International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
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15th World Vegetarian Congress 1957
Delhi/Bombay/Madras/Calcutta, India


Humanitarianism - Eastern and Western Brands
author not given

Question: What is the difference between Humanitarianism as preached in the West and Ahimsa as preached by Gandhi?

Dr. Arundale: The difference is that humanitarianism, as generally preached in the West, though not always, is humanitarianism so long as it is convenient to be humanitarian. For example we have The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. It is not really to prevent cruelty, but to prevent unorthodox cruelty. Orthodox cruelty it does not try to prevent. Hunting is orthodox cruelty. Therefore hunting is allowed. Eating flesh and blood is orthodox cruelty. Therefore it is allowed. Wearing fur and feathers and vivisection are orthodox cruelties. Therefore they are allowed. To a large extent that is humanitarianism in the West.

We have what we call the "humane" killer - almost a contradiction in terms - which the Duchess of Hamilton and Miss Lind-af-Hageby, two great protagonists of humanitarianism have invented in order to make the killing of animals less cruel. But humanitarianism is something most people in the West play with; so long as it does not affect their interests they are humane.

So far as Gandhiji as concerned, he is an out-and-out humanitarian. The less convenient it is for him to be a humanitarian, the more humane he is likely to be. In the West humanitarianism is 49 or 50 per cent. With Gandhiji is is 100 per cent..

- Conscience, 4-1-1940, p 15