless. The PC gang turn their names into slogans for protest chants and signs. They parrot them in interviews. They toss their epithets like verbal grenades and run. And they seldom feel called upon to prove their point as they bask in their self-righteousness.

The political correctness warfare has worked in the social and political arena for human issues. It has also infected animal advocacy, but PC animal activists run into special problems, appearing logically inconsistent and hypocritical.

For example an activist may have no trouble condemning the hunting and trapping of wolves, coyotes, and other animals as the work of “ignorant white trash,” and “junk,” and they refer to rodeos as being cruel. Fair enough! That is called freedom of speech. No one who cares about animals should disagree.

But when one activist calls another “racist” for condemning a particular rodeo event, charro horse tripping, because the event originated in Mexico, that is a problem of logic. Is it somehow cruel to kill a calf by roping but okay to kill a horse through charro tripping? The first event is an American tradition and the other began in Mexico, but both rodeo events result in injured and dead animals. Similarly, one activist calls complaints of halal slaughter “racist,” although professing to hate animal cruelty. Does the cow whose throat is slit in ritual slaughter suffer less than one killed in the equally violent nonritual slaughter? Is her death somehow more meritorious? Does race and/or ethnicity justify cruelty?

Condemning animal cruelty in one group while condoning or excusing it in others because of cultural traditions or ethnicity is inconsistent. The focus should be on the abuse, not the racial or ethnic identity of the abuser. All people in all cultures and at all times have been guilty of torturing animals in one form or another. It continues today, throughout the USA and throughout the world: Fox hunting in England, coyote and squirrel killing contests in America, bullfighting in Spain, Mexico, and South America, vivisection in multiple countries, wildlife poaching of megafauna in Africa, boiling cats and dogs alive in China. None of the above abuses should be selectively excused.

Animal rights activists must focus on fighting ALL the abuses EQUALLY. Culture and tradition are not the same as race and ethnicity. Condemning cruel traditions is not racism or bigotry. It is the work of the true anti-speciesist and real animal activist.




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15 thoughts on “Condemning Barbaric Traditions Is Not Racist!

  1. Great discussion going on. No, there is not a lot of direction action going on here, partly due to indifference, partly to the legal and social ramifications. In an earlier blog I mentioned the woman in Canada, working with Toronto Pig Save, who put water bottle through an opening in a transport truck to give a thirty, overheated pig a drink. Think about it—that was very likely the only act of kindness the pig would ever know on this earth. And it occurred in the short interval between his hell on the factory farm and his upcoming hell in the slaughterhouse. For her act of compassion, the woman went to jail, as authorities crack down on activists.

    And no, Geoff, we unfortunately haven’t seen people here stopping trucks of victims on their way to death. But consider this—PETA wanted to set up memorials at the site of transport truck accidents where animals were killed. The response was hugely negative. Permission was refused, and commenters ridiculed and denounced the very idea of commemorating the death of chickens, turkeys, or pigs, as offensive.

    So between the legal ramifications of direct action, as well as the negative social responses, people may not be committed enough to help. It is easier to rail against the deaths of Cecil and Harambe in comments sections than it is to act.

