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Posts Tagged ‘Animal Rights Movement’

Tom Regan and His Wife Nancy and Me

February 2nd, 2016 No comments
Nancy and Tom Regan and myself.

Nancy and Tom Regan and myself.

I first met Tom and Nancy Regan at the RSPCA’s Rights of Animals symposium at Trinity College Cambridge in 1977. Recently, I caught up with them at their home in Raleigh, NC.

Tom and Nancy always inspired me to learn as much as I can about animal rights and showed me the importance of ethical action as the capstone to our action for animals.

In 1977, I was the campaigns organiser at Compassion In World Farming. Compassion’s founder, Peter Roberts, took me to the RSPCA’s symposium. This was a special moment in the history of the animal rights movement. With the notable exception of Peter Singer, leading philosophers, advocates, authors, and politicians came together for two days to consider animal ethics and the emerging animal rights movement.

The Case for Animal Rights by Tom Regan (University of California Press; 1983)

The Case for Animal Rights by Tom Regan (University of California Press; 1983)

I was an angry young vegan who, unbeknown to myself, was beginning a career with some of the world’s leading animal rights organisations. Tom was already an acclaimed moral philosopher and a prominent speaker in animal rights. But not everyone present at the conference was a card carrying vegan animal rights advocate.

As I recall in my book, Growl, I remember Tom and Nancy, and Peter Roberts and myself, and other vegans being exiled to what was called the ‘vegetarian table’ in the college’s baronial dining hall. We were fed meagre rations of dull 1970s veggie food. Everyone else at the conference dined on venison that was the charred remains of body parts of deer who had once grazed Trinity College’s grounds. We ate our veggie food in disgust, tut tutting our fellow conference attendees and speakers.

Since then, Tom and Nancy’s and my life have crossed many times and, in particular, after I moved to the USA in 1987.

I heard Tom speak often at animal rights conferences throughout America. He was always an inspirational speaker. In particular, I appreciated how he situated a commitment to nonviolence as central to his animal rights declaration.

The philosophy of animal rights stands for peace, and against violence. The fundamental demand of this philosophy is to treat humans and other nonhuman animals with respect. This philosophy, therefore, is a philosophy of peace. But it is a philosophy that extends the demand for peace beyond the boundaries of our species, for there is an undeclared war being waged everyday against countless millions of nonhuman animals.

His unique contribution to moral philosophy is, of course, much more than animal rights and particularly The Case for Animal Rights published in 1983. In addition to nonviolence, his writings on environmental ethics were instrumental in challenging environmentalists to consider animal rights.

Empty Cages by Tom Regan (Rowman & Littlefield; 2004)

Empty Cages by Tom Regan (Rowman & Littlefield; 2004)

The philosophy of animal rights demands only that the logic be respected for any argument that plausibly explains the independent value of human beings implies that other animal have the same value and have it equally. And any argument that plausibly explains the rights of humans to be treated with respect also implies that these other animals have the same rights and have it equally also.

With our respective organisations, the Animals and Society Institute and the Culture and Animals Foundation, we coproduced the International Compassionate Living Festival for a number of years.

Tom helped me to understand the importance of bringing together animal advocates with moral philosophers, authors and artists engaged in animal issues, and business leaders with musicians. Compassionate change is needed on many fronts, he always said.

Tom and Nancy and their fellow directors at the Culture and Animals Foundation work tirelessly since its foundation in 1985 to promote cultural change for animals.

By appealing to individual intellect, creativity and compassion, the Culture and Animals Foundation believes we can awaken people to the plight and grandeur of kindred animals–and ultimately build a deeper understanding of human-animal relationships and a greater respect for basic animal rights.

On Tom’s retirement the North Carolina State University established the Tom Regan Animal Rights Archive, which is the only archive of its kind in the world. Tom introduced me to the librarians and archivists at NCSU Libraries. Thanks to him, we convinced NCSU Libraries to accept the valuable collections I had established at the Animals and Society Institute. This included The Animal Rights Network Archive, The Animals’ Agenda Archive, the Argus Archives, the Animal Welfare Institute Archives, and the Claire Necker Collection of Cat Books and Collectibles.

Defending Animal Rights by Tom Regan (University of Illinois Press; 2001)

Defending Animal Rights by Tom Regan (University of Illinois Press; 2001)

As much as I am a republican and not a monarchist, Tom is the only person I would accept as a ruling monarch. King Tom would rule us as the very best of benign dictators. With one sweep of his hand across this realm he would stop people from eating meat, he would liberate animals from research laboratories, and he would inspire compassion for all.

