UK now has 4 vegan MPs

This is a guide to the UK General election results of particular interest to vegans and animal advocates, conveniently in results order. [Updated with results June 9th]. The results are in italic – and as the title says, the UK now has at least 4 vegan MPs, which I suspect is a first for any legislature anywhere in the world.… more

VegHist Ep 13: The Vegetarians. Abolitionism, colonialism, and Victorian reformers; with Julia Twigg and Bhaskar Chakraborty. In London

In the late nineteenth century, the new vegetarian movement is intertwined with other struggles – including Victorian reformers, the Indian reaction to British colonialism, and most importantly, slavery. Episode 13: The Vegetarians After their foundation in 1847 and 1850, the vegetarian societies in Britain and America rose swiftly faced new challenges. Dr Adam Shprintzen, author of the history of US vegetarianism “Vegetarian Crusade, tells Ian how the American Vegetarian Society poured its energies into an anti-slavery vegetarian settlement in the Wild West. And how its founder, Englishman Henry Clubb, ultimately took a bullet for the union in the Civil War. Under British rule, Hindu vegetarianism faced a mix of threat and opportunity. In India, Ian meets historians DN Jha, Burton Cleetus, and Bhaskar Chakraborty, who explain how, faced with rule by distant Christians, vegetarianism became more important as a marker of caste and identity. Ian also sets off on a cycle tour of vegetarian Victorian London, and talks to the first modern academic to study vegetarian history – Dr Julia Twigg. Play or download (58MB MP3 41min) (via iTunes) or read transcript… more

VegHist Ep 12: Radicals & Romantics. Bible Christians, Grahamites, and Transcendentalists

In the 1800s, overlapping circles of utopians, mystics, and romantics in both Europe and America develop arguments against meat until “vegetarianism” finally becomes a real movement. Episode 12: Radicals & Romantics In the aftermath of the American and French revolutions, the sects and philosophies that embrace a “vegetable diet” multiply – from ecstatic cult to puritan crusades, to utopian community to public-spirited congregation. No longer are they isolated groups – they connect with each other in books, magazines, and letters. Until a single word catches on – “vegetarianism”. In the United States of America, Ian discovers the the vegetarian sword and shoes of a 1790s “free love” vegetarian sect in a local Massachusetts museum, and visits the failed vegan commune where Louisa May “Little Women” Alcott lived as a child. And in Salford, NW England, he walks in the footsteps of a nineteenth century vegetarian church, with local historian Derek Antrobus and the vegetarian history specialist Dr Samantha Calvert. It’s a story that also takes in the French bohemian “cult of the bearded men”, the man who invented the modern idea of Robin Hood, the woman who invented Frankenstein and his creature, Sylvester Graham, and, finally, the creation of modern… more

Read transcript of Ep 11: Enlightenment

Follow this link to hear the episode & read the show notes. Transcription by Amy Carpenter. [Traffic and building noise] Ian McDonald [in Paris]: We’re in the courtyard of the brick and stone baroque Hotel Tubeuf in Paris, now being renovated as the headquarters of the National Library of France. But from here the French East India Company in the 18th Century controls swathes of India, unwittingly connecting the ideas of ahimsa and vegetarianism with the Paris of Voltaire and Rousseau.… more

VegHist Ep 11: Enlightenment. Colonial India, Voltaire, Rousseau, and Les Bardus

The philosophers of Paris discuss reports of Indian vegetarianism, question the morality of eating animals, and inspire radicals who preach vegetarianism from the barricades of the French revolution. Episode 11: Enlightenment Ian traces a winding path of vegetarian inspiration from the personal diary of an Indian vegetarian working for the French, to the darkest corner of British imperial propaganda, to the Enlightenment’s favourite Paris café, to a rural retreat that inspired a social revolution, and to the squares where citizens plotted a real one. Play or download (61MB MP3 43min) (via iTunes) or read transcript… more

VegHist Ep 10: Revolution. English civil war, diet gurus, and the poetry of Sensibility

When printing lets ordinary people access a world of ideas, including Indian vegetarianism, some European radicals and diet gurus begin to oppose meat-eating. Episode 10: Revolution In England, the 1600s are a century of revolution. The artisans and yeomanry are picking up books – and the New Model Army is picking up pikes and muskets to turn the world upside down. Ian meets Dr Ariel Hessayon, a lecturer in the radicals of the English Civil War at a Thameside pub that was there during the 1600s, to discover tabloid scares and firebrand sermons about people who ate only bread, and water and fruit. In Ahmedabad, India, he visits the kind of animal hospital that astounded European travellers. And he hears from author Tristram Stuart about the impact stories of India had on Europeans, and how they shook Christendom’s moral certainty. Dr Anita Guerrini researches the first vegetarian diet gurus, whose books about food and medicine interpreted the intellectuals of the Republic of Letters for everyone else. And she tells Ian about the secret religion of Sir Isaac Newton. Play or download (62MB MP3 44min) (via iTunes) or read transcript… more

Read transcript of Ep 9: Renaissance

Alternatively, follow this link to hear the episode & read the show notes. Transcription by Amy Carpenter. [A woman sings passionately in Italian, backed by a Renaissance orchestra. Continues in background] Ian McDonald: Prosperina, the Queen of Hades, is swayed by the singing of Orpheus and begs Hades to return his wife, in Monteverdi’s 1607 opera.… more