Next in our series on the writers of “VEGAN VOICES – Essays by Inspiring Changemakers”, is Sandra Isobel Kyle.
A vegan since 2010, Sandra lives in Whanganui, New Zealand, and has been a writer and activist for animal rights since the 1990s. Her book ‘Glass Walls’ and her website endanimalslaughter.org call for all slaughterhouses in New Zealand to close by 2025. Sandra produced and presented the animal rights radio show ‘Safe and Sound’ for four and a half years. She is a former Country Liaison for the Save Movement in New Zealand, and a short film, ‘2025’, was made about her solitary slaughterhouse vigils. In 2018 Sandra received the Philip Wollen Animal Welfare Award. Dubbed by the mainstream media as “The Singing Vegan” she was nominated in 2021 for the Assisi Award, named after the patron saint of animals, St Francis of Assisi.
Extract from her essay in VEGAN VOICES:
“In the town I am currently living in, there are two slaughterhouses, which I visit once or twice a week, often by myself. One is for sheep, lambs, and bobby calves, the other for cows and pigs. If I’m lucky, the truck arriving at the sheep and bobby slaughterhouse has to stop at the gates to let another vehicle out, and I can have a few moments with the animals. The frightened, bewildered eyes of the babies relax a little as I stroke their noses and ears, speak softly, play music, or sing to them before they are taken onto the premises and out of sight. The cow and pig slaughterhouse is on a main thoroughfare, and it is possible to have a good view of the animals arriving and being unloaded into holding pens. Anyone who has heard a pig cry knows how bloodcurdling the sound is – something between a scream and a roar… They cower in the corners of the truck, as workers wave sticks with plastic bags in front of their eyes. As soon as they are locked inside their pens they begin to scream, triggering the cows next door, who bellow and moo plaintively. Standing on my stepladder, I get a good view into the cows’ pens and much is revealed. Their behaviours – mooing, stamping, eye rolling, slumping, head hanging, restlessness – show that they are stressed and depressed, and that inside their body vehicles, superficially so different from our own, they are emotional, sentient beings with the same capacity as our own to feel joy, fear, and pain, and with the same desire not to be killed. Knowing I cannot save them is the worst feeling, but what I can do, I do …
“The vegan revolution is an essential part of the evolution of consciousness that humanity has to undergo in order to solve our problems. It is the first step in creating a nonviolent world. Aided by, among other things, the Internet and rising plant-based protein technologies, just as mountains are eroded by constant wind and precipitation, a tiny minority of animal activists are breaking the iron chains of habit and tradition to create a better, brighter future for all Earthlings. I feel humbled and give thanks that I and my fellow activists have a part to play in this momentous point in history that we are living through.”
Review of Vegan Voices by Bruce Friedrich, Co-founder & Executive Director, The Good Food Institute:
“There are as many reasons to be vegan as there are vegans, as this lovely anthology makes clear. So many of my heroes in one place—what a treat. Read it and be inspired.”
Vegan Voices: Essays by Inspiring Changemakers
Available at Lantern Publishing & Media
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-59056-650-3
eBook ISBN: 978-1-59056-651-0