Jasmin Singer and Mariann Sullivan from Our Hen House recently invited me back for a second interview for their podcast with the theme ‘Archiving Animal Rights’ (episode 577).
Kim Stallwood is truly one of the founders of the modern animal rights movement, and we are thrilled to have him join us this week on the podcast. He and Mariann discuss the long term history of the movement, the recent extraordinary acquisition of Kim’s collection of books and artifacts by the British Library, and what the Library selected to preserve for posterity. He shares some of his past heroes and some of the characters throughout history, such as Topsy the elephant, who was electrocuted on Coney Island for not being kinder to the humans who brutally exploited him. Kim also emphasizes why it is essential not only for the humans in the animal rights movement, but also for the animals themselves, to preserve and safeguard historical materials.
Vegan for more than 40 years, Kim is not only an animal rights advocate, but an animal rights theorist who has worked with or alongside some of the world’s foremost animal advocacy organizations. He is a speaker, independent scholar, and author of Growl: Life Lessons, Hard Truths, and Bold Strategies from an Animal Advocate. Kim is on the board of directors for Culture and Animals Foundation and, as noted, recently worked with the British Library to curate a collection on the history of the animal rights movement.
“It’s important that we know our history, because how else can we understand where we are now, and where we want to go in the future? ”, said Kim Stallwood.
Here are some of the topics we discussed:
- How Kim’s quirk of collecting information pertaining to the animal rights movement began
- What Kim has in his collection, including pamphlets dating back to the 1800s and original reel to reel footage, the often weird and wonderful places he has found historical information, and why he has preserved it so carefully for so long
- Inspirational figures in the early animal rights movement, including Frances Power-Cobbe and Anna Kingsford, influential anti-vivisectionists of the Victorian era
- Kim’s favorite pieces, including a model belonging to the globe-trotting vet who founded World Animal Protection
- Why reflecting on the past gives him hope for the future for animals
- Why Kim is inspired to write a biography of Topsy the elephant and how he hopes it will shine a light on how we treat animals today
- Kim’s hush-hush negotiations with a second institution about building a library for the history of the animal rights movement
- The things that are currently giving Kim genuine hope for the future of our relationship with animals
Jasmin and Mariann established Our Hen House in 2010 as a not-for-profit organisation to ‘effectively mainstream the movement to end the exploitation of animals’ as a ‘multi-media hive of opportunities for change’. They have produced nearly 600 podcasts featuring animal advocates and their work along with two other podcasts, The Animal Law Podcast with Mariann and Teaching Jasmin How to Cook Vegan.