What of democracy, may you ask? Its sacrifice would be a small price to pay.

But, thankfully, King Tom is not our ruler but he is the animal rights philosopher and elder statesman. But he is more than that as I consider him to be my friend and mentor. He continues to inspire me—personally and professionally—to work harder and better for animal rights.

It was great fun to spend the day with Tom and Nancy and reminisce the past and speculate the future of animal rights.

New to Tom Regan and want to learn more but unsure where to begin?

I recommend starting with his book Empty Cages: Facing the Challenge of Animal Rights (2004)  followed by Animal Rights Human Wrongs: An Introduction to Moral Philosophy (2003) and Defending Animal Rights (2001). There is a selection of videos of Tom Regan to watch on his website, too.

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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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Cats in Virginia

November 9th, 2015 No comments

I’m working on an assignment with Alley Cat Allies, the U.S.-based organisation dedicated to advocating for cats, and working closely with Becky Robinson, the president and founder. I helped to produce recently Becky’s book, The Evolution of the Cat Revolution: Celebrating 25 Years of Saving Cats, which gives a behind-the-scenes look at their achievements in their first quarter of a century advocating for cats.

Becky Robinson speaking with the Hampton Roads Community Cat Caretakers.

Becky Robinson speaking with the Hampton Roads Community Cat Caretakers.

Currently, I’m in Bethesda, MD where Alley Cat Allies is based. This past weekend I accompanied Becky on a three-day trip to Norfolk, VA and Chincoteague Island, VA  to learn more about her work for cats in the community. In Norfolk, we met with Rob Blizard, Norfolk SPCA’s Executive Director, who kindly showed us around their facility, and was introduced to his enthusiastic and helpful staff. They showed us their cats and dogs in the shelter and talked about the wide range of services they provide to their human and nonhuman clients. Norfolk SPCA is a very impressive operation and, like many others, achieves a great deal for the animals in their care with minimal resources. Becky later made a presentation to the Hampton Roads Community Cat Caretakers, who can be found on Facebook. Some 30-40 of their members listened attentively to Becky as she described the history and development of trap-neuter-return and Alley Cat Allies.

The spay-a-thon was held in a school gymnasium. The floor was covered in large sheets of plastic. Cats arrived in different types of carriers. Sheets and towels were laid over the cages to help keep the cats calm.

The spay-a-thon was held in a school gymnasium. The floor was covered in large sheets of plastic. Cats arrived in different types of carriers. Sheets and towels were laid over the cages to help keep the cats calm.

We then made our way back up the Eastern Shore to Chincoteague Island, VA  where Caring Hands Animal Support and Education (CHASE) organised a two-day spay-a-thon for 200 kittens and cats. Of course, it took more than two days to do because the research, preparation, organisation, and clean-up to such a worthwhile endeavour took up many additional days. I have read about and heard described temporary clinics where large numbers of cats are spayed or neutered but I have never had the opportunity to witness one until now. It was an amazing operation in many ways — no pun intended!

In describing the experience here, I may get wrong some of the details and happy to be corrected if you would like to get in touch.

The Recovery Line--the last stage in the spay-a-thon.

The Recovery Line–the last stage in the spay-a-thon.

A team of four veterinarians and their trained assistants and some 10-20 volunteers were led by Jeffrey Newman, DVM, President of CHASE and implemented a strategy in which each kitten and cat was processed through a number of stages. These mass spay/neuter cat clinics were developed by Alley Cat Allies. It was a very impressive operation put together temporarily in a local school gymnasium. The surgeries were undertaken in the Reiss Mobile Vet vehicle, parked in the adjoining lot, which belonged to Jonathan Reiss, DVM. The kittens and cats were a mixture of those who were people’s companions or were outdoor or community cats. The services provided were free and everyone donated their time and expertise.

I volunteered by making sure every cat had a dish of cat food on the top of their cage waiting for them as they came out from the medication.

I volunteered by making sure every cat had a dish of cat food on the top of their cage waiting for them as they came out from the medication.

I found it to be a remarkable experience. The atmosphere was palpable in that the carefully organised operation hummed along with a wonderful sense of community, giving, sharing, cooperation, and fulfilment. The only ones who did not share these powerful feelings were the beneficiaries who wanted to be anywhere else other than in a cage! Even a local artist had brought in a cat to be attended to, made some characterful sketches and left them on display to raise funds. I heard stories about how local people and businesses supported the endeavour by, for example, donating supplies and food. Most of the cats were brought in and later picked up by residents.

The stages that each feline client went through were a medical pre-screening; the necessary paper work that kept track of who they were and where they came from and in which container; and then pre-op preparation, the operation itself, a post-op careful monitoring and, finally, an area where they were left quietly to sleep off the medication.

This was a great weekend in which I learnt much from some wonderful people about the how-to of trap-neuter-return and companion animal advocacy generally.

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Jeremy Corbyn, BUAV, and Me in 1984

October 30th, 2015 No comments

A delegation to the Ministry of Defence of Tony Banks MP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Tom Cox MP, and myself as BUAV’s Campaigns Officer handing in a letter to Michael Heseltine, the Minister of Defence, asking a large number of specific questions relating to experiments conducted at Porton Down, the U.K. government’s military research laboratory near Salisbury, Wiltshire.

Scanned from The Liberator, which I co-edited and was published by the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (April/May 1984, 5).

Jeremy Corbyn MP, now leader of the Labour Party, consistently shows personal interest in animal rights as a vegetarian and in Parliament with political opposition to violence to animals since his election in 1983.

Liberator 1984

 

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Alley Cat Allies

October 28th, 2015 No comments

The Evolution of the Cat RevolutionThe U.S.-based advocacy organisation, Alley Cat Allies, celebrates this year a quarter century of saving cats. Alley Cat Allies is the first organization to introduce and advocate for humane methods of feral cat care, particularly Trap-Neuter-Return, in the American animal protection community. By establishing and promoting standards of care, Alley Cat Allies brought the humane treatment of cats into the national spotlight.

Becky Robinson, Alley Cat Allies’s president and founder, engaged me this summer to produce a book celebrating their first 25 years. Writing in The Evolution of the Cat Revolution, Becky gives a behind-the-scenes look at the trials and triumphs of Alley Cat Allies. There’s a Timeline, 25 Accomplishments, and a Conversation between Becky and Donna Wilcox, Vice President and Chair of the Board of Directors, in which they look back on how a band of cat carers grew to be one of the most innovative, gutsy, and effective animal advocacy organizations in the world.

It was a great honour to work this summer with Becky and her colleagues at Alley Cat Allies on The Evolution of the Cat Revolution. I’m pleased to say my involvement with them as an independent consultant continues. My focus is on their strategic plan and building the organisation to implement it.

I look forward to working with Alley Cat Allies and dividing my time in the coming months between their headquarters in Bethesda, MD and my home in England.

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London VegFest

October 11th, 2015 No comments

I will be chairing three consecutive panels of experts on (1) What’s the most effective way to encourage and help people go — and stay — vegan?; (2) What’s the most effective way to campaign for living as a vegan and make vegan values mainstream?; (3) What do we imagine a vegan society to be like? Panelists include Martin Ashby MD, UK; Jasmijn de Boo, Vegan Society, UK; Matthew Glover & Jane Land, Veganuary, UK; Melanie Joy, author Carnism, Germany (TBC); Dobrusia Karbowiak, Open Cages, Poland; Hilda Kean, author & historian, UK; Tobias Leenaert, Consultant, EVA, Belgium; Kerry McCarthy MP, UK; Sean O’Callaghan, Fay Gay Vegan, UK.

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Peace News reviews Growl

September 28th, 2015 No comments
Past issues of Peace News, stretching back over its 75 years of publication.

Past issues of Peace News, stretching back over its 75 years of publication.

The prestigious magazine, Peace News, publishes a review of Growl. Published since 1936, Peace News is the U.K.’s only grassroots newspaper covering the full spectrum of peace and justice issues and currently publish 6 bi-monthly issues a year. Peace News Ltd is a not-for-profit limited company.

Here’s a lengthy extract:

The four key values that are examined in Growl are compassion, truth, nonviolence and justice – values which are shared by most Peace News readers and anti-war campaigners. The author explores these themes and his own journey to becoming a genuinely compassionate activist. One of the concepts discussed in the book is that of ‘The Misanthropic Bunker’ (a place I‘m sure all passionate campaigners have some experience of). Stallwood describes it as a place of anger and hatred that vegans retreat to when the world of unremitting violence towards other animals becomes too much to cope with: “We’ll never achieve animal rights,” he tells himself. “Speciesism will never end. Animal rights will never be accomplished in my lifetime.”

Over the years, Stallwood learns that whilst there is a need for the misanthropic bunker to hide in once in a while, the way to avoid being consumed by hatred and intolerance is to exercise compassion and be kind to ourselves – and other humans – as well as to the non-human animals he campaigns on behalf of.

He explores a scenario where his pre-vegan self, ‘Kim the Chef’, is confronted outside the slaughterhouse by ‘Kim the Vegelical’ – waving a ‘Meat is Murder’ placard and shouting angry slogans: ‘In spite of their proximity and the fact that the conscience of Kim the Chef might have been unwittingly stirred by Kim the Vegelical’s protest, neither Kim is actually communicating with or seeing the other.’

However, Stallwood doesn’t dismiss angry protest as useless: ‘Remember. Compassion doesn’t have to be passive or even polite; compunction sometimes requires a rude awakening. Moral shocks are, by their very nature, unwelcome.’

The reviewer, Erica Smith, concludes

Throughout his long career as an animal campaigner, Stallwood has learned from the successes and failures of human rights campaigns. And 40 years of campaigning means that there are lessons to be learned – and experience to be fed back into the wider sphere of nonviolent action, making this an excellent resource for any nonviolent campaigner.

It’s a great honour to have Peace News publish such a positive review of Growl and highlight how its message of four key values (compassion, truth, nonviolence, justice) will resonate with social justice campaigners.

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Vegan Campaigning

September 25th, 2015 No comments

Vegan Vision Workshop 2 at London Vegfest

The second in a consecutive series three workshops at the People’s Vegan Activist Summit at the London Vegfest on Sunday, October 11, 2015. The workshops includes brief presentations from the panelists and opportunities to ask them questions. 

Panel 2: 12noon – 12:50pm

What’s the most effective way to campaign for living as a vegan and make vegan values mainstream?

Panel includes:

Tobias Leenaert is the founder and CEO of the Belgian non profit organisation EVA, which informs people about the benefits of eating less or no animal products. He studied English and Dutch Language and Literature and anthropology at the University of Ghent, and after graduation founded EVA,

Tobias Leenaert

Tobias Leenaert

which in 2005 was probably the first vegetarian organisation in the world to receive structural support from its national government. EVA is the organisation behind the successful Thursday Veggieday (Donderdag Veggiedag) campaign, and is all about mainstreaming plant based eating in a positive and encouraging way. In 2010, Tobias was elected as a Fellow of Ashoka, an international organisation supporting 3000 high impact social entrepreneurs worldwide.

 

Sean O'Callaghan

Sean O’Callaghan

Sean O’Callaghan is the Fat Gay Vegan — a blogger, event planner and PR person working to create plant-based opportunities for individuals, charities and businesses. He is the founder of London Vegan Beer Fest, London Vegan Potluck and London Vegan Drinks, as well as being the host of numerous vegan dining, cooking and social events around London. FGV is not afraid to travel for good food and beer. His blog is one of the most-read vegan platforms in the UK and was voted Best Blog in the 2013 VegfestUK Awards. Fat Gay Vegan is set to launch the monthly Queer Vegan Disco in January 2015.

 

Louise Wallis

Louise Wallis

Louise Wallis is a singer, DJ and writer with a passion for food and lust for life. With her partner Frank, she runs the vegan venue Kabaret@Karamel, recently Time Out’s ‘Most Loved Restaurant in London’, where Sara Pascoe, Omar, Tom Robinson and Lene Lovich have all performed. Man of the moment Jeremy Corbyn recently paid a visit too. Voted one of the World’s Top 100 Female DJs, Louise has created two vegan-themed DJ mixes. She’s interviewed many vegan artists, including Johnny Marr, Moby, Benjamin Zephaniah, Sara Pascoe, and Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath), and regularly writes for The Vegan, and Vegan Life magazines. In the early 90s she carried out an undercover investigation into two animal research labs, achieving national press coverage and a major campaign by the National Anti-Vivisection Society. A former President of the Vegan Society, Louise is also the founder of ‘World Vegan Day’.

Vegan Vision — Three Workshops To Create A Vegan World
Vegan Vision is three one-hour consecutive workshops in vegan advocacy and living with internationally-respected experts in food and nutrition, animal rights and cruelty-free living. Vegan Vision shows how to live as a vegan in a non-vegan world. Join author and activist Kim Stallwood for all three workshops or select the ones you would like to attend. Each workshop includes a panel of international experts and opportunities for you to ask questions.
Learn more about the Vegan Vision Workshops and the London Vegfest.

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Going Vegan?

September 8th, 2015 No comments

Vegan Vision Workshop 1 at London Vegfest

The first in a consecutive series three workshops at the People’s Vegan Activist Summit at the London Vegfest on Sunday, October 11, 2015. The workshops includes brief presentations from the panelists and opportunities to ask them questions. 

