Tuesday, November 18, 2008

"Welcome to California Where Chickens Have More Rights Than Me"

As a queer vegan blogger I probably have a different perspective on this but I felt the need to rant. I wrote about the Black-Gay Blame Game and how it is wrong to single out African-Americans because the majority of that community voted for prop 8. We must understand that all the struggles for liberation have parallels but cannot be equated as each are unique in their own way.

Black people were enslaved, beaten, and subject to some of the most horrendous discrimination in this country. The queer civil rights movement cannot be compared to that movement because it is fundamentally different, there are parallels but equating that both are the same is doing a disservice to both movements. There are struggles blacks have dealt with that gays have not and vice versa.

Similarly this notion that proposition 2 passed (an animal protection bill) is somehow giving animals more rights than LGBT people is ridiculous and downright speciesist (involves assigning different values or rights to beings on the basis of their species membership).

People are holding signs at rallies saying "chickens can spread their wings, but gays can't marry." Six hens to a tiny battery cage where they cannot move, and are forcefully debeaked without pain killers, and excrete on one another is not on the same level with the marriage equality movement. The parallel is both movements strive to bring basic dignities and rights to all, but they are not on the same level playing field.



The routine procedures such as castration, debeaking, caging, force-feeding, and denial of basic natural practices for animals is far from humane, and no chickens do not have more rights than gay people. That is a ridiculous assertion, animals have no rights in our society. The federal law to protect animals even excludes animals raised for food consumption.

I am very much in favor of drawing parallels between struggles for liberation, after all we are all tied to the same goals of basic dignity for our families and livelihoods and we all face a similar oppressor each and every time. The time now is to understand the struggle for equality and to draw parallels but not to point fingers and denigrate one struggle over another.

15 comments:

Shannon said...

Very good point! Any time someone made that comparison, it just sounded ridiculous. And just as African-Americans should not be singled out even though a huge majority of them voted for Prop 8, the same should go for Mormons. You can't know how every Mormon voted and you certainly can't blame Mormons in other states who had nothing to do with the vote. It is best to stay away from boycotting or blaming people in a way the comes off as racist or bigoted.

Anonymous said...

I have felt, as I saw those "chickens won, we lost" signs at protests, that it seems to be another example of some of us queers focusing on being more clever than intelligent. I'd rather be intelligent about my struggle as a queer for equal rights (with other humans). Thanks for bringing this up.

PCEasy said...

This is just stupid. Of course the people who are holding up those signs don't really believe that chickens have more rights than people. I think they are trying to make a point.

Queers United said...

PCeasy - the point is offensive, you cannot equate horrendous conditions on factory farms with the struggle for gay marriage.

Tom Greene said...

Of course Prop 2 and Prop 8 are different-

And no chickens do not have more rights than gays.

However, it's interesting how a majority of people from California could see how terrible these conditions are for animals, yet still deny our community equal rights under the law.

I'm happy the chickens are treated better (I really am)- but how did the humane society get a majority of people from California to care for the welfare of chickens and we can't get enough people to care for our natural and God given rights?

Anonymous said...

Don't worry you at least have more rights than an unborn child, prop 4 did not pass and now kids, yes 14 year olds are kids, can abort there unborn child without parental notification or consent. Just be grateful you have life and the opportunity to choose to be gay the thousands of murdered babies never got that opportunity to choose what to do with their lives.

Queers United said...

Anonymous - I don't remember choosing to be gay, when did you choose to be straight? I also respect your position on prop 4 but I am personally, pro-choice, but know many gay people who are "pro-life".

Anonymous said...

Well Anonymous, considering that fetuses don't have brain stems and thus no possibility of the consciousness that we consider crucial for humanity, you can kindly frack off with the false equivalence, you under-educated disingenuous woman-hating hick.

I am also offended by the think of the chickens. I voted to give them more rights, because though they aren't human, they can feel pain, and because it is in our best interests to treat them humanely, because it's better for our health down the line when we eat them because their nutrients and toxin levels are at healthier levels. But that doesn't mean we can anthropomorphize them and equate their pain with a human's pain. We have sentience and all that comes with it, a chicken does not. Specieism is an insult to all the struggles and dehumanization that characterizes all struggles by living human people against the real-life real-world tortures that effect genuine psychology.

We are not mindless (though not brainless like fetuses) animals, we can comprehend injustice, and our disempowered are kept in poverty cages and crippling injustices and murdered as people. It is fine to fight for animal rights and I will continue to do so, but they are not furry and feathered people.

