International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
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USA: 19th Century
Ralph Waldo Trine (1866-1958)

See also:
The Vegetarian


A word now in regard to another matter that is of far more importance than is generally supposed - the matter of the excessive flesh-eating that is continually going in our country. After looking carefully into the matter, and after some years’ experience in its non-use, I can state without hesitancy that, contrary to the prevailing opinion, the flesh of animals is not necessary as an article of food. […] We shall find numerous articles of food, as we study the matter, that , so far as body nourishing, building, and sustaining qualities, contain twice, and in some cases over twice, as much as any flesh food that can be mentioned. […]

The truth of the matter is that considerably more than the one-half of the people in the world today are not flesh-eaters. And many peoples, whom large numbers in America and in England, for example, refer to as the heathen, and send missionaries to Christianise, are far ahead of us, and hence more Christian in this matter. And one reason why missionaries in many parts of India, among Buddhists and Brahmins, for example, have been so comparatively unsuccessful in their work is because the majority of those keen-minded and spiritually unfolded people cannot see what superiority there is in the religion of the one whom it allow to kill, cook, and feast upon the bodies of his or her fellow-creatures, which they themselves could not do. […]

And as for those who think that the ones who are not flesh-eaters are necessary weaklings, I should like to match a friend of mine, an instructor in one of our great American universities, who for eighteen years has eaten no flesh foods, - I should like to match him with any whom they may send forward, when it comes to a test of long-continued work and endurance.

I London there are already numbers of restaurants where no flesh foods are served; in Berlin there are already about twenty, and their number in these, as well in numerous other cities, is continually increasing. It is a matter of but a short time when there will be numbers of such in our own country. The only really consistent humanitarian is the one who is not a flesh-eater; and great, I am satisfied, will be the results, both to the human family and to the animal race, as children are wisely taught and judiciously directed along this line.

When one goes into the better restaurants where no flesh foods are served, in England and Germany for example, he is impressed with the foundationless excuse of so many people, that it is hard, or even impossible, to get along without flesh foods. In the other realms will be fond an abundance, a hundred or a thousand times over, and especially when we begin to give some little attention to the great varieties of most valuable foods there, and to the exceedingly appetising ways in which they can be prepared. One reason why such large number of people feel that meat is a necessity, or almost a necessity with them as an article of food, is because in our hotels and restaurants and cafés, and, in fact, in the majority of our homes, the meat element forms the chief portion of the foods prepared for our tables, and to it, practically, all the skill in preparation is given; while the other things are looked upon more as accessories, and are many times prepared in an exceedingly careless manner, much as mere accessories would be. But with a decreasing use of flesh foods and with more attention given to the skilful preparation of the large numbers of other still more valuable foods, we shall begin to wonder why we have so long been slaves to a mere custom, thinking it a necessity. […]

The time will come in the world’s history, and a movement is setting in that direction even now, when it will be deemed as strange a thing to find a man or woman who eats flesh as food, as it is now to find a man or a woman who refrains from eating it. And personally, I share the belief with many others, that the highest mental, physical, and spiritual excellence will come to a person only when, among other things, he refrains from a flesh and blood diet. 

Every Living Creature, Thomas Y. Crowell & Co. New York, P. 25-34