Panel 1: 11am – 11:50am

What’s the most effective way to encourage and help people go — and stay — vegan?

Panel includes:

Matthew Glover

Matthew Glover

Matthew Glover is the co-founder of Veganuary. After being vegetarian for 10 years, Matthew watched ‘the video the meat industry doesn’t want you to see’ and was shocked to see the cruel realities behind the dairy and egg industries. He then went vegan. And now he wants the whole world to join him! Veganuary is Matthew’s solution to making veganism an easy and tasty experience for everyone.

Jane Land

Jane Land

Jane Land is the co-founder of Veganuary. She was a vegetarian for 10 years before she met Matthew. Now she wonders why it took her so long to become a vegan too! Jane thinks that Veganuary is the perfect way for people to try vegan food and learn about the suffering of farmed animals and the impact that meat-eating has on people’s health and the natural world.

Dobrusia Gogloza is an animal rights activist from Poland. After gathering experience in various informal groups, she

Dobrusia Gogloza

Dobrusia Gogloza

cofounded Otwarte Klatki, an animal rights organization that focuses on investigations and vegan education. She is also a cofounder and coordinator of the Network For Eastern European Animal Rights – an association of organizations with a goal to facilitate the growth of animal rights activism in this area. Dobrusia frequently speaks at animal rights events in Poland and abroad, consults various organizations on the issues of volunteer management and fundraising, and organizes trainings for activists.

Dr Tushar Mehta

Dr Tushar Mehta

Dr. Tushar Mehta received a Bachelor of Arts and Science from McMaster University, and then completed medical school at the University of Toronto, doing his residency in family medicine.  In addition to family medicine, Tushar also practices emergency medicine and addictions medicine.  Tushar founded Run for the Earth in order to help people sort through the mass of environmental information and misinformation, and develop a systematic understanding of ecological issues, and the real priorities.  He believes in a systematic understanding of environmental issues for all, as well as causing people to reflect on compassion and philosophy.

Vegan Vision — Three Workshops To Create A Vegan World

Vegan Vision is three one-hour consecutive workshops in vegan advocacy and living with internationally-respected experts in food and nutrition, animal rights and cruelty-free living. Vegan Vision shows how to live as a vegan in a non-vegan world. Join author and activist Kim Stallwood for all three workshops or select the ones you would like to attend. Each workshop includes a panel of international experts and opportunities for you to ask questions.

Learn more about the Vegan Vision Workshops and the London Vegfest.

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London Vegfest Vegan Visions Workshops

August 14th, 2015 No comments

Vegfest UK London 2015The Vegan Vision Workshops

 

Join me at the Vegan Vision Workshops, which are part of the People’s Vegan Activists Summit, at the London Vegfest on Sunday, October 11, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Olympia Central Levels 1 and 3.

Vegfest ExpressThe Vegan Vision Workshops are three one-hour consecutive expert panels in vegan advocacy and living. The workshops feature internationally-respected panels of experts in food and nutrition, animal rights and cruelty-free living. Each workshop, which is chaired  by Kim Stallwood, includes an opportunity to ask questions.

Attend all three workshops or select the ones you would like to attend.

Kim Stallwood says,

People become vegan for a variety of reasons, including animal cruelty, environmental protection, food production, and human health. While vegans are united in boycotting animal ingredients and products, there is a variety of viewpoints and perspectives on how to live as a vegan in a non-vegan world. Join me at the Vegan Vision Workshops to learn from and share with an outstanding, international panel of experts in medicine, campaigning, cooking, and much more.

Workshop 1 — 11am – 12noon

What’s the most effective way to encourage and help people go — and stay — vegan?Veganuary
Panel includes:

  • Matthew Glover & Jane Land, Co-founders, Veganuary, U.K.
  • Dobrusia Gogloza, Co-founder, Open Cages (Otwarte Klatki), Poland

Workshop 2 — 12noon – 1pm

What’s the most effective way to campaign for living as a vegan and make vegan values mainstream?
Panel includes:

Why We Love DogsWorkshop 3 — 1pm – 2pm

What do we imagine a vegan society to be like?
Panel includes:

  • Dr. Melanie Joy, author of Why we Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism, and Founder and President, Beyond Carnism, U.S.A.
  • Kerry McCarthy, Labour Member of Parliament for Bristol East, U.K.
  • Kay Peggs, Professor of Sociology and Animal Studies, Centre for Animal Welfare, University of Winchester, and author, Animals and Sociology

Click here for more information on the Vegan Vision Workshops and the London Vegfest.

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