|International Vegetarian Union (IVU)|
11th IVU World Vegetarian Congress 1947
Mr. DONALD WATSON (Leicester), said that the vegan believed that if they were to be true emancipators of animals they must renounce absolutely their traditional and conceited attitude that they had the right to use them to serve their needs. They must supply those needs by other means. Throughout history, whenever man had risen against cruelty and exploitation, he had benefited himself as well as those he had emancipated. That was the law of progress. Therefore further advantages would follow if we seriously tackle those cruelties upon which civilization was still so largely built. If the vegan ideal of non-exploitation were generally adopted it would be the greatest peaceful revolution ever known, abolishing vast industries and establishing new ones in the better interests of men and animals alike.
From careful deductions Mr. Watson said, they were able
make four claims :-
If these claims could be upheld, then it would be clear that some of their greatest problems today had their roots in the misuse of the animal.
The present relationship between man and animal was deplorable. Man has appointed himself lord and master over everything that breathed, and he had filled the world with millions of creatures for no other purpose than to exploit them for personal gain and kill them when it no longer served his purpose to keep them alive.
Referring to the physiological aspect of veganism Mr. Watson said it was not easy to understand why the orthodox dietician was taking so long to discard the superstition regarding the supposed need for animal food. The vegan certainly need not go short of starch, sugar, vitamins, fats, mineral salts or roughage, for plants were rich in all these factors. Thus the error was confined to protein. It was significant that human milk, which served to nourish man at the time when his growth was fastest, contained never more than 2 per cent. of protein. This suggested that our diet in later life should not exceed this percentage of protein, which could readily be supplied from plants. So easily could it be supplied that the vegan faced the same danger as the flesh-eater and the lacto-veget-arian in that he might take too much.
Few dieticians outside the vegan movement had tried living without animal food, or had made any serious attempt to solve the diet problem philosophically, as it must be solved. Without the guidance of philosophy scientific investigation soon floundered in a morass of error.
It was highly improbable that the earth could be made to produce enough food to give all its 2,000,000,000 inhabitants the mixed diet recommended by orthodox dieticians. On the other hand it was certain that Britain, more densely populated than India, and one of the most densely populated areas on earth, could become a food exporting country given a few years to develop vegan methods of agriculture.
Any system of diet or of agriculture which led to the progressive deterioration of the soil stood condemned, and veganism must be subjected to that test. But even under the present system all was not well with the soil. The position was so perilous that without an urgent scheme to provide more organic manure to replace chemical crop stimulants, the soil would soon be destroyed.
The difficulty arose because the law of return was not obeyed. There seemed no reason why the wastes of healthy vegan communities should not be used, and if all plant wastes were returned to the soil a healthy agriculture could be established without the use of the animal.