Human Rights are Animal Rights – Guelph Conference

human rights animal rights guelph

Human Rights are Animal Rights

Conférence Samedi le 26 octobre à l’Université de Guelph (Ontario, Canada)

Loin des campagnes de PETA, plusieurs militants et universitaires œuvrant pour la reconnaissance des droits fondamentaux des animaux s’organisent pour créer un réseau d’activisme respectueux et solidaire des minorités et des groupes opprimés.

La solidarité avec les autres mouvements pour la justice sociale est une condition cruciale au succès du mouvement de protection des animaux.

Intégrer l’activisme pour les droits des animaux dans la perspective des droits de la personne permet de reconnaître ce que les diverses luttes pour la justice sociale ont en commun et de rendre l’organisation de campagnes plus efficaces et plus globales.

De plus en plus d’activistes et de chercheurs universitaires travaillent à montrer en quoi l’intersectionnalité des oppressions représente une opportunité de collaboration fructueuse entre les divers mouvements pour la justice sociale.

Les oppressions sont liées et on ne peut combattre le racisme sur le dos des autres animaux ou le spécisme au moyen de campagnes sexistes et racistes.

La multiplicité des idées et des expériences offre la possibilité de construire un mouvement ouvert, diversifié et efficace contre les oppressions de tout genre.


pattrice jones

pattrice jonespattrice jones is the cofounder of VINE Sanctuary, an LGBTQ-run farmed animal sanctuary that works from within an ecofeminist understanding of the intersection of oppressions. Her activist work dates back to the 1970s and includes anti-racist education, tenant organizing, and direct action against AIDS as well as work within the feminist, peace, and LGBTQ liberation movements. She has taught college and university courses on the praxis of social change, and her contributions to movement thinking appear in numerous anthologies as well as her book, Aftershock.

Margaret Robinson : “Indigenous veganism: Feminist Natives do eat tofu

margaret robinsonDr. Margaret Robinson is a vegan Mi’kmaw scholar and bisexual activist based in Toronto.

She holds a PhD from the University of St. Michael’s College.  Margaret is currently a fellow in community-based research with the Researching for LGBTQ Health Team at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and an affiliate fellow with the CIHR-funded Social Aetiology of Mental Illness Training Program.

Margaret is passionate about postcolonial theory and Aboriginal self-government. She is a past editor of the Journal of Postcolonial Networks and a present board member of the Postcolonial Network.

Lauren Ornelas: Food Empowerment Project Solidarity with Workers

lauren ornelaslauren Ornelas is the founder/director of the all-volunteer Food Empowerment Project, a vegan food justice nonprofit seeking to create a more just world by helping consumers recognize the power of their food choices. F.E.P. works in solidarity with farm workers, advocates for slave-free chocolate and focuses on access to healthy foods in communities of color and low-income communities. When lauren was head of Viva!USA she investigated factory farms and ran consumer campaigns. In cooperation with activists across the country, lauren persuaded Trader Joe’s to stop selling all duck meat and was the spark that got the founder of Whole Foods Market to become a vegan. She also helped halt the construction of an industrial dairy operation in California.  She served as campaign director with the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition for six years.

Lisa Kemmerer Intersectionality

Lisa KemmererLisa Kemmerer (Ph.D., MTS) has been an animal activist for more than thirty years, and a social justice activist for more than 25 years.  Currently a philosophy and religions professor at Montana State University Billings, she has published books as diverse as Animals and World Religions, Sister Species, and Eating Earth.  Despite the effort she puts into research and writing as a form of activism, degrees and books are not as important to Kemmerer as less visible endeavors, such as fostering kindness on a daily basis. Her favorite activity is walking Montana’s quiet hills in the company of her beloved, adopted mutts.

Mandy hiscocks: Prisoners, criminals and animals

mandymandy hiscocks got involved in animal rights activism through the punk scene in high school, because it’s an easy first thing for privileged white kids to take on.  she identifies as an anarchist and has organized around poverty, tuition fees and the corporatization of campus, housing, militarism and police, environmental justice, globalisation, and Indigenous solidarity.  she spent most of 2012 in jail serving time for having organized against the 2010 G20 summit in Toronto, so has some recent personal experience with cages and a renewed respect for human and animal liberation movements.

