Some people think vegetarianism is a new hippie-granola thing. This would be false. There have been vegetarians for a long time, and some of them have pretty recognizable names.
Note: The years listed are birth and death, not necessarily years of being a vegetarian.
Pythagoras (c. 580 BCE–c. 500 BCE)
The Buddha, Guatama Siddhartha (c. 563 BCE–c. 483 BCE)
Plutarch (c. AD 46 – c. 120)—”But for the sake of some little mouthful of flesh we deprive a soul of the sun and light, and of that proportion of life and time it had been born into the world to enjoy.”
Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519)—”Truly man is the king of beasts, for his brutality exceeds theirs. We live by the death of others: We are burial places!”
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778)—”The animals you eat are not those who devour others; you do not eat the carnivorous beasts, you take them as your pattern. You only hunger for the sweet and gentle creatures which harm no one, which follow you, serve you, and are devoured by you as the reward of their service.”
Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865) Rumored—”I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being.”
Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)—”I have no doubt that it is a part of the destiny of the human race, in its gradual improvement, to leave off eating animals.”
Leo Tolstoy (1828–1910)—”If a man’s aspirations towards a righteous life are serious . . . if he earnestly and sincerely seeks a righteous life, his first act of abstinence is from animal food, because, not to mention the excitement of the passions produced by such food, it is plainly immoral, as it requires an act contrary to moral feeling, i. e., killing—and is called forth only by greed.”
George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950)—”Animals are my friends—and I don’t eat my friends.”
Nikola Tesla (1857–1943)
Mohandas Gandhi (1869–1948)—”I do not regard flesh-food as necessary for us at any stage and under any clime in which it is possible for human beings ordinarily to live. I hold flesh-food to be unsuited to our species. We err in copying the lower animal world—if we are superior to it.”
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
Albert Einstein (1879–1955) A vegetarian for the last year of his life though he supported the idea long before practicing—”I have always eaten animal flesh with a somewhat guilty conscience.”
Franz Kafka (1883–1924) Also supported anti-vivisectionist activities.
Rosa Parks (1913–2005)
Allen Ginsberg (1926–1997)
Sir Ian McKellen (b. 1939)
The Beatles—Every single one.
Samuel L. Jackson (b. 1948)
Alec Baldwin (b. 1958) Rumored, he is a strong supporter of PETA but reports say he’s not 100% vegetarian.
Matthew Scully (b. 1959) Author (not really famous) who argues for vegetarianism from a conservative Christian background. Read about his book here.
Emily Deschanel (1976)—“I’ve been vegan for 15 years, and it turns out it makes a very big impact on the environment to eat fewer animal products, which cause more greenhouse gases than all of transportation combined. The United Nations did a study just over two years ago, and that blew my mind. I started thinking that if people are vegetarian for just one day a week, that makes a huge difference!”
Natalie Portman (1981)—”Part of my reason for being vegetarian was because it practices respect and love for life all through the day, so three times a day, you make a decision to eat things that have not been killed.”
Anne Hathaway (b. 1982) Vegan.
There are, of course, many many many that I haven’t mentioned. The point is vegetarianism has existed for a long time. As a vegetarian, I think this is very cool, and I like learning the history of animal rights. It’s something I have strong feelings about. If you disagree with the things in this post and want to comment about it, please be constructive and thoughtful. If you want to make jokes about vegetarians or profess your love for meat, I encourage you to express those thoughts on your own blog.