Kim Stallwood, Growl
Kim Stallwood is an independent scholar and author on animal rights. For almost 40 years he has demonstrated personal commitment and professional experience in leadership positions with some of the world’s foremost animal advocacy organisations in the U.K. and U.S.A. This includes Compassion In World Farming, British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and The Animals’ Agenda magazine. He co-founded the Animals and Society Institute in 2005. He is ASI’s European Director. He is also Executive Director of Minding Animals International. His client organisations include CIWF, GREY2K USA Worldwide, and League Against Cruel Sports. He became a vegetarian in 1974 after working in a chicken slaughterhouse. He has been a vegan since 1976. He holds dual citizenship in the U.K. and U.S. His book, Growl: Life Lessons, Hard Truths, and Bold Strategies from an Animal Advocate, will be published by Lantern Books in 2014.
Caryn Hartglass: Hello everybody! I’m Caryn Hartglass. You’re listening to It’s All About Food for March 25, 2014. Do I sound funny to you? I sound funny to me. I’ve just been going through a nasty week of a bad bug. It started just as I finished the show last week, and I’ve been down ever since. Trying to do my best to get back up, but I am here because I really wanted to do this program and for a number of reasons. Number 1: Happy It’s All About Food 5th Anniversary! Five years ago today. I did my first program on Progressive Radio Network, I just really realized yesterday that five years has gone by and I wanted to thank all of you for participating in what’s been a wonderful experience for me and I hope that you’ve gotten some good things out of it as well. It’s been a great opportunity to promote the work of so many wonderful experts and activist and people in the food alternative food movement trying to make this world a better place with their help, the help of the planet for the animals. So, I’m kind of excited. Fifth anniversary! Woo! I realized, I haven’t been opening the way I use to open the program when I began, and I thought just for a moment just to make it clear, I am a vegan. And I’m sure you all know by now what a vegan is. I just want to say it one more time because I haven’t said it in a very long time. I guess the reason why I feel the need to say it is because I get some wonderful mail from my listeners, I love to receive mail, and I hope you continue to send me stuff any time you have a thought about anything at all, food related of course is best, but it could be anything. Occasionally, I get some not very nice mail. Very rarely. I have to pride myself, I don’t get much bad mail, but recently I did. I had one bad message, and the listener apparently didn’t know that I was vegan. Now, who doesn’t know that I’m vegan? I’m the biggest out vegan I know. Vegan! So I became a vegetarian when I was about 15. I didn’t want to kill animals, and then it’s been a long journey of not eating animals and learning that it’s the best thing for health and the environment and I dedicated much of my life and work to this mission. I’m all over the Internet as a vegan. So it just surprises me when somebody says, “Why are you not promoting dairy?” or “Why are you saying that dairy is awful.” No, I don’t consume milk, I don’t consume eggs, I don’t consume honey, I don’t wear animals, etc. On this program, I do have a lot of vegan guest, but I also have guest that are not vegan because I think that it is important that we can align with other like minded people on certain topics like organic farming and making GMOs labeled. There are a lot of different things in regards to our food system and our food supply. That we can all get together on and fight for to make our food system better. We don’t have to agree on everything, but we can find common ground. So that’s what we like to do here. Okay, now I want to bring on my guest. I’ve been looking forward to this for a very long time. Kim Stallwood, she has a new book coming out called, “Growl” He’s an independent scholar, an author on animal rights for almost 40 years. He has demonstrated personal commitment and professional experience in leadership positions with some of the world’s foremost animal advocacy organizations in the U.K. and the U.S.A. Which includes Compassion In World Farming, British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and The Animals’ Agenda magazine. He co-founded the Animals and Society Institute in 2005. He is the Animal and Society Institute European director, also executive director of Minding Animals International. His client organization includes CIWF, GREY2K USA Worldwide, and League Against Cruel Sports. He became a vegetarian in 1974 after working in a chicken slaughterhouse, and has been vegan since 1976. Kim, welcome to It’s All About Food.
Kim Stallwood: Well thank you very much and I’m trilled to be here. Congratulations on your anniversary.
