International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
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1847-1981 :

A thesis presented to the London School of Economics, University of London,
for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, by Julia Twigg
©AUTUMN 1981 - Thesis Index

The author is now Professor of Social Policy and Sociology at Kent University, England, and has given permission for this previously unpublished thesis to be published on the IVU website. The ownership and copyright remain hers and no part of this thesis may be used elsewhere without her express permission.


[Numerical links are to the author's footnotes, use your back button to return to the same point in the text. Text links are to relevant items on the IVU website, all open in new windows]


The Humanitarian League

The second centre of activity in animal welfare was the Humanitarian League, founded in 1891 by Salt to form a united front to advance 'Humanitarianism' and aimed at the 'practice of humane principles - of compassion, love, gentleness, and universal benevolence'. (1) The unity of the humanitarian cause was particularly important to Salt, who saw vegetarianism and socialism as all part of this larger issue. The league aimed to fight cruelty towards both man and beast - in the form of cruel punishments, particularly flogging in schools and prisons; (2) blood sports, particularly those of the social elite, fighting a lively campaign against the Eton College Beagles and the Royal Buckhounds, as well as the more common forms of blood sports; (3) vivisection; the feeding of live animals as food in the London zoo; (4) the fur and feather trade; and private slaughterhouses. The Humanitarian League was intended to be a fighting body, and one which would rid the animal welfare cause of the taint of sentimentality. Activists like Salt had little time for moderate bodies like RSPCA. (5) Salt himself was at the centre of the League's activities, though Shaw, Carpenter, Howard Williams and Bell were also involved, as were Aylmer Maude, Ouida, W.H. Hudson, Pasemore Edwards, (6) Trine, Watts and Sidney Olivier. Not all members shared Salt’s vegetarianism. The League flourished between 1891 and 1910, though it continued into the period of the war, publishing a series of books and journals, (7) among which was Salt's spoof magazine The Brutalitarian: A Journal for the Sane and Strong, which, to his great amusement, was taken seriously by the sporting papers who approved of its cry for a 'united front against sickly humanitarian sentimentality' (8)

  1. 214. H.S. Salt Humanitarianism: Its General Principle and Progress, 1893, p3. It includes the manifesto of the League, p28.
  2. 215. H.S. Salt The Flogging Craze: A Statement of the Case Against Corporal Punishment, 1916.
  3. 216. See Salt’s Seventy Years for accounts of these campaigns p152-160. See also the collection of essays Killing for Sport, 1914, ed. H.S. Salt, which included contributions from Carpenter, Maurice Adams and Ernest Bell. Also Hendrick, p56-84.
  4. 217. Salt, Seventy Years, p164. The issue was hotly debated in the zoological meetings and raised questions of design in the universe and the cruelty of nature.
  5. 218. Seventy Years, 161-2, for Salt's views on RSPCA and its leader Colam. The RSPCA partly because of its social base – it was always happier attacking the brutality of the streets rather than that of educated, professional groups like the doctors, or of the social elite - and partly because of its concern not to move too far ahead of public opinion, refused to come out against vivisection or hunting.
  6. 219. Passmore Edwards is credited by Forward as being a vegetarian at one time, though his biography by E. Harcourt Burrage, 1902, J. Pasamore Edwards: Philanthropist, does not mention this.
  7. 220. Humanity, later Humanitarian, 1895-1919 and Humane Review 1900-10. Also a series of books.
  8. 221, 1904. Seventy Years, p174.

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