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Thread: Donald Watson: A man to remember

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    Default Donald Watson: A man to remember

    http://www.vegansociety.com/phpws/fi...nInterview.pdf

    Interview with Donald Watson, the founder of the vegan movement - 93 years old and still going strong.


    DONALD WATSON

    Born: 02/09/1910

    Where: South Yorkshire, UK

    Invented Word 'Vegan'

    Founded Vegan Society in 1944

    Occupation: Woodwork Teacher

    Vegetarian for over 80 Years

    Vegan for over 60 years


    Interview with Donald Watson founder and patron of The Vegan Society taken from a 3 hour taped interview by Vegan Society Trustee and Author of The Vegan Passport George D. Rodger on 15 December 2002. First published in The Vegan Summer 2003 Edition. This extract from www.worldveganday.org

    Q: Where and when were you born?
    A: I was born on 2nd September 1910 at Mexborough in South Yorkshire, into a meat-eating family.

    Q: Tell me about your childhood.
    A: One of my earliest recollections is of holidays on my Uncle George's farm where I was surrounded by interesting animals. They all "gave" something: the farm horse pulled the plough, the lighter horse pulled the trap, the cows "gave" milk, the hens "gave" eggs and the cockerel was a useful "alarm clock" - I didn't realise at that time that he had another function too. The sheep "gave" wool. I could never understand what the pigs "gave", but they seemed such friendly creatures - always glad to see me. Then the day came when one of the pigs was killed: I still have vivid recollections of the whole process - including the screams, of course. One thing that shocked me was that my Uncle George, of whom I thought very highly, was part of the crew. I decided that farms - and uncles - had to be reassessed: the idyllic scene was nothing more than Death Row, where every creature's days were numbered by the point at which it was no longer of service to human beings. I lived at home for 21 years and in the whole of that time I never heard a word from my parents, my grandparents, my 22 uncles and aunts, my 16 cousins, my teachers or my vicar on anything remotely associated with any duties we might have to "God's Creation". On leaving school, I went to be an apprentice woodworker with another uncle. When I was 21, and due to become a craftsman, we found ourselves in the economic slump of the early 1930s and I discovered that craftsmen could become woodwork teachers by qualifying through the City and Guilds. With a bit of trouble I managed it and liked the job so much that I never tried to get any kind of promotion.

    Q: You are 92 years and 104 days old as of today. To what do you attribute your long life?
    A: I married a Welsh girl, who taught me a Welsh saying, "When everyone runs, stand still", and I seem to have been doing that ever since. That must be part of the answer, because so many people are running towards what I see as suicide, performing habits that everyone knows are dangerous. I've always accepted that Man's greatest mistake is trying to turn himself into a carnivore, contrary to natural law. Inevitably, I suppose, within the next ten years one morning I won't wake up. What then? There'll be a funeral, there'll be a smattering of people at it and, as Shaw forecast for his own funeral, there'll be the spirits of all the animals I've never eaten. In that case, it will be a big funeral!


    Q: When did you first become a vegetarian?
    A: It was a New Year Resolution in 1924, so I haven't eaten any meat or fish for 78 years.

    Q: Tell me about the early days of the Vegan Society.

    A: In the two years before we formed a democratic Society, I literally ran the show. From the response that I had - thousands of letters - I feel that if I hadn't formed the Society someone else would have done so, though it might have had a different name. The word "vegan" was immediately accepted and became part of our language and is now in almost every world dictionary, I suppose. I can't help comparing our attractive quarterly magazine with my humble "Vegan News" which I produced at great labour. Normally I spent a whole night assembling the various pages and stapling them together. I'd limited the number of subscribers to five hundred because I couldn't cope with a bigger number. Compared with democracy, dictatorship has obvious advantages. In the early days of "Vegan News" I could do everything my own way. I don't think I could have survived if I had had to write to the few people concerned and ask for their opinion. I had no telephone and no motor car - I could only hope that they would see my point, until I handed over the work to a committee.

    Q: How does your veganism relate to any religious beliefs you may have?
    A: I never had very deep ones. I've never been clever enough to be an atheist - an agnostic, yes. Some theologians think that Christ was an Essene. If he was, he was a vegan. If he were alive today, he'd be an itinerant vegan propagandist instead of an itinerant preacher of those days, spreading the message of compassion. I understand that there are now more vegans sitting down to Sunday lunch than there are Anglicans attending Sunday morning service. I think that Anglicans should rejoice at the good news that somebody at least is practising the essential element in the Christian religion - compassion.

    Q: What do you find most difficult about being vegan?
    A: Well, I suppose it is the social aspect - excommunicating myself from that part of life where people meet to eat. The only way this problem can be eased is by veganism becoming more and more acceptable in guest houses, hotels, wherever one goes, until one hopes one day it will become the norm.

    Q: And the other side of the coin: what do you find easiest about being vegan?

    A: The great advantage of having a clear conscience and believing that scientists must now accept conscience as part of the scientific equation.


    Q: How important has gardening been in your life?
    A: When I lived in Leicester a friend let me use an allotment. When the crops matured, I had to wheel them back four miles to the other side of the city. When I was lucky enough to get a job in Keswick, I got a house with an acre of garden, which was a dream come true. My compost bins are filled with all the weeds, grass mowings, vegetable waste from the garden, dead leaves - no animal manure. By the way, all my digging is done with a fork - not a spade - to preserve earthworms.


    Q: What are your views on genetically modified organisms?
    A: As the old saying has it, if a thing seems too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true, and I'm sure this is a classic example, quite apart from the irreversible genetic nature of what is our basic food supply in the future.

    Q: What are your views on blood sports?
    A: I think it's the bottom of the barrel. However necessary we may feel that, having got into this mess, we have to kill some creatures for their own good, to kill creatures for fun must be the very dregs.

    Q: What are your views on animal experiments?
    A: I said that cruel sports were the bottom of the barrel, but I think I'll have to move even them up one and put vivisection at the bottom. One thing we should always ask when we think that cruelty is largely delegated to the people who perform it is the simple question, if these butchers and vivisectors weren't there, could we perform the acts that they are doing? If we couldn't, we have no right to expect them to do those things on our behalf. Most orthodox medicines are tested on animals, and this perhaps is the greatest inconsistency in vegetarians and vegans who take orthodox medicines - a more serious inconsistency even than wearing leather or wool because these are by-products of industries that are primarily there to provide meat.

    Q: What are your views on direct action?
    A: I've never become involved in it. I respect the people enormously who do it, believing that it's the most direct and quick way to achieve their ends. If I were an animal in a vivisection cage, I would thank the person who broke in and let me out but, having said that, we must always remember: is it just possible that our act could be counterproductive? I'd rather not say "yes" or "no" because I don't know the answer to that.


    Q: What do you consider the greatest achievement in your life?
    A: Achieving what I set out to do: to feel that I was instrumental in starting a great new movement which could not only change the course of things for Humanity and the rest of Creation but alter Man's expectation of surviving for much longer on this planet.


    Q: Do you have any message for the millions of people who are now vegan?
    A: Take the broad view of what veganism stands for - something beyond finding a new alternative to scrambled eggs on toast or a new recipe for Christmas cake. Realise that you're on to something really big, something that hadn't been tried until sixty years ago, and something which is meeting every reasonable criticism that anyone can level against it. And this doesn't involve weeks or months of studying diet charts or reading books by socalled experts - it means grasping a few simple facts and applying them.

    Q: Do you have any message for vegetarians?
    A: Accept that vegetarianism is only a stepping stone between meat eating and veganism. There may be vegans who made the change all in one leap, but I'm sure that for most people vegetarianism is a necessary staging post. I'm still a member of the Vegetarian Society to keep in touch with the movement. I was delighted to learn that at the World Vegetarian Conference in Edinburgh the diet was a vegan diet and the delegates had no choice. This little seed that I planted 60 years ago is making its presence felt.


    Q: What do you think of the way the Vegan Society has developed since you were running it?
    A: Better than expected, certainly. The genie is now out of the bottle and no one can ever put it back to the ignorant days before 1944, when this seed was planted by people full of hope. Now wherever Man lives he can have a vegan diet. All the early work was done by volunteers. In a way, everyone the Society has ever paid to do the office work have all been volunteers. Even our Chief Executive is on a wage at the very bottom of anything that is paid in the commercial sector. Because we can afford nothing more. So the Vegan Society has always, in that sense, been supported by voluntary labour. And we're enormously grateful to these people because heaven knows what would happen if they all packed in.

    Q: In what direction do you think the Vegan Society should go in the future?
    A: I hesitate to suggest anything to a movement which seems to be going well and spreading world wide. The edifice that survived all attacks before we started our work is now crumbling because of the inherent weakness of its own structure. We don't know the spiritual advancements that long-term veganism - over generations - would have for human life. It would be certainly a different civilisation, and the first one in the whole of our history that would truly deserve the title of being a civilisation.

    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

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    He's surely an inspirational and great guy. I have that photo on last year's 'activists calendar'.

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    Lightbulb Donald Watson Thread - A Man To Remember

    The father of veganism Donald Watson is a mere 94 years young on September 2nd. Donald Watson created the word vegan ('from the beginning and end of vegetarian') and founded The Vegan Society in November 1944. Please send him a Birthday email to media@vegansociety.com

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    I sent him an electronic birthday card - hope he gets it!
    Eve

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    Default Interview with Donald Watson (vegan since 1942, founder of the vegan movement)

    From http://www.vegparadise.com/24carrot610.html
    24 carrot award

    In each issue Vegetarians in Paradise presents the 24 Carrot Award to an outstanding person or organization that endeavors to practice or promote education, natural health, wholesome nutrition, and ecology techniques for the mutual benefit of humans, animals, and the earth.

    Vegetarians in Paradise proudly presents its 24 Carrot Award to Donald Watson, founder of the Vegan Society and originator of the word "vegan." In 2004 the Vegan Society celebrates its 60th anniversary with worldwide events on November 1. Watson, who celebrated his 94th birthday September 2, is a continuing inspiration to vegans all over the world. We are especially grateful to George D. Rodger for his cooperation in arranging and assisting us in conducting this interview.

    What follows are the questions asked by Vegetarians in Paradise (VIP) and the answers by Donald Watson (DW).

    VIP: What events in your life led you to vegetarianism? What brought you to veganism?

    DW: As a child seeing animals pushed through doors alongside butchers' shops to be killed. I once saw a cow and a calf enter together. I wondered later which one the butcher killed first. On one occasion I actually watched a cow being killed at an abattoir in a field where local children were free to watch and where they hoped to be given a bladder to use as a football. I also watched a pig being killed when I visited an uncle's farm. I turned vegetarian at the age of fourteen.

    My conversion to veganism was about eighteen years later when I learned about the biological mechanics of milk production.

    VIP: How do your family and friends react to your vegan philosophy?

    DW: Very well at present, but this was not always the case in the early days when there was much concern because I was flouting nearly every medical advice at that time. On my first visit home after leaving it to earn a living, my father said, "Are you still on that vegetable diet?" When my older brother and younger sister joined me as vegetarians, non-smokers, teetotallers and conscientious objectors, my mother said she felt like a hen that had hatched a clutch of duck eggs. Such was the way my departure from orthodoxy was viewed at the time. I had good kind parents who never allowed my "peculiar" ways to destroy our good relationship.

    Later when we formed The Vegan Society, criticism was almost general - some of it in the form of concern about what we might be doing to our bodies. The kindest criticism we received was that we "meant well," or that the sheer problems arising from choosing to live in a world catering mainly for other people would get us down in the end. Other critics said, "It seems to suit you" without realizing that it might suit them too if only they would try it.

    VIP: We understand that you are responsible for creating the word "vegan." How did that occur? Why did you feel the word was needed?

    DW: I invited my early readers to suggest a more concise word to replace "non-dairy vegetarian." Some bizarre suggestions were made like "dairyban, vitan, benevore, sanivore, beaumangeur", et cetera. I settled for my own word, "vegan", containing the first three and last two letters of "vegetarian" -- "the beginning and end of vegetarian." The word was accepted by the Oxford English Dictionary and no one has tried to improve it.

    VIP: There is some confusion about the pronunciation of the word vegan. One of the dictionaries pronounces it vai-gan. Could you give us the correct pronunciation?

    DW: The pronunciation is "VEEGAN" not "VAI-GAN," "VEGGAN." or "VEEJAN." The stress is on the first syllable.

    VIP: On November 1 Vegans worldwide will be celebrating World Vegan Day. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Vegan Society. Why was November 1 chosen as the day for that event? How do you plan to commemorate the occasion?

    DW: When the Vegan Society Council suggested having a World Vegan Day, they suggested it should be my birthday, September 2. I reminded them that the Society was not formed on my birthday in 1910, but on a day in November thirty-four years later. I suggested any day in November would be more appropriate, so they chose November 1. I doubt if they realized that in the Christian calendar this is All Saints' Day!

    How do I intend to spend the day, you ask? Providing I still have a comfortable body and no other pressing commitments, I hope to spend part of it THINKING. Although I pride myself on being a practical man, with both feet firmly on the ground and not attracted by anything airy-fairy, I do believe in pursuing the "powers latent in Man', and I wonder whether feeding for a long time on pure guilt-free food may make our bodies better "receiving sets" for whatever wisdom there is in the environment. Some scientists may ridicule this idea as it is not materialistic. They can hardly claim to be true scientists if they choose to limit themselves in this way. Conscience, because it is there, is a factor in the true scientific equation. So I hope to be on the receiving end on November 1st. As one of the oldest practicing vegans, I must have a flying start. Scientific method is not the only route to truth.

    VIP: You were instrumental in the formation of the Vegan Society. Can you tell us about how that transpired? How have the goals of the group changed over the years?

    DW: Inspired people can do much individually, but can do more with like-minded people. So I gathered a few such people together whom I knew would not waste time arguing for the sake of it. I know as a propagandist that many people do not argue to reach right conclusions but to defend their interests and religious shibboleths. We did not need a committee of such people. Of course, we did not always agree on everything. We argued for a long time about whether members should sign a pledge, before deciding against it. We also debated for a long time about the case of honey but again decided against it.

    The Society soon widened its aim to include all animal exploitation, in brief to work for a new relationship with the rest of sentient creation in a symbiotic relationship if possible, to live and HELP live rather than to just live and let live.

    VIP: What are some of the notable accomplishments of the Vegan Society?

    DW: Constant growth worldwide. Silencing critics by outliving them! Turning critics into supporters. Governments and health authorities are now doing much of our work for us by advocating a vegan diet for seriously ill patients.

    VIP: When The Vegan Society began, you functioned as editor of the Vegan News. Could you tell us about the publication and subsequent publications?

    DW: The five issues of the duplicated Vegan News are what I call the "Dead Sea Scrolls" of the Society. I produced them before the Society's first Committee was formed. The response I received was so great that I had to limit subscribers to 500 because I could not produce more of the twelve-page effort single handed. My friends would have helped, but we all lived far apart, so it was easier for me to do all the work rather than try to arrange for it to be shared.

    As a woodworker, I had spent many years picking up tools to do specific jobs, and changing them for other tools to continue with whatever I was making. On starting to promote the vegan idea I saw words as tools and tried to use them to good effect. I knew, of course, that the pen could be mightier than the sword. I hated verbosity and gobbledegook and seldom used the first person singular "I", because it could create a fence between me and my readers. Everyone knew what I meant at the end of every sentence. The result was successful beyond my hopes. Readers either agreed with me or they didn't; those who did joined in the crusade, and few left before dying.

    The first printed issue of The Vegan appeared in Spring 1946, to be followed by quarterly issues ever since, reporting the progress we have made.

    The Vegan Society had a difficult birth and has never been rich. The full story would fill a book.

    VIP: What role did you play in the formation of the American Vegan Society?

    DW: None

    VIP: How active are you in vegan activities now?

    DW: Not very, except as a source of reference.

    I am a Patron of the Society, subscribing a sum of money every year.

    Perhaps my main use to the Society is that, at ninety-three and never having used medicines, orthodox or fringe, I am proof that, after a weak childhood in a meat-eating family, veganism works. Are there any other nonagenarians who have never taken medicine?

    VIP: Can you tell us about your education? What role did it play in your career?

    DW: I left school at fourteen to be an apprentice woodworker and have been educating myself ever since. My most used book is my dictionary. I use it almost daily to check on the exact meaning of words.

    VIP: What organizations do you belong to and support? DW: For me veganism covers many, but I do support movements with isolated aims providing they do not use vivisection. I have a soft spot for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and for Mountain Rescue teams, where people risk their lives to save others, without payment.

    VIP: Of all of your personal accomplishments, which ones give you the most pride and satisfaction?

    DW: Being instrumental in starting the vegan movement and giving it its name.

    Living healthily.

    Teaching more than 3,000 boys over forty-three years the joy of making things in wood.

    Being a hedonist, providing I do not harm myself, other people, or animals, or the planet.

    Never quarrelling with people, because early in life I became adept at raising my eyebrows instead at the strange behavior of so many. The fact that they are still in place says a lot for the reflex action of the muscles on my forehead!

    My biggest achievement is still to come. It is to die peacefully in sleep when my body is worn out.

    VIP: What future do you see for the vegan movement during the next 25 years?

    DW: Bright. The genie is now out of the bottle and no one can ever put it back.

    VIP: What person or persons have had the most influence on your life?

    DW: My father who started life as a poor farm boy and by hard study became head of a large school by the time he was thirty. Though orthodox in all his ways, he was fair and generous to me. He was clearly surprised when, as a teenager, I escaped from what I saw as the tyranny of so much tradition, but this did not destroy our relationship. When I was a small boy, he told me not to steal or trespass or swear. The latter came in useful when I became a propagandist, so I never swore. It annoys some people, and propagandists should not annoy anyone except with the truth of their message. It is strange that people who take such strong exception to swearing are often blind to the greater evil of cruelty.

    VIP: What leisure activities and hobbies do you enjoy?

    DW: Fewer than in my earlier days when they were fellwalking [hiking on the moors], cycling, violin playing, and keeping an acre of garden in trim. I now concentrate on less strenuous pursuits. Ten years ago I began to compile a book of bits of traditional wisdom that attracted me. It now contains 365 entries and is still growing. A recent entry, from the pen of Samuel Johnson, would save the lives of millions of young people if they would only obey it. It is, "The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken."

    I am still raising my eyebrows on seeing people choosing slow suicide by their habits instead of a long healthy life. Another of my hobbies in old age is trying to explain the great problem: why such an intelligent creature as Man suffers such a dearth of wisdom.

    VIP: According to some scientific studies, vegetarians live longer than non-vegetarians. What factors do you think contributed to your longevity?

    DW: Certainly not inheriting a cast-iron constitution. My father died of a coronary at sixty-three. Neither his father nor grandfather reached seventy despite the fact that, as farmers, they had plenty of fresh air, exercise, and organic foods. On my mother's side, all died around the age of seventy.

    Early in life I decided my first rule of health must be to try to keep poisons out of my body, and this seems to have paid off. Today we have the new hazard of hundreds of chemicals added to manufactured foods, so we must read the small print if we want to keep clear of them. A fuller answer to this question would fill a book.

    VIP: In your lifetime what negative words and actions have you faced because of your vegan views?

    DW: None, except in the early stages. People now are careful not to argue with vegans!

    VIP: What advice would you offer to people about making the transitions to vegetarianism and to veganism?

    DW: Don't leave it too late. A single meal of animal food may infect you with any of the many diseases now endemic in medicated farm animals, including variant CJD (Creutzfeld Jacob Disease) from which there is no cure and which may lie dormant for many years.

    VIP: Have we overlooked anything that you would like to share with our readers?