Caryn Hartglass: Thank you! It’s been an incredible thing and I love reading. One of the things that I do for this program is a lot of reading. When somebody has a book that they want to talk about, I read it. And so I do a lot of reading. And five years of this, and I’ve adjust to a lot of books, including yours.
Kim Stallwood: Thank you.
Caryn Hartglass: Yes. So let’s talk a little bit about Growl. Now, Growl is not coming out until September?
Kim Stallwood: That’s right.
Caryn Hartglass: Isn’t that a little bit later than expected?
Kim Stallwood: Oh my gosh, it’s years later than I expected. This project has been a long time in the works. But I am very pleased to say that that its official publication day is September, but it is possible that printer copies may be available prior to that. Can I just explain, in case you wonder, I got background noise. I’m at home working today. I have a rescued jack rustle dog, Shelly, with me. Up to about five minutes ago, she was asleep. Of course now she has woken up. I’m hoping that she is going to settle down. That looks like that’s what she’s doing. Yes, I think so.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay well we welcome her comments.
Kim Stallwood: Hahah. Well if I sound distracted, it’s cause I’m fussing because of her. She’s settling down again.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay.
Kim Stallwood: So she should be okay.
Caryn Hartglass: Right. If I start some kind of incisive hacking here, please excuse me. I just have to say one more thing that I’ll get into this. My listeners have been hearing for the last few weeks of how tired I’ve been. I kept coming on this show and saying, “Oh it’s great to sit down because I’m exhausted.” The truth is that for the last two or three months, I’ve been pushing non-stop, way over extended. And we know what happens when we do that, we get sick, and here I am. No amount of ranges could have stopped this. I needed to rest.
Kim Stallwood: I hope that you race down the road to recovery.
Caryn Hartglass: Yes. Well we might even talk about that somewhere along the line in this talk of activism, and overextending and burn out.
Kim Stallwood: Yes. In the book Growl I talk about going to the “misanthropic bunker”.
Caryn Hartglass: Yes. Let’s talk about that. Is now a good time, or should we get more of an introduction to the book and what you had expected it to be, and what it became.
Kim Stallwood: the book has always been in my mind. I always imagined that this book would be the book that I wished I had the opportunity to read when I first got involved with animal welfare and animal rights in Great Britain in the mid 1970’s. But of course I had to have a lot of years of experience, to be able to get myself into the position to be back to actually write the book. And in writing the book, it has a long period of gestation and it’s gone through various incarnations. I had to spend quiet of my time looking back on my life and think about the things I’ve done, not done. And it’s all crystallized together, and I’m pleased to say in to Growl and much of the writing that was done in the production of the book, has actually not ended up in Growl. So one point, I suddenly realized I was writing two books and once. I was writing in the first person, and I was writing in the third person. So the third person material has been separated out and is certainly being called Book two, while I focused on book one. And that’s Growl and that’s where we are today. So now I am now working on the second book. Which will be a crystal evaluation of the animal rights movement in Britain and America. I don’t know when that book will be published, but hopefully it won’t be too far away.
Caryn Hartglass: Well, we need to read history for a lot of reasons. Your books are a historical perspective of the animal rights movement and I enjoyed it for lots of different reasons. One, is some names and organizations I was familiar with, others I wasn’t because they were from Great Britain. I’m not familiar with what’s going on over there in the last 50 years or so. This kind of helped my interest when I recognize a name or organization like, “Oh I did not know that.” A lot has happened in the last 50+ decades. Most of it, I want to think is good. I think that younger people might take for granted what seems to be statues quo today that we didn’t have 50 years ago, we didn’t have 100 years ago. I know that with the women’s rights movement, I read that older women from time to time claiming that the younger women have better opportunities, and they feel like it’s God given or something and they don’t realize the work that they do to get them where they are today. This is where the historical perspective are important, and every one needs to read them because a lot of work has gone in, in the last 50 years like just how to get soy milk in stores.