Mary Fantaske on intersections between ableism & speciesism


Mary Fantaske is currently working on her Master’s thesis in the Communication and Culture program at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. She completed her undergraduate degree in Sociology at the same school. She first started exploring the links between animal rights and disability rights when she became disabled with multiple chronic illnesses and began seeing the commonalities of oppression in her everyday experiences.

Breeze Harper: Racism, Whiteness and Speciesism

Breeze HarperDr. A. Breeze Harper is the director and founder of the Sistah Vegan Project. Her emphasis in the the intersections of critical food studies, critical race studies, and black feminist theorizing. She received her PhD from the University of California, Davis and is currently a Research Fellow in the Human Ecology Department of University of California where she is currently researching key black male vegans who use hip hop and decolonial methodologies for their health, food, and environmental activism. You can follow her work at


Thèmes abordés :

véganime, queer rights, féminisme, racisme, “ableism”, justice alimentaire, partriarchat, droits des travailleurs, droits des communautés autochtones, droits des prisoniers, répression étatique de l’activisme.

L’événement est organisé par Animal Liberation Ontario et OPIRG.

La conférence s’adresse principalement aux militants pour la justice sociale provenant de divers groupes ethniques et culturels.

Samedi le 26 octobre à l’Université de Guelph de 9:00 à 16:00

Page Facebook :
Site web de la conférence :

‘Food Not Bombs – Guelph Chapter’ offrira la nourriture végane gratuitement.

Excellent overview of the goals of the Conference ‘Human Rights are Animal Rights’:

“The title is intended to show that this will be treated as a single conversation, though still recognizing the distinctions and complexities within both. Another reason is because we understand humans, biologically, to be animals, and so consider that those passionate about animal rights need to also show compassion for us human animals too.

We do not wish to treat these issues, such as queer rights or anti-colonial work, as identical to those of animal rights. Rather, we wish to reintroduce them within a broader framework that respects the commonalities in oppression. In doing so, we should learn to appreciate that we cannot be advocates and allies for one cause while using tactics and philosophies that perpetuate another form of oppression and privilege.

For example, the actual concept of human rights presupposes that everyone has access to contribute to the definition to the “rights” that should be afforded to all humans, as well as what constitutes being a “human”. So when we speak about “human rights” we have to be careful because there are still many who don’t have access to that. Human is not necessarily so much a biological fact as much as a socio-cultural construct. If you don’t match what it means to be a human being (which is largely defined by whiteness and other privileges) then you are often denied these “rights”.

By saying “human”, we can ignore particular nuanced experiences of race, gender, and class. This occurred during the ‘second wave’ of feminism, when “women” were attempting to get rights. Women of color, and low-income women, were immediately forced to the margins because white women took over the whole movement and wanted rights themselves. These same white women told other women that they shouldn’t mind white women speaking for them all because “all” women experienced gendered oppression. bell hooks, a prominent black feminist theorist, speaks a lot about this “grand narrative”, meaning the silencing of marginalized populations.

Therefore, a large part of these discussions (animal rights & human rights) requires recognition and discussion about privileges. Most of our articulations of what’s right or humane, towards humans and non-human animals, is something already defined by the dominant power structure, which is whiteness as well as patriarchy, capitalism, colonialism and others. This is why we see so many issues with single-issue campaigns in the animal rights movement (meaning people create awareness about non-human animal abuse only), and also why we see people and major organizations (e.g. PETA) using sexism and racism in their campaigns to bring about this awareness.

For these reasons and more, which we can all address further at this conference on October 26th, we need to understand that we must stop individualizing oppressions in our communities and continue to create a more resilient rights liberation movement for all.

Thanks to Aph Ko of the Vegan Feminist Network for contributing these important thoughts to this conference!

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Coordonatrice du Centre de justice sociale de l'Université Concordia (Montréal) - Coordinator Social Justice Centre (Concordia University, Montreal)

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