Sunday, July 17, 2011

Leslie Cross Source Materials

"Out of the Dust of War" (1974)   HTML or PDF
"Why Plamil?" (1973)   HTML or PDF
"More About Milk" (1967)   HTML or PDF
"The Vegan Story" (1955)   HTML or PDF
"The Surge of Freedom" (1954)   HTML or PDF
"The New Constitution" (1951)   HTML or PDF
"Veganism Defined" (1951)   HTML or PDF
"In Search of Veganism—2" (1949)   HTML or PDF
"In Search of Veganism—1" (1949)   HTML or PDF
"Man and Nature" (1948)   HTML or PDF

[In] order to produce a dairy cow, heart-rending cruelty, and not merely exploitation, is a necessity. Milk and its derivatives are products of pain, suffering, and abominable interference with the law of love. — Leslie Cross in 1943, from a letter printed in The Vegetarian Messenger [0]

While we must admit that changes in world dietary habits cannot take place overnight, the long term view must surely be that we wish to bring practice more and more into line with what we inwardly know to be worthy of man’s better nature. If as we claim, we are a more noble creation than the animals, then we cannot avoid the logic of noblesse oblige. The most stringent test of the character of a man is how he acts toward those over whom he possesses power, and here the animals present us with an absolutely acid test. Surely we diminish ourselves by using our power over them merely to satisfy our own self-interested desires? — Leslie Cross in 1967, from a letter printed in Humanist [1]

1972 Plamil advertisement [2]

These writings add color to the history of veganism. Leslie Cross (1914-1979) was a resident of England who became vegan in 1942, two years before the term was coined. In July 1943 The Vegetarian Messenger, then magazine of the Vegetarian Society, printed a letter from Cross condemning the consumption of cows' milk [3]. This sparked a correspondence that ensued for many months and culminated in Donald Watson asking vegetarians interested in avoiding dairy to write him. Over 50 responses were received and in August 1944 he and Elsie Shrigley petitioned the Vegetarian Society to allow an official non-dairy faction. Their request was refused, and Watson went on to form the Vegan Society in November 1944.

Due in considerable part to Cross, by 1951 this group was explicitly rejecting all nonhuman exploitation, not just flesh and secretions. Watson considered Cross a "great friend" and said he "must be put in the records" as an "outstanding" and "faithful" contributor to the cause of veganism [4]. To address a practical hurdle on some people's path to veganism, Cross founded the Plantmilk Society in 1956. After five years this effort gave rise to Plamil, a company that in 1965 began selling a canned soy milk concentrate in London shops.