Because we care.
It’s as simple as that. Farmed animals in Uganda are completely unprotected. Grazing on whatever they can find in the forests, they are often injured by wild animals and bitten by snakes. Many are so neglected they are almost starved. The cruelty used when taking these animals to slaughter is abhorrent. Cows tied to trucks by their tails on their 67km journey to the abattoir; pigs killed with axes or stabbed through their ears with spears; chickens thrown alive into boiling water to make them easier to pluck.
For all our differences from other species, we are also animal bodies, united in our struggles for survival, for sustenance, and for shelter. We share with non-human animals significant commonalities that evolutionary scientists no longer regard as exclusively human. That is, cognition, social communication, playfulness, capacity for suffering, love, loneliness, bereavement, and even a sense of justice. At LUV4ALL: Uganda, we thus question the human-animal divide and the violence against other animals perpetrated by humans.
But that’s not the only reason.
“Veganism is a call for racial justice because animal farming is the major cause of climate change, and those most harmed by climate change are always communities of color. While veganism alone cannot save Africa, non-veganism is absolutely causing its climate crisis. Nearly half of all land on the planet is used for animal agriculture. Land that could be used to plant enough crops to end world hunger several times over.
“It’s time to start living our ethics and go vegan for social justice. Anti-vegans often bring up classism as a barrier to going vegan, due to advertising misinformation which conflates vegan foods with pricey organic health food. But the truth is that cheap vegan foods – burritos, rice, beans, lentils, potatoes, soups – are available everywhere (oftentimes even in food deserts).
“Veganism is more than a diet. Veganism is a moral position of siding with the powerless. So if we are truly concerned for the poor – the most economically disadvantaged humans in the world – we will at least live vegan. Because non-veganism is killing the poor. Because our support of animal agriculture is killing the planet.”
Ana Hurwitz and Unique Vance at collectivelyfree.org
And this is not a new idea.
“Before farming started, Africans were known to live on the food they gathered – leaves, roots, tubers, corns, rhizomes, bulbs, seeds, buds, shoots, stems, pods and edible flowers. Occasionally, they would hunt down game. The operative word is ‘occasionally’. Nowadays, most African societies are carnistic (centred on meat) and meat features daily in the diets of most middle-class African families. But this culture is colonial. Until about five centuries ago, Africa remained mainly dependent on traditional food. When adventurers and slave-traders came to the African continent, they introduced various crops and the larger-scale domestication of animals for commercial consumption and export. These capitalistic farming methods exacerbated the spread of animal diseases among humans.
“Too often in African societies today, meat eaters mock vegetarians and vegans. The most common anti-vegan statement by omnivores is that ‘people don’t get enough protein from vegetables alone’. This is a myth. Vegetables, in all their glorious diversity, pack all the vital nutrients a person needs to survive, when eaten in the right proportions.”
Tadzoka Pswarayi of thisisafrica.me