    DW: Yes, veganism gives us all the opportunity to say what we "stand for" in life.

    The ideal of healthy, humane living is now easy with modern transport bringing us vegan foods from all over the world.

    Join us and add decades of health to your life, with a clear conscience as a bonus.

    This interview with Donald Watson was conducted August 11, 2004

    George D. Rodger's Note:

    When Donald Watson uses the word "orthodox," it is not meant in any religious sense, but simply to mean "conventional" or "traditional." When he uses the word "Man," he means the human race, mankind, or humankind, not only the male gender. He does not regard "propagandist" as a pejorative term, which is how many people nowadays use it. Donald's use of English is normal for someone educated when he was, in the early decades of the twentieth century.
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

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    Default Re: Donald Watson's Birthday

    He's 95 in a couple of weeks:

    http://www.news.for-vegans.co.uk/




    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

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    Default Re: Vegan Founder's Birthday 2005

    For those of you who didn't realise and any veganic explorers Donald Watson is the visionary that formed the word vegan from the begining and end of "vegetarian" and founded The Vegan Society in November 1944.

    Donald Watson celebrates his 95th Birthday this year. Donald was born on 2nd September 1910. Please send birthday wishes and thanks for the inspiration to make the world a better place.

    Cards and wishes should be posted to arrive no later than 29th August 2005.

    Addressed to:

    FAO Donald Watson - Founder
    (Birthday Wishes)
    C/O The Vegan Society
    7 Battle Road
    St Leonards On Sea
    East Sussex
    TN37 7AA

    Fax Number +44 (0) 1424 717064

    If you have a photograph of your vegan group or a vegan event (from last years World Vegan Day?) Donald would be very pleased to see these.

    You can email photos and wishes suitable for printing to

    info@vegansociety.com with "Donald Watson Wishes" in Subject Line

    No animated cards please. (Donald communicates by pen and paper - remember that?)


    More about Donald Watson? - Interview with Donald Watson see links at www.heroes.for-vegans.co.uk - Part 1 , Part 2

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    Default Re: Vegan Founder's Birthday 2005

    Has someone made a documentary about him yet? I think the world needs one!
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

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    Default Re: Vegan Founder's 95th Birthday

    Donald Watson Documentary

    We have tried in the past - Someone from the BBC suggested it to commissioning editors - and another producer from Ireland was keen but it's only since The Vegan Diamond Jubilee that Veganism has really suddenly shot into mainstream media.

    The other problem is that Donald is a very humble man and very distrustful of the media, he also values his privacy. It would be very hard to get him to agree to sit in front of the cameras.

    The Vegan Society does have a 2 hr interview recorded onto cassette (!!!??) from a few years ago and there is archived footage from an open door BBC 2 Programme and apparently another 'desperate film of hippies and beans rooting about in cupboards' that I've never seen.

    Donald's great friend and accomplice Arthur Ling died last year, and also Maxwell Lee (Vegetarian Society President) along with lots of amazing anecdotes and memories of the early movement.

    I agree this should be a priority - Maybe Karin from Veggievision can help. It would be a great way of Marking World Vegan Day - Message to the World - 60 years on.

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    Default Re: Vegan Founder's 95th Birthday

    I am interested in helping this to materialze. I have a recording studio (that could me made portable, I guess), and if he doesn't want to be on camera, maybe he still could be interviewed in front of a microphone, and a documentary could be compiled by mixing pictures, new and old interviews, info an veganism etc. Would it help if he was being interviewed by someone else who are 'very distrustful of the media'?

    I also have equipment needed to clean up old bad quality recordings and make them sound quite decent (but unfortunately, I'm not in UK). I might be able to find UK recording engineers who may help if money is a problem. Of course it's easier to have it done people in UK.

    When I have been interviewed, in some cases I have said that I want to approve the final article before it's being published.... (who isn't distrustful of mass media? ) If the good old DW would require to approve the interview/documentary before publishing, I'm sure people would be OK with that. (If not, don't use them!)
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

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    Default Re: Donald Watson's Birthday

    Ode to Donald Watson – Founder of Veganism

    There was a star geezer called Donald
    Who had some ideas that he’d cobbled
    Into a movement called vegan
    To make all life more even
    with torture and killing to be knobbled

    It was during the war that he started
    And off from the veggies he parted
    Now 60 years later
    He’s an illuminator
    for the ethical, cool and kind hearted

    Now vegan is kinder to people
    (especially the plumper meat eater)
    and it’s good for the planet
    so shout it and spam it
    and life could be so much more neater

    Join with us on world vegan day
    November 1st not 1st of May
    With drinking and eating
    And much celebrating
    For success of a new vegan way

    Don Quinoa

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    Default Re: Vegan Founder's 95th Birthday

    There is a rumour that Donald Watson will be on the BBC World Service Friday.

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    Default Re: Donald Watson's Birthday

    There was a nice article/interview about him in the latest issue of VegNews. I was surprised to see that he hiked up some tall mountain a few years back when he was 90. I probably couldn't even do that and I am 33!

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    Default Re: Donald Watson's Birthday

    Happy Birthday, Donald, if you are reading this!
    Vegans go all the way.

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    Default Re: Donald Watson's Birthday

    Quote AbFab
    Happy Birthday, Donald, if you are reading this!
    That would be nice if he visited here.

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    Default Re: Donald Watson's Birthday

    Unlikely he'll visit here - he uses pen and paper to communicate.

    BBC Worldwide Interview should be here for a week .......

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/pr.../outlook.shtml

  17. #17
    cedartree cedarblue's Avatar
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    Default Re: Donald Watson's Birthday

    happy birthday donny!

    (thats my dads name too! )
    (..er just donald not watson )

  18. #18

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    Default Donald Watson - a man to remember

    The founder of veganism, Donald Watson, died last night at the age of 95.

    More details will be issued soon by The Vegan Society.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Donald Watson - a man to remember

    rest in peace, good sir, rest in peace.
    "Boy, I got a vision and the rest of the world wears bifocals."
    -- Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid

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    Cake Fairy Cherry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Donald Watson - a man to remember

    Quite. Rest in Peace.

    What an amazing achievement. Living to 95 is good in itself, I mean his legacy.

    My Grandad was really quite annoyed that he was only 82 when he died as he had always promised us he'd live to 100. I think even he would have been satisfied with 95. I hope that if there's some other life that he is being converted to veganism at this moment.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Donald Watson - a man to remember

    shit, that's sad. but the fact that he lived to a ripe old age is in itself a testament to the vegan path that he trailblazed and in which we follow. i guess the most we can hope for is that we too can live long, healthy and compassionate lives. RIP.

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    Default Re: Donald Watson - a man to remember

    I read a great article about him recently. He stayed very active up to the end, is the impression I get.
    Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. - Albert Einstein

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    mango woman
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    Default Re: Donald Watson - a man to remember

    RIP. I can only imagine how content he must have lived. I read a little bit about him today, but not much. What a great guy.

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    Default Re: Donald Watson - a man to remember

    Quote DianeVegan
    I read a great article about him recently. He stayed very active up to the end, is the impression I get.
    was that article in vegnews?? i read it too. he was still alert, intelligent, and funny when he gave that interview.

    that sucks.

  25. #25
    I eve's Avatar
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    Default Re: Donald Watson - a man to remember

    I feel sad that he has died, but pleased that he lived to see quite an increase in the number of people going vegan. Thanks Donald Watson.
    Eve

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Donald Watson - a man to remember

    An example to us all - RIP.
    Silent but deadly :p

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Donald Watson - a man to remember

    What a great guy to have beaten such a path

    rest in peace Donald Watson

    Glad to walk in your footsteps

    Antony

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    Default Re: Donald Watson - a man to remember

    I am very sad.... But he was a great inspiration to us all - to EVERYone in fact and yes, he was very fit and healthy - in fact he was mountain climbing on his 94th birthday I believe..... He will be sadly missed, but his life is a celebration and a triumph for veganism.

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    Default Re: Donald Watson - a man to remember

    Thank goodness for Donald Watson, not many people can say they founded a compassionate movement and inspired so many people. He was a truly wonderful man who has left a wonderful legacy. May he rest in eternal peace. My condolences to his family and friends.

  30. #30
    Stu
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    Default Re: Donald Watson - a man to remember

    This man sparked off a movement that will eventually change the world forever, and impact upon every creature (human and otherwise) living upon it.

    And as stated above, the fact that the 'first' vegan lived to be 95, says it all.

  31. #31

    Default Re: Donald Watson - a man to remember

    Thank god for him. He has changed so many lives. I believe that one day his message will be realized by the whole world and everyone will be vegan, after all that's really the only way that we can survive on this wonderful little planet. It say's something for our cause that the first Vegan died healthy and cognicent at 95.
    Animals are no different from us. They too fear death and pain, and will fight with the last of their strength to escape it.

  32. #32

    Default Re: Donald Watson - a man to remember

    You can see a photo of the lovely man himself at:

    http://www.vegansociety.com/html/

    Here's a quote from veggie mailing lists:

    Quote Brian Rogers
    Sadly Donald Watson died yesterday, aged 95. Donald was one of the founders of the Vegan Society, is credited with coining the word 'vegan', and he wrote and published the Vegan Society's first newsletter in November 1944 (see http://www.ukveggie.com/vegan_news/). He has remaining active his whole life, still regularly hill walking in the Lake District whilst in his 90s. He was interviewed by the BBC on his 95th birthday earlier this year.
    And you can find online interviews with him at...
    http://www.foodsforlife.org.uk/peopl...ld-Watson.html and http://tinyurl.com/8blwh

    Any letters of condolence can be sent to the Vegan Society
    (http://www.vegansociety.com/html/contact/), who will pass them on to Donald's family.
    He lives on through everything vegan and compassionate.

  33. #33
    Pilaf
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    Default Re: Donald Watson - a man to remember

    Rock on in the next life, fella. We'll keep the light on for you while you're away.

  34. #34
    John's Avatar
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    Default Re: Donald Watson - a man to remember

    He stayed true to what is right and lived a long, healthy life.
    Thanks for the example.

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Donald Watson - a man to remember

    Next time you're eating out, down the pub, having a bite to eat at home, or having a cuppa etc etc, why not raise a toast to Donald Watson.

    Never to be forgotten.

    Thanks Donald.

  36. #36
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    Default Re: Donald Watson - a man to remember

    Obituary: Donald Watson

    Friday, 18 November 2005, news.bbc.co.uk

    As a child in Mexborough, South Yorkshire where he was born in 1910, Donald Watson used to spend time on his Uncle George's farm.

    One day one of the pigs was slaughtered - Watson never forgot its screams. Suddenly the idyllic country scene with its friendly livestock was transformed into what he described as a Death Row for animals.

    From that day, he became a vegetarian and remained so for the rest of his life. However, he went further by forming an organisation, which he and his wife Dorothy coined the Vegan Society, for those seeking a lifestyle totally free from animal products for the benefit of people, animals and the environment.

    Almost single-handedly, Watson edited a quarterly magazine entitled The Vegan News.

    In its first edition in 1944, he wrote "The unquestionable cruelty associated with the production of dairy produce has made it clear that lacto-vegetarianism is but a half-way house between flesh-eating and a truly humane, civilised diet, and we think, therefore, that during our life on earth we should try to evolve sufficiently to make the 'full journey'.

    The pioneers of veganism were apparently worried about whether they'd be able to stay healthy, although Donald Watson's longevity won't have harmed the view of this lifestyle.

    Watson had been an active carpenter but, during the Depression of the 1930s, trained to be a woodwork teacher.

    He remained in teaching until retirement, at first in Leicestershire and then, from the 1950s, in Cumbria where he lived the rest of his life.

    A lifelong teetotaller, he became well known as a guide to hikers in the Lake District. A friend, George Roger, chair of the Vegan Society, described him as "a very gentle man, quite intellectual, very knowledgeable and a very caring person."

    Donald Watson was once asked what he felt was his life's greatest achievement. His reply was "Achieving what I set out to do: to feel that I was instrumental in starting a great new movement which could not only change the course of things for Humanity and the rest of Creation but alter Man's expectation of surviving for much longer on this planet."

    Click the link for the full article.

    Thanks again Donald.

  37. #37
    X Zanahorias!'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Donald Watson - a man to remember

    Let his life stand as a testament to what each being is capable of: Changing the world.
    X

  38. #38
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    Default Re: Donald Watson - a man to remember

    Donald died peacefully at his home in the Lake District whilst Janet his daughter and Joe Connolly, editor of Veg News, were at his side.

    Joe said "Donald appeared to be totally at peace and was chatting philosophically and optimistically until shortly before he passed away"
    A little more info here.

  39. #39
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    Default Re: Donald Watson - a man to remember

    Donald Watson Obituary by his daughter, Janet.

    Donald Watson, founder of the Vegan Society and originator of the word ‘vegan’, has died at his home in Keswick at the age of 95.


    The son of a headmaster in the mining community of Mexborough, South Yorkshire, he was born into an environment in which vegetarianism, let alone veganism, was unknown. Donald’s parents, however, encouraged and supported their three children in determining their own paths in life, a liberal approach which enabled Donald to formulate ideas which were both challenging and controversial. He held his parents in great esteem, and often expressed his gratitude for their wisdom in accepting, if not understanding, his philosophy.

    An obviously sensitive young man, Donald responded to the harshness and brutality of much which he observed in the industrial and farming community in which he grew up early last century, and he developed a great reverence for and in-depth knowledge of the countryside. An acute observer of the natural order and perfection of creation, this throughout life became his inspiration and guide, and led him to question man’s place in nature and his relationship with other species.

    He became a vegetarian at the age of fourteen, although he knew of no others who followed this precept. A self-critical and free thinker, throughout his life he always responded to his inner convictions, regardless of any personal inconvenience or difficulties which this might entail. He was a quiet, strong-minded perfectionist, an abstemious man – teetotaller and non-smoker – who tried to avoid contact with any foods or substances which he regarded as ‘toxins’. Never one to criticise others, he himself never felt that his way of life demanded any personal sacrifice; rather, he puzzled at the risks, as he perceived them, which others took so readily.

    On leaving school at the age of fifteen, he became apprenticed to a family joinery firm where he perfected the skills necessary to continue a life-long love of working with wood, later (from the age of twenty) becoming a teacher of this subject. He taught in Leicester, where he also played a large part in the Leicester Vegetarian Society, and later in Keswick, where he was able to enjoy his love of fell-walking and organic vegetable gardening until very shortly before his death.


