Archive for the ‘Kim Stallwood’ Category

Recognising 40 Years in Animal Rights

October 1st, 2016 2 comments
Peter Roberts

Peter Roberts

In October 1976, Peter Roberts, co-founder with his wife Anna of Compassion In World Farming, engaged me, as their second full-time employee, to be their campaigns organiser. I was a young man with no relevant experience other than working one summer as a student in a chicken slaughterhouse that led me to become a vegan. I had no idea then that the opportunity that Peter gave me would be my first step to living a life that brought together my personal commitment to animal rights with a professional career with some of the world’s leading animal advocacy organisations. I am forever grateful to Peter and Anna for the invaluable opportunity they gave me.

However much I may grumble about living as a vegan in a meat-eating world, there is no other way I would have wanted to spend my life. Although my life in animal rights has not always felt like a gift. The burden, as I know many of you also know, of living and breathing animal rights is painful. The animals’ suffering is never far from my thoughts. Their misery never far from my feelings. There is also the self-inflicted harm we cause to each other as animal advocates. Unlike the message we extoll to others of compassion knowing no boundaries, fraternity is often in short supply in our dealings with our colleagues. We are but frail, pathetic, selfish human animals.

CIWF announces my appointment in 1976.

CIWF announces my appointment in 1976.

The last 40 years has taught me to ignore those whose criticism is meant to make me say things I did not believe and make me feel guilty for actions I have or have not done. I could think and act differently. But my beliefs and my actions are based upon my experiences. They are grounded in my understanding of the four key values of animal rights: compassion, truth, nonviolence, and justice. I ignore those whose condemnation of me and the colleagues I respect as attacks that stink with the odour of the opposite of my key values: indifference, lies, violence, and injustice.

More importantly, whatever suffering we endure is nothing to the misery we inflict upon other animals.

Reflecting upon four decades of animal rights advocacy primarily in the UK and USA but also increasingly in other countries, I recognise significant accomplishments have been achieved that deserve recognition and celebration. But I have never felt more pessimistic than I do now about our future. While I take comfort in my favourite homily that living, day-to-day, as a vegan is a journey and not a destination, I also believe that where we are going is not heaven on earth but hell in a hand basket.

I do not mean to suggest any religious apocalypse. But the more I understand our global impact, including the unrelenting exploitation of billions of animals, the more I believe our environment is severely, if not fatally, harmed. The only way the damage we cause to the Earth will be remedied is when the biosphere revolts and redresses itself. This is, of course, what evolution does. Once change starts, it is difficult to stop. The sense I have now that I did not have four decades ago is that the speed with which we are adversely impacting the planet is increasing rapidly. We approach the point when the Earth is beyond repair without fundamental readjustment. My generation may not see the worst of the climatic revolts to come but the next surely will.

Nonetheless, we must continue to live and work knowing that every day matters and our actions have consequences often beyond our understanding and knowledge. I know I do not have another 40 years of campaigning ahead of me. But I am committed to continue with my life and my work for as long as I can.

For example, my engagement continues with Compassion In World Farming. Since 2009 I have been a consultant with their Chief Executive Philip Lymbery. Also, my work as a consultant continues in the USA with Alley Cat Allies and its founder and president Becky Robinson. My consultancy provides me with the opportunity to continue to volunteer as executive director with Minding Animals International and to write books and make presentations. Presently, my consultancy is particularly busy. This has meant that my writing, including a follow up to my first book Growl, is delayed as is other projects and commitments, including my new website that is in development and a trial series of podcasts. I am also decreasing my presence in social media to focus on my consultancy and writing, and for other reasons to be explored in due course.

Honey had brown button eyes. If she were a human, she'd live on gin and cigarettes.

Honey had brown button eyes. If she were a human, she’d live on gin and cigarettes.

It would be very remiss in this reflection not to recall the many cats and dogs who shared my life and my partner’s. They gave us much joy. They live forever in our hearts.

