Nice article about Donald Watson, founder of the Vegan Society, who coined the term, “vegan.” I didn’t know he registered as a conscientious objector during WWII, but it makes sense.
From Remembering Donald Watson – Vegan Pioneer by Christine Wells
“The word ‘vegan’ represents the principles of nonviolence, sociological consciousness, and empathy without restriction or caveat. It is a word we have rallied around, as a tangible handle for a broad and inclusive perspective. It signifies both the beginning of our activism and the conclusion we work toward.
Donald Watson’s legacy extends beyond providing a name for our movement, but creating the term ‘vegan’ is certainly one of the most salient and perhaps widest reaching of his contributions. Though it may be difficult to cite a definitive forebear in a philosophy whose values and ethics have been implicit in every peaceful movement that has embraced nonviolence, the vegans of today and tomorrow can look to Watson as a major catalyst for the formation and proliferation of our principles.”
‘We can see quite plainly that our present civilization is built on the exploitation of animals, just as past civilizations were built on the exploitation of slaves, and we believe the spiritual destiny of man is such that in time he will view with abhorrence the idea that men once fed on the products of animals’ bodies.’
‘A common criticism is that the time is not yet ripe for our reform. Can time ever be ripe for any reform unless it is ripened by human determination? Did Wilberforce wait for the ripening’of time before he commenced his fight against slavery? Did Edwin Chadwick, Lord Shaftesbury, and Charles Kingsley wait for such a non-existent moment before trying to convince the great dead weight of public opinion that clean water and bathrooms would be an improvement?’
“Before he passed, Watson encouraged vegans to take a ‘broad view of what veganism stands for,’ reminding us that far beyond a diet, veganism embraces the principles of nonviolence.”