The Manifesto of the Vegetarian Society
Prevod na engleski Snjezana Akpinar
Introduction by Dr. Snjezana Akpinar
The Vegetarian Manifesto delivered in Europe in the 1920’s is still worth reading. This particular edition was published by the Vegetarian Society in the city of Zagreb, Croatia in 1938 at the eve of World War II in the hopes of “awakening the vegetarian conscience among vegetarians, teaching the vegetarian ideal and thus honestly help humanity come out of today’s darkness into the light of a brighter future.” Since: “without hatred, the dissemination of this truth can only awaken the frozen conscience and encourage some mature thinking.”
It illustrates the concept of vegetarianism, its history, roots and tenets, its economics, and maintenance. It is a valuable document that is of relevance even today, some ninety years after its initial publication.
The Manifesto of the Vegetarian Society
Health is one of the greatest ideals of humanity. It is something that we cannot acquire nor maintain without a harmonious cooperation of body and spirit. The function of the minutest particles of our bodily organs depends on our thoughts and feelings. A clean and healthy body can certainly be maintained through a lively sense of optimism, and a gentle joy of life. This can be attained through positive thinking that we will gradually unearth itself thanks to the wonders of ethics. How do we embark upon this path? Proper breathing in a pleasant rhythm, proper nutrition that accompanies a regular digestive system and proper movements in accord with an enduring harmony can balance our morality. These three elements can also awaken a yearning for an all encompassing sense of beauty, a tendency that is an outcome of a tempered and balanced lifestyle and is considered a characteristic of a cultivated human being.
Human beings have reasoning power, the refore they are meant to grasp all earthly phenomena through the strength of their reason and goodness of their senses. Everyday life consists mostly in being preoccupied around nutrition as the basis for bodily health and improvement of the human race. By examining our needs and means of livelihood a human being can gain access to the wondrous mystery of nature. Nature organizes all existence according to the constant rules, to unfragmented, perfect, logic. Therefore it is not shameful to learn from nature, but it is sad indeed when man looks down at the laws of nature. Humanity should adhere to the realm of wisdom in its quest for happiness and approach it with a gentility needed to grasp the almighty echoes of the eternal universe. The vegetable and animal kingdoms delineate this path. Woe to those who by breaking the law of ethics which forbids us to use coercion, looting, pillaging, hurting and killing – means regularly employed for the acquisition of food.
Even if we ignore the fact that all manifestations of life and its universality are closely linked, each and every act of killing is a deplorable act that exposes a lack of moral culture. Our age has strewn throughout the world all sorts of views and opinions on life with a clear tendency to perpetuate greater and greater destruction. No wonder that a reaction arose in the minds of more subtle human beings who still adhere to the injunction: Thou Shalt Not Kill!
This is highest of ethical injunctions inspired many religious reformers, saints and hermits, specially ascetics, to reject meat as food and live only on fruits, seeds and roots. With such pure food they wished to heal their bodies and thus enable a wave of purer and higher breath to stream through them. They wished to become more capable of receiving inspiration and intuitions that would serve loftier ideals.
It is not incidental that some religions proclaim specific fasting days and practices, since religious leaders knew that refraining from food strengthens the capacity to meditate and delve deep into religious truths. The word of the Bible is not mere legend “God said: See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit: you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird in the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. (Genesis I, or the first Book of Moses, 29-30).
The fact that many people still heed this injunction throughout India is living proof that evil is has not yet drowned the basic life goal of mankind as the most reasonable creation of God. Each living being has a right to live. Each creature has its task and its sense for life. Each living being is full of meaning and hope, full of joy, as well as pain, it wishes for betterment. Tolstoi was right when he stated that man is no better than the beast which is unable of escaping our tortures. But man can be better because he is capable of pity towards his victims. And if Schopenhauer was right there is no virtue without compassion. The fifth commandment was engraved into the human heart even before Moses went to Mt. Sinai. Also, Lamartine’s wish that men do not kill their brothers and spill blood, because “blood is life, and life cannot be returned”, is a categorical imperative for each human being.
