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Episode 577: Archiving Animal Rights ft Kim Stallwood

By Jasmin and Mariann — January 30, 2021

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? ” – Kim Stallwood


This Week in Our Hen House:

  • 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

Connect with Kim Stallwood:

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This episode is brought to you in part through the generosity of A Well-Fed World. A Well-Fed World provides the means for change by empowering individuals, social justice organizations, and political decision makers to embrace the benefits of plant-based foods and farming. Learn more at


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Don’t forget to tune into Our Hen House’s other two podcasts: The Teaching Jasmin How to Cook Vegan Podcast, and The Animal Law Podcast.

The Our Hen House theme song is written and performed by Michael Harren.

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