Thursday, April 21, 2011

From this history books: "No Animal Food" by Rupert H. Wheldon

Note: As I assemble primary source material for the History section of the Federation of Abolitionist Vegans website, I will likely post some of the more salient pieces here.  They will not necessarily be in order, but they will hopefully be interesting!

This cookbook, aptly titled "No Animal Food", was written by Rupert H. Wheldon and is amongst the first Western cookbooks to deal with the issue of veganism, predating, even, the term.  Written in 1910, Wheldon makes the claim that a diet consisting exclusively of plant material is not only very healthy for you, but because it can be done, and done well, that it is therefor immoral to slaughter animals for food (and make no mistake, even the lacto-vegetarians of the time knew, perhaps more than those today, that animals are always slaughtered in animal agriculture, even if they are being used for dairy and eggs).

Here is an interesting quote from the first chapter:

"Briefly, the pleas usually advanced on behalf of the vegetable regimen are as follows: It is claimed to be healthier than the customary flesh diet; it is claimed for various reasons to be more pleasant; it is claimed to be more economical; it is claimed to be less trouble; it is claimed to be more humane. Many hold the opinion that a frugivorous diet is more natural and better suited to the constitution of man, and that he was never intended to be carnivorous; that the slaughtering of animals for food, being entirely unnecessary is immoral; that in adding our share towards supplying a vocation for the butcher we are helping to nurture callousness, coarseness and brutality in those who are concerned in the butchering business; that anyone of true refinement and delicacy would find in the killing of highly-strung, nervous, sensitive creatures, a task repulsive and disgusting, and that it is scarcely fair, let alone Christian, to ask others to perform work which we consider unnecessary and loathsome, and which we should be ashamed to do ourselves."

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