The wisdom of life lies in the search for truth which points each human being toward the paths of heart and mind. The heart is warm and compassionate. Mind is cold and realistic. Both North and South are necessary. Our world needs solar energy. It provides the basic elements of growth. Under the influence of the sun, light, air and water our earth gives us fruits as the only food of the first human beings and as the proper food for modern man. The earth gives us all that is needed for life. Truth be told the hunters and gatherers of this world did reach out for kindred beings and in doing so burdened ensuing generations by showing them the wrong path, but this should not derail man from the proper path that helps us develop an ethical and natural attitude towards life. Only man exposes his health to various ruins due to an unnatural life style. That is why nature warns man through weakness, illness, precipitous old age and early death. Man thanks to his own guilt, falls into despair and destruction. Nevertheless the human race with a little good will and wisdom, can easily retrieve itself from the clutches of evil that hold it hostage due to ignorance.
There are many tools and many paths that lead humanity into a safe harbor. For those of us who are not in a hurry let us remember Kant’s dictum : “It is a pity that we must die just when we begin to see how life should be lived”. One must live according to the ethical precept: “do not do unto others what you do not wish others do unto you”. One should live according to a principle of economics: the lesser the number of victims, the greater the success. Both of these lead humanity into a brotherly circle of compassion towards all that is living, and the direction towards such goals is marked by a bright banner from which a single word shines forth: Vegetarianism!
The Concept of Vegetarianism
The name derives from the Latin word vegetum/vegetabile meaning healthy, pertaining to vegetables. According to Baltzer vegetarianism is a conscious fulfillment of life’s requirements. Therefore it encapsulates a complete life style which accords to an inner conviction that nature and its order provide the norm for bodily and spiritual good. Natural nutrition is only a chapter of this order which depends on our knowledge of nature’s laws. A healthy human impulse grows out of these eternal laws and accords with them. Who goes against these laws suffers both physically and spiritually.
Vegetarianism specifically warns us against the harmful effects of meat and intoxicants and attempts to do away with such harm. It also cares about other needs of life such as sunshine, clean air, light, water, work, rest etc. Vegetarians act as individual helpers and tools for such endeavors. According to the type of food they eat vegetarians are divided into three groups. The first group eats only raw vegetables. The second group constitutes those who eat both raw vegetables and cooked ones. The third group are those who along with vegetables also eat milk products. As far as the motivations for becoming a vegetarian, there are three levels. The first are those who live by the fifth commandment “Do not kill!”. The second are those who wish to attain higher spiritual goals, the third are those who become vegetarian for health reasons. More will be said about this later. All of these categories also stay away from alcohol, tobacco, opiates and the like. Their lives excel in kindness and temperance.
The History of Vegetarianism
Vegetarianism is as old as the human race. The first man was not born with a weapon in his hand in order to hunt animals and kill people, but with hands and feet fit to gather fruits and do good deeds. In the Ice Age when vegetation was scarce man began to eat fish, in the further development of the nomadic life man became a meat eater to finally, thanks to “culture”, man became omnivorous. Thanks to religious and philosophical teachings about the transmigration of souls, vegetarianism came to Greece from the East.
From this Indian and Egyptian origin vegetarianism spread throughout the lands of the ancient Hellenes, the proof of which are the works of the Greek classics. With Pythagoras as a spiritual leader of the Orphic traditions famous philosophers became vegetarians such as Plato, Seneca, Juvenal, Plutarch etc. Poets such as Euripides and Ovidius glorified vegetarian ideals. Christianity found its first adherent among the Essenes who were strict believers in nonviolence. Jesus Christ stems from this group and he substituted the blood sacrifice with the bloodless one. Although many of his early disciples followed the example of their great teacher, the meat eaters soon prevailed. The church managed to keep things somewhat in check only with the various fasting injunctions. So instead of vegetarians beating their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks (Isaiah 2:4) vegetarianism humbly retreated into the hearts of the Nassirians inspiring a higher purpose of life.
Vegetarianism appears on the more contemporary Western scene around the year 1810 with a vision of the English poet Shelley. In 1811 the English physicist Sir Isaac Newton publishes his book entitled: “Return to Nature or Defense of a Vegetable Regimen”, and in 1821 the French painter Albert Gleizes, father of the Cubist movement, proclaims the gospel of Vegetarianism in his work “Thalysie”. The Germans were also inspired by it. Gustav von Struve and Dr. Werner Zimmermann along with the Englishman Simpson establish the “Vegetarian Society” in 1844. Many others soon follow suite all across the Western world, among the more famous ones were Tolstoi in Russia, Graham in America.
In the Balkans vegetarianism became strong in the tenth century in its purest form among the Bogomils, a Neomanichean sect. To this day (1935) it is strongly represented by the Danevites, a religious-ethical society sometimes called the White Brethren of Bulgaria, also found in the vegetarian movements of Belgrade, Zagreb, among the Theosophists, and the Seventh day Adventists. It is latent in the souls of all those who refuse to spill blood. These contemporary vegetarian societies are neither religious nor political, although many like to label this phenomenon as the new social religion based on health. The center of the international Vegetarian Union is in Chekoslovakia (Wahnsdorf).
The Roots of Vegetarianism
Ethics is the science of perennial morals. It is embedded in the soul of every human being. But if the body succumbs to sensuousness and the soul is poisoned with vice, human morality acquires such an odious form and develops traits that overshadow the very essence of ethics enveloping it in an impenetrable mist. The concept and content of ethics bears all that is good and beautiful. There can be no goodness without a heart and no aesthetics without beauty. A good heart hurts no one, not even death. The feeling of beauty disappears in the process of violence. According to the Swiss Professor Vogelin without a knowledge of aesthetics one cannot transform the human race. Ethics forbids force and condemns those who kill animals for the sake of food. There is enough room on this earth for both humans and animals, there is no need to kill each other. Man has dominion over the animal world, since humanity has the power of reason, but animals thanks to their nature can help human beings and befriend them, not only regard them as a succulent meal. A beast becomes forceful and mean when cornered, but there is a significant difference, man kills for fun, a beast kills out of necessity. Man takes life that he has not bestowed, for the sake of his own selfish taste. Animals have the right to live. Ethics, recognizes and respects this right, therefore the basic principle of vegetarianism also applies to plants. Vegetarians do not pick flowers for this reason.
A plant lives for itself and other beings. It sacrifices itself. Every sacrifice is painful, but it is a far lesser evil to destroy a plant because there are some basic differences between plant and animal life. A plant grows back, while a killed animal does not. Never does a child cry while watching the harvest, since it is not a violent scene. But many have screamed in horror upon witnessing the butchering of animals. The horror of this unjust, uneven battle for life, the horror of that deathly fear, the shivers of the last breath… all of that leads one to speculate whether the pleasure of meat eating can be justified by the horrible treatment of animals who are mammals like us, have bodies similar to ours, whose intelligence is not much different from ours. In fact, the lungs of a plant are its leaves, while the lungs of an animal closely resemble the human lung. An animal cannot live even an instant if its lungs are destroyed, whereas a plant can survive for quite some time without its leaves.
The awareness of animals is something we can see and resonate with, not so with plants. Maybe the crackling of grass under our feet is a scream of protest, but we do not hear it the same way that we hear the cry of a tortured animal. Nature is the best teacher. For example, nature did not supply human beings with the denture of a wild beast.
Hunting is not a postulate of human nature, but an invention of the hunters and gatherers. Tolstoi said that today we may be horrified with the thought of cannibalism, but a day will come when our grandchildren will be horrified at the thought that their grandfathers killed so many animals in order to eat them.
Christianity as a concept of the highest morality is called upon to offer the world a more perfect type of man and to stress a higher ideal of life. That is why Christian morals reject the blood sacrifice of the Old Testament, since it cannot be pleasing to a compassionate God. But where would Christianity be today if it were willing to understand the Vedic traditions and Buddhism that do not offer blood sacrifices even to man? Christ’s teaching might have spread more readily if vegetarianism were part of its practice. And if the commandment not to kill were to include not only humans but all sentient beings. The battles against war would be easier to win, since the killing of animals conditions humans to kill each other by reinforcing a mean trait. According to Professor Becketoff the meat of killed animals is directly proportionate to (human) cannon fodder, and according to Baron von Humboldt the eating of meat is in close relation with cannibalism. Vegetarianism severs ties that link us to blood traditions by appealing to ethics. It preaches the truth, although it also accepts Goethe’s pun: Every truth is simple and that is why a huge minority understand it. Vegetarian ethics condemns all animal torture: hunting, fashion, vivisection, circus, zoo etc. and adheres to common sense reminding one that evil is not destroyed by evil, only increased by it. Therefore vegetarianism is the voice of our human conscience which orders us to do unto others only what we would wish others do unto us.
Hygiene is the study of health. It researches all of life’s aspects that can influence health and stop disease. Therefore it is often called preventive medicine as opposed to curative, which heals a disease. Hygiene belongs to the medical domain, but medicine does not have a monopoly over it. Everyone has the right to critically observe the conditions that we live in, and because of that vegetarianism wishes to have a say in the matter. Many well known doctors and physiologists speak in its name. Among them figure: Dr. Cl. Bernard, Dr. Bircher-Berger, Dr. J. Grande, Dr. Ragnar Berg, Dr. Carton, Dr. Cellog, Dr. Hindhede, Dr. Haog. Their outlook is based on life experience. Old fashioned medicine cures the diseased part of the body with a mild poison. But as the live cells become more and more impregnated with one poison they become more susceptible to all poisons, (Dr. Bernard) and thus the goal is often not attained. Modern medicine attempts to cure by strengthening the levels of energy and enable the whole organism in order to resist the onslaught of disease and thus seeks a complete and durable healing that requires a complete change of life. It heals by prevention those who are not yet ill. (Dr. Bircher Brenner). Laws of nature are its guide. Breaking such laws has its repercussions not only in the physical health and development of the human race, but also on its senses, on the formation of its collective consciousness. It guides its spiritual growth (Dr. Grande).
Important changes take a long time to implement. Medicine, after taking long and winding detours is now arriving to an ethical stand that reconnects it to Hippocrates (Masaryk). The issue of a natural life-style thus gains a wider meaning and greater value. The basis for the healing of the body is food, therefore a reform of our dietary habits constitute the proper method of naturally educating our bodies. A philosophy of nutrition is being formed through a physiology that studies the science of food intake and hygiene. The evolution of this process is helped by discoveries in the field of chemistry. We now know that vegetables are accumulators of life energy they contain all nutrients we need and can supply them to our body . Animals cannot do that, their bodies like ours, use up the organic nutrients supplied by plants. Only plants can produce an organic nutritive cell. Animals merely transform a cell in order to assimilate it. Plants by accumulating solar energy concentrate so much energy within themselves to become the purest source of food. While animals use up all such matter for the needs of their own body. That is why it is often stressed that vegetarians enjoy food from its primary source and all others from a secondary source, or vegetable derivatives.
We must be aware that vegetables, fruits and water are the true factors of energy and vitality, while meat and alcohol, its twin, can produce a short and immediate burst of energy and excitement, soon to be followed by weakness and tiredness. (Dr. Carton).
More recently the culture of hygiene was greatly influenced by Dr. Ruzic. Her motto being: return to a vegetarian and as much as possible, raw food diet. One needs to return to the physiological level, by eating what can be found in the lap of nature, without the use of raw force, without destroying a life ennobled by a high level of consciousness.
The bodily structure of a human being, the material and organic makeup of our alimentary tract is that of peaceful fruit eating beings, not of ferocious beasts. According to the science of comparative anatomy (Cuvier) our teeth are such that we can only eat fruits and vegetables. 32 all together, eight of them cutting teeth, four canines teeth and 20 molar teeth that have with a wide area for chewing, like the apes. Our stomachs are not a small rounded bag as in the meat eating beasts, nor are they as complicated and long as those of grazing cattle, but corresponds to fruit eating monkeys. The total length of our intestines is ten times that of our body, whereas in the meat eating beasts the ratio is five to one, and in grazing cattle it is twenty to twenty five to one. By regulating our human alimentary mechanism through the instincts of hunger and thirst our organisms automatically tell us what is needed. It has been proven scientifically that the human body does not need a great amount of proteins, since most of them are already built in. Therefore the assumed bodily need for protein has fallen to a much lower level, or to a fifth of what was previously thought necessary. The assumed quantity of calories has been cut to a half of what we previously thought. The older theory was linked to a fatty regime applicable for city life and industrial workers. But it has been proven that the human stomach is not fit for meat consumption, since the gastric juices that it produces cannot blend with liquids excreted from meat through the course of digestion. Our digestive system is meant to break down only vegetable solids. Due to this the gastric juices tend to dry up.
