Mandy and Kim

I celebrate the beginning of each year with my vegetarian and vegan anniversaries. On January 1, 1974, I became a vegetarian after working in a chicken slaughterhouse the previous summer when I was a student. The only vegetarian I knew at the time, Mandy, convinced me to give up eating meat and fish. Two years later, I became a vegan along with my Mum. So, as of January 1, 2021, I start my 47th year as a vegetarian and my 45th year as a vegan.

In 1976, I began my full-time work for animal rights with some of the world’s foremost organizations. In 45 years of living, breathing, and eating as a vegan animal rights advocate, I have learned a lot and made many mistakes, which I consider in my book, Growl: Life Lessons, Hard Truths, and Bold Strategies from an Animal Advocate (Lantern; 2014). I conclude there are four key values in animal rights: truth, compassion, nonviolence, and justice. Since 2007, I have worked as an independent author, scholar, and consultant.

My proudest achievement in 2020 was to establish the Kim Stallwood Archive at The British Library. Finding a home for the remaining materials in the Kim Stallwood Collection and writing a biography of Topsy the elephant are my two priorities for 2021 and beyond. I continue to volunteer my time for the Culture and Animals Foundation as a director of the organization.

I recognize 2020 has been a challenging year for many people. I sincerely hope 2021 will be a happy, vegan year for all. Now is the time to try Veganuary if you have yet to take the pledge to live compassionately.

I want to conclude by sharing with you the ending of Orlando, the film dramatization of Virginia Woolf’s novel by Sally Potter. It’s an inspiring film whose final minutes sum up how I feel about the New Year. I will leave with you to figure out why.



2 comments on “45th Vegan Anniversary

  • Dear Kim Stallwood & Team,
    May we mention our new poetry book, Blue-bird sings the Blues, by Noël Sweeney which might be of interest to you.

    The poems cover all aspects of animal rights that connect racism and sexism and speciesism including the Voyage of The Zong, the Tulsa Massacre 1921, animal abuse in Wuhan, the death of Emmett Till, the murder of George Floyd, bull-fighting, factory farming, fox hunting, trophy hunting, killing whales and a Suffragette force-fed as if she was foie gras.

    Thank you.

    Best wishes,

    Wendy & Polly

    The Clerks to Noël Sweeney

    NB. Perhaps we should add a caveat that the poems are not for the faint-hearted. Here is an example:

    The Fish that failed to Scream

    He threw the line that fooled the fish

    The rusty hook caught the bream

    He could hardly see her struggle

    Part of the joy of his serene dream

    As he overcame her strength

    By the rising line and his length

    Catching her silver scale in the stream

    He was secretly glad fish do not scream

    The bent hook curled around her throat

    The time was right for his lucky strike

    Close on the surface he grabbed her

    The prize was a splashing thrashing pike

    He found her fight added to the delight

    Using his power and all his might

    Catching her silver scale in the stream

    He was secretly glad fish do not scream

    He threw the lasso into the river

    Intent on catching a another carp

    His jagged hook and line and sinker

    Reflected his mind blunt and sharp

    Like the last throw of a cardsharp

    Wanting to make sure he got that carp

    Catching her silver scale in the stream

    He was secretly glad fish do not scream

    Intending on ending with a perky perch

    He stood close to the fast water’s ledge

    His line got caught in a drooping birch

    That dragged him to the snagged edge

    Losing balance he slipped on the bank

    A crooked hook in his tongue as he sank

    Angler and line swinging in the stream

    Both gripped beneath the vice slipstream

    Beneath the water open-mouthed

    Bubbles killed his fish-like shout

    The perch was dragged down and out

    While the angler was dragged all about

    The spreading pain shot through him

    His life flashed in a nightmare scheme

    Echoed by his heart-rending scream

    Followed by scream-after-scream

    In that moment he lost all doubt

    About the cold-fish-no-pain shout

    The angler so often used to spout

    A different time and a different theme

    Drowned as if he was another bream

    Sinking as no one heard his stifled scream

    Like catching her silver scale in the stream

    His heart went boom-boom-boom

    Seeing the crashing flashing watery tomb

    No longer secretly glad fish do not scream

    A Trophy for Vanity

    Proudly she stands with her foot

    On the head of her prey

    Her weapon across her shoulder

    The trophy for a well-paid day

    A handsome reward for the risk

    She takes on every shoot

    For the victim could fight back

    And deprive her of the loot

    She smiles so the photograph

    Will capture the unleashed iron

    That coursed through her

    When she sees her bagged lioness

    Or better still the shaggy lion

    Adding another notch on her bedpost list

    The feeling of power too hard to resist

    Yet she fails to see through her vanity mist

    The ghost of her image turned topsy-turvy

    Her phoney claim to be a ‘conservationist’

    Cuts a tarnished symbol as some women see

    The trophy hunter as naked as a naturist

    The trophy hunter as nature’s terrorist

    The trophy killer as a stalking rapist

    The rapist steals a piece of his victim

    Sings his hymn of hate as a maxim

    To take away as a token of his prey

    To dwell on his pervert’s power

    Used to slay the one in the way

    A perfect reminder of his crime

    A mirror-image of his victim

    A trophy of power that satisfies him

    A rapist and trophy hunter whose vanity

    Advertises a naked hatred of humanity

    Blue-bird sings the Blues

    She flew through the unchained

    Sky-blue countryside

    Sparkling eyes and freedom’s song

    Spiralling and soaring wide

    Twists and turns as nature’s acrobat

    On a wild glide wing

    Her timeless tune is proof

    The blue-bird was born to sing

    A single shot from the one with a sawn-off soul

    A single shot burst out to end her timed life’s toll

    A single shot in spring split her pain-filled sighs

    Blasted the last blue-bird

    From the blood-spilled skies

    On her wing lies the bleeding shotgun bruise

    In her eyes lies the stark dark spark of her muse

    At once her shattered heart proves who to accuse

    Denied her silvery voice leaves her no choice

    Silently the dead-eyed blue-bird sings the Blues

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