A little over a week ago, Nathan Schneider of the Vegan Abolitionist blog "resurrect[ed] a bit of vegan history by posting an essay by early vegan advocate and longtime Vegan Society member Eva Batt. Batt wrote "Why Veganism?" in 1964, around 10 years after she'd gone vegan herself, and close to 20 years after the term was first coined by the Vegan Society's founders. Today, 45 years after the essay was written, some of its facts concerning food or animal usage may be a bit dated, as practices have changed over the years. Worth nothing, though, is that in 45 years, some of the more heinous practices in so-called "animal husbandery" have not changed at all. For instance, while describing the failings inherent in following a lacto-vegetarian diet, Batt wrote:
If, however, we were to compare degrees of cruelty, it would be clearly seen that of all the "food animals" the cow suffers far more than beef cattle. For the whole of her life, this soft-eyed, docile animal is regarded siply as a milk machine. She is kept going with drugs and "steamed up" with hormones, injected with anitbiotics, and still has to suffer the horrors of the slaughterhouse when she has at last become unprofitable.Overall, much of what she wrote is still valid and the spirit in which she wrote it is more than significant. It's a piece of history in the vegan movement, but it's also a call to eschew the use of all animals which still resonates today.
Elizabeth Collins of the NZ Vegan Podcast wrote about Nathan's blog post on her own blog a few days ago and read the piece aloud on her most recent podcast, reflecting upon the points in the essay that she felt were most relevant and on how she feels it would make an effective introductory essay on veganism for many non-vegans. In her post, she also pointed out that Adam Kochanowicz (of Abolition Vegans) discusses Batt's essay in Episode 7 of his Vegan News video podcast. Please check out what Elizabeth and Adam had to say about Bett's essay and take the time to have a look at the piece itself.