The human body and the animal body cannot absorb alien proteins or plasma. The blood of one body destroys the red blood corpuscles of an alien body, much like snake poison, alcohol and acids, even the organic acids that our own intestines create. Because of this meat is not digested at all, it rots and deteriorates in our stomachs, since the human organism does not have a tool nor the energy nor the juices that could disintegrate it. Even a wild beast cannot digest meat. It tears its food and eats the blood and muscles and then its strong stomach and short intestines squeeze out the glands and blood.
That is what beasts feed on. The butcher, after having killed an animal lets the blood flow, and then hangs the carcass. Meat in that condition is not digestible. It has to sit in our stomach at least three days before it decomposes. The smell of meat that has been sitting around for three days is well known, it is an insult to our ethical and aesthetical senses. And then, this meat sits in our intestines which do not have the strong muscles of wild beasts to squeeze it out. The obvious result is that the rotting keeps going on within our intestines and reaches culmination in a poison known as cadaverin. According to Dr. Carton, a TB specialist, meat is not a physiological product, and therefore it is a poison for the organic cell. It forces the body to go against nature, it weakens it before its time, wears it out. By rotting in the stomach and intestines it creates microbes that cause disease. Dr. Gerson cures TB with a vegetarian diet without salt and with great success.
And thus the theory of meat being a source of energy gets rattled. The strongest among animals like the elephant, gorilla, camel, buffalo, horse and ox, do not eat meat. In the East porters who carry big loads on their backs live mostly on rice, olives, vegetables, fruits and bread.
The strength of the Japanese does not stem from meat. People who engage in sports and become champions, runners in particular, give up meat, at least while they are in training. Wild countenance and sheer force are not the same thing. The first is not a vegetarian trait, the second is. However vegetarians do not like overindulgence in sports and gymnastics which goes against the concept of a rational use of energy. Vegetarianism rather employs as a helping tool the method known as Fletcherism. Invented by the American businessman Horatio Fletcher, it rests on the philosophy of chewing. The synthesis of his method, accepted by many doctors and specialists is as follows: if you eat only when you are hungry and only what your appetite demands at the time and chew your food thoroughly, no need to worry further, your organism will take care of the rest. Overcooked mushy food is not good for you, since it cannot be chewed. Best is dry and tough food which forces you to chew and which absorbs a lot of saliva. Fletcherism propagates a raw vegetable diet that keeps our teeth healthy and guards our overall health.
Modern man also welcomes the teachings of Dr. Haig which states that uric acid is an obvious outcome of most diseases since it is a product of decomposed surplus proteins that are found in meat. He also claims that phosphoric acid is necessary for healthy teeth, nerves and bones reminding us that vegetables contain twice as much phosphorus as meat. This is particularly important for children who need at least five grams of phosphate per day. He also uses his knowledge about mineral salts and vitamins that can be extracted only from vegetables which get direct sun energy.
Vegetarianism teaches that meat upsets young people approaching puberty. It understands the close links between alcohol, tobacco and meat, points out the various diseases that are due to meat eating and can be cured through vegetarianism. It gives an initiative to modern science encouraging the search for new methods of healing and preserving health. It seriously warns the medical profession that the components of our blood are base reactions and that meat has an excess of acids. Vegetarians are pleased to welcome a new trend in medicine whereby physicians recommend a vegetarian diet as a cure against illnesses of the digestive system, rheumatic and nervous disorders.
Modern medicine also takes into consideration the psychological factor, stating that the power of suggestion is closely connected with a natural life style. The awareness that one lives in harmony with nature influences our thought process. Love for nature and living beings is a deciding factor of a brotherly instinct among human beings. It destroys egotism and melancholy as well as sentimental egotism linked to a diseased mood. With this kind of healing we not only gain our health but also a new direction in life.
