07 July 2008

Henry S. Salt (1851-1939) on the Veil of Ignorance

What have humane people to say to the tremendous mass of animal suffering inflicted in the interests of the Table? By the unthinking, of course, these sufferings, being invisible, are almost wholly overlooked, while the deadening power of habit prevents many kindly persons from exercising, where their daily "beef" and "mutton" are concerned, the very sympathies which they so keenly manifest elsewhere; yet it can hardly be doubted that if the veil of custom could be lifted, and if a clear knowledge of what is involved in "Butchery" could be brought home, with a sense of personal responsibility, to everyone who eats flesh, the attitude of society towards the vegetarian movement would be very different from what it is now. If it be true that "hunger is the best sauce," it may also be said that the bon vivant's most indispensable sauce is ignorance—ignorance of the horrible and revolting circumstances under which his juicy steak or dainty cutlet has been prepared.

(Henry S. Salt, The Logic of Vegetarianism: Essays and Dialogues [London: The Ideal Publishing Union, 1899], 42 [italics in original])

No comments: