Vegetarianism has a long history

A short journey through time to the origins of veganism and vegetarianism

According to research, the cruelty-free movement goes back over 2,000 years and had its origins in antiquity.

The beginnings in ancient Greece and India

The first adherents of vegetarianism can be found in ancient Greece, among the so-called "Orphics". They renounced as early as 600 BC. Consciously on meat. As perhaps already suspected, the reason lies in their religion: they believed in the migration and rebirth of the soul in human or animal bodies after death and they wanted to redeem themselves from it through a celibate lifestyle and purification (avoidance of eggs, wool and meat) .

Mathematics and nutrition have nothing to do with each other? Yes, even Pythagoras, a very well-known mathematician, followed a vegetarian diet.

“Everything that humans do to animals comes back to humans” - Pythagoras

  • "Jainism" (religious movement) arose in India, which placed great emphasis on not harming animals and plants. A meat-free diet also plays a major role in Hinduism and Buddhism - to this day.
  • This movement disappeared from ancient times and meat was a very popular food. With a few exceptions, such as Leonardo da Vinci (vegetarian), meat was part of the diet for people.

The first steps of vegetarianism in England and America

  • From the 18th century the vegetarian way of life reappeared in England and America.
  • In the 19th century the first vegetarian society, the “Vegetarian Society”, was founded in England and then subsequently also in America.

During this time the Irish playwright Shaw played an important role. He stressed that this way of life was not only a personal but also a political matter.

"Animals are my friends and I don't eat my friends" - Shaw

Sylvester Graham was the initiator of the American Vegeterian Society (founded in 1850). He attached great importance to wholesome food.

The vegetarian movement in Germany

The naturopath Theodor Hahn (19th century) played an important role in this. In 1860 he was already treating his clients with a meat-free diet. In 1867 the "Association for a natural way of life" was founded, which later merged with other associations to form VEBU (today ProVeg).

How did veganism come about?

During this time there have always been people who not only ate a meatless diet, but also appealed to a purely plant-based diet.

Mr. Bruno Wolff was chairman of the VEBU (1931) and he emphasized that it was important not to consume animal products (this movement was called "forward-looking high vegetarianism").

In 1944, the “Vegan Society” emerged from the English Vegetarian Society.

The origin of the word “vegan” is kind of funny. It results from the first and last letters of "ve-getari-an" and was invented by Donald Watson.

The trend is increasing

  • The vegan / vegetarian movement is steadily increasing. Currently, around 10% of the German population is estimated to be vegetarian. According to these data, Germany is ahead of France, Belgium, Great Britain and the USA.
  • The largest vegan / vegetarian movement is in India with 40%. The people there are mostly followers of Buddhism and Hinduism, in which animal suffering-free nutrition has always had a deep meaning.

As you can see, the meatless or plant-based diet has always played a role. Especially the people who are very strongly connected to their religion, e.g. in Buddhism and Hinduism, it is clear that one eats cruelty-free and that one appreciates and appreciates one's fellow creatures instead of killing them.

So and now you have a small overview of the vegan / vegetarian history😊

Thank you for reading.

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