Few things raise the hackles of thoughtful eaters quite like veal—unless it’s veal with a side order of foie gras. Bleak images of calves in cramped crates or being herded on to lorries linger in the memory. And they should—as a reminder of the worst excesses of indifference to animal welfare, they take some beating. But today I’m unashamedly putting on my rose-tinted spectacles and flying the flag for British rose veal. To be honest, if you drink milk or eat cheese, it’s crueller not to eat it.
Spare a thought for male dairy calves. Over a quarter of a million of them are killed each year. Unable to produce milk (obviously) and unsuitable for beef production, they are shot soon after birth as a “waste product” of the dairy industry. Either that or they’re exported to Europe, where the continental craving for pale meat means their welfare is profoundly compromised.
In the past few years, there’s been a growing interest in high-welfare rose veal in this country, and I for one am glad of it. Calves live in small groups, with deep straw bedding and access to a varied diet that leads to their distinctive pink meat; in free-range or organic production, they’re also given access to outdoor grazing. The animals are killed at around six months old, roughly the same age as most pigs or sheep slaughtered for pork and lamb.
~ Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (May 20, 2011)
[T]he educative focus of the animal rights movement should be “veganism or bust”. No confusing, inconsistent messages. Instead, only a firm statement that all animal use, irregardless of the measure of suffering, is unacceptable. As such, all available resources should be put towards achieving the goal of abolishing animal use through creative, non-violent vegan advocacy.
~ Ruth Sanderson (November 17, 2011)
There is little that separates humans from other sentient beings—we all feel pain, we all feel joy, we all deeply crave to be alive and to live freely, and we all share this planet together. The water, air, earth, and plants belong to no one except the community of life which connects us all.
If there is anything that differentiates humans from other living beings it may simply be the factor of choice. We have the option to heal or harm, nurture or destroy, respect or rape, protect or kill. The ability to choose does not necessarily elevate the human species, nor should one infer that it is a trait unique to humans. The capacity to choose should perhaps oblige us to be more responsible for our actions toward others. It is our duty to choose wisely, both collectively and individually, if we are ever again to find peace at any level.
Veganism advocates harmony, justice, and empathic living by acknowledging and respecting the interconnectedness of all life. It is an ethical beacon which can illuminate our moral path and steer us back toward reuniting with our global family. Its tenets can teach us how to live at peace with our world by becoming an integral part and defender of it.
~ Jo Stepaniak (1998)
Because of their belief in Ahimsa (Sanskrit: Non-Killing, Non-Injuring, Harmlessness), vegans are naturally inclined toward pacifism, and many take an active part in opposing all kinds of aggressive activity, but veganism has no connection with any political party or system, national or international. Similarly, individual vegans may be deeply religious, perhaps devout Christians or disciples of one of many other faiths and creeds in this world, but this is not a requisite of veganism, which is an everyday, fundamental way of life concerned with living without hurting others. The hereafter may, or may not, solve all our problems; but what we do now certainly affects all those around us.
~ Eva Batt (1964)
If I really wanted to maximize the death toll, I would go into business creating tofu for the vegetarians. ’Cause in order to create tofu, you have to take that wonderful giant tractor, you have to go across that field and every songbird, every gopher, every squirrel, every turtle, every rabbit, every mouse, every shrew, every snake, every bug, everything there must die.
In order to go full tofu, you have to have 100% complete annihilation of all life forms. To the vegetarians, how deep is the cloak of denial? How can you pretend that Paul McCartney isn’t responsible for killing anything? I kill stuff one arrow at a time. Meanwhile, Paul McCartney, master of the final solution, only thinks of his tofu consumption. I believe that every bowl of tofu is responsible for the death of billions of things. I can’t compete with that and I can’t compete with Paul McCartney’s death toll.
~ Ted Nugent (December 29, 2009)
We should all consider carefully what our Group, and our magazine, and ourselves, shall be called. “Non-dairy” has become established as a generally understood colloquialism, but like “non-lacto” it is too negative. Moreover it does not imply that we are opposed to the use of eggs as food. We need a name that suggests what we do eat, and if possible one that conveys the idea that even with all animal foods taboo, Nature still offers us a bewildering assortment from which to choose. “Vegetarian” and “Fruitarian” are already associated with societies that allow the “fruits”(!) of cows and fowls, therefore it seems we must make a new and appropriate word. As this first issue of our periodical had to be named, I have used the title “The Vegan News”. Should we adopt this, our diet will soon become known as a VEGAN diet, and we should aspire to the rank of VEGANS. Members’ suggestions will be welcomed. The virtue of having a short title is best known to those of us who, as secretaries of vegetarian societies have to type or write the word vegetarian thousands of times a year!
~ Donald Watson (November, 1944)
THE controversy on SLAVERY, in the United States, has been one of an exciting and complicated character. The power to emancipate existing, in fact, in the States separately and not in the general government, the efforts to abolish it, by appeals to public opinion, have been fruitless except when confined to single States. In Great Britain the question was simple. The power to abolish slavery in her West Indian colonies was vested in Parliament. To agitate the people of England, and call out a full expression of sentiment, was to control Parliament and secure its abolition. The success of the English abolitionists, in the employment of moral force, had a powerful influence in modifying the policy of American anti-slavery men. Failing to discern the difference in the condition of the two countries, they attempted to create a public sentiment throughout the United States adverse to slavery, in the confident expectation of speedily overthrowing the institution. The issue taken, that slavery is malum in se—a sin in itself—was prosecuted with all the zeal and eloquence they could command. Churches adopting the sin per se doctrine, inquired of their converts, not whether they supported slavery by the use of its products, but whether they believed the institution itself sinful. Could public sentiment be brought to assume the proper ground; could the slaveholder be convinced that the world denounced him as equally criminal with the robber and murderer; then, it was believed, he would abandon the system. Political parties, subsequently organized, taught, that to vote for a slave-holder, or a pro-slavery man, was sinful, and could not be done without violence to conscience; while, at the same time, they made no scruples of using the products of slave labor—the exorbitant demand for which was the great bulwark of the institution. This was a radical error. It laid who adopted it open to the charge of practical inconsistency, and left them without any moral power over the consciences of others. As long as all used their products, so long the slaveholders found the per se doctrine working them no harm; as long as no provision was made for supplying the demand for tropical products by free labor, so long there was no risk in extending the field of operations. Thus, the very things necessary to the overthrow of American slavery, were left undone, while those essential to its prosperity, were continued in the most active operation; so that, now, after more than a thirty years’ war, we may say, emphatically, COTTEN IS KING, and his enemies are vanquished.
~ David Christy (1860)