    From his early conversion to vegetarianism, he later came to view the abstention from the use of all animal products as the logical extension of this philosophy. A committed pacifist throughout his life, he registered as a conscientious objector in the war, and faced the harshest challenges to his ethical position. It was at this time that the need for a word to describe his way of life, and a society to promote its ideals, became apparent; together with his wife, Dorothy, they decided on the word ‘vegan’ by taking the first three and last two letters of ‘vegetarian’, - ‘because veganism starts with vegetarianism and carries it through to its logical conclusion’, and the Society was founded in 1944. Donald ran this single-handed for two years, writing and duplicating the newsletter, and responding to the increasing volume of correspondence. From these early beginnings, more than sixty years ago, the world-wide movement which exists today developed, with the word ‘vegan’ appearing with increasing frequency on food labelling and restaurant menus.

    Donald continued his life quietly in Keswick where he taught for twenty-three years; also working with the Cumbrian Vegetarian Society, campaigning through the local press on matters important in his home community, and, together with his family, enjoying his love of the mountains. For several years after his retirement from teaching he devoted much time to working as a guided walks leader. Other leisure-time activities included cycling, photography and playing the violin, and while not a party political supporter, he took a keen interest in political issues throughout his life.

    He never sought any recognition for his early work in founding the Vegan Society, and indeed actively shunned the limelight, concerned only that his vision for a more compassionate way of life in harmony with the natural order should take root and grow. He was concerned to confound his many critics who claimed that he could not survive on his proposed diet by proving that he would not only survive but survive well and free from the need for doctors’ interventions until his final days. Within the last ten years of his life he climbed many of the major peaks of the Lake District. He viewed his home and garden in Keswick as his ‘little piece of heaven’, and died peacefully there, with his family with him, on 16th November 2005.


    Donald Watson, founder of the Vegan Society and originator of the word ‘vegan’.
    Born 2 September 1910, in Mexborough, South Yorkshire.
    Died 16 November 2005, in Keswick, Cumbria, aged 95.

  40. #40
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    Default Re: Donald Watson - a man to remember

    gertvegan, thank you for posting that lovely obituary. What an inspiring yet modest man.
    Eve

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    Default Re: Donald Watson - a man to remember

    It's nice to know that he passed away peacefully in the place he loved surrounded by his family.

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    Default Re: Donald Watson's Birthday


  43. #43
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    Default Re: Vegan Founder's 95th Birthday



    Donald Watson reading very first Vegan News (by Joeseph Connolly Veg News)

    Interview

  44. #44
    Maisiepaisie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Donald Watson Thread - A Man To Remember

    I'm so sad to hear this news. Does anyone know what he died of? He should have gone way past 100 being a healthy vegan and all.

  45. #45
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    Default Re: Donald Watson Thread - A Man To Remember

    He apparently always had a weak heart and yet defied his critics until 95.

    Obviously his heart was a lot stronger than any Doctor could imagine.

    Certainly few people on the planet have such a capacity for such a huge love of creation, nature and all living things.

  46. #46
    veganesh
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    Default 95 Year Old Founder Of Vegan Society Dies

    Obituary of Donald Watson, founder of the Vegan Society.



    The Times (London)
    December 8, 2005, Thursday
    FEATURES; Pg. 67
    Donald Watson
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/articl...1914862,00.html

    Donald Watson, founder of veganism, was born on
    September 2, 1910. He
    died on November 16, 2005, aged 95.

    Founder of veganism whose dietary crusade grew to
    attract a quarter of
    a million adherents in Britain today

    Last edited by flutterby; Dec 12th, 2005 at 05:55 PM. Reason: Merged with existing thread.

  47. #47
    I eve's Avatar
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    Default Re: 95 Year Old Founder Of Vegan Society Dies

    We already have a couple of threads about Donald Watson.
    Eve

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    Default Re: 95 Year Old Founder Of Vegan Society Dies

    I'm curious, does anyone know what he ended up dying of? It didn't specify in the article.

  49. #49
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    Default Re: 95 Year Old Founder Of Vegan Society Dies

    I read a great article recently in one of the magazines I've bought - most likely Veggie Life or VegNews. He seemed like such a great person - I'm glad he lived such a successful long life and has obviously made a huge impact. May he rest in peace.
    "An outside enemy exists only if there is anger inside."
    - Lama Zopa Rinpoche

  50. #50
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    Default Re: Donald Watson Thread - A Man To Remember

    From the Vegan Society website.

    Message from Donald Watson’s family to all supporters.

    2006-01-11

    Donald's family would like to extend a very sincere thank-you to his many friends from around the world who have been in touch recently - firstly for the cards and messages received on the occasion of his 95th birthday in September, and later following his death on 16th November.

    The birthday was a memorable occasion, starting with a chat to the BBC World Service, an excellent vegan lunch at a restaurant in Keswick, and a trip on the 'Gondola' on Coniston Water, followed a few days later by a splendid party attended by about fifty friends and family.

    Don died peacefully at home a few weeks later, and we thank everyone for their support at this time in making the funeral, and the vegan buffet lunch party which followed it, a true celebration of his long and eventful life. We are deeply touched by the many very kind messages which we have received, and hope to respond eventually to those for whom we have addresses. With our love and gratitude to you all for the many ways in which you are carrying Don's work forward, and with our good wishes for 2006.

    Jan and Tony
    Thanks again Donald.

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