International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
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George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)
Writings and Quotes on Vegetariansim

On being asked why he was a vegetarian:
Oh, come! That boot is on the other leg. Why should you call me to account for eating decently? If I battened on the scorched corpses of animals, you might well ask me why I did that. - The Vegetarian, 15 January 1898

While we ourselves are the living graves of murdered beasts, how can we expect any ideal conditions on this earth? - unknown origin

Animals are my friends...and I don't eat my friends. - unknown origin

Think of the fierce energy concentrated in an acorn! You bury it in the ground and it explodes into a giant oak! Bury a sheep and nothing happens but decay. - unknown origin

A dinner!
How horrible!
I am to be made the pretext for killing all those wretched animals and birds, and fish! Thank you for nothing.
Now if it were to be a fast instead of a feast; say a solemn three days' abstention from corpses in my honour, I could at least pretend to believe that it was disinterested.
Blood sacrifices are not in my line.
- Letter 30 December 1929

THE YOUNG WOMAN: You know, to me this is a funny sort of lunch. You begin with the dessert. We begin with the entrees. I suppose it's all right: but I have eaten so much fruit and bread and stuff, that I don't feel I want any meat.
THE PRIEST: We shall not offer you any. We don't eat it.
THE YOUNG WOMAN: Then how do you keep up your strength?
THE PRIEST: It keeps itself up.
- The Simpleton of the Unexpected Isles, Prologue, Sc. III

"... It seems to me, looking at myself, that I am a remarkably superior person, when you compare me with other writers, journalists, and dramatists; and I am perfectly content to put this down to my abstinence from meat. That is the simple and modest ground on which we should base our non-meat diet. . . ."

I was told that my diet was so poor that I could not repair the bones that were broken and operated on. So I have just had an Xradiograph taken; and lo! perfectly mended solid bone so beautifully white that I have left instructions that, if I die, a glove stretcher is to be made of me and sent to you as a souvenir. - Letter to Mrs.Patrick Campbell

Archibald Henderson, author of a three-volume biography of Shaw, recorded an appropriate conversation with him in 1924, when Shaw was already sixty-eight; it appears in Table-Talks, a colection illustrating the outspoken and witty side of the prolific playwright:

Henderson: So be a good fellow and tell me how you succeeded in remaining so youthful.
Shaw: I don't. I look my age; and I am my age. It is the other people who look older than they are. What can you expect from people who eat corpses and drink spirits?
Henderson: Our time is running short. You will have to be off to speak on behalf of the Labor Party, or Vegetarianism, or Communism, or Fabianism, or what not. You are such an incorrigible publicist that I have not yet got round to literature, or to drama which is popularly supposed to be one of your chief interests.

A poem - attributed to Shaw, but disputed by some. Apparently there is no specific source for this poem, if anyone can help with the attribution please and let us know:

Living Graves

We are the living graves of murdered beasts,
Slaughtered to satisfy our appetites.
We never pause to wonder at our feasts,
If animals, like men, can possibly have rights.
We pray on Sundays that we may have light,
To guide our footsteps on the path we tread.
We're sick of war, we do not want to fight -
The thought of it now fills our hearts with dread,
And yet - we gorge ourselves upon the dead.

Like carrion crows we live and feed on meat,
Regardless of the suffering and the pain
we cause by doing so, if thus we treat
defenceless animals for sport or gain,
how can we hope in this world to attain,
the PEACE we say we are so anxious for.
We pray for it o'er hecatombs of slain,
to God, while outraging the moral law,
thus cruelty begets its offspring - WAR.