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Veganism Since 1806 – ft. John Davis

Let’s get started right off with a friend of mine who’s in here from England his name is John Davis John was a pioneer of vegetarianism on the internet from the earliest days I think starting in 1994 he was building major English and European vegetarian websites he is the manager the manager of the international vegetarian Union ivu and in that capacity he helps to arrange and participates in activities geared towards assisting vegetarian organizations around the world with a particular emphasis in emerging nations in Africa and China and Asia he is a wealth of information about vegetarian vegetarianism through the ages and probably knows more than just about anybody I know about the mirror and distant past who were plant-based he’s got a great English accent and please help me welcome straight from Downton Abbey my friend John Davis [Applause] this is going to be a very quick history tour and all the people who come in late I should be reminding them regularly the most important slide in this whole talk is the first one unable have missed it so let’s see if we can go on now the reason I’m starting in nineteen sorry 1806 that’s the first very clear unambiguous statement we get about veganism and this is dr. William lamb who was practicing in London at the time 1806 he changed his diet to take out all animal products completely a few years later he wrote a book and in that he said has he got up there my reason for objecting to every species of matter to be used as food except the direct produce of the earth he’s founded on the broad ground that no other matter is suited to the organs of man this applies them with the same force to eggs milk cheese and fish as to flesh meat that’s a pretty clear statement of a plant food diet and he wrote that I think 1809 his first book came out the photograph was taken when he was 82 he changed his diet when he was 40 and you can imagine in the first half of the 19th century who difficult it was to follow this diet marjorine hadn’t been invented saw he was unknown in the West they were very limited but he still lived to be 82 very fit and healthy throughout that time now moving on one of his patients was a man called John Frank Newton who also adopted the same diet wrote a book about it Newton added some of the ethical aspects about treatment of animals I’m not gonna read all that because I haven’t really got time but you can see it William lamb probably had ethical values as well but we don’t know because his books were all just medical so going on again how many of you have heard of Michelle were a few of you okay Shelley of the very famous poet or famous if you’ve heard of him Shelley mate Newton and changed his diet along with a bunch of others and they had for a while in 1813 they were a whole bunch of them living in a country house effectively a vegan commune they were trying very hard to be vegan or what we now call vegan the word wasn’t there then I know you can see from that in the middle of it cheese was under the ban milk and cream might not be taken unreservedly however they were allowed in puddings and to be poured sparingly into tea as an indulgence to the neophytes neophyte being someone who’s new to it all and I’m sure we can all remember how difficult it was giving up milk they were struggling but they tried they knew what they were trying to do soon after that we start getting transatlantic communications I’ll put up some British and American flags for the next few slides so you can see what I’m talking about dr. William land in London was in contact with Sylvester Graham in Boston but some of you might have heard of Sylvester Graham meanwhile a man called James Pierpont grieve so I’ll come back to in a minute in London was in contact with Bronson all can’t also in Boston most Americans know about Bronson Alcott because of his daughter Louisa May Alcott Bronson was a very important character in his own right and I’ll come back to him later as well so this is Sylvester Graham originally a Presbyterian minister he adopted what they were then calling the vegetable diet and he started out like most of those same well yeah eggs and dairy okay but then he changed his mind and by 1839 he wrote in his book though they do better on a milk and vegetable diet the one of flesh in vegetables yet they do best when they can find themselves to a diet of pure vegetable food and pure water and this is straight out of William lambs book the communication across the Atlantic taking place here so again they see dr. John snow back in England anyway it says at the top dr. John snow was voted in a poll of British doctors in 2003 as the greatest physician of all time and very few of those British doctors who voted for him would have known that he was also what we now call vegan he’d adopted the diet through reading Newton’s book and coming into contact with lambs ideas the reason John snows famous are he was the one who discovered the cause of cholera which was a huge breakthrough the doctors at the time all said eat something in the air snow said it’s in the water the drinking water and this came from William lambs argument about pure water you can imagine what the drinking water in London was like in the early 19th century and he virtually invented the science of Epidemiology in the process so it’s a hugely important figure we’re going again now this is the important part old courthouse James Pierpont Greaves who I mentioned earlier who was an educator he wanted to start a school and he was given some books about Bronson Alcott school in Boston so Greaves wrote to okok what he didn’t know because communications in those days you can imagine how long he took a letter to get across the Atlantic and volkov school had already closed so or clock didn’t reply though Greaves went ahead 1838 he opened his school near London and because he was so impressed with the books about Olcott he called it old car house and this was a boarding school the 1841 census shows something like twenty three children and three teachers later only changed and became more of an adult community about just over two years ago a group of us including some friends at Harvard and Berkeley University decided that we could finally work out where the word vegetarian came from there been arguments for 150 years about this the big difference now is that Google have scanned 10 million of books and whereas in the past you’d have to go to a huge library look through every page of every book to find the word vegetarian now you just put vegetarian before 1847 which is the crucial day and up they all come and allowing for