1944 | Leicestershire

None of the Above

The birth of the vegan diet.

We should all consider carefully what our group, and our magazine, and ourselves, shall be called. “Nondairy” has become established as a generally understood colloquialism, but like “nonlacto,” it is too negative. Moreover it does not imply that we are opposed to the use of eggs as food. We need a name that suggests what we do eat, and if possible one that conveys the idea that even with all animal foods taboo, nature still offers us a bewildering assortment from which to choose.

“Vegetarian” and “Fruitarian” are already associated with societies that allow the “fruits” (!) of cows and fowls, therefore it seems we must make a new and appropriate word. As this first issue of our periodical had to be named, I have used the title The Vegan News. Should we adopt this, our diet will soon become known as a vegan diet, and we should aspire to the rank of vegans. Members’ suggestions will be welcomed. The virtue of having a short title is best known to those of us who, as secretaries of vegetarian societies, have to type or write the word vegetarian thousands of times a year!

The object of our group is to state a case for a reform that we think is moral, safe, and logical. In doing so we shall, of course, say strongly why we condemn the use of dairy produce and eggs. In return we shall expect to be criticized. It will be no concern of ours if we fail to convert others, but we do think it should concern them if, deep in their hearts, they know we are right. We all accept that lacto-vegetarianism has a well-appointed place in dietary evolution, and for this reason several of us spend a great deal of our time working for the cause. To resign oneself to lacto-vegetarianism as a satisfactory solution to the diet problem is to accept a sequence of horrible farmyard and slaughterhouse incidents as part of an inevitable divine plan. Need it be added that it would imply, too, accepting the spectacle of a grown man attached to the udder of a cow as a dignified and rational intention on the part of nature!

©1944 by the Vegan Society. Used with permission of the Vegan Society.


Donald Watson

From The Vegan News. Watson as a child once heard the screams of a pig as it was being slaughtered on his uncle’s farm; he vowed to never eat meat again. Asked what his life’s greatest achievement was, he replied, “I was instrumental in starting a great new movement which could not only change the course of things for humanity and the rest of creation but alter man’s expectation of surviving for much longer on this planet.”