Today’s crisis is also an outcome of economic policies for which vegetarianism is not to blame. But would the crisis ease a bit if we were to turn to vegetarianism in greater numbers? Or is vegetarianism only a utopian vision, an episode in the historical flow of our human race? If we look at the research of doctor professor Johann Ude we will learn the following: A national business consists of various elements that are mutually connected due to a specific plan. The goal of each national business system is to ensure a living worthy of mankind, respectful of the honest profitable work of every human being. To economize is to thoughtfully distribute the means and needs of essential products. If we call these products goods, it is clear that production, use and distribution through commerce can be both beneficial and dangerous for the national economy. That is why the problem of economic goods is crucial for the fate of a nation and its productivity. How much and which products to include? From the battle between production and expenditures we can draw the following conclusion: the more land and its products, the bigger the work force, the more man hours spent on noxious needless anti social goods and the fewer natural land goods available, the smaller the work force the less available capital for useful and socially friendly productivity. Absolute ethics would demand that in a good national system of production one produce first that what is necessary, then that what is useful and last of all that what is pleasurable. This is possible only if we apply euobiotics, or a productivity according to the laws of ethics and national economics. The father of euobiotics Prof. Ruzic from Zagreb, recommends that life be adjusted according to physiological laws The well known physiologist Ragnar Berg adds to this the following rule of hygiene: an economical and healthy diet should include seven times as many potatoes, roots, bulbs and green vegetables and fruits most should be eaten raw. This is the biological meaning of vegetarianism which according to Dr. Vogel cannot do any harm.
But, Prof. Ude asks a further question, for a national economy is it better to produce vegetarian food or meat. Here we can turn to the Danish doctor Hindhede, who saved his countrymen during the First World War with the help of vegetarianism. According to his calculations seven people can survive on a single acre of arable land if they implement a lacto vegetarian diet. Germany alone could feed 185 million, or three times its present population, Europe 1.704 billion, or four times its population, the US 1.178 billion or ten times its population, Russia, Brazil etc, could do much much better than that. Migge a specialist in horticulture, tells us that a small settlement of about ten hectares could accommodate 250 families of five or about 1250 people. Schiele tells us that ten million people consume the amount of food that should be enough to feed 35 million people. A single ox consumes food that would be enough to feed six people and gives enough food to feed a single person for a hundred days. The same area of land that feeds one carnivore can feed ten vegetarians. In order to produce 211 calories from meat we lose 880 Calories from the1091 total needed to feed a 60 kilo pig fed on grain and skimmed milk. The numbers rise when beef is in question. According to Dr. Lotar Meyer one hectare can produce 2,000 kilograms of wheat, containing 200kg of protein and 1,400 of starch 20,000 kgs of potatoes, with 400 kgs of protein and 4000 kgs of starch 20,000 green beans with 600 kgs of protein and 12,000 kgs of starch.
One hectare producing 2000 kg of oats gives us only 420 kilograms of pork, which is further divided into 330 kgs of meat with 50 kgs of protein, 122 kgs of fat, a total of 300 kgs of starch. 2000kgs of wheat give us 350kgs of live cattle or 210 of average fatty meat with 40 kgs of proteins, 36 kgs of fat or a total of 90 kgs of starch.
In order not to bore you any further with numbers it sufficient to point out that in order to breed cattle for meat we loose 80% of our vegetable crops and their nutrients. And where is the workforce needed for breeding cattle in order to produce meat? Where is the toil and labor, the dirt of this most unpleasant kind of work?
Vegetarianism’s social principles claim that it is unethical and also wasteful to ignore the laws of nature which would help us avoid national debts, illness, wars etc. Vegetarianism entices us to accept Kant’s rule: Live in a manner which is always in accord with the laws of the universe. Vegetarianism would decrease cattle breeding, and allow animals to be only our helpers in agriculture.
An oversensitivity that we seem to have about all of this, does not harmonize with the modern needs of neo-malthusianism which entices us to decrease the world’s population on a voluntary basis. After the war there were around one billion seven hundred people. Even if the black race were to double every forty years, the yellow every 60 and the white every 80, we would still have plenty of space and plenty of food if we were to follow the vegetarian way of life.
Even a vegetarian could change somewhat, under dire circumstances, but in today’s world a vegetarian cannot understand why people kill animals for sheer pleasure. To blur need and pleasure is to mix the rule of cause and effect, and the health of nations ends up paying dearly for this mistake. It is ironic when people claim the if we do not eat animals they will eat us. Never did a calf attempt to eat a human being, only wild beasts do that, and even vegetarians protect themselves against beasts the best they can. Man has no right to kill an animal solely because he has bred it.
