|International Vegetarian Union (IVU)|
|Henry S. Salt (1851-1939)
Extracts from Books and Articles
various extracts from 'The Humanities of Diet':
... in proportion as man is truly "humanised", not by schools of cookery but by schools of thought, he will abandon the barbarous habit of his flesh-eating ancestors, and will make gradual progress towards a purer, simpler, more humane, and therefore more civilised diet-systern.
Vegetarianism is the diet of the future, as flesh-food is the diet of the past. In that striking and common contrast, a fruit shop side by side with a butcher's, we have a most significant object lesson. There, on the one hand, are the barbarities of a savage custom - the headless carcasses, stiffencd into a ghastly semblance of life, the joints and steaks and gobbets with their sickening odour, the harsh grating of the bone.saw, and the dull thud of the chopper - a perpetual crying protest against the horrors of flesh-eating. And as if this were not witness sufficient, here close alongside is a wealth of golden fruit, a sight to make a poet happy, the only food that is entirely congenial to the physical structure and the natural instincts of mankind, that can entirely satisfy the ugliest human aspirations. Can we doubt, as we gaze at this contrast, that whatever intermediate steps may need to be gradually taken, whatever difficulties to be overcome, the path of progression from the barbarities to the humanities of diet lies clear and unmistakable before us?
The logic of the larder is the very negation of a true reverence for life, for it implies that the real lover of animals is he whose larder is fullest of them:
He prayeth best, who eateth bestIt is the philosophy of the wolf, the shark, the cannibal
various extracts from 'Seventy Years Among Savages':
The difference between the earlier "barbarism" and the later so-called "civihzauon" is, in the main, a mere matter of the absence or presence of certain intellectual refinements and mechanical sciences, which, while largely altcring and cornplicating the outward conditions of life, leave its essentially savage spirit almost entirely untouched
But it is when we turn to their treatment of the non human races that we find the surest evidences of barbarism'; yet their savagery, even here, is not wholly "naked and unashamed", for, strange to say, these curious people delight to mask their rudeness in a cloak of fallacies and sophisms, and to represent themselves as "lovers" of those very creatures whom they habitually torture for "sport", "science", and the "table". They actually have a law for the prevcntion of cruelty to animals, under which certain privileged species, classed as "domestic", are protected from some specified wrongs, though all the time they may, under certain conditions, be subjected with impunity to other and worse injuries at the hands of the slaughterman or the vivisector; while the wild species, though presumably not less sensitive to pain, are regarded as almost entirely outside the pale of protection, and as legitimate subjects for those brutalities of "fashion" and "sport" which are characteristic of the savage mind.
. . almost every conceivable form of cowardly slaughter is practised as "sportsmanlike" and commended as "manly". All this, moreover, is done before the eyes and for the example of mere youths and children, who are thus from their tenderest years instructed in the habit of being pitiless and cruel.
. . in spite of their boasted progress in sciences and arts, my countrymen are still practically ignorant of the real kinship which exists between mankind and the other races, and of the duties which this kinship implies. They are still the victims of that old anthropocentric superstition which pictures man as the centre of the universe, and separated from the inferior animals - mere playthings made for his august pleasure and amusement - by a deep intervening gulf.
What appeal can be made to people whose first instinct, on seeing a beautiful animal, full of joyousness and vitality, is to hunt or eat it?
The emancipation of men from cruelty and injustice will bring with it in due course the emancipation of animals also. The two reforms are inseparably connected, and neither can be fully realized alone.
. . the Humanitarian League always looked with disfavour on the expression "dumb animals", because, to begin with, animals are not dumb, and secondly, nothing more surely tends to their depreciation than thus to attribute to them an unreal deficiency or imperfection: such a term may be meant to increase our pity, but in the long run it lessens what is more important, our respect.
. . in spite of all the barriers and divisions that prejudice and superstition have heaped up between the human and the non-human, we may take it as certain that, in the long run, as we treat our fellow-beings, "the animals", so shall we treat our fellow-men.
. . it does not so greatly matter whether this or that particular form of cruelty is prohibited; what matters is that all forms of cruelty should be shown to be incompatible with progress.
