Growl By Kim Stallwood
From Book, CD and Video Review Guide


Author: Kim Stallwood
Reviewed by: Brian May


Growl Kim Stallwood
Growl by Kim Stallwood
Available from Lantern Books


Brian May:
For four decades, Kim Stallwood has had a front seat in the animal rights movement, starting at the grassroots in England and working his way up to leadership positions at some of the best-known organizations in the world, including Compassion In World Farming, the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Yet, as Stallwood reveals in this memoir of an eventful life dedicated to social justice for the voiceless, finding the truest path for progress has meant learning a lot along the way.

Equal parts personal narrative, social history, and impassioned call for rethinking animal advocacy, Growl describes Stallwood’s journey from a meat-eating slaughterhouse worker to a vegan activist for all species. He explains the importance of four key values in animal rights philosophy and practice—compassion, truth, nonviolence, and justice—and how a deeper understanding of their role not only leads us to discover our humanity for animals, but also for ourselves.

Carol J. Adams, author, The Sexual Politics of Meat:
“Not all souls sing; some growl—for justice, for truth, for nonviolence. In this compelling book, Kim Stallwood offers frontline reflections with feet-on-the- ground theory, centered in compassion.”

Jonathan Balcombe, biologist and author, Pleasurable Kingdom and What a Fish Knows:
“An erudite, engaging, and at times hilarious autobiography from one of the wisest voices of the animal rights movement.”

Kathy Barley:
Kim takes us on his journey into veganism and animal rights and his working life with some of the most influential organisations in the UK and the US. His growth throughout this time and his experience he shares in this inspiring and eye opening book. For all animal rights activists this is a really important book as it defines the direction of the movement based on what has and hasn't worked in the past. A must read!

Susan Hughes:
Discover how a real advocate for animals works. This book will show you how government hype about animal rights "terrorists" is a wicked lie spread by those in power to protect the industries that pump money into government coffers by exploiting animals.

Philip Lumbery:
No one ever said that caring about animals was easy, especially in a world where society has a long way to go before animal cruelty is a thing of the past. Being struck by the plight of others and wanting to do something to help can be a lonely place. For anyone starting down this road afresh, Growl is the perfect companion.

In his introduction, Stallwood declares this book the one he would have ‘loved’ to read when starting down the long and often confusing road of trying to make sense of man’s relationship with animals. Through his own experiences, the author navigates the complex web of thoughts, emotions, and motivations that can buffet those who want to make the world a better place for animals and thereby people. He lays bare personal flaws with engaging honesty. He crystallises what it means to care deeply for others of a different species as well as our own.

Stallwood pours forty years of hard lessons into this synthesis of humane thought. Growl gives us a rare glimpse of life as one of the animal movement’s most enduring leaders.

Steve McCulloch:
If you are interested in animal protection, Growl is a genuine page turner. Stallwood provides a biographical account of British and US animal protection policy, based on his experience in the movement. Stallwood played a leading role at PETA in the US and BUAV in the UK and Growl tells the story of animal politics on both sides of the Atlantic through such key positions.

What I particularly enjoyed is Stallwood’s biographical and reflective approach. I am sure all of us in the animal protection movement spend much time deliberating about how best to make the world a better place for animals. Growl is, in effect, a highly sophisticated account of such thoughts, imbued by professional experience and critical reflection, to produce not only a fascinating personal story but an overarching theory of change for animal protection.

Stallwood argues for unity between animal rights activist and those that promote welfare. We should strive for the ideal of abolition but also accept the political reality of incremental change. Stallwood writes with authority based on his ringside seat during a key time in animal protection as well as his extensive knowledge of other social justice movements.

In summary, Growl is both very enjoyable and highly informative. There is much to learn in Growl and I now recommend it to my students in human animal studies. Growl conveys a genuine wisdom in combining Stallwood’s personal experience and avid reading in animal rights in the pursuit of a much better world for our fellow creatures.

About the Author:

Kim Stallwood is an independent scholar and author on animal rights. He is currently the European Director of Animals and Society Institute and Executive Director of Minding Animals International. His client organisations include CIWF, GREY2K USA Worldwide, and League Against Cruel Sports. He has been a vegan since 1976. He holds dual citizenship in the U.K. and U.S., and lives in Hastings, U.K.

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