Kim Stallwood: Well, I think you’re absolutely correct Caryn with that you were saying. I first got involved, I arrogantly believed that when the first discovered it, but it took me a while to realize that there were decades and generations of people who preceded me. My work, and the work of people who are active now, we stand on the shoulder of those who have preceded us. We won’t be in the position that we are today without their efforts. In Growl, which is a part memoir, part manifesto. I’ve tried to trace the history of my involvement and tried to interpret the movement’s element as far as I did. I think its influences, as you say, for people to understand how we ended up how we are today because if we want to be somewhere else tomorrow. We need to know how we got here today in order to know where we need to go tomorrow or the day after. So historical perspective is really important. I tried to write the book in such a way where it’s a conversation between the reader and me. I’ve tried to fit it in a engaging start so that people can relate to what my experience have been and help them understand what they experience in the past and why they think the way that they do now in order to become a better advocate for animals and themselves. And to work collectively to a future where animal rights, in moral terms does exist.
Caryn Hartglass: I’m thinking about so many different things. And all of a sudden… let’s start at some of these phrases that you came up with. So you mentioned the misanthropic bunker, can you explain what that is?
Kim Stallwood: Misanthropic bunker, it’s a place. It’s not physically a place, but for some I think it might be. It’s the name I call, basically the mental space I go into and I do, do it every now and then. I try no to do it as much as I use to. But it’s the place I go where I feel safe where my views are perfect, that everyone else is wrong, why can’t people be like me, and I owned up in a negative space where it’s everyone’s fault except for my own. It’s not a healthy place to be in. The reason why I call it the misanthropic bunker it’s a bunker mentality, it’s a hiding mentality, it’s a closing off from the rest of the world, it’s drawing up the draw bridge and putting yourself inside. It’s misanthropic because it has or have, for me at least, because we work tiredly for ending animal cruelty and exportation, we’re constantly exposed not only to not what happens to animals, we’re also exposed to who the people are that we object to so much. And constantly when you are continuously bombarded with images of animal suffering and people doing that suffering. It’s sometimes very hard to like ourselves as a species and as a group of people. Consequently you get misinterpreted! You know, you just hate people. I laugh along as I say this because I have to have a sense of humor about it all. But it does get very serious. I’ve met activist over the years who gotten themselves into a sad place, mentally. Where they ended up not being affected because they got themselves stuck inside the bunker. What I tried to do in the book, is discuss misanthropic bunker in such a way where it’s okay to say that it’s okay sometimes to let yourself go there and just be there for a while. Just have a good old grumble about the world, but not to leave them occupy some mind and one’s heart so that, that’s the only one you see, think, and feel. Because you’ll end up in a place where you won’t be really good for anything. You won’t be a good activist; you won’t be a good social justice campaigner. So in talking about misanthropic bunker, I wanted to put it out on the table, something that I know that many people feel, they might not articulate in this way. But I wanted to write it to say to people, “Look I’ve been there.” And I go there every now and then. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but know when you’re there and be there when you’re there, but bring yourself back out of there again.
Caryn Hartglass: This doesn’t imply only to animal rights activists. I think this is part of human nature. And how a lot of people address their fear where they may join up with religion, politics, or some identity, and then find all these things they’re right about and hide in their little Misinterpreted bunker about it.
Kim Stallwood: I absolutely agree. One of the other things, it took me a while to understand and learn is that I’m very anxious about anything that has a fundamentalist feel about it. And a fundamentalism by nature puts you altered to the rest of the world. And it’s not a healthy place to be in.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay so, when you’re vegan and you want to be a vegan activist and you know the horror that’s going on around you, and you want to share the new privation with the world, how do you do it without coming across like a fundamentalist?
Kim Stallwood: Well, I think that there are various ways to answer that question. I mean one is that I think that being vegan is being normal. I don’t see it as being abnormal. I think the way to me that most non-vegans live is abnormal.
Caryn Hartglass: I agree.