I have also met some wonderful, compassionate people over the years. Many of whom I consider to be my true friends and respected colleagues. Thank you for all that you do for the animals.

We share a vision of the world in which compassion, truth, nonviolence, and justice are as much the four points on a moral compass as north, south, east, and west are on a regular compass.

May your moral compass show you way for the years to come.

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What I Did During the Blizzard

January 24th, 2016 No comments
The weather forecast on one of Washington DC's TV channels predicted 20-30" of snow for the area.

The weather forecast on one of Washington DC’s TV channels predicted 20-30″ of snow for the area.

Presently, I’m working on an assignment with Alley Cat Allies, which means that I’m spending significant amounts of time in their Bethesda, MD offices. One of my trips coincided with the blizzard that occurred over the weekend of January 23-24. For the duration of the blizzard, the U.S. government advised people to stay indoors and not venture out. The blizzard started at 1pm on Friday and later that day I returned form the Alley Cat Allies office to the hotel where I’m staying. I write this as of Sunday afternoon. The blizzard has stopped but there are mountains of snow everywhere.

I have just spent two days not leaving my hotel room. I haven’t gone outside since Friday afternoon but I hope to take a walk later today. In any event, I will be going to the Alley Cat Allies nearby office tomorrow to work for the day. Prior to the storm, I stocked up with chips and salsa, cartons of soup, bread, salad, humous, instant oatmeal, coffee, orange juice, and soy milk. I cook with an electrical kettle and a microwave.

This was taken late Saturday afternoon as the storm got worse. It was windy and snowing all through Saturday evening and into early Sunday morning. The storm cleared by breakfast.

This was taken late Saturday afternoon as the storm got worse. It was windy and snowing all through Saturday evening and into early Sunday morning. The storm cleared by breakfast.

It’s been a bit weird to not go outside for two days and watch from my 11th floor window the blizzard raging outside. But, on the other hand, it’s been rather nice to have the time to myself, catch up on sleep, and, of course, work. Lying in bed this morning, I began to make a mental list of projects and tasks I had worked on in the last two days. This led me to getting up and writing a list, which is now turned into this post.

So, for those who want to know what I did in the 48+ hours of the blizzard, here’s your answer and in no particular order:

  • Finished reading Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. I had started reading it about four weeks ago but since then I’ve had long gaps when I hadn’t touch it. This is a novel that you have to concentrate on. I feel I haven’t benefitted from reading it as much as I should. This is the second time I’ve read it and the first time was also not conducive. What I would really like to do is to read Heart of Darkness without too many interruptions over a couple of days. Third time’s the charm?
  • Spoke with various friends via Skype and FaceTime.
  • Emailed and spoke with Becky Robinson at Alley Cat Allies about various ideas and projects.
  • Read six back copies of the London Review of Books and have a similar number to go.
  • Wrote in my journal.
  • Wrote and revised an appreciation of a key figure in the animal rights movement. The next step is to make a video file of myself reading it out.
  • Edited and prepared for publication for my client, Compassion In World Farming, an interview with a scholar. I also drafted a second interview with another scholar.
  • Listened to two podcasts from the Author MBA podcast, which I find interesting and full of useful advice to authors who ‘think like an entrepreneur and treat their books like a business.’
  • Listened to one podcast from the ARZone. The Animal Rights Zone podcast is excellent.
  • Answered email–there’s always email to answer.
  • Posted onto my social media throughout the blizzard photos taken from my hotel room and including some of them here.
  • Reviewed a proposal to revamp this website, which I hope to complete this spring.

Of course, I’m not making any claims of hardship here. I could not help but think of those outside–the homeless, dogs and cats, birds and wildlife and others–who had no choice.

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2015 and Me

January 14th, 2016 No comments

Ever wondered what I do, how I spend my time, and how I make a living? Now, you can find out by reading my annual review for 2015.

As we begin a New Year, which is my fortieth anniversary of being a vegan campaigning for animal rights, I look back on 2015 and my work as an independent scholar and author and consultant with client organisations in the U.K. and U.S.A.