Religion has never befriended the cause of humaneness. Its monstrous doctrine of eternal punishment and the torture of the damned underlies much of the barbarity with which man has treated man; and the deep division imagined by the Church between the human being, with his immortal soul, and the soulless "beasts", has been responsible for an incalculable sum of cruelty.
. . the moral of the war for social reformers will perhaps be this: that it is not sufficient to condemn the barbarities of warfare alone, as our pacifists have too often done The civilized spirit can only be developed by a consistent protest against all forms of cruelty and oppression; it is only by cultivating a whole-minded reverence for the rights of all our fellow-beings that we shall rid ourselves of that inheritance of selfish callousness of which the militarist and imperialist mania is a part.
To what sort of comfort can a person of sensibility hope to attain, in sight of the immense sum of wretchedness and suffering that is everywhere visible, and audible, around us? I know not a few humanitarians whose lives are permanently saddened by the thought of the awful destitution that afflicts large masses of mankind, and of the not less awful cruelties inflicted on the lower animals in the name of sport and science and fashion.
No League of Nations, or of individuals, can avail, without a change of heart. Reformers of all classes must recognize that it is useless to preach peace by itself, or socialism by itself, or anti-vivisection by itself, or vegetarianism by itself, or kindness to animals by itself. The cause of each and all of the evils that afflict the world is the same the general lack of humanity, the lack of the knowledge that all sentient life is akin, and that he who injures a fellow-being is in fact doing injury to himself. The prospects of a happier society are wrapped up in this despised and neglected truth, the very statement of which, at the pieselit tinie, must (I well know) appear ridiculous to the accepted instructors of the people.
It is useless to hope that warfare, which is but one of many savage survivals, can be abolished, until the mind of man is humanized in other respects also - until all savage survivals are at least seen in their true light. As long as man kills the lower races for food or sport, he will be ready to kill his own race for enmity. It is not this bloodshed, or that bloodshed, that must cease, but all needless bloodshed - all wanton infliction of pain or death upon our fellow-beings. Only when the great sense of the universal kinship has been realized among us, will love east out hatred, and will it become impossible for the world to witness anew the senseless horrors that disgrace Europe to-day.
extracts from 'The Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics':
It is grievous to see or hear, and almost to hear of, any man, or even any animal whatever, in torture. For example, when a man turns aside to avoid crushing an insect, why does he do so? Certainly not because of any reasoned conviction as to the sufferings of the "poor beetle that we tread upon", but for the simple fact that, consciously or unconsciously, he is humane; the sight of suffering, however slight, is distasteful to him as being human. Of all rnistaken notions concerning humanitarianism, the most mistaken is that which regards it as some extraneous artificial cult, forced on human nature from without; whereas in truth it is founded on an instinctive conviction from within, a very part of human development. When we talk of a man "becoming a humanitarian", what we really mean is that he has recognized a fact that was already within his consciousness - the kinship of all sentient life - of which humanitarianism is the avowed and definite proclamation.
. . the principle of humaneness is based on the broad ground of universal sympathy, not with mankind only, but with all sentient beings, such sympadiy being, of coursc, duly proportioned to the sensibility of its object. Humanitarianism is not to be confused with philanthropy - love of mankind - on the one side, or with zoophily - kindness to amitals - on the other; it includes and comprehends them both.
Again, when we turn to the protection of animals, we sometimes hear it said that we ought to help men first and animals afterwards. But if the principle which prompts the humane treatment of men is the same essentially as that which prompts the humane treatment of animals, how can we successfully safeguard it in one direction while we violate it in another? By condoning cruelty to animals, we perpetuate the very spirit which condones cruelty to men. Humanitarians do not say that the lower forms of life must be treated in the same way as the higher forms, but that in both cases alike we must be careful to inflict no unnecessary, no avoidable, suffering.
extracts from 'The Story of My Cousins':
Of all the fictions with which mankind has allowed itself to be fooled, none is vainer than the belief that the "instinct" of animals is absolutely different from the "reason" of men, and that the lower races are dumb and soulless automata, separated from the human by a deep and impassable gulf.
Of all death-bed sayings perhaps the wisest was Thoreau's: "One world at a time." When we have graspcd the great central fact about animals, that they are in the full sense our fellow-beings, all else will follow for them; and we shall know, and act upon the knowledge, that in the words of Howard Moore, author of that memorable book The Universal Kinship: "They are not conveniences but cousins."