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Posts Tagged ‘Ideas’

Henry Salt Died April 19, 1939

April 22nd, 2014 No comments
Henry Salt 1851-1939

Henry Salt 1851-1939

It’s important to remember the passing of Henry Salt in Brighton, England on April 19, 1939. He lived an extraordinary life championing social justice that had at its heart animal rights. He wrote his own eulogy, which was read out at his funeral,

When I say I shall die, as I have lived, rationalist, socialist, pacifist, and humanitarian, I must make my meaning clear. I wholly disbelieve in the present established religion; but I have a very firm religious faith of my own—a Creed of Kinship I call it—a belief that in years yet to come there will be a recognition of brotherhood between man and man, nation and nation, human and subhuman, which will transform a state of semi-savagery, as we have it, into one of civilisation, when there will be no such barbarity of warfare, or the robbery of the poor by the rich, or the ill-usage of the lower animals by mankind.

I’ve written here about Salt on previous occasions (here and here and here) but a wonderful resource about Salt and all things related is here.

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Best Animal Rights Books 2013

January 7th, 2014 1 comment

There were many fine books about animal rights and related matters published in 2013. So many, in fact, that I’ve had to devise two lists: my five favourites and four noble mentions. So, let’s deal with the latter group first. I’m cheating a bit with the noble mentions. I’m reading them or they’re on my to read pile tottering by my side of the bed.

The Cry of Nature: Art and the Making of Animal Rights by Stephen F. Eisenman (Reaktion Books)

The impact of art on animal rights fascinates me. Just started this book and can’t wait to read his study of my favourite living artist Sue Coe.

Animal Oppression and Human Violence: Domesecration, Capitalism, and Global Conflict by David Nibert (Columbia University Press)

This progressive perspective is refreshing in the era of blandness. It will be like a breath of fresh air albeit a strong wind that will knock my thinking sideways—no bad thing.

Defiant Daughters: 21 Women on Art, Activism, Animals, and The Sexual Politics of Meat edited by Kara Davis, Wendy Lee, with a Foreword by Carol J. Adams (Lantern Books)

Carol J. Adams and her books have earned themselves a place in my life in which they have significantly shaped my thinking. Discovering her impact on the lives of others will be interesting.

Entertaining Elephants: Animal Agency and the Business of the American Circus by Susan Nance (Johns Hopkins University Press)

One unfinished project is to write a contemplation about the life of Topsy, the elephant electrocuted to death in Coney Island, NY in 1903. Susan Nance’s book is part of my research.

Onto my top five animal rights books of 2013.

Undercover: The True Story of Britain’s Secret Police by Paul Lewis and Rob Evans (Faber & Faber)

During the 1980s when I organised the campaigns of the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection and U.K. animal rights movement came into its own with many actions of different kinds, I suspected there were undercover police, agents provocateurs, and corporate spies in our midst but never had the evidence to prove it. At the end of one national demonstration I organised which attracted thousands of protestors, I went to the local police station to check on some activists who had been arrested, and witnessed demonstrators emerge as on-duty police officers as they walked past me standing at the counter, started chatting with their colleagues in uniform, and take off badges from their coats and drop placards onto the floor. Researched and written by two Guardian journalists, Undercover documents Britain’s secret police forces and how they infiltrate and influence not only legitimate social movements like ours but also act morally reprehensibly by initiating long-standing, intimate relationship with activists, including fathering children. Every activist has to read this book and understand that much worse goes on around and among us.

Bleating Hearts: The Hidden World of Animal Suffering by Mark Hawthorne (Changemakers Books)

Mark Hawthorne is a writer of integrity. If he says it, you can trust it. This is why Bleating Hearts is so important and deserves a place on every animal activist’s bookshelf. It’s encyclopaedic in its summary description of all the different ways in which we treat animals. An important resource.

A Theory of Justice for Animals: Animal Rights in a Nonideal World by Robert Garner (Oxford University Press)

Living in an imperfect world, how do we go from moral rights to legal rights for animals? This is the question that Robert Garner, professor of politics at the University of Leicester, seeks to answer. Not everyone will agree with his conclusions and that, I think, doesn’t matter, as we have to have this debate. For example, he writes: “[i]t is my contention that moral obligations regarded as being outside of the sphere of justice collapse, in practice, into the realm of charity and voluntarism precisely because there is a much weaker link with legal compulsion.” (8) (emphasis in original)

This Is Hope: Green Vegans and the New Human Ecology by Will Anderson (Earth Books)

The big picture view of animal rights and veganism and their relationship to environmental protection are the issues explored by Will Anderson, a long-standing social justice campaigner. There is so much to learn from this well-researched book. One of its special attributes that I appreciate is that it presents the problem as well as the solution.

