An important goal according to demands and agreements from the Nordic Feminist Forum in Malmo 12th to 15th of June 2014 is the opening up of new territories, ideas and suggestions linked to gender equality politics for the future. The Forum document says: 'New generations of feminists are expected to discover dimensions, areas, and strategies, social and economic innovations vital for how humanity may form equal and sustainable societies.'
Here, such a discovery is presented: Concurrently with elite masculine societies having been formed by calculations in conflict with the planet's capacity to recreate biological resources - exploitation, pollution, gas emissions, and social inequality as prerequisite for economic growth - environmental destruction has been recognized as theme for gender equality and universal human rights.
In accordance with the action plan from Beijing 1995 to forward the culture of peace-making, the definition of sustainable peace has evolved to include justice and equality instead of merely absence of war. This concept of sustainable peace needs to be expanded further to include the protection of the environment and the obligation to create peaceful relations to the Earth's other beings.
The on-going global destruction of nature and killing of animal beings with its long term effects of ecological disaster is destroying means of subsistence by forcing people to flee or resettle due to water deficits, flooding, erosion, and water pollution. Native peoples and aboriginal peoples, women and dissenters and activists across the globe have for centuries warned of this connection: The destruction of nature, and the mass killing of fellow animal beings, affects everyone on earth.
During the last fifty years the global exploitation of animals in general and the reproduction of animal bodies in particular has escalated, affecting many areas and dimensions of survival. The number of free animal beings has been decimated, counting from 1970 until today. The World Wildlife Foundation statistics, The Global LPI (Living Planet Index)*, shows a 58 percent decline between 1970 and 2012, and projects a decline of 66 percent for 2020. In addition to the rapid decline in animal populations, more than 60 billion animals (the fish industry accounts for another 38 to 128 billion) are forcefully raised, confined and restricted to be industrially slaughtered for the meat market.
Seemingly paradoxical however logical in reality these calamities - the enormous loss of animals in wildlife and the mass slaughtering of raised and confined animals in human societies - entail the same end result of death and loss. Both phenomena are outcomes of the current global economic order lacking insights and knowledge into the intertwined and interdependent relationships between the survival of humans, animals, and nature.
The total societal costs and consequences of large scale animal production remain to be counted. However in several reports the United Nations (FAO 2006) has found the global and industrial animal production to be the chief cause of lost biological diversity and one of the three major causes for global environmental destruction; air pollution, water pollution, water deficits, erosion, land deficits and climate gas emissions, general health, and security problems by the contributing to degenerative sicknesses, antibiotic resistance and as a source of contagious flu (zoonosis).
Consideration of other beings as species and individuals is hitherto a hidden factor for good economic and social development. Respectful attitudes, policies and actions in relation to other than human beings are connected to humanitarian and non-violent endeavours, and the realization of human rights by nature conservation and human health. In order to solve and mitigate the current global socio-economic, ecological and climate problems, feminist perspectives and policies may employ for example the following innovations (in no particular order):
Conversion to socially managed concepts of economic and social development including other species affected by human activities, especially those endowed with capacity for suffering (gross national/international equality including consideration for animals and nature/ecology)
Conversion to economic accountings and policies rewarding non-violent business endeavours, targeting especially the conversion to plant based agricultural production
Overarching legislation and agreements abolishing violence towards animals and killing of animals (with the exception of special reasons); abolishing the deployment of animals as products and reproductive vessels; international legislation/agreements abolishing the destruction of the homes of free animals/environmental destruction (so called ecocide, see endecocid.se); international legislation/agreements abolishing especially the killing of animals for business purposes; legislation/agreements abolishing mass killing of animals living on the border of human societies, and in nature
Recognition of how violence against animals influences violence between humans, adults and children, how violence against animals affects women/partnerships in homes, and human relations and activities in general, in animal industries, in pornographic industry; in conflicts and in war
Adoption of peaceful non-violent approaches, attitudes and methods including other beings: respect for weakness and divergence in general; non-coercive non-punishing mutuality communication, in conflict, in education and learning, in social projects, in wild life management; prohibition against the usage of animals as shields and training objects for violent military and police purposes
Adoption of research and testing employing models and devices without animals; increased investments and planning for preventive health care
Integration of animal rights indicators where it is relevant, in official statistics, budgets, economic dealings within the state or cities or communes/municipalities, in sustainable reports, and in reports on abuse and assaults
Integration of updated scientific facts and knowledge in research and education concerning the mental, physiological capacities and sexual variations of other sentient beings, facts about humans' dependency upon other beings, humanity's dependency upon ecosystems, humanity's responsibilities as dominant planetary species
Since 1994, the Swedish society works to integrate gender equality; research and political activism of today show that this method has to be extended to encompass all existing sex variations, genders, transgender, social class, sexuality, origin/exterior, functionality, age, and sustainability.
To attain sustainable feminist social development goals a reconsideration of human activities in relation to animal beings is paramount. Society creates possibilities to develop in more peaceful and sustainable ways when animal beings are acknowledged as factual and potential victims in relation to humans and when these relations are included in issues of environment, peace and security.
Current human social crisis is a crisis for the global patriarchal culture and therefore a chance to apply critical global thinking and be thorough when demanding what is needed to build humanely, equally and sustainably. The feminist animal rights perspective suggests theoretical addition and integration, education, new legislation and practical politics.
Lisa Galmark June 2014 during Nordic Feminist Forum and Malmo Feminist Festival. Translated and updated for the Pamoja festival in Kiruna in May 2017
* The 2016 Living Planet Report is the eleventh edition of WWFs flagship publication. The biennial report, produced in collaboration with the Zoological Society of London and the Global Footprint Network, uses the global LPI as a measure of the health of 14,152 populations of 3,706 species.