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“We have to wrap our heads around the modes of thinking that were designed precisely to ensure certain humans, animals, and other nonhuman life remain outside our moral and social communities. This is not a precious, academic, intellectual activity. This is absolutely necessary for real change.” – Syl Ko
We find ourselves in a moment of deep pain and outrage. Millions of people around the world are rising up, amidst a pandemic, to demand justice in the wake of yet another racist murder of a Black human being by the police. The scale of public outrage may be new, but the pain, suffering, and discrimination of Black Americans has been swept under the rug for centuries.
Our nation was built upon the exploitation of Black and Brown bodies and knowledge. White supremacy is woven into the fabric of our society, including our food system. This isn’t by chance. It isn’t by chance that the majority of people working dangerous and low paid jobs on farms and in slaughterhouses are people of color. The frameworks that allow us to exploit people of color in the food system are the same that allow us to exploit non human animals. Food justice is racial justice, and not until we address systemic racism will we be able to end factory farming. We simply can’t—we know that the structures that perpetuate factory farming are inextricably linked with those that perpetuate racist oppression and violence. To create meaningful change in our food system we must build an anti-racist movement.
Racism is ethically intolerable, socially debilitating, and it threatens the moral energies that are the foundation of the movement to end factory farming.
As we stand in solidarity with the Black community we’re also committed to ongoing learning, listening, and action to center anti-racism work in our policies, procedures, and strategies. Liberation must include all—not just some and we’re committed to building a more just, humane world.
We encourage everyone to take the time to learn about systemic racism in our food system and to read the work of people who are helping to make the movement to end animal oppression more anti-racist. We recommend the books Aphro-ism by Aph and Syl Ko, and Farming While Black by Leah Penniman as a place to begin. There are also many good articles from FERN, The Atlantic, Food Empowerment Project, The Guardian, and Duke University’s World Food Policy Center that illustrate the inherent interconnectedness between our work to end factory farming and anti-racism advocacy.
We also encourage you to donate to any of the following organizations working to eradicate racism in our food system.
HEAL Food Alliance – HEAL’s mission is to build our collective power to create food and farm systems that are healthy for our families, accessible and affordable for all communities, and fair to the hard-working people who grow, distribute, prepare, and serve our food — while protecting the air, water, and land we all depend on.
30,000 Acres – F.A.R.M.S is a legal non-profit, committed to assisting Black farmers and landowners retain land for future use of next generation farmer.
Planting Justice – Planting Justice is a grassroots organization with a mission to empower people impacted by mass incarceration and other social inequities with the skills and resources to cultivate food sovereignty, economic justice, and community healing.
Encompass – Encompass is working to make the farmed animal protection movement more effective by fostering racial diversity and inclusivity.
Soul Fire Farm – Soul Fire Farm is a BIPOC*-centered community farm committed to ending racism and injustice in the food system.
Together we can take steps to eradicate the thinking that created the systemic oppressions responsible for both racism and factory farming. Now is the time to take action. Change isn’t only possible, it’s happening.
*BIPOC = Black, Indigenous, People of Color
June 3, 2020