Polar Bear in the Zoo: A Speculation by Martin Rowe (Lantern Books)

Martin Rowe, who is my editor at Lantern Books, is such a thoughtful and provocative writer that I would want to read anything he writes. I read The Polar Bear in the Zoo as an ebook but its richness deserves another read in the flesh, as it were, as a paperback. Prompted by the evocative photography of Jo-Anne McArthur and one in particular of a polar bear in a zoo, Martin Rowe embarks on a journey of contemplation and questioning as to what it means to care and act for animals as well as the relationship between us. “Do we open our eyes and stare or do we look away?” he asks.

Changing the Game: Why the Battle for Animal Liberation Is So Hard and How We Can Win It by Norm Phelps (Lantern Books — ebook only)

This book deserves a wider readership than I fear it has received so far. With precision and insight, Norm Phelps takes a cold hard look at the animal rights movement and our strategies and tactics. His analysis is always insightful and, when necessary, challenging. This is one of those rare books about animal rights strategy that reaches beyond cliches and stereotypes. It breathes wisdom into the discussion that preoccupies activists of all sorts. He concludes with a seven point program to change the game of animal rights advocacy. “And because neither animal rights nor human rights can be achieved alone,” he writes, “we need to set about building a universal rights movement that will win both together.”

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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

YouTube Direkt

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Marti Kheel and Bloodroot Cafe

September 23rd, 2013 No comments
The Political Palate by the Bloodroot Collective

The Political Palate by the Bloodroot Collective

A recent addition to my animal rights archive was made by lauren Ornelas. She kindly gave me a copy of The Second Seasonal Political Palate: A Feminist Vegetarian Cookbook by the Bloodroot Collective. What is particularly important about this book is that it belonged to Marti Kheel who died in 2011. lauren is like me (and many others) in that we are both big fans of Marti and her innovative work establishing ecofeminism.

Marti Kheel was a prominent writer and activist in the areas of ecofeminism, animal advocacy, and environmental ethics.

Marti wrote Nature Ethics: An Ecofeminist Perspective, in which she describes ecofeminism as a “loosely knit philosophical and practical orientation linking the concerns of women to the larger natural world. More specifically, ecofeminism examines and critiques the historical and mutually reinforcing devaluation of women and nature with a view to transforming existing forms of exploitation” (8).

Marti’s cookbook is a wonderful artefact in that it is was clearly one of her favourite cookbooks. The cover is stained and the pages are warped. It also has a lovely bookplate.

I’m also a big fan of lauren whose work with the Food Empowerment Project is unique and special. FEP’s mission is to create a more just and sustainable world by recognizing the power of one’s food choices. I appreciate how FEP situates veganism as integral to making

healthy food choices that reflect a more compassionate society by spotlighting the abuse of animals on farms, the depletion of natural resources, unfair working conditions for produce workers, and the unavailability of healthy foods in low-income areas.

Marti's bookplate

Marti’s bookplate

Founded in the mid-1970s, the Bloodroot Collective manages the Bloodroot vegan/vegetarian restaurant in Bridgeport, CT. During my first trip to the USA in 1980, I stayed with author Jim Mason who at that time was living nearby in Westport. I recall him taking me to Bloodroot during that trip. It is pleasing to see that Bloodroot is still going strong!

To learn more about the books in my archive, please visit my page on LibraryThing. This is a searchable database of more than 2,000 books mostly about animal rights and related matters.

 

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IARC 2013

September 15th, 2013 No comments
The IARC 2013 was held at the Kulturfabrik that was originally a slaughterhouse. Here, we look up at the ceiling to see the large hooks that moved the carcasses along the production line.

The IARC 2013 was held at the Kulturfabrik that was originally a slaughterhouse. Here, we look up at the ceiling to see the large hooks that moved the carcasses along the production line.

The International Animal Rights Conference in Luxembourg is an impressive event. It attracts animal advocates from across the world and produces an impressive program of speakers. It is also well organised and comprehensive and welcoming. Generally, the attendees are younger activists. They are thoughtful and passionate.

The conference is held at the Centre Culturel Kulturfabrik Esch which was formally a slaughterhouse and is now an arts complex with a restaurant, galleries, offices, and studios. I was not aware of this until I arrived and it was pointed out to me. So, attending the conference becomes a bizarre but creepy positive experience in that animal rights was being discussed inside an old slaughterhouse.

I was honoured with making the opening plenary presentation. I decided to present the paper I had written for the academic journal, Relations. This is because the paper, ‘Animal rights: Moral crusade or political movement?’, summarised my critique of the animal rights movement. Other presenters also addressed related issues about the movement’s ideology and strategy.

The conference organisers have opened a page in YouTube where it is possible to watch many if not all of the presentations made. These recordings are a valuable resource into the different views and perspectives made about animal rights and its ideology and strategy.

You can watch my presentation here. Please share with me your thoughts and comments on my thesis that the animal rights movement should be less like a moral crusade and more like a political movement. Thank you!

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NCSU Libraries Recognises My Animal Rights Work

June 4th, 2013 No comments

I received recently a much appreciated letter from Greg Raschke, Associate Director for Collections and Scholarly Communication at NSCU Libraries, recognising my work in support of the Tom Regan Animal Rights Archive at North Carolina State University.

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you personally for all of the hard work you have put forth towards helping us build the Tom Regan Animal Rights Archive here at the North Carolina State University Libraries. As you know, the animal rights archive at NCSU is one of the best venues for scholars and activists to conduct research on the history and development of the animal rights movement. We hope to continue growing the collection and to encourage even more frequent use of the materials.

Your pivotal role in helping NCSU obtain the records of the Animal Rights Network was a key part in generating the momentum we needed as we sought to expand our animal rights collections. We are equally grateful that you have brought other collections to our attention, such as the Animal Rights/Animal Welfare Pamphlet Collection that we recently acquired. In April we released a press release announcing this acquisition and soon thereafter received a larger number of inquiries from researchers wanting to access the materials. No successful archive is built in isolation, and we are grateful for the collaboration of leading scholars such as Dr. Regan and leaders in the field such as you. Your contributions in connecting us with materials for purchase that are appropriate for the archive are most appreciated. We would like to build on these successes as we continue to grow the Tom Regan Animal Rights Archive.

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Happy Birthday!

February 11th, 2013 4 comments

Happy Birthday to this website which celebrates its third birthday on February 8!

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Making a Difference for Animals in 2013

January 28th, 2013 No comments

I worked in a chicken slaughterhouse 40 years ago this summer. I was a student at a college in London learning how to manage hotels and restaurants. Three years later, I was a vegan at Compassion In World Farming, campaigning against factory farming and the live export of farmed animals to Europe. Today, I work as an independent scholar and author on animal rights, and proud to include Compassion among my clientele.

Looking back on my life in animal rights has preoccupied me recently. This is because I have obsessed over the completion of the manuscript for my first book. I explore what it means to care deeply about animals. I look back on my involvement in the animal rights movement in the UK and USA. I conclude there are four key values in animal rights: Compassion, Truth, Nonviolence and Justice.

The end of January is not too late to consider what I want to accomplish this year. Clearly, the book, which has still yet to be finally named, will be a major preoccupation. In fact, I am as fed up with talking about my book-to-be as you must be in hearing me prattle on about it. At last! I will breath a sigh of relief because it will be finished. And those who want to will be able to read it because Lantern Books will publish it in May.

Here’s a recording of me briefly talking about the book and reading a short extract from the Introduction.

 

 

Writing is just one chapter in a book’s history. The next is the promotion and marketing to draw attention to what it has got to say. I will be in the USA on a book promotion tour from May to July. Before then, I will relaunch this website to feature the book. Incidentally, I have put the blog of my alter ego, the Grumpy Vegan, on hold because he deserves a well-earned rest.

Writing is a large part of my life now. In addition to my first book, I have also written papers for four academic journals and anthologies to be published in Italy, Canada, the USA and the UK. I will share with you here information about them as they are published. Also, I am working on a second book which explores the animal rights movement in America and Britain. My goal is to publish this as an ebook in the summer. Then, later, to publish it as a ‘real’ book.