scanning errors what we showed without any doubt at all was that every use of the word vegetarian before 1847 came from people very closely connected with Alcott house before that it was known as the vegetable diet and everywhere else it was known as the vegetable diet these were the people who started to call themselves vegetarians and we then we got a bit of a surprise really when we looked at it more we get what it says up there neither milk butter cheese eggs nor any species of flesh meat nor animal food neither tea coffee nor any of those artificial stimulants do the Concord aspartate of almost apply to other concord is they change the name after a while to the concordia this is because Bronson or Cox hometown Concord Massachusetts is going back to that it was a sort of thing about harmony so this was in every sense what we now call vegan and not just the food they made it very clear they objected to any use of animals for anything at all so they were ethical vegans in every sense so the first people who call themselves vegetarian used the word to mean exactly what it looks like vegetables vegetation nothing else and some of us are trying to get the word back to what it originally meant if you go to veg source calm you’ve all seen veg source calm be here otherwise Roger at the top it says your resource for all things vegetarian you won’t find anything on there saying eat more cheese so Jeff is using the word for what it really means and so all that this came as a surprise some you know I wrote it up and it’s gone all around the world since then so moving on a bit Bronson Allcock he came over to London in 1842 stayed there a few months went back to Boston and found Lee Fruitland so you may have heard of fruitland this was a completely vegan community didn’t last long he’s mostly famous because of Bronson’s 10 year old daughter Louisa Mae who was living there at the time I’m gonna move on quickly Henry David Thoreau I’m sure you’ve all heard of him friend of all cops he was he was never completely vegan but he was experimenting with it while he was living in his Hut he specifically says he cutout butter of milk as well as the animal foods it sort of varied over the years now we go back to England there was a spinoff from old house called North Ward villa which was a hydrotherapy Institute water cure of treatment which had come over from Germany we’ve now shown that this was also completely what we now call vegan they took over editing the the Old Courthouse Journal and called it the truth tester and in early 1847 one of the readers wrote to this journal saying why don’t we start a vegetarian society the word had been around for since about 1840 so they arranged a meeting the problem was the old house at this point was running out of money they were struggling but there were some others who I think yeah well come up there was another group in the north of England near Manchester called the Bible Christian Church they also followed what they called the vegetable diet but their version that the vegetable diet was based on the promised land flowing with milk and honey annex and they had a very wealthy businessman they had a Member of Parliament they had money they had influence so the old house Lord who were struggling joined up with them and formed the vegetarian society which left the obvious problem so they set the objects of the society down there as pointa the objects of the society are to induce habits of abstinence from the flesh of animals as food and only the flesh nothing about no Couric’s so you can see the problem the meaning of the word vegetarian is now changing because of the vegetarian society I it caused confusion right through the second half of the 19th century there were always a large group of people who did not use any animal products at all and called themselves vegetarian but there are even more who did use eggs and dairy and also called themselves vegetarian the society tried to change his name at one point in the 1870s they tried the Dietetic reform Society the vegetable egg and milk Society all sorts of things but they knew they were not really vegetarians they knew it was wrong but they couldn’t get around it in the end some of you might have heard the word veggie Tufts and there’s a really silly fiction which we’ve also disproved about the word vegetarian being derived from they cheat us which means whole fresh and lively and it’s got nothing to do with eggs and dairy that was invented in the 1880s to get around this problem of the wrong name so they carried on calling it the vegetarian society um meanwhile over in New York Russell troll was running another one of these hydrotherapy Institute’s it moved across the Atlantic by this time he’s originally he was producing a cookbook which had Acheson dairy in it he went the other way changed in 1862 and in 1874 he published but as far as we know the first ever vegan cookbook so the Americans got there first and John Harvey Kellogg you’ve all heard of him Kellogg seventh-day adventists the Battle Creek Sanitarium and of course he and his brother went on to make the corn flakes Kellogg’s books and they’re about 40 of them all use certainly yogurt or yogurt as you call it so if lacto-vegetarian can lock himself privately cut out all of that and he was at least in dietary terms vegan for about 40 years he eventually he went back to a certain amount of dairy and then he discovered soy milk by the 1920s this was just getting known in the West if he discovered soy milk earlier there maybe everyone around the world will be eating cornflakes with soy milk instead of cow’s milk would have made a difference this is the first British vegan cookbook in 1910 again there’s a lot of transatlantic connections there it was published in America as well but it wasn’t called vegan it was just called know animal food plant food and we’ve actually got at the bottom there New York Times November 6 1910 dr. Lee please for better food and he used the phrase plant foods as far as I can find that is the first ever use of that phrase plant foods and again it’s the Americans and what the Americans doing what you always do is shift from the negative to the positive so instead of time we don’t eat this and we don’t eat that you talk about what you do eat and we’re trying to promote that thinking around the rest of the world as well so we eat a plant food diet Mohandas Gandhi you’ve all heard of him he was originally followed the traditional Hindu diet when he went to London about 1890s a student his mother made him take a vow not to eat meat while he was in London it was a religious vow so he struggled with it then while he was there he found a vegetarian