I am very fortunate to be able to live a life in which I have been able to bring together both my personal commitment and professional experience to campaigning for a vegan, animal rights world. The work is not always easy as animal cruelty and exploitation are never far from my thoughts. But there is no other way that I would like to live my life.

So, click here to read about my work for animal rights in 2015.


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What is to be done?

December 3rd, 2015 1 comment

I wasn’t in a position to listen to all of yesterday’s debate in the House of Commons on the question of bombing Syria but I did hear the first hour or so. And the impression I came away with the most was the arrogance of Prime Minister David Cameron and the condescension of the Conservative MPs. The behaviour of the Tory MPs generally, and particularly when Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was speaking, illustrated more than anything I have witnessed before their sense of entitlement to directing the affairs of the country. If this is supposedly what the best of education can buy through private schools like Eton, no wonder, then, this country is running itself slowly but surely into the ground. Those who pay high school fees should be asking for their money back!

It’s not the working class who are at fault. But those who believe that because of who their parents were, where they were schooled, and the well-heeled connections that go along with a privileged life — they are the ones who are responsible for much that is wrong with this country because they are in charge of it. They don’t want change or, rather, they only want change that benefits their class.

While some class privileges have been removed by Labour governments, the U.K. remains a class based country with very little opportunity to — and forgive the horrible phrase — upward mobility.

Moreover, the present Conservative government and its class war masquerading as the neutral fiscal policy of ‘austerity’ will do all it can to protect and reinforce their interests. As much as I would like the Labour Party to offer a viable alternative, I have yet to see it do so.

It is no wonder that I feel increasingly alienated, disengaged and excluded from Britain’s political discourse. Which, I think, increasing numbers of people also feel, if not exactly for the same reasons as mine.

I fear for Britain more than ever before, even more so than in the 1980s when we lived under the democrat dictatorship of Margaret Thatcher. All the benefits and securities of the welfare state, including the National Health Service — these social assets are being steadily sold off to private enterprise. Everything is becoming commoditised and packaged commercially to buy if it can be afforded. This corrosive impact is building a society in which a commitment to community is being eroded and replaced with competition and selfishness.

These values are, of course, the very opposite of what we need when everyone faces problems and challenges that transcend the barriers we have constructed politically and socially — namely climate change, replacing animal consumption with vegan, plant-based solutions to feed the world and foster health, and fundamentally address the pervasive, hidden violence in our societies.

What is to be done?

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Common Decency and Animal Welfare

March 25th, 2015 No comments

Common Decency logoMusician and astrophysicist Brian May recently launched a new campaign from his charity the Save Me Trust. It’s called Common Decency with a mission to reform Britain’s democracy.

We want nothing less than a complete reform of the Parliamentary system. It’s about not just removing the unfairness and injustice that the present Government represents, but removing the corrupt system that spawned it and all recent Governments. And it’s about radically changing the composition of Parliament – moving it forward, consigning the failed two-party system to history.

Brian and Save Me’s CEO, Anne Brummer, kindly invited me to write the following article for publication on in the Experts section of the Common Decency website.

Common Decency and Animal Welfare

The common decency is to treat others as you would want them to treat you.

Perhaps this is easier said than done.

Certainly, it’s easier with those with whom we love. Our family and friends are special to us precisely because of our intense relationship with them. A bond that is grounded in love and respect, intimacy and loyalty. We know they will be there for us when we need them to be. As we would be there for them should they need us.

But what about those who are outside of our immediate circle? Other people whom we may know but not well or, if we do, we don’t like. Do we treat them as you would want them to treat you?


Then, there are strangers. People we’ve never met. We know nothing about them. Other than from what we see from looking at them. And then we may not always be correct in our assumptions. People often aren’t what they appear to be. Or how we think they should behave.

