Vegetarians International Voice for Animals

Joan Court - Oxford

I love the excitement and camaraderie of demonstrations and protests.

If there is a typical animal rights background, it’s not Joan Court’s. Born in Knightsbridge to a very upper-middle-class family, Joan’s kinship with animals began at an early age when she wanted to live with the wolves. By the age of 16 she was a solitary vegetarian.

Joan has spent much of her life as a nurse and a child protection officer and is quietly proud of this and her other achievements. At 59, she won a place at Cambridge, where she now lives, and gained a degree in social anthropology. Her autobiography – In the Footsteps of Gandhi – is fascinating and beautifully crafted.

“This is the way forward. Gandhi was a master at it and when democracy has been so trampled, civil disobedience is the answer”.

Currently, Joan is determined to stop the building of a primate research laboratory at Oxford University and recently attracted headlines by holding a two-day fast at the construction site. “At my age, I just don’t care and will do what is necessary for the animals.”

“My life is magic and I love the excitement and camaraderie of demonstrations and protests. I use my age for the cause – I look respectable, I sound respectable and by any standard I am very elderly

“For me there is nothing as important as acting for animals. The fact that people can inflict suffering on these defenceless creatures demeans all humankind”.

Joan says that her life has been like a Chekhov novel. Well, another chapter is about to unfold as she boards Paul Watson’s Sea Shepherd and sails north this winter to stop Iceland from resuming whaling. “And I hate the cold!” TW