    Every country and every group is guilty of some kind of animal abuse. Often the abuse gets attention because it is particularly horrific or involves many animals. But all countries have citizens and all groups have members who are compassionate and trying to help. That is the part we have to remember.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with all of you, though I haven’t come across such charges in the course of my animal liberation activism here in northern Mexico. What I find exasperating are comments, mostly from US based activists, assuming that all members of certain nationalities or ethnic groups are on board with the abuse of animals, in particular, those forms that certain countries, like China and Mexico, are most associated with. Expressions of surprise that a Mexican or a Muslim is vegan or that someone from China can be so adamantly in opposition to the butchering of dogs and cats that large groups of Chinese liberators will routinely converge on trucks delivering cats and dogs to gruesome deaths never fail to roll these eyeballs. There are plenty of intrepid vegan animal liberators here in Mexico. One friend, Haydée Alfaro, to name one, works with her group or alone in a region that is dangerous to green activists. US and British activists face jail time or occasional tragic accidents, but in Mexico and Central America, our colleagues — like Berta Cáceres and Isidro Baldenegro — are frequently murdered and their respective authorities take little interest in bringing their killers to justice or in creating a safer atmosphere for peaceful dissidents. Haydée operates in an atmosphere that is rife with organized crime and corruption. She has taken on the powerful and the infamous, such as Rosa Verduzco (look her up), and has risked her life by going out into the night to “steal” dogs living in abusive conditions and found loving homes for them. Yet, this soft spoken and self-deprecating woman never engages in the chest thumping, tattooing, and online posting of prominent US activists (after a single instance of direct action, mind you). When I informed her that she more than qualified for an ALF tattoo, I could imagine her blushing at the very thought — if the tone of her voice was any indication. She also speaks on television, teaches veganism in public schools, and strips naked on the streets with her group in anti-bullfighting demonstrations. Yes, here in Mexico, vegans don’t have the luxury of creating specialist groups. They have to have a hand in everything at once.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Very interesting post. A true animal rights advocate is totally devoid of xenophobia or racism. The only thing that matters is a person’s commitment, or lack thereof, to defending non-human animals from abuse. When I hear about Chinese activists surrounding and immobilizing trucks carrying dogs to slaughter, in a society notoriously unsympathetic to dissenters or lawbreakers, what does that say about the self-righteous, timid, and oh-so-comfortable ARAs in this country who shy away from or openly disparage direct action to save animals? Have you ever heard about a truck carrying cattle or chickens to slaughter disabled or forced off the road by ARAs in this country?? Race, color, ethnicity, creed or gender should count for nothing if an individual respects and defends the rights of animals. They all deserve to be treated as beloved brothers and sisters. A community of equals, apart and transcendent over the routine squalor of humankind. And anyone who argues otherwise is not sincere in their commitment to animal rights..

      Liked by 2 people

      • Great discussion going on. No, there is not a lot of direct action going on here, partly due to indifference, partly to fear from legal and social consequences. In an earlier blog I mentioned the woman in Canada, working with Toronto Pig Save. She put a water bottle through an opening in a transport truck to give a thirsty, overheated pig a drink. Think about it–that was very likely the only act of kindness the pig ever knew. And it happened in the interim between his hell on a factory farm and the hell of the slaughterhouse. For her act of compassion, that woman went to jail. And, no, we haven’t seen activists here stopping trucks of victims (chickens or other animals) stopped. But consider this–PETA wanted to put up memorials at the site accidents where animals were killed in transport accidents. The reaction was largely very negative. Permission was refused and most commenters thought such a suggestion was either ridicelous or offensive to human beings. So between the legal ramifications of activism, such as the AETA, and the negative social response, most people may not be commited enough to help. The responses to Cecil and Harambe show people are less tolerant to animal abuse. But here in America we have a way to go when it comes to translating comments into action, at least publicly. No country, no group is free of guilt. But they all have those who try to help.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Hi I read a lot of news about animal cruelty and the activists in areas where cruelty to animals is a way of life. I know what you are saying. These activists are self-less individuals who routinely risk their lives to save as many animals as they can. However, on the other side is the fact that these individuals are so few that, at least for now, aside from the lives of animals they save they do not make any difference in their societies. We see a culture with the dominant characteristics of the majority, that is normal.


    • Thank you for that great information. You’re right. We often hear more about the abuse going on in various countries than about those who are fighting it, often because those activists, such as those good people you described, are working quietly and without videos on YouTube to document their efforts. On the other hand, videos of slaughterhouse abuses get more attention because those abuses involve more animals and more violence on a more consistent basis than many other cruelties. Such videos have been documented by Mercy For Animals, Compassion Over Killing, and Animal Equality in American and Mexico and Canada. Similar organizations have described the same treatment of farm animals in the UK and other countries. When the cruelty involves dogs and cats in China, it gets the attention of pet owners around the world who do not care so much about cows and pigs..

      So it would be good if, along with the horror stories, there would be more attention to the humane work (when it would be safe for the activists to make it known). Yes, there are people stopping the trucks bearing dogs to slaughter in China. Good news! Some of the workers who abused bears in bile farms have been trained to care for those bears as the farms have been turned into sanctuaries. Good news! Huge protests have occurred in Spain against the laws to maintain bullfighting. Good news! In Istanbul, Turkey, Imam Mustafa Efe has opened his mosque the street cats of the city, who are seen snoozing among the worshippers. Good news!

