Op-ed in Vancouver Sun: Racist attitudes won’t help prevent cruelty to animals

Thank you to Peter and the folks at Vancouver Humane Society for speaking out in solidarity and bringing light to an important topic that needs to be discussed in all movements – whether that be animal rights or conservation – that involve multiple communities.

Any animal lover who has seen photos or videos of caged dogs being sold for meat in Chinese or Korean markets will know the rage that such images provoke. And in any discussion about the issue you will often hear that rage expressed in attacks on the cultures of those countries and, too often, in outright racism toward Asians. It’s common, for example, to see racist posts on social media in response to news stories about incidents of inhumane treatment of animals in Asia. While the anger is understandable, the racist hatred is not and it discredits the compassionate values that underpin the animal rights movement.

There is certainly nothing wrong with criticizing or condemning a country for its policies or cultural activities that cause animal suffering. But to condemn an entire race or to allow anger to turn to hate is not only wrong, it does nothing to address the issues. It’s also hypocritical, as no nation or race is without examples of animal cruelty. Canada, with its factory farms, trophy hunting, seal clubbing, fur industry, rodeos and circuses is no paragon of animal rights virtue.

Aside from being offensive, tarring a race with animal cruelty is just nonsensical. Here in Vancouver, a number of Asian Canadians are at the forefront of the animal protection movement.

Read the full comment in the Vancouver Sun here.