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Earth Island News

Polly Strand’‘s Activist Life

EII member Polly Strand was one of the earliest and most passionate activists for animal rights and human health. More than a decade ago she testified before the California legislature about the University of California’s misuse of tobacco tax funds on redundant research on smoking. Polly was a member of GASP (Group Against Smoker Pollution), which was key to getting the tobacco tax passed and smoking banned in California restaurants.Polly Strand

In 1991, Polly enlisted EII Founder David Brower to give a well-attended lecture at UC Berkeley about animal rights. At the time, few environmentalists realized that Brower was a strong supporter of the rights of animals.

At age 68 and with active breast cancer, Polly plus a few other activists occupied the roof of a Burger King in San Francisco to force their meat suppliers to comply with the USDA guidelines for animal care and housing. The fire department had to remove Polly and she was arrested and spent the day in jail. The next day the corporate offices of Burger King agreed to require the suppliers to adhere to the guidelines.

Polly had many talents and skills and she applied them to her activism for animals. She was a graphic designer, artist, protest songwriter, poet and prolific letter writer, book reviewer, architectural designer, and a retail store CEO.

She lived her life consistent with her beliefs that being a vegan was a necessary part of ending the pain and suffering that animals used for human consumption must endure.

We at Earth Island are proud to have worked with Polly and are honored to be the recipient of a fund in her memory to continue work protecting dolphins, pressing for the rights of animals in the natural world, and seeking to educate and activate youth for the protection of the wild. Polly’s life is an inspiration to us, and the work she cared deeply about will continue.


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