Meanwhile, I continue to work with various organisations as an independent consultant.

The Animals and Society Institute is very dear to my heart, not only as one of its co-founders along with Ken Shapiro, but also as a very special group dedicated to, among other things, the development of Human-Animal Studies.

It’s great to be involved again with Compassion In World Farming. This time I work closely with Philip Lymbery, Compassion’s Chief Executive, as Editor of his blog, A Compassionate World. I assist Philip with the research and development of material that the blog considers.

If your organisation is interested in exploring how I may be able to help you as an independent consultant, please email me at kim@kimstallwood.com.

I also believe in giving back to the animal rights movement and volunteer for two groups. One is local; the other international.

The first is East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service, which rescues, cares, treats and releases, whenever possible, injured wildlife back into the glorious part of England that I live. The other is Minding Animals International, which I help as its Deputy Director. I work on MAI’s further development and our next international conference in January 2015 which is in partnership with the Wildlife Trust of India.

All in all, 2013 looks to be a very busy year. Which, of course, is as it should be, all the while animals are denied justice.

Please stay in touch with me by:

Here’s to making a difference for animals in 2013!

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Feminists for Animal Rights

November 11th, 2012 No comments

Although the impact of ecofeminism on my thinking about animal rights is as present as ever in my life, I had forgotten how important the presence of Feminists for Animal Rights was in the animal rights movement … until yesterday’s conference in celebration of the life and work of Marti Kheel at Wesleyan University in Connecticut.

It is Sunday morning. The day after a very long day yesterday spent in the conference. I am still too close to what happened to be able to say anything about it other than it was incredible.

To meet and hear attendees and speakers, who are old friends and colleagues, some not seen in decades, and authors and intellectuals, who I only know through their writings but have now had an opportunity to hear speak, is something to be celebrated. Such a richness of insight and expertise.

The conference was built around a series of four presentations. Each one consisted of a panel of mostly four speakers in each one. As one of the presenters, we were asked by the organisers, Carol Adams and Lori Gruen, to submit a paper in advance to share with our fellow presenters. At the conference, we were asked to make a 10 minute summary presentation, which was followed by a discussion between panellists and then with everyone present.

This approach meant that in one session the subject ranged widely from a hearty critique of capitalism to the consideration of a hypothetical group of people from another time and place who were occasional cannibals. And much more to recall and detail here.

One of the outcomes from the conference is planned to be the publication of an anthology of articles. So, stay tuned on that one.

More immediate, however, another outcome is the revival of Feminists for Animal Rights. For various reasons, FAR had become dormant as an organisation in the animal rights movement and beyond. Yesterday reminded me of the unique and special role FAR had in not only informing the debate about our relations with animals but also with the development of the animal rights movement. There is a new website, which includes copies of FAR’s newsletter and important articles as well as links to like-minded organisations. Please visit the FAR website to discover or renew yourself with the unique insight of what ecofeminism has to offer.

Here is an extract from my paper from yesterday which recalled the impact FAR made on me as my ideas about animal advocacy developed.

So, beginning in the mid-1970s with the publication of Animal Liberation by Peter Singer, which advanced a utilitarian argument in support of animals, and, then, in the mid-1980s with Tom Regan’s Case for Animal Rights, I saw the emergence of animal ethics as a key discipline. Regan challenged Singer’s utilitarian arguments by making the case that animals were subjects of a life and held intrinsically rights, including the right to respect, which could not be traded away in something like a utilitarian calculation. Thus began the development of animal ethics whereby one theory was challenged by another and my thinking of animal ethics developed accordingly. Then, in the early 1990s when I found myself unknowingly transitioning from animal activism to animal advocacy, I became intrigued with what was I was learning from my discovery of ecofeminism.

Two developments stand out. The first is the publication of Carol Adams’s Sexual Politics of Meat in 1990. The second is watching Marti Kheel and Carol Adams present Feminist for Animal Rights slide show (a copy of which is in my archive). They awakened in me new and intriguing ways to think about animal rights and animal advocacy. These experiences led me to conversations with, among others, Marti, Carol and Batya Bauman, and to other books and anthologies which I also found enlightening. I liked how ecofeminism presented animal exploitation within a progressive context alongside other social justice issues. I found it exciting to see written and visual analysis being made of ideas about masculinity and masculine behaviour. As a gay man who was intuitively uncomfortable with sexism but little understood the theories of feminism, they resonated well and deeply with me.