Also I am sick of the black versus gay "of course it's not the same" thing. Yes, we get it, but the struggle and the enemies are the same, that's what we're pointing out. And every black straight person who is "oh so offended" at the comparison doesn't seem to understand what it means to be offended that a disempowered group of humans is comparing their struggle to yours. You are only offended when you don't think the new group was as deserving as you were. And the non-bigoted arguments seem to always come back to the old homosexual versus bisexual argument: "you can pass, I cannot". If you are beaten, killed, marginalized, fired, and kept in second class citizenship with slight privileges if you pretend away your true self (hair straighteners and denying black communities, passing), and your enemies use the same language and are the same people, then what exactly is the problem? As long as you don't suggest trumping or deny the intersectionality of oppression, what exactly is the problem?

Ugh, sorry for the rant, but it's been a long two weeks with too many people dismissive of the idea that people deserve human rights, fictional constructions do not trump them.

Also, thank you so much for all you do QU, this site is so wonderful.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your false assertion of who I am. I am glad to hear that woman who grew up in orange county and los angeles are hicks. As well as woman who attend universities ranked repeatedly in the top 100 are uneducated. As far as being a woman hater, I strongly believe I am the furthest thing from a woman hater, since I am a woman and very proud to be a woman with her own mind and own beliefs. I am sadden that people many times, although not all the time, to the far left are unable to have an honest dialogue without suggesting because two individuals think differently one is a hick and uneducated while the other is automatically 100% correct.

Anonymous said...

You're absolutely correct. I am quite sorry. Now, explain given fetal neuronal development how a fetus not only attains human status, but human status as enjoyed by no other class of human being in existence. No human being has the rights to enslave another, to take of their body without consent, or to force another to care for them exclusively. Explain how this entity deserves not only human rights, but rights not afforded any other class of human on the planet. Also, given that you have spent a large amount of time engaged in research on the subject, I'm sure you can also explain the diversity of topics such as why a fetus can trump a grown, fully developed woman as to health and survival, how to accommodate septic pregnancies, and the correlations between countries that have legalized abortion also correlate to those with the lowest rate of abortions and highest survival rates of the mothers and why this favors banning abortion. And of course, you also know that spontaneous abortion occurs constantly, as at least 30% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage without the pregnant party even knowing it, making biology or God the #1 abortion doctor on the planet and without the consent of the women involved.

Given that we have both thought long and hard on the issue and been exposed to the same information, let us have an honest dialogue about these social and biological realities free from the obvious disagreements that mar this "fraught debate". And let us leave aside the unfortunate detritus that those organizations that have supported pro-life positions are also committed to anti-birth control legislation, anti-female-equality legislation, and terrorist campaigns against actual born women. Let us limit it to the simple and bridging conversation on why fetuses without the necessary neuronal development for sentience are more deserving of life than born people and why they are deserving of such at the expense of born people and with greater rights than any born person. I admit I may have rushed to my viewpoint based on this research, but it is quite likely you have gone over all that information to a far greater degree to make an equally informed decision based on these scientific realities.

I am reassured that that is in fact the case.

Queers United said...

This conversation is not about abortion rights, please refrain from going off topic and to talk about the connection between prop 2 and prop 8, and whether you agree or disagree with the original entry.

Buffy said...

As a vegetarian I voted Yes on Proposition 2. However I was saddened that so many people who voted similarly also voted Yes on 8.

Of course I can't help but thinking that it's all because they didn't see caged animals as a threat to their children or their "religious freedoms". Otherwise they might have voted to give them smaller cages. And I'm only being half sarcastic here.

space said...

Although I'm not a vegan or even a vegetarian, I think the notion that "chickens have more rights than gays" is a classic example of something I see ALL the time since I've been reading political blogs: the assumption of people/beings with privilege that giving ANY extra rights to any underclass is equivalent to giving them "special" rights or "more" rights than the privileged class. Chickens probably have fewer rights than almost any human being outside of, say, Guantanamo or Abu Ghirab (sp?) (deliberately using recent/contemporary American human rights abuses here to avoid making human rights abuse sound like a thing of peoples long gone or far away), even after Prop 2 in California.

Queers United said...

Yes space I agree I think this idea that extending rights is somehow "special rights" is ludicrous, it is about basic fairness that the privileged and majority receive.

Anonymous said...

Chickens dont have any rights and Sebastian Bach's T shirt pretty much summed it up

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