Animal Rights Needs Anti-Racism: Thoughts and What I Am Learning

Phoenix Huber
12 min readMar 5, 2022
Stock photo by Tran Mau Tri Tam on Unsplash

A book I read in 2021 made me passionate about anti-speciesism. As I wrote here, it feels easier for me to talk about speciesism than veganism. The pain of a dog, mouse, or chicken should not be ignored because of their body type, size, or lack of advanced intellect. If we can first see that we are discriminating against nonhumans when we disregard their suffering, I suspect it gets easier to open our minds to ideas like veganism.

I was compelled by this idea, and it made me think about the discriminations within our species as well. As I challenge myself to be anti-speciesist, I wish to also be a better proponent of anti-racism, -sexism, -ableism, -classism, and so on.

Anti-racism has gone big, at least compared to before, and it is being discussed amongst vegans and anti-speciesists. There is a book of essays called Antiracism in Animal Advocacy: Igniting Cultural Transformation, which is even available for free in written or audio form.

Here is what I am learning about anti-racism, especially as it relates to animal advocacy.

POC Are Underrepresented in U.S. Animal Rights Groups

40% of the U.S. human population are people of color. Yet it turns out only 11% of folks at the biggest U.S. animal organizations are. Many have reported leaving the movement due to burnout.

This is coming from the website of Encompass, a nonprofit that since 2017 has guided animal rights groups to have better racial diversity, equity, and inclusion.

They also host a community for activists of the global majority (non-white) to connect and be supported in their careers.

Encompass points out that POC are disproportionately affected by the side effects of our food system. For example, the lactose intolerant, slaughterhouse workers, those who struggle to access healthy food, and folks living in areas polluted by animal agriculture, are generally more likely to be of racial identities other than white. (Linking to research essays by Food Empowerment Project.)

Why Racial Equality Is Important For Helping Animals

Phoenix Huber

Trans girl. Beyond-human ally. I unite with members of my species for all sentient beings. Free hug: uberpath@gmail. Feed me: