Friday, April 19, 2019

Vegan Rights in Prison (on the denial of vegan food to a vegan animal rights activist in a Western Australian prison)

This kind of abuse by the state, and its punitive arms, that targets and oppresses those who practise ethical abstention from meat-eating, is of the same order as a long history of oppressions against difference. Unless all of us, no matter what attitudes held toward veganism, stand up for people’s rights to be fed and clothed in a manner that accords with their deep-held beliefs — such as people who object to the usage and exploitation of animals — it is akin to disrespecting different cultural practice or religious belief. It is different, and it is the same. To leave someone to starve because they refuse to eat meat, or foods affected by meat, is a denial of life rights, and will one day be seen as the extreme persecution it is. We stand by this peaceful protester’s rights of choice, and whatever someone’s perceived crimes are, to deny them their rights of conscience is to deny them their humanity. If prisons and authorities treat people like this, it’s on a continuum with how animals are treated. Such deliberate deprivation is hate on a level that all should condemn, whatever their beliefs.

And as for the far-right West Australian newspaper and its aggressive and provocative coverage of the issue — the use of ‘notorious’ and ‘vegan’ in the same article speaks of their agenda of exploitation, violence and oppression.

Here are some links on approaches to the rights of vegans in prison in the UK; the second is a general page at the UK Vegan Society which includes a link to their booklet on providing vegan food for both prisoners and staff.

John Kinsella

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