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The Vegan Option - Vegetarianism: The Story So Far

In 2016-7, Ian McDonald tells one epic tale - the backstory to today's vegetarian and vegan movements. From the Ganges delta to the hills of New England, from the iron age to the present day, voices challenge the idea that other animals exist soley for humans. Discover philosopher kings, rebel poets, and forgotten heroes.Stories from vegan perspectives. Great radio that just happens to be vegan. This is The Vegan Option.

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VegHist Ep 1: Ahimsa. Mahavir, the Jains, and other śramaṇas; with DN Jha, James Serpell, Richard Gombrich, & GC Tripathi; at Veerayatan, Rajgir, India

In the Ganges plain in Northen India in the middle of the first millennium BCE, the idea of “ahimsa” – non violence – emerges. Episode 1: Ahimsa Ian visits the intellectual hub of iron age India – the Kingdom of Magadha. He discovers a subculture of vagabond philosophers that developed two world religions; and the vegetarian order of monks and nuns who became the torchbearers of ahimsa. Play or download (41MB MP3) (via iTunes) or read transcript. Contributors: Sadhvi Yasājhe Maharaj Interpreter: Dr. Smita Bagrecha James Serpell (University of Pennsylvania) “One Man’s Meat: On The Evolution of Animal Food Taboos” (blog post) Prof Richard Gombrich (Wikipedia) (University of Oxford) Prof Dwijendra Narayan Jha (Wikipedia) Prof GC Tripathi Dr Priyadarshana Jain (University of Madras) Dr Peter Flügel, SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London) Prayer Halls and Museum at Veerayatan, Rajgir Locations: Veeryatan, Bihar BL Institute, Delhi Recording diary I’d only been told about Rajgir the day before arriving. I was staying at the refounded University of Nalanda for a couple of nights, where I interviewed two people who lived in the block in which I was staying. Institutions like that are fantastic for my research. But one interviewee – Deepak Anand – told me the real place I needed to go to was Rajgir. My desk research had led me to places like Vaisali – which will turn up via Buddhist texts in episode two – but at Rajgir, modern Jains celebrated and could talk about what happened there two and a half thousand years ago. Finding guests with good English is obviously helpful. So it was gratifying to learn that the Veerayatan Institution at Rajgir was led by Jain sