Whanganui animal activist Sandra Kyle will make her sixth visit to India this year to accept an international award for her work on behalf of animals.

Since finishing her job at an Auckland polytechnic five years ago, the "singing vegan" has worked almost fulltime to end the slaughter of animals for food.

She is to be given the Philip Wollen Animal Welfare Award on March 22, in the north Indian state of Haryana, near New Delhi.

It's awarded by an Indian education organisation she doesn't know much about yet. The organisation is paying her way to get there. It teaches harmlessness and one of its mottos is "The world is one family" - a family that for Kyle includes all sentient beings.


Wollen was an India-born Australian banker who once owned shares in a slaughterhouse but is now vegan and against slaughtering animals for food. The award is to honour a grassroots animal rights activist working to sensitise the public to the suffering of animals.

It consists of a citation and about NZ$5000 to further the work.

Kyle intends to leave Auckland for India on March 12, four days after her 70th birthday, and return on March 28.

She hopes to keep up her activism there, giving presentations, visiting schools and animal shelters and giving media interviews. She will write a blog about her time.

She was astonished to get an email saying she had won the award, and at first thought it was a joke. She produces an animal rights radio show every week, stands vigil at slaughterhouses, blogs on her endanimalslaughter website and has a self-published animal rights book but doesn't know how she came to be nominated.

"It's a mystery. I suppose I will find out when I get to India," she said.

A yoga teacher, she made her first visit to India in 1993 and fell in love with the country. She visited lots of ashrams and met wonderful teachers so this return will be like going home.

On other visits she continued to learn about yoga and meditation, and also tried to be helpful by teaching poor street children and raising money for audio visual aids in a shelter and slum.