Environmental justice, animal rights, and total liberation

From conflict and distance to points of common focus

Authored by: David N. Pellow

Routledge International Handbook of Green Criminology

Print publication date:  December  2012
Online publication date:  August  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415678827
eBook ISBN: 9780203093658
Adobe ISBN: 9781317809005

10.4324/9780203093658.ch21

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Abstract

At first glance, the environmental justice (EJ) and animal rights (AR) movements would seem to be entirely distinct and unrelated social causes. There are many reasons why observers might draw this conclusion. The EJ movement is focused on combating the disproportionate environmental risks and harm borne by poor communities and/or communities of colour that result from commercial, industrial, or municipal operations at the local, state, federal or tribal level. For the EJ movement, the battle for global sustainability cannot be won without addressing the ecological violence imposed on vulnerable human populations; thus, social justice (that is, justice for humans) is inseparable from environmental protection. The AR movement largely comprises middle-class white activists whose primary goal is the protection and liberation of non-human species. For AR activists, any struggle for global sustainability must prioritize the plight of non-human animals.

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