      Part of the problem is that the bad news often outweighs the good in that it is more spectacular in its cruelty or in the numbers of animals involved. In the USA and some other countries there are laws against at least some forms of animal abuse, although the enforcement of those laws leaves much to be desired. Examples are certainly easily found in the slaughterhouses of this country, in the feed lots that prepare the animals for their death, and in the transport business, where the USDA and local authorities are virtually useless. Animals’ Angels has a huge amount of documentation of abuses in the transport business for horses going to Mexico and Canada and for farm animals here. Most of their complaints go unanswered. Downed animals die without help. Crippled, sick, and old animals are forced onto trucks for their miserable last journey. Some give horses give birth, but the foals are often trampled to death before the trucks arrive at their destination. This country has much to answer for, as does every other country in one way or another.

      Whoever is guilty of the abuses deserves condemnation. Whoever is helping the victims deserves praise.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree. People may say animals should not be harmed, but mention a death sentence for poachers and the animal sympathizers become apoplectic.

    Yes, I read about the elephant too. So sad! Until we get serious, more of them will die.

    This reminds me of my hero, Dian Fossey. She fought so hard to save the gorillas she studied, even when she was sick or injured herself. One of the things she did was consistently fight poachers Some gorillas managed to free themselves from snare traps but often died later from infection and gangrene. The poachers were after gorillas (and other animals) for bushmeat. But they also wanted gorilla body parts (head and hands) for tourist souvenirs. Dian’s favorite, Digit, was speared to death and was found missing those body parts. Poachers would kill whole gorilla families to obtain babies for zoos, although those babies never grew up and perished in foreign lands.

    She went after the poachers with every means she could think of (including putting on a Halloween costume and scaring the hell out of them) and often won.

    After Fossey was murdered, a professor here in America said she had it coming because she put the welfare of the gorillas above that of humans. We haven’t progressed very far since her death in 1985.

    She is buried in Karisoke, next to Digit and others she knew and tried to help. Her headstone reads “No one loved gorillas more.” A great and well-deserved tribute.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Agree absolutely. But who specifically are the people claiming that censure of such examples of ethnically-inspired animal abuse are “racist.” I’ve heard this general charge made before but without any specifics. I would really like to know their names and stations so that I could hurl opprobrium and personal insults at them. Any such fools need to be publicly named and forever after shunned.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Geoff,

      I can give specific examples of my own. For example, On March 9, 2016, Roland posted an article I wrote on the cruelty of halal slaughter. On March 11, 2016, Roland posted an article I wrote on the cruelty of charro rodeo horse tripping. On March 10, 2016, Roland posted a blog called “How Donald Trump Could Save Animal Rights.”

      In a comment made on March 15, 2016, in response to the Trump article, I was accused of promoting hate and bigotry of Muslims and Mexicans in my previous articles, although I wrote I merely condemned the abuse of animals and did not resort to racial/ethnic epithets in either of them. This is not the only example of overblown political correctness I have gotten. There are other instances on the Internet, not necessarily addressed to me, of conflating race/ethnicity with cultural traditions, resulting in accusations of racism.

      If we have to excuse or condone animal cruelty unless it is committed by good old boy American hunters, then the animals will never get a break.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I agree with you. These days, humans’ right to do anything in the name of ‘culture’ has become so politically and unfairly inflated with false value that you can’t say anything to anyone doing the worst cruelty. It is the same thing with over population. In all the poorest areas of the world, over population is like a plague, but god forbid if anyone suggested anything to be done to stop it. OMG all hell breaks loose and you get called all the usual labels, fascist racist Nazi to bigot …

        Liked by 2 people

      • Any “animal rights advocate” who plays the race card to excuse animal abuse in any form, anywhere, is not an animal rights advocate. They are either self-delusional or an outright fraud posing as a friend to animals. Either way, they are infected with the same murderous anthropocentrist mindset that always “puts people first” and facilitates the worst kind of behavior. Animal rights has scant chance of progress with “friends” like these.
        To distinguish myself from their brand of hypocrisy, I’d offer the following example which will probably induce a stroke in the politically correct. It’s just been reported that a 50 year old tusker elephant was killed for his ivory by poachers in Tsavo National Park using poisoned arrows and that the poachers have been apprehended. Sheldrick has graphically described the intense suffering caused by such poisonings in her book “Orphans of Tsavo”. Were it within my power I’d decree that the tribal village these poachers originated from be wiped off the map – every man, woman and child; a Lidice on the savanna. Do this two or three times in any country infested with poachers and the poaching problem would disappear overnight. Yes, one elephant is to me worth several thousand people. And before the politically correct can start sputtering about “racism”, I’d advocate the same approach for white people in Montana or Wyoming.

        Liked by 3 people

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