International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
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History of Vegetarianism - Europe: The Middle Ages to the 18th Century
Maimonedes (Rabbi Moses ben Maimon) (1135-1204)


Jewish philosopher, physician and jurist, born in Spain. He codified Jewish law in Mishneh Torah (1180).

Extracts from 'Guide for the Perplexed' as quoted in The Extended Circle by Jon Wynne-Tyson:

It should not be believed that all beings exist for the sake of the existence of man. On the contrary, all the other beings too have been intended for their own sakes and not for the sake of anything else.

[Regarding animals and their offspring], there is no difference between the pain of humans and the pain of other living beings, since the love and tenderness of the mother for the young are not produced by reasoning, but by feeling, and this faculty exists not only in humans but in most living beings.

a note from a visitor to this site:
I believe Maimonides argued that the consumption of meat is necessary for health, ordained by G-d, and made acceptable by following the laws of shechita, or ritual slaughter. While Maimonides was definitely concerned about the unnecessary suffering of animals the notion that he generally advocated or practiced vegetarainism is probably incorrect.