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Animal Pasts in London’s Landscape Today

October 2nd, 2012 No comments

On Saturday, September 29, I was lucky to be part of a walking group led by historian Hilda Kean which explored ‘Animal Pasts in London’s Landscape Today.’ As Hilda writes on her Web site,

Alongside our human ancestors animals have created the physical and cultural landscape of London as it exists today. In this walk of c. 2 hours we will look at traces left by cattle, horses, dogs and cats – and their human companions. Skirting the city, this walk will  offer a different way of seeing London.

This video shows how we started at Smithfield Market. It began as a place where once live farmed animals were brought, bought, sold and killed to a meat market today. Hilda read out from Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist,

It was market-morning. The ground was covered, nearly ankle-deep, with filth and mire; a thick steam, perpetually rising from the reeking bodies of the cattle, and mingling with the fog, which seemed to rest upon the chimney-tops, hung heavily yabove. All the pens in the centre of the large area, and as many temporary pens as could be crowded into the vacant space, were filled with sheep; tied up to posts by the gutter side were long lines of beasts and oxen, three or four deep.

Smithfield is on the borders of the City, whixh is a place of many histories. For example, St Bartholomew’s, the oldest hospital in London, was founded here by Rahere in 1123. It was a site of executions and Protestant martyrs were burnt to death, including William Wallace and Wat Tyler. The live trade in cattle from C12 to 1860s led ironically to the first legislation in the world to protect animals in 1822, when it became illegal to ‘wantonly and cruelly beat abuse, or ill treat any horse, mare, gelding, mule, ass, ox, cow , heifer, steer, sheep, or other cattle.’

Samuel Johnson’s cat, Hodge, as represented by sculptor Jon Bickley in 1997.

On our way to Samuel Johnson’s house in Gough Square, Hilda pointed several key landmarks and buildings, which I will tease you with by saying, dear reader, you will need to join Hilda on a future tour to find out! Samuel Johnson, the famous essayist, lived in a house in Gough Square, between 1749 – 59, which was during the period when he published his famous dictionary. Dr Johnson opposed cruelty to animals, including vivisection which he defined as perpetrated ‘by a race of men that have practised tortures without pity.’ He also loved cats. One of them, Hodge, was described by Johnson as a ‘very fine cat, a very fine cat indeed.’ Here is a link to an extract of a videoI shot of Hilda telling us about Hodge.

Sam, who had all the ideas.

Later on the walk, we saw another statue dedicated to a cat. This was Sam. Sam, who was a real cat who lived with Patricia Penn, and is now commemorated in sculpture by John Fuller in Queen Square. Penny, as she was known, was a local campaigner and active in the residents association. Penny and Sam lived nearby. Apparently when Penny wanted to reveal something or spread an idea, she’d say ‘Sam heard … or Sam has had an idea.’ We also visited another statue dedicated to a cat, Humphrey. Click on this linkto watch Hilda explain who Humphrey was.

I took this photo looking up to the door which horses were taken through. I am standing on the corridor leading down to the lower flower looking up at the front door. The cobbled steps, which were installed to help make it easier for the horses to walk, are clearly visible.

The last but one site we visited was what used to be the horse hospital but is now an art gallery on the lower floor and the contemporary wardrobe collection on the upper floor. The horse hospital is located at the rear of Russell Hotel in Herbrand Street and Colonnade. It was built by architect James Burton in 1797, who also built the Veterinary College in St Pancras and then redeveloped after 1860. Now a grade 11 listed arts centre, the interior still contains the moulded ramps and cobbled floor which enabled horses to walk from the bottom to be treated on the first floor. Apologies for this brief account of what was a fascinating two-hour plus walk through central London. Please visit Hilda’s Web site to learn more about her various projects in animal rights and other histories. Her book on the history of animal rights is also highly recommended. It is called ‘Animal Rights’ and is published by Reaktion. Please also check out this link. It is to a video of Hilda making a presentation at a recent conference of the International Society of Anthrozoology called, ‘The Changing Human-Feline Relationship in Britain c.1900-1950.’

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