OBITUARY: Brigid Brophy

Brigid Brophy once chided me for complaining of stage fright before a live television appearance in which we were both to defend the rights of animals: ''the subject is far too important for stage fright'', she said. And she meant it, writes Richard D. Ryder [further to the obituary by Giles Gordon, 8 August].

She had been invited by the television company to debate any issue and she had chosen animal rights. This was in 1969 and was, I believe, the first debate on the subject ever televised. Animal rights was not a peripheral interest for her, it was of central importance. She saw speciesism as a prejudice on a level with that against slaves or homosexuals or women - ''unjustifiable by reason and kept in place by superstition and self- interest''. She entered the fray with her essay ''The Rights of Animals'' and when I joined in she introduced me to others in Oxford who were thinking along similar lines. In 1971 we all contributed to the book Animals Men and Morals, the first serious symposium on the philosophy of animal rights for over 50 years. Brophy was the inspiration for this book and it proved to be the spark that fired the whole modern movement at the intellectual level.

Once, she asked me to accompany her to the Headquarters of Amnesty International who were proposing to use pigs in so-called ''torture experiments'' to provide evidence in human torture cases. So inexorable was her power of reason that, after a painful two hours, Amnesty was forced to abandon its plans.

The Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) can also bear witness to Brigid Brophy's ''remorseless and tireless efforts on behalf of writers'', writes Janet Hurrell. As far back as 1974, writers were warned that if they insisted on exercising their copyrights individually and this stood in the way of technological advances then society would reduce or remove those rights. Brigid Brophy, Maureen Duffy and Ted Willis moved into action and against many odds the Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS), a collecting society for writers, was established in 1977. At that time it had no income and no staff. This financial year, ALCS expects to distribute over pounds 6m to writers of books, television and film, all from new sources, such as photocopying, cable transmission and private copying (tape levy).

Brophy had the drive and vision to bring such ideas to fruition and her devotion to writers is clearly shown in the letters now in ALCS archives, in which she deals with the many queries in those early days with incredible care and attention to detail, no matter how trivial the question.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

Finance Manager - Recruitment Business (Media & Entertainment)

£28000 - £32000 per annum + negotiable: Sauce Recruitment: We have an exciting...

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album