Does a parent have the right to kill his child? A rabbit, deer, wild boar etc, can do harm to a farmer, but we can protect ourselves against that. There is plenty of room for humans if we rationally settle free land. One can live a vegetarian life even in the far north at forty degrees below zero, as the eighty year old Russian biologist Michurin proved by acclimatizing southern fruit trees to the north. He is on the way to grow wheat in permafrost, the kernels of which will be bigger than a green pea. There is no excuse for the Eskimos. The human mind which creates all sorts of horrors can surely find the right solution when absolutely necessary. Thomas Edison, that genius of a man, who admitted to be a vegetarian, tells us that man is in a position to create everything except a machine that can think for us and a machine that would give birth for us.
The Japanese do not have a big cattle industry nor a dairy industry. Instead of disappearing they seem to be multiplying to everyone’s amazement. When we say back to nature, we do not mean let’s revert to being monkeys. The vegetarians wish to help humanity turn away from a path that distanced us too much from nature by fixing the mistakes that grew out of our material culture. Our spiritual crisis is an outcome of today’s manner of life, it cannot be solved if we do not renew our spiritual life. Naturalism is not an excuse for magic, however. We must not assume that our behavior is justified if we only follow our natural instincts. Such behavior can simply be immoral if it harms another being, and worse than a crime perpetuated in nature. Between two evils chose the lesser one. To live without meat is a lesser evil than killing because of meat. By this we do not mean that it is bad to be without meat, but we know that it is hard to give up a pleasure. As fighters for ideas we do have enough reasons to dissuade our brethren to behave in a way that can also harm themselves and the moral consciousness of this world. Magic is the conquest over egotism, otherwise we will never become altruists nor have a successful social life. We have to face danger straight on. When we see that more than 90% of our children have rotten teeth, that every other pauper has TB, that suicides are a daily occurrence, that young people are dying from bad nutrition and unnatural life styles, a curse seems to be following us from generation to generation, leaving in its wake a degeneration of the human race. It is high time to raise our brows and push back the unbridled elements of human negation and replace these with life giving forces. Those who have long since found the key to a lost paradise can help us on this path.
Among the carriers of good news one can certainly name Prof. Trumpp who insists that one needs to propagate vegetarianism for the sake of our children. Prof. Trall tells us that meat, blood and animal fat contains mostly non-beneficial and used up matter and diseased excretions, Dr. Alison freely admits that without meat doctors would have a very meager business. We do not live in order to give the medical profession business, but to, as Nietzsche said, live as simply as possible and full of compassion for animals. That compassion is what Wagner felt as the highest characteristic of a moral being, and as a source of his great art. Full of meaning are the brave words of Bakunin who claimed that killing animals is but a small step away from killing humans. Today this Russian professor of jurisprudence would be ridiculed if he were to expound on his principles of disarmament, but we vegetarians would gladly nominate him for the Nobel Peace prize, since we know that only with such ideas can we bring peace to the world.
This is the manifesto of the vegetarian Society delivered in Zagreb. This booklet is a mere drop within an ocean of literature. Please bear this in mind. The quotes of well known and illustrious professors and doctors only augment the importance of this brochure. The warmth of our hearts and the sharpness of our minds can do no more than soften the blow of our horrendous present. Without hatred, the dissemination of this truth can only awaken the frozen conscience and encourage some mature thinking. It is not the aim of this belief to upset souls with a revolution of ideas. Love, brotherhood and happiness are the main stays of vegetarian ideology. Its task is reformatory. Evolution is its tempo, critique its compass. To awaken the vegetarian conscience among vegetarians, to teach the vegetarian ideal is to honestly help humanity come out of today’s darkness into the light of a brighter future. The naturalism of vegetarianism is capable to bind us to mother nature. The pacifism of the vegetarians is a strong voucher for peaceful solutions of international conflicts. A realistic review of causes and effects leads to a successful method for bettering our lives and their progress. And since it is the duty of each member of this society to pay attention to its needs, the vegetarians of Zagreb deem it necessary to strengthen their selfless service around a social rebirth by forming this society that was inaugurated in 1928.