I’d like to think that if I saw someone — anyone — who needed help I would do my best to assist them. But I don’t always give change to the homeless people who I walk past. I don’t always think to wait for others when I board a train. I’m distracted. My mind is elsewhere. I’m tired. It’s been a long day. And I want to get home. I think of myself. Nonetheless, despite my failings in living up to the standard I hold in others, I would like to believe that if I ever needed help someone would come to my assistance.

Surely one of the definitions of a civilised society is that people generally help each other. We respect each other even if we don’t know or like them. We may not be perfect but we’re making progress. Within just a few generations, our feelings have changed toward others who we thought were not like us. But there’s still much to do. Clearly, prejudices persist. We don’t always treat others as we would expect them to treat us. Our society has yet to rid itself of racism and all the other prejudices that may appear to make us different. But on further study our differences reveal how we are all remarkably the same. ‘If you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison us, do we not die?’ asked Shylock in Shakespeare’s ‘The Merchant of Venice.’

A kneeling African in chains in a logo designed by Josiah Wedgwood in the 1780s asked, ‘Am I Not a Man and a Brother?’ Whereas Black Lives Matter declares a contemporary US-based international movement with the same name. Is this not part of a continuum of struggle for recognition and rights, and compassion and respectful treatment, which speaks not only for those subjugated but also for everyone?

Those campaigning throughout the world for animals and their welfare, protection and rights push the boundaries of common decency further and beyond our own species. They demand nonhuman animals receive the same respectful treatment that we hold (or should hold) for the members of our own species. Animal advocates don’t demand that animals should have the right to vote. But animals are like us. They bleed when they are cut.

It’s time for the golden rule of respectful treatment to be extended to include all species. This is why Common Decency is committed to animal welfare. We see our treatment of animals not only as an important political issue — animals deserve far tougher laws than they have — but also as a reflection of ourselves and our own society.

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Shelly’s Portrait

March 4th, 2015 No comments
Shelly admires her portrait by my cousin Joan Heather.

Shelly admires her portrait by my cousin Joan Heather.

My cousin, Joan Heather, cares deeply about animals and the world we share with them. Her compassion shines brightly in her companion animal portraiture.

Joan’s portrait of our rescued Parson Jack Russell Terrier captures beautifully Shelly’s strong sense of herself, including her dignity and seriousness.

If you are interested in being put in touch with Joan because you would like her to draw a portrait of the special companion animal (or animals) in your life, please email me at

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MAC3 in India

February 17th, 2015 No comments

Minding AnimalsThe mission of Minding Animals International is to advance animal studies worldwide. Every three years we partner with a like-minded organisation or a university to co-produce an international conference for scholars, advocates, policy makers, artists, veterinarians, and others. By ‘we’ I mean me, as volunteer Executive Director, and my colleague Rod Bennison, founder and chair of the board, as well as all the other directors.

The first conference (‘MAC1’) was in Newcastle, Australia in 2009 and attracted 520 delegates from 23 countries. In 2012, MAC2 was produced in partnership with the Univeristy of Utrecht and was attended by 690 delegates from 42 countries.

MAC3 Conference logoMAC3 was held in January and was hosted by the Wildlife Trust of India, in collaboration with Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi. It attracted more than 320 delegates from 35 countries.

Discussions are already underway for MAC4 in 2018. Details will be announced later this year.

The MAC3 six-day conference program reflected the trans-disciplinary nature of animal studies. The program included special events, plenaries, workshops, and plenty of opportunities to network.

At the Pre-Conference Interfaith Programme and Multi-Faith Prayer Service at Baha’i House of Worship, Lotus Temple, representatives from the Hindu, Christian, Islam, Jain, and Baha’i faiths spoke about their respect for animals. It ended with me making some closing remarks. The irony!

Maneka Gandhi addressing MAC3.

Maneka Gandhi addressing MAC3.

Keynote presentations were made by Government of India Ministers Maneka Gandhi, Minister of Women and Child Development and Shri Prakash Javadekar, Minister of Environment, Forest & Climate Change. I recall when we were at MAC2 in Utrecht, Vivek Menon, WTI’s Founder and CEO, said he wanted to host MAC3 because the will help to put animal studies on the map in India. Vivek’s dream maybe coming true as there was a discussion among the government minister’s of the possibility of federal government funding for an animal studies centre on the JNU campus. Clearly, this major development needs to be carefully monitored to ensure its fruition.