Kim Stallwood: If I’m in a store, and I look into other people’s supermarket carts. And I see the things that they buy; I can’t believe that they are the products that people buy and things that people eat. So I consider vegan, a vegan way of living. Which is just more than the food we eat and the clothes that we wear. But I consider vegan being very normal and very ordinary. It’s how other people live and how they use animals, that is what I think is extraordinary. That I think is the violent way of living. We do not live in a violent way. We tried to live with compassion, and we try to be honest about the world. So yes, being vegan does alter the world. And can make you feel like a fundamentalist, but also try to think about being vegan as being a journey and not as a destination. I don’t think that because I’m vegan, I landed where I needed to land. It’s a journey, it evolves, I know that I can never be perfect in vegan. But I work hard and try my best to be as vegan as I can be. And we live in a very complicated world. Everything is inter related. And there are some animal products and services, which involve animal suffering to some extent. Somewhere along the line, we just have to accept that being vegan is a destination, it’s a journey towards a destination, but it’s probably a destination that we would probably never, ever reach. Some vegans that are hierarchy, and it’s something that you don’t say. I think it’s a good way to think about how to live a life without animal abuse and exportation.
Caryn Hartglass: You talk about compassion and in the book you give your definition of compassion. I’ve had many conversations about compassion and what it means. Once on the board of one organization we had some lively conversations because we’re thinking about using the word in some of our literature, and then we thought it sounded judgmental. Our perspective about compassion is that other people may not agree. It’s just a big can of worms, but you have an idea of what compassion is. What is it?
Kim Stallwood: Yes, compassion, for me is, it’s not sympathy or even empathy. Compassion for me is an intelligent emotion that enables us to put ourselves in the place of someone else, regardless of species. And be able to experience what they’re experiencing. Whether we want to be there or not, we can look at a photograph of a child suffering in a slum, or an animal in a cage, or whatever it might be and even if we are not physically in contact we can look at that being and know what they’re experiencing. And really physically, emotionally, and psychology know what they are experiencing. And to me, that’s compassion, but it’s the sensitivity of being able to connect with others. And just to know what they’re experiencing. There’s another aspect of compassion that I think is important, more than just the connection. The connection also is a motivator. That it inspires us to act. Because of that connection, we can’t not do anything. We can’t walk away. We have to act. For me compassion is a very tough emotion. It’s something that where we experience what others is experiencing, but it compels us to do something about it. So that’s the reason why I wanted to make compassion one of my four key values of animals right, rather than sympathy or empathy or pity. Compassion to me is something that is a compelling feeling of connection. That inspires us to work with others and to put ourselves to one side. In saying, to put ourselves in one side, I don’t mean to neglect ourselves. We so often spend much of our time thinking about our own interest. I think with compassion what it does, it connects, it inspires us to act, and it just says to stay back for a minute from your own needs and take care of someone else. So if we were all like that, I do believe that we could all work together to being a better world for everyone.
Caryn Hartglass: Yes, I agree but I don’t think that we are all like that. I think that’s a very hard concept for many people, or its too much work.
Kim Stallwood: It is hard. It is too much work. And it will be difficult for some people to do. However, it doesn’t mean to say that we shouldn’t try.
Caryn Hartglass: Absolutely, I agree. Now, you may know that I recently spoke to 250 cattle producers at an event for a livestock feedlot company. And it was incredible and I learned so much talking to these people but one thing that was really clear to me was that many of these people really believed that they cared for their animals. As I got a tour of this particular place, it was very difficult for me to see what I saw, first person. And yet, the quote caretakers really believed that they were doing good. And when you talk about compassion, this would be just a tremendous… I don’t even know how to even get them to make that step because they’re blinded in some ways.
Kim Stallwood: Yes, I really salute you for what you’ve done in making that trip and speaking to them. I think that the one simple rule that I learned to help try and provoke people to think outside of the box that got their heart in mind, is to say when you justify what you do to an animal, would you justify doing the same thing to someone that you love? And if they say “no,” then you say, “why is that animal different from the person who you love?”
Caryn Hartglass: Yes, and I’m sure that they’ll come up with all kinds of reasons. But I know that I got threw to many of them during my talk. It made people uncomfortable. So that was a good seed-planting event for me.
