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25 July 2001 Issue
Speaking Out For Animals

by Kim Stallwood

From The Animals' Agenda - May/June 2001

Since 1979 The Animals' Agenda has reported and commented on society's treatment of animals and the contemporary animal rights movement. Throughout this time we have witnessed the animals' suffering and chronicled the challenges of the only liberation movement that is not dedicated to freeing its proponents.

It is this altruistic commitment to all other species that I believe makes the animal rights case and animal advocates unique and special. We see the liberation of animals from industrialized agriculture and mechanized medicine and the end to their suffering and murder. But we could just as easily glory in the human benefits that will be gained when we free animals from human subjugation. This is because vegan farming will feed more people with healthy food than what is currently produced and compassionate preventative healthcare will produce a healthier population than the expensive and inefficient system that we currently have.

Since 1993 it has been my privilege to be the magazine's editor in chief. It is the responsibility of Agenda's small editorial staff and myself to keep track of the issues, and determine and follow the trends in society's use of animals. We try to somehow make sense of it all so that we can provide you -- six times a year and more often through our web site -- a comprehensive source of accurate innformation and the practical action you can take to help stop animal suffering.

This summer we are excited and proud to expand our outreach with the publication of our first anthology, which is called Speaking Out for Animals: True Stories About Real People Who Rescue Animals. This anthology, [which was] published in June by New York-based Lantern Books, brings together our in-depth interviews and cover feature profiles of such important figures as Steve Hindi, Paul McCartney, Maneka Gandhi, Jeffrey Masson, Alex Pacheco, Steven Wise, and Lt. Sherry Schlueter. It also includes the profiles of rescued animals who were featured in our "Happy Endings" department, and the courageous men, women, and children whom we celebrated as "Unsung Heroes."

In preparing the anthology and rereading the interviews, the profiles, and the stories about people and the animals they rescued, I came to realize that this is the heart and soul of what we are all about. When all is said and done, animal liberation is about ordinary people doing extraordinary things for animals. Whether it is in the case of Rod Coronado, who served a five-year prison sentence for freeing animals from fur farms; Anita Roddick, who from one small store called "The Body Shop" built an international multimillion-dollar business that stuck to its original policy of never testing its products on animals; Amanda Walker-Serrano who, as an 8-year-old third-grader led a campaign against her school because of a field trip to a circus that had performing animals; or Evelyn Wood, a retired widow and proud grandmother who devotes her life to helping feral cats, it is this altruistic commitment to all other species that I believe makes the animal rights case and animal advocates so special and unique.

I am especially excited about the anthology because Jane Goodall, who is recognized internationally as the world's foremost advocate for animals, graciously accepted our invitation to write the forward. She calls the Agenda collection "stories of determination and courage, stories emphasizing the power of individual action...a book that will have an important impact on those who read it. The voices of the animal advocates speak from every page: some quietly, some with resonant shouts, together encouraging all who care about suffering to work even harder to effect change."

Whatever may be said about us in the media, I know -- as you do -- that animal advocates truly are amazing people. So next time someone says something to you about you being one of those "anti-fur-paint-throwing terrorists" or declares that you must be one of those "animal-rights-extremists-who-would-let-a-baby-die-to-save-a-rat," tell him about how your home is a safe haven for rescued cats and dogs, or that as a vegetarian you will save thousands of animals in your lifetime from being unnecessarily slaughtered for food. Give her a copy of Speaking Out for Animals so that she can find out for herself who we are and what we do.

The second Agenda anthology, to be published next year, will consist of our comprehensive investigative reports that detail how animals are exploited and killed for profit and pleasure. It will not perhaps be as much of an inspiring read as our first anthology, but it will be every bit as informative and all the more empowering. Both are a call to action, and testimony to the power and progress of our movement.

“Reprinted with permission from The Animals’ Agenda, P.O. Box 25881,

Baltimore, MD 21224; (410) 675-4566; www.animalsagenda.org.” 

Email: office@animalsagenda.org

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