The program was full and diverse thereby reflecting the richness of animal studies. For example, Lori Gruen gave the first Marti Kheel Memorial Lecture. Other speakers included Will Kymlicka, co-author, Zoopolis; Jill Robinson, Animals Asia; Lisa Kemmerer, author, Animals and World Religions; and Clive Phillips, author, The Animal Trade. A particular focus of the conference was on differing aspects of animals in India. For example, Raman Sukumar spoke about ‘Gajatame and Ganesha: the sacred elephant of Asia’ and Norma Alvares and Varda Mehrotra, Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations, led a seminar on ‘Building a Movement for Animal Protection: The Experience from India.’ I also presented my paper about Topsy, the ‘elephant we must never forget.’

The Young Scholars Panel at MAC3 book-ended between Rod Bennison and myself from left to right: Upasana Ganguly, Jessica Ison, Kelsi Nagy, Yuan-Chih Lung, and Adam See.

The Young Scholars Panel at MAC3 book-ended between Rod Bennison and myself from left to right: Upasana Ganguly, Jessica Ison, Kelsi Nagy, Yuan-Chih Lung, and Adam See.

One of MAC3’s unexpected successes was an impromptu presentation I had to organise as one of our plenary speakers, Mahesh Rangarajan, was unable to join us at the last minute. Following on from the previous day’s panel which I chaired that was organised by Ken Shapiro, my fellow co-founder of the Animals and Society Institute, which considered the state and future of animal studies and included Lori Gruen, Colin Salter, Joe Lancia, Donald Broom, and Sandra Swart, I commissioned a panel of young animal studies scholars. This panel consisted of Upasana Ganguly, Jessica Ison, Yuan-Chic Lung, Kelsi Nagy, and Adam See. Each one rose to the challenge with 24 hours notice to speak about how they understood animal studies and saw the challenges they face in the field. Rod and I feel strongly that at MAC4 we would like to invite these scholars back as a panel to assess how things have progressed (or not!).

MAC3 was very successful. Among the many highlights was hearing speak for the first time the legendary Maneka Gandhi, who berated Indian governments for not doing enough for animals. It was encouraging to be told by delegates how much they valued the conference. Many spoke about making friends with others coming from different countries who share like-minded interests. I recall one delegate expressing delight at discovering a colleague from their university who was also interested in animal studies. This anecdote truly represents for me the strength and mission of Minding Animals International: to advance animal studies globally.

MAC3 also gave me my first opportunity to visit India—a country I had always wanted to visit. But this was no time for sight-seeing, which had to wait to afterwards. The post-conference tour will be the focus of another post here.

Here are links to what others said about MAC3:

Dr. Siobhan O’Sullivan is Lecturer in Social Policy at the University of New South Wales (UNSW).

My animal studies year got off to the perfect start when I attending Minding Animals 3. Having attended the first conference (which was also the third Australasian Animal Studies Association conference in Newcastle, Australia) and then the second in Utrecht, it was my great pleasure to be at the third.

Dr Fiona Probyn-Rapsey is a member of the Human Animal Research Network (HARN) at the Sydney Environment Institute and a senior lecturer at the University of Sydney.

The conference covered six full days, each with 6 concurrent sessions, keynotes and invited talks. The papers were mostly social science/humanities oriented and the ones that were from the more science-y side were clearly committed to entering into interdisciplinary dialogue. To me, that represents a real maturing of the field – we’re getting more accustomed to having our work heard and discussed by those outside of our disciplinary homes.

Please email with any others to share!

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Year in Review for 2014

December 30th, 2014 No comments
Here I am in my office among the more than 2,000 books in my archive. Photo credit: Paul Knight

Here I am in my office among the more than 2,000 books in my archive. Photo: Paul Knight

This has been an extremely busy year for me and my work for animal rights as an advocate for animals who is an author and independent scholar.

