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


IS A TRANSITION PERIOD NEEDED?

Two points of view are herein given:

I: A. E. POWELL in "Food and Health" says:

"The desirability of not making changes in diet too suddenly has already been emphasized; it is especially important to bear this principle in mind when electing a change from a flesh to a fleshless regime ... A large proportion of the failure amongst people who have changed from a flesh to a vegetable diet can be attributed to this cause: Many people, in fact, have so weakened their starch-digesting powers by years of flesh-eating that though they wish to become vegetarian, they find that they cannot digest the diet and are obliged to return to the flesh-pots ... Would-be food reformers will do well to make important changes in diet cautiously and gradually. Those who wish to become non-flesh-eaters are recommended to leave off flesh-foods very gradually, spending at least a month or two in the process; it is a good plan to leave off the heavier kinds of meat first, keeping to fish; then leave off fish, keeping to eggs for some time; finally (if desired) eggs may be reduced or left off altogether."

HENRY S. SALT in "Logio of Vegetarianism" writes: "So far as organized vegetarianism is concerned, those who eat fish are not within the pale of membership; but looked at from the pure humane standpoint, it must be admitted that there is an immense difference between flesh-eating, and that those unattached food reformers, not few in number, who for humane reasons abstain from flesh, but feel justified in eating fish, hold a perfectly intelligible position. And I would further note that the very fact of there having been some disposition, wise or unwise, within the vegetarian ranks to recognize the comparative harmlessness of fish-eating, corroborates what I have asserted throughout - that the raison d'etre of vegetarianism has not been a pedantic hard-and-fast crusade against 'animal' substances, but a practical desire to abolish the horrors of the slaughter-house.

II: A TYPICAL HINDU ATTITUDE

Eggs and fish are regarded by interested persons as equivalent to vegetables and, on this account, unobjectionable to vegetarians. But no stretch of the imagination can ever exclude eggs and fish from the animal fold.

An egg is none bit the prospective animal passing through the preliminary stage of its development inside the shell and not a whit other than the one outside, later certified as the animal proper.

Fish possess all the attributes of aquatic animals, too prominent to elude the human senses.

Both eggs and fish are taboo for the vegetarian.

Dr. Jawala Prasad

The other point of view is also put forth by two children who could see with their pure little tender eyes no difference between the killing of the creatures who walked and those who swam. Who was it said: "Unless ye become as a little child, ye shall not enter the Kingdom of heaven"?

MOTHER DID IT WALK OR SWIM?

I sing of food; food to affright
The most voracious appetite:
Tremble not, gentle reader;
Roast missionary hot (or cold with salad)
Is not the theme of this authentic ballad,
Nor horrid cannibal feeder.

But our twin boys; by the profane,
Who honest Christian names distain,
Rechristened "Huz" and "Buz."
Can any hopefully contend with with two?
Whatever one of them resolves to do
The other does.

Hence all this trouble. It began
When John was missing from the span -
An ox they doted on.
"Where's John?" they ask. Imagine their dismay
On hearing Klaas, our coloured herd-boy,
say: "John beef - you've eaten John."
Incredible! In dire distress
They rush to me, and I confess
To crime beyond belief.
Yes, part of John had furnished our repast
They stand before me speechless and aghast.
For them, henceforth, no beef.

Lamb and mint sauce, with fresh young peas
Is commonly supposed to please
The most fastidious glutton
Why are they waiting? Great is their relief
To learn that it is mutton and not beef.
"But, Mother, what is mutton?"

She bids them eat it, and not talk.
They taste it. "Mother, did it walk?"
Adieu my pleasant dinners !
The dreadful truth is told. "A Little sheep.
O Mother, Mother !" In the gravy weep
Two miserable sinners.

Today the fish was under ban,
For they had found a wicked man
Fishing beside a stream!
They saw the food of which they oft partook
Alive and wriggling on a cruel hook,
And scarce forbore to scream.

I fear their faith in parents failed:
"You said it didn't walk," they wailed;
"You didn't say it thwimmed."
Have we advanced, I wonder? we, the wise, -
We who have looked, even on war, with eyes
.No foolish pity dimmed

A VINE HALL
in "Poems of a South African