The first is medicinal, arguing that a diet which excludes meat is better for the health and more likely to help in the avoidance of certain types of disease as well as having curative properties.
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The other, even amongst medical practitioners, is essentially a moral argument that it is immoral to kill and eat animals. The earliest reference to the term, "vegetarianism" is cited as in the second edition of the Oxford English Dictionary and was found in Robley Dunglison's, Medical lexicon; A dictionary of medical science where it is described as "a modern term, employed to designate the view that man..
In the earliest years of Victoria's reign, in , the actress Fanny Kemble was commenting that if she had to do her own cooking she "should inevitably become a vegetarian. This is evident when as early as Hugh Miller, in his Schools and Schoolmasters , argues that "a man can scarce become a vegetarian even without also becoming in some measure intolerant of the still large..
Of Victorians and vegetarians : the vegetarian movement in nineteenth-century Britain
In addition they frequently argued that meat eating was an economic necessity. An editorial in The Times on Christmas Day, , begins, "the laws of the human economy demand that we should consume animal food. Frequently vegetarians argued that it was possible to have a better, and certainly cheaper, diet when one excluded meat.
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On the 24th of December , William Gibson Ward, writing to The Times as "the oldest Vice-President of the Vegetarian Society" argued just this point and included a simple recipe for lentil soup which he described as "the cheapest and best soup, pleasant, nutritious and wholesome. Five years later, on 7 December , T. Allinson wrote to The Times arguing the lower cost of a vegetarian diet and its greater health benefits.
Those who supported the more radical view of vegetarianism often tied it to man's inherently warlike nature. A report in The Times of the fifteenth annual meeting of the Vegetarian Society on 5 September , indicated that a lengthy report was read, which stated that in one phase of the vegetarian question popular feeling and opinion had been upon the whole decidedly adverse, and that, as with other beneficial movements, its progress had been retarded by the present position of warlike and military preparations.
While men were engaged in encouraging, without compunction, and even with studied delight, the destruction of human life produced by war, it was useless to expect any consideration towards the lower orders of animals.
Of Victorians and Vegetarians : The Vegetarian Movement in Nineteenth-century Britain
By the s, the battle lines appear to have been more clearly drawn. At the meeting of the Vegetarian Society, one speaker used terms like "blood-lappers" and "patronizers of slaughter-houses" to refer to those who ate meat. But even in their own meetings, Vegetarians clearly did not always have it their own way. At the same gathering, a gentleman was invited to the platform where he protested the language used. He empatically repudiated, as an Englishman, the statement that he was a "blood-licker.
He might be wrong ; but he must say that after what he had heard in favour of vegetarianism that night, he left the meeting less inclined to become a vegetarian than when he entered to room. Anna Kingsford, in the s, clearly reflected a similar view.
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