The year’s highlight was the publication of Growl by Lantern Books. Part memoir and part manifesto, Growl is the book I wish I could’ve read when I first became a vegetarian, animal rights activist in 1974.

Many of my activities this year were centred around Growl and its publication and promotion, including a three-week, six-city trip to the USA.

To learn more about my year in animal rights please visit this special page. I also reveal my plans for 2015.

It’s important for me to recognise here the many friends and colleagues as well as a significant number of like-minded organisations who I have had the honour to work with throughout 2014 toward our shared mission of ending animal exploitation. In particular, I wish to thank the kind contributors to my Indiegogo campaign whose generosity helped to make possible my animal rights work this year. Thank you!

To keep up to date with me and work for animal rights, please follow me on my social media:

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Animal Pasts in Hyde Park

October 14th, 2013 No comments
Although this horse stables in a nearby mews is relatively recent, London's Hyde Park has a long history involving horses and less recently sheep and cows.

Although this horse stables in a nearby mews is relatively recent, London’s Hyde Park has a long history involving horses and less recently sheep and cows.

On Saturday, October 12, I joined with 12 others on a walk, Animal Pasts in Hyde Park, led by historian Hilda Kean in London. This is the second walk I’ve taken led by Hilda. Here is my account of the first ‘Animal Pasts in London’s Landscape Today‘. Among Hilda’s books is Animal Rights. Political and Social Change in Britain since 1800, which I highly recommend.

‘Hyde Park is not just a site of human demonstrations and concerts,’ explained Hilda. ‘It is a space in which animals have also lived, died and been remembered and not only at the Animals in War memorial in Park Lane.’

Seen in the distance are the gravestones of the Hyde Park Dog Cemetery.

Seen in the distance are the gravestones of the Hyde Park Dog Cemetery.

Britain’s first pet cemetery is in Hyde Park. Although we were unable to gain access, the headstones were visible through the wrought iron fence. Hilda writes about the Hyde Park Dog Cemetery on her website:

It was originally called (it also admitted the corpses of three small monkeys, and two cats) was established in 1880 in the part of the huge park that lies adjacent to Kensington Gardens (and opposite Lancaster Gate). Although accounts vary as to the origins of the cemetery – either initiated by the Duke of Connaught or through a favour of the gatekeeper to friends who lived nearby – it is evident that the cemetery was not run for profit but as a philanthropic gesture towards grieving animal owners.

The walking tour also included two cattle troughs, the memorial for a defunct bird sanctuary which featured Epstein’s figure of ‘Rima,’ the bird-girl heroine of W. H. Hudson’s novel, ‘Green Mansions.’ The tour ended at the Animals in War Memorial on Park Lane immediately adjacent and to the east of Hyde Park.

This video is raw footage I shot with my iPad. The Animals in War Memorial is situated in the middle of a very busy road, Park Lane, with each side having at least two lanes of traffic, including many buses and coaches. So, the audio quality is not great but does improve. In any event, it is possible to hear Hilda Kean speak about the memorial and see it and how it is situated.

embedded by Embedded Video

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News About My Work

June 27th, 2013 No comments

Approaching the midway point of the year provokes reflection on the current status of my work for animal rights.

GREY2K USA joins my roster of client organisations. I am honoured to be assisting them with their successful efforts to “pass stronger greyhound protection laws and end the cruelty of dog racing on both national and international levels.”

Also, I am pleased to announce that my responsibility has expanded as Editor of A Compassionate World, the blog of Philip Lymbery, Chief Executive, Compassion In World Farming. I am now also the blog’s Project Manager and will be working with Compassion’s talented staff to improve and expand A Compassionate World.

My book, GROWL. Life Lessons, Hard Truths, and Bold Strategies from an Animal Advocate, is scheduled for publication by Lantern Books in October. Look out for changes here that will feature GROWL!

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