restaurant but he also found a book by Henry salt called the plea for vegetarianism at this point Gandhi had never heard of vegetarianism he was just a Hindu and he ain’t a Hindu diet but he read this book and decided that this was a good idea in his own right not just because of his religion so he changed and he then took it to the next step because Henry salt was also saying that milk is not necessary for the 1890s this was going against the majority Gandhi actually gave up milk drinking completely for about six years when he was in South Africa go back to India he was ill the doctors all said to him you know he’s India you have to drink milk he still he kept to his vow but he’s ours not to drink cow’s milk so he compromised and took goat’s milk in India that is a big deal he’s very different but he always 1831 he came to London spoke to the vegetarian society I need very clearly stated that he saw milk drinking as the tragedy of my life people did we could never quite get away from there he also by the 1930s had discovered soy milk and started experimenting with it but there wasn’t much of it around him then the next step the inevitable 1944 this is during the Second World War which is quite extraordinary there were an increasing number of members of the vegetarian society who were unhappy with the vegetarian society’s use of eggs and dairy products they were calling themselves non dairy vegetarians but that included no eggs as well they wanted to form a separate section within the society and they have their own page in the magazine for the non dairy people given that the definition was always with or without eggs and dairy and there are always a lot following the weed out version the society’s council said no can’t be that that will be too divisive it got more divisive inevitably they started another Society and they took the beginning in the end of the word vegetarian and invented the word vegan I need his pronounced vegan not whatever other kind of pronunciation other people might come up with but they maintained their close connection with the vegetarian society don’t watson who was the main instigator of this kept his membership of the vegetarian society for life he he had gone what we was now called vegan in about 1942 he lived to be 95 he died I think 2005 aged 95 so didn’t do him any harm the photograph there almost as soon as the vegan society was founded they joined the International vegetarian Union they had no problem with that they were part of the vegetarian movement and you do get vegans today that we’re not vegetarians we’re not having anything to do without vegans or something different well no you know vegans are part of the vegetarian movement and always have been and vegetarian has always been with or without eggs and dairy and then we get there cause the Americans are not going to be left behind on this by 1948 there was a vegan society in California 1960 it joined us jadenshell who founded the american vegan society still active today that has also been a member of the international vegetarian Union from the day it started in 1960 they kind of went the other way 1974 jadenshell did the North American vegetarian society quite deliberately to make it sound more inclusive bringing more people and they used that to promote the first-ever ivu Congress in North America in 1975 I got one and a half thousand people for of two weeks in up in Maine which in 1975 that’s a lot of people did an amazing job with that and vegans and ivu that’s the top photograph is the 1957 ivu Congress in India I should explain ivu the International vegetarian Union was founded in 1908 so we’re 104 years old now and we’ve been organizing these congresses every two or three years I say we not me personally even I’m not I know but every two or three years as a congress moving around the world 1957 the Congress was in India and that photograph is the Indian vegan society though they got one too considering the word was only indented in 1944 we’ve now got vegan societies in America and India and below doubt the 1977 Congress the general secretary of eye view was a prominent member of the vegan society so IBU is kind of catching up with all this on this one ibu goes vegan well yes we are still called the International vegetarian Union we have no intention at all of changing the name for the last 15 years we have insisted to any event that we support all the food must be totally plant food no eggs no dairy so if you take the definition of vegetarian is with or without eggs dairy we only promote the without version we try to be inclusive we accept any type of vegetarian members but we will not promote anything other than plant food and we now have 22 vegan societies around the world which are members of ivu 114 in our database organizations using the word vegan in their title and most organizations around the world which called themselves vegetarian are doing what I ve was doing and promoting plant food only the original meaning of the word vegetarian now to be fair most individuals who call themselves vegetarian had no idea what it means a lot of meat they surely chicken though you know they only read me on Thursdays and they call themselves vegetarian very frustrating but the organizations with one or two notable exceptions the organization’s are promoting the plant food only version of vegetarian this is just an interesting little graph from Google the red line is searches for the word vegan over the last few years I can’t see that 2004 right so the last eight years searches for the word vegan the blue line is searches for the word vegetarian and you can see what’s happening California there’s a head of the world as always California there are now more searches for vegan and vegetarian somewhere on the East Coast about level on the rest of the world they’re still looking for vegetarian but they’re catching up so California Ruiz is way out there showing the way nice the last one oh look at that I’ve got a few minutes spare now if you want to know more about all this history go to ID you.org if you can see that ivu is international vegetarian Union dr. org and down the left-hand side you’ll see a button that says history and you click on that and you’ll see what the history of veganism there’s a collection of articles have been writing over the last two and a half years and there’s also a link to an e-book and you can download the whole book completely free about two hundred pages the history of veganism all of this in much more detail now given here so do go and have a look lots of it about America and about the rest of the world all sorts of things going on so I’m going to stop thank you very much