Kim Stallwood: Congratulations.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay, so one other thing that I enjoyed about the book is, I had to read between the line sometimes, but you have worked with a number of different organizations and even though a lot of vegans like to talk about a lot of compassion and being kind to animals, we’re not always crying to each other and we often forget why we are doing what we are doing when egos kind of get involved, and it just make the work, the very challenging work, even harder to do. I have experienced it, and clearly in your book you’ve talked about it.
Caryn Hartglass: I have experienced it and clearly in your book you talked about it and somewhat graciously making it clear that there were some conflicts but you weren’t too damaging to any of the parties involved. Is there anything we can do better in terms of running our organization so that we can get along?
The problem exists in many of our organizations and there are so many different groups now. We need to work together but often we can’t.
Kim Stallwood: I think the way I want to answer your questions, which is a very good questions is to say that, I do think many, if not all of us that do get involved with animal rights groups (in one way or another) tend to have the view that (and I know I certainly do and have for a very long time) we, our organizations, ourselves, our movement are going to liberate animals from their exploitation. I just don’t think that’s true. To me, I think that what our role I as a movement is to have a catalyst impact upon society. And that society is going to solve the problem of animal cruelty and exploitation. It really isn’t going to be any one or more organization. Clearly, organizations have a role, they have a lot of work to do and they’ve got to expose the problem. But it’s not going to be any one or more organization that is actually going to stop the problem. I tend to think that many groups have this angelical take upon themselves. The way they see themselves is, “We’re going to change the world.” And in many respects, yes, we are going to change the world and we are changing the world. When it comes to changing laws, getting laws passed and developing a body of public policy that is in support of animals, the only movement that can have a catalyst impact upon those institutions that make up society. In that sense, it’s not going to be the animal groups that are going to save the animals, what it is going to be is that we can have an impact upon the institutions and the structures, the communication networks and the policy networks that constitutes society. In the course of time, we can get laws to pass which are meaningfully for animals. I have had to learn to accept that not everyone is going to go vegan. In the 40 or so years I’ve been involved, it’s always been under 5 or 10% (at most). 10% is very high, I think 10% may be that people are meat avoiders. The vegans and vegetarians have always been around 3 – 5% as far as the data I’ve seen. That really hasn’t changed. We can try to change people one person at a time. That’s very labor intensive; it’s a lot of work. We can also, at the same time work toward embedding the values and ethic toward animals into the institutions that make up society so that they also are part of the drive toward moral and legal rights for animals.
Caryn Hartglass: You had this 5 step progression of what we need to do to make change and making laws was right in the middle there. Is that where we are now? Is that where we need to be working harder?
Kim Stallwood: Yes. The 5 stages that I identify is that education is the first stage so that the job about educating people about the issue. Going from a low level of awareness to a higher level of awareness. That’s clearly the stage that we’ve been in for the past decades now in the modern contemporary animal rights movement. The second stage is pushing this individual change into the second stage of public policy. This is what I was just saying about working in churches, fiscal parties, schools, corporations and getting them more enlightened about the impact they have on animals and getting them to adopt pro animal policies. That body of weight in support going from the individual to the institutional, helps them achieve progress in the third stage which is effective legislation. We need to get laws passed. Law making is a problematic process to put it mildly but we can’t ignore it. We have got to get involved with it. Once laws are passed that then trips the fourth stage which is implementation. There is no point in getting laws passed if there isn’t teeth in authority and money behind it to implementation. The fifth stage is public acceptance. Whereby general speaking, society has embraced the issue. We can look at issues in our lifetimes where we’ve seen significant progress where 20 or 30 years ago you would have never thought could have been possible. Marriage for example, the issue of smoking is another. We have to look at how these things have progressed so quickly from the stage of public education, public policy legislation to implementation.
Caryn Hartglass: That’s a really good point. It reminds me of when I was in Nevada talking to those cattle producers. Everything I smelled cigarette smoke in, in my motel room, in my conference room, everywhere. It was like I had gone back several decades. You definitely get used to things once they’ve taken effect like all the no smoking policies we have and all of the squirming people did when we wanted to put those laws into effect. Now how come in place and appreciated they are. I want to think the same thing can happen with animal agendas. Where are you on animal welfare and the few laws that we put in place to make cages a little bit bigger or things a little bit better for animal in confined situations?
