International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
IVU logo

Famous Vegetarians - Jon Wynne-Tyson (1924- )


Vegetarianism is a step in the right direction, but the logic of the vegan ease is absolute. No-one - whether nutritionist, physician, sociologist or churchman - can refute the veganic argument in any important respect. Veganism is part of the most civilised concept of life nian has been able to envisage. More than laeto-vegetarianism, veganism "speaks to the condition" of our modern world. That still only a minute number of Western people put its principles into practice is evidence of nothing but our reluctance to break with habit and to place conscience before social inconvenience. - from a speech at Animals' Rights Symposium given at the Commonwealth Institute, London, May 1980

I see no realistic long-term alternative to a world whose natural resources are regarded as factors with which we have to collaborate - not dominate - in order to take our proper place in the scheme of things. I suggest the reasons for this are not only expedient, but evolutionary . . . it is surely our role to envisage and work toward a world which is sanely and humanely controlled, not exploited, by those with the vision and humility to question established mores. I say "humility" because it is the airogance born of long habit and entrenched prejudice that seeks to defend behavioural patterns that have long been a matter of comfortable acceptance for a privileged minority at the expeuse of the rest of the world. - Animals' Rights: a Symposium

Flying fish would land on board, sometimes being caught by the sails and dropping on deck, sometimes hitting the coach-roof or stanchions. He retrieved them, sharing the sea's gift with Seamew. But one day he found himself studying a fish that landed by the forward hatch. He noted the helpless lifting of its strange "wings" as it sought to return to the life-giving sea. He picked it up, feeling the tremulous proof of its humble being, the vibrating will to survive, and in what might have been idle curiosity he held it over the side, watching the eager response of its fins to the dousing of a passing crest. - So Say Banana Bird

axtracts from 'The Civilised Alternative: a Pattern for Protest':

Cruelty, like kindness, is indivisible. Children and men cannot safely be taught to take delight in cruelty to some living things and to abhor cruelty to others - . . sincc we accept the obscenities of cruelty, in whatever form, we must also accept the impossibility of arguing degrees.

Man cannot claim an instinct for aggression if many of his species show no such instinCt and manage to live normal and unfrustrated lives without killing their fellows, hunting, fighting, persecuting minorities, thrashing their wives and dogs or tormenting their children. Indeed, if only one member of the human race displayed no urge to indulge in violent aggression while being in normal health, it would be enough to disprove the assumption of Homo sapiens' ineradicable instinct of violence.

Western man is schooled in violence and greed from the moment he is bom. The society into which he arrives is incessantly concerned to persuade him of the merits of violence. From the moment that his scarcely co-ordinated fingers try to push away the 'nice beef stew' and the small gobbets of flesh that most anxious and deluded mothers try to push into his system (all those battles of the high-chair would hardly be necessary if man was naturally the carnivore that some still claim), the Western baby is learning that his society rests squarely on the credo of 'I kill, therefore I am'.

The case against vivisection is the same as that against war and all other forms of cruelty - that violence does not produce long-term solutions.

... it takes no great degree of education to detect the monstrous and callous absurdity of a society that chooses to over-indulge and pollute its way into physical and mental ill-health, and then tortures millions of animals in order to find answers to diseases that could so often be prevented by a change of habit. Perhaps the twenty-first century's symbol of contemporary insanity will be the twitching tail-ends of a dozen imprisoned white mice being compelled to inhale tobacco smoke until they develop the cancers that human beings invite in preference to the rejection of an addiction no self-respecting mouse would give skirting room to.

... the only argument against vivisection that will be seen to have lasting power - that we do not improve human society by means that debase human character.

extracts from 'Food for a Future: The Ecological Priority of a Humane Diet'

We must develop a better sense of responsibilty towards our total environment ... this better sense cannot any longer exclude from revision the staples of our diet.

. . not only have other creatures a right to live . . . they have the even more critical right not to be born at all at the whim of man. . . in our half-baked thinking and incessant ferocity towards the countless creatures whom, alive, we imprison, mutilate, maim, trap, strangle, shoot, hook, chase, snare, de-limb, behead, suffocate, flay, disembowel, stab, crush, over-feed, burn, drown, boil, freeze, cut up, make sick, terrorise and by numerous other means mercilessly exploit day in and day out for no better reason than that we wish to devour them, we are shamefully forsaking that one obligation which above all others we should recognise - to put our unique knowledge of the difference between good and evil, between mercy and cruelty, before our heart-hardening greed.

Unless one subscribes to the primitive and shocking belief that animals, being without souls, are fair game for whatever treatment humans wish to inflict on them, the obligation to show pity towards all sentient life is universally recognised as religious in the widest and best sense of that all too often narrow word. There are few religious beliefs that fail to emphasise the need for compassion. Unfortunately there are few scientific specialisms which grant it the least attention. While no theist who conceives of his god as aligned to the smallest degree of mercy can logically dismiss the right of all sentient beings to expect from man more than from the other members of creation evidence of the divine values of pity and love, the scientific mind has as yet shown little sign of Iawakening to this realisation. Yet without it mere knowledge is nothing more than contaminated dust.

Here, in the wide field of our treatment of other living beings, religion and science are capable of finding a nuity on the very highest level of their separate specialisms. Here the balance born of humane eclecticism can bring about a vital and applicable ethic . . . But it is vitally important, if there is a shred of reason for believing that mankind is working out some evolutionary pattern and accepting an obligation or profound need to grow spiritually, that we do the right things for the right reasons rather than for expediency or lack of alternative.

Dietethics - that is, the study of the ethics of diet - relate not only to the animals we eat, but also to the world's malnourished and starving human millions . . . if we abandoned the grossly wasteful habit of eating our plants via the bodies of animals, there need be no starving people in the world to-day.

from a Talk for Writers Against Experiments on Animals at St. James's, Piccadilly, London, 24 April 1985:

Of the animal rights issue, some would say it is a minor, irrelevant, even ridiculous concern. "Man must come first" is the cry, as though it was an either/or matter.

What they really mean is that man must come first and last and that nothing must be done in the animals' cause apart from the occasional cover-up job where the evidence of our -abuse of other sentient life is too painful for more sensitive humans to tolerate.

I believe such diehards to be wrong on every count. Wrong not only to be indifferent to our treatment of animals, for those animals' sakes, but wrong because sl]ch callousness helps substantially to prolong the worst aspects of the human predicament. Cruelty is indivisible. Violence is indivisible. What has variously been called karma, the Golden Rule, and so forth, cannot be side-stepped by our tricky minds. It is something that just happens, just ''works'', like night following day.

Until we establish a felt sense of kinship between our own species and those fellow mortals - those "other nations", as Henry Beston put it - who share with us the sun and shadow of life on this agonized planet, there is no hope for other species, there is no hope for our environment, and there is no hope for ourselves. The writing is on the wall - large and clear.

More extracts from Food for a Future:


To buy Books, CDs or Videos by these celebrities, with commission to vegetarianism, go to:


Update these lists - fill in the form!

Famous VegetariansBack to the Famous Vegetarians Index