Kim Stallwood: As I said earlier, lawmaking is a complicated process and this is a messy process. It is the proverbial art of compromise. Clearly if I want laws, I want laws that prohibit things. I want laws that abolish aspects of practices or entire practice. The reality is that the lawmakers haven’t yet got either the knowledge, the conviction or the pressure from the public to pass abolitionist type legislation. We are at an unacceptable stage whereby we got a lot of work to do in order to move the issue along in order to get it more favorably viewed, philosophically in the fiscal way we want it to be viewed. I don’t like the welfarism sort of laws that are being passed but in some situations that what’s on the table and that’s what you got to work with. It’s a very difficult, challenging situation. Each situation has to adjust on its individual merits. You have to access politically, what’s realistic, what’s doable. I know this about how we as a movement interactive with those who do abuse animals and profit from their exploitation. In some situations I think it can be a very good route to go. In other situations, it has to be framed as a conflict, as a clash of interests. At the moment, those who profit from animal exploitation which we generally call the animal industrial complex, they are far more embedded into the policy making process. They’ve got far more access to policy makers than we do and it shouldn’t be very surprising how most of our legislation is more about how we can abuse animals than how can we protect them.
Caryn Hartglass: Yup. Absolutely. I wanted to talk about Tom Regan. You mentioned him quite a bit in your book. I imagine he was a bit of an influence on you. I was recently at the memorial for Rynn Berry in Manhattan and Tom came. I hadn’t seen him in a while and it was really nice to be able to spend some time with him. That was Sunday and then I started reading your book. I just thought “Oh, that’s timely (to see him and then to see you talking about him so often). He really did put a lot of things in perspective with some of his writing.
Kim Stallwood: Yes. I have been very fortunate to have known Tom for many years and indeed, and Peter Singer as well. I have worked more closely with Tom than Peter. Tom’s writings have been significantly influential for me. Not only from the point of the ethics for animal rights and how he articulated that in the case for animal rights but also in his, I don’t want to say non philosophical writing because that’s not the right way to identify it but in the more sort of accessible writing of books like, “Empty cages” in which he talks about different types of animal advocates. The Muddler, the Damascan and the DaVincian and he categorizes animal activists in these 3 ways. The DaVincian is someone who was born with an innate passion for animals. It has always been part of who they are. The Damascan is someone who has a transformative moment in their life where they literally go from zero understanding to complete understanding. Then the third one is the Muddler. The Muddler just muddles their way through life trying to deal with the issue as best they can, learning about it and adapting how they live along the way. For most people, we are just muddlers. We just muddle along dealing with it the best that we can in a very complicated situation. I certainly have met both other types of people but I consider myself a Muddler. You know, you just get through life the best you can doing the least harm and continually work to improve what you do and understand it more. Tom’s writings have been very influential. I’ve worked with him on various other projects, which have always been a great pleasure and honor. Sadly I don’t have as much contact with him nowadays as I used to but he was an important figure and he needed to be present in the book.
Caryn Hartglass: I was also fascinated to read that you had collected and made your own archive. I am personally a purger. It scares me when I start saving too much, I don’t like clutter but someone has to do it. We need to have a history documented. There are so many great writings that we don’t have. I understand that you did a great job of collecting and then Tom moved it to his archive at North Carolina University.
Kim Stallwood: Yes. When I was publishing the Animals Agenda Magazine we built up an archive as a complimentary part of the research and production that we did behind the magazine. Sadly, when the magazine closed (for various reasons) the archives that had grown considerably had to be relocated somewhere and I’m thrilled to be able to say that the Tom Regan animal rights archive at North Carolina State University did acquire the collection. It is now there, it is very safe there. It has been cataloged. I know that people go to Raleigh North Carolina and they access the archive and use it in their research. There is a database online that you can also look at. I’ve been personally collecting material ever since I got involved in the 70’s. I’m the complete reverse of you, Caryn. I am not a purger, I am the opposite of whatever a purger is. I am a hoarder I guess. I do have an office (I am not working at home today) and it’s very hard to actually get into my office now because I have so much material that I have collected over the last 40 years.
Caryn Hartglass: You know where everything is (of course).
Kim Stallwood: Uhhh. If I don’t know where everything is, I have a fairly good idea where it might be. It is organized. It’s not a complete mess. But, seriously, I have to find a home for it. I do want it to end up in a university that has an animal studies center of some kind or another and the archive will be used as part of that academic program.
Caryn Hartglass: Tom Regan was telling me at the Rynn Berry memorial, Rynn had over 12,000 books.
Kim Stallwood: Really?
Caryn Hartglass: I guess some of them will be going to the Tom Regan archive.
Kim Stallwood: I’m thrilled to hear that, that’s great news.
Caryn Hartglass: Yes. But 12,000 books!
Kim Stallwood: That’s a lot of books. I don’t have as many as 12,000. I probably have something like 3-4,000. Something like that.
Caryn Hartglass: [Laughs]. Right. Let’s lighten things up a bit. I’ve kept you on quite a bit and I’m going to keep you on a little bit longer. Is that ok?
Kim Stallwood: Yes, of course.
Caryn Hartglass: When you first got started, you were into the culinary arts. Are you still cooking and what are you cooking?
Kim Stallwood: Yes (is the short answer). We don’t buy lots of convenience food. We do mostly cook from scratch as it were. We obviously do buy some convenience food but yes, we do like cooking, I do like cooking. I bake a lot. I bake cakes. Cookies, muffins and desserts. In the town where I live in England, we have a vegan dining club which is an informal group of vegan that meet up every month or so. Often in our own homes (but not always) and we just cook for each other. It’s very informal and that is also another opportunity where we can cook for people. I do like cooking and I’ll probably be doing it this evening.
Caryn Hartglass: I think cooking and preparing food is part of the missing link to the food problem because people are detached from so many things today. They’re detached from wildlife and nature and preparing food. When those things happen, we find it easier and easier to separate ourselves from getting involved in those issues and realizing what’s going on. People don’t know what kind of garbage is in their food today. They don’t care and then the media will come up with some sensational item about something in food then everybody gets in their “misanthropic bunker,” they get all preachy. And I think, “What are you talking about? You don’t even have a clue what’ going on.” If we got back to preparing simple food, I think that would help us a lot.
Kim Stallwood: I agree. I think cooking and sharing a meal with friends is a great joy and it’s particularly so when it’s vegan.
Caryn Hartglass: I don’t want to bring up any specifics. I don’t want to bring up any names but I did want to bring up the event where we worked together. I don’t think I had ever met you. I knew of you. It was a little over 10 years ago. We were at a conference and it was about animal rights. There were lots of workshops and everybody was being empowered about animal rights. It was a big event where everyone got together and one of the leaders said something that was a little off color and a few of us were concerned about it. In hindsight I have no idea how it blew up into what it blew up into but I tried to make it not turn into anything. Then the fingers started pointing at me like I started the whole thing. Anyway, there was one point where 10 of us got up on stage to comment about this one statement that was made that was really inappropriate because here we were in an environment where we were talking about not exploiting animals, being kind to animals and not taking advantage of them. Then there was a line that was somewhat sexist and you know, women are beings, we’re animals and we’re exploited to (and shouldn’t be). It was just so odd that we were all empowered to fight and then we had an opportunity to fight amongst our own but you got up and just off the cuff spoke so eloquently at that event and I was just in awe and so grateful for you and everything that you said. I wish I had been recorded. Was it recorded?
Kim Stallwood: I’m not aware that it was recorded.
Caryn Hartglass: It was brilliant.
Kim Stallwood: If there is a recording, I haven’t been told about it.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay well, I never had the opportunity to shake your hand and thank you for that moment but I’m doing that now.
Kim Stallwood: Well, Caryn I really appreciate it. I really do appreciate your thoughts there. You had to be there really to understand the significance of that event.
Caryn Hartglass: It went from nothing and snowballed into hundreds of people signing a petition. It was just nutty.
Kim Stallwood: Ya, but it caught the gist of the moment. It resonated with people. What can one say about it now?
Caryn Hartglass: The problem still exists now. I think there was an undercurrent already going where women felt that they were being under recognized. We still have a very white male movement.
Kim Stallwood: I think you’re right. I agree with you. There’s a lot wrong with the animal rights movement that needs addressing and doesn’t get addressed fully and I think that’s one particular issue.
Caryn Hartglass: Ya, anyway, that was fun [laughs].
Kim Stallwood: Thank you Caryn. I appreciate your remarks. The funniest thing about it…there’s a footnote to this. When the offending incident happened, I wasn’t actually in the room, I never physically saw it. I have to admit to being in the bar having a drink with Martin Rowe playing pool . A lot of people rushed over to me and told me about it and said, “Something’s got to be done.” I thought, “I’m playing pool. I’m having a drink with my friend.”
Caryn Hartglass: Wow I had no idea that makes it even funnier because what I loved about what you said was, you didn’t mention any names and you just made some beautiful overall statements about where we should be going and what some of our weaknesses were in the movement. I think it resonated with everyone. I understand a little bit more about where you were coming from – the bar. [laughs].
Kim Stallwood: Well, yes. In my defense, Caryn, I wasn’t intoxicated. I was quite conscious of what I was saying. I may have been more lubricated, to be more creative but I was quite aware of what I was doing. Thank you though.
Caryn Hartglass: [laughs] I really enjoyed this. I really hope I get to meet you in person again in a lighter situation. I’m sure I will along the way.
Kim Stallwood: I’m going to be making the trip across the Atlantic in November and trying to put together an itinerary of some speaking opportunities certainly on the East Coast. You’re in New York. Let’s get together.
Caryn Hartglass: Absolutely. Ok. You, Martin and I can have a drink.
Kim Stallwood: I’d love that.
Caryn Hartglass: Ok. All the best to you and Growl. And thanks for joining me on this All About Food Kim.
Kim Stallwood: Thank you very much Caryn.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay. We have a few minutes left and I wanted to bring up a number of different things going on. Next week, I’m really excited about the show next week. I have some special guests. I’m going to be talking with Elizabeth Brandon who is a professor at Mississippi College and one of her students Bilal Qizilbash. I met Bilal several years ago, turned him onto kale and juicing and now they are doing some wonderful work with kale and fighting cancer at Mississippi College. We are going to be hearing about their work next week and then Richard Schwartz is going to be joining us in the second part of the show and I wanted to tell you a little bit about Richard because he is going to be 80 years old and there’s going to be a celebration of his work at his 80th birthday in May. If you wanted to attend to that, he has been involved with the Jewish Vegetarians of North America for a very long time and has been very prolific for that. He has put out wonderful articles and videos and podcasts. His 80th celebration should be a good party. So you might want to check out jewishvegs.com. Then another big thing coming up is the annual veggie pride parade in Manhattan and that’s going to be next Sunday, the 30th. It’s in Manhattan. Go to veggieprideparade.org and find out more about that. Responsible Vegan Eating will be there and there will be many wonderful speakers. That’s always a really fun, fun day. The last thing I wanted to mention… Did you hear on news about the elephants that got released from the circus or they escaped from the circus and there was a news report about getting these elephants and bringing them back? It was just another example of… Don’t people see? Don’t people realize what they’re doing? I thought it was a great opportunity for some people in the news to do some research about how animals are treated in the circus. But no, they just made light about how the elephants got out and how they got back in again. But elephants of the circus are treated very, very poorly. The best thing to do when you’re going to a circus is go to one that doesn’t use animals like Cirque Du Soleil. The ones that use animals, they do a lot of nasty things in order to get them to do the tricks they want them to do and as Kim was saying before, put yourself in the animal’s place. Would you want to be doing all those things that they make them do in the circus? I don’t think so. Okay well, this has been my 5th anniversary program. Thank you for joining me and have a delicious week.
Transcribed by Jo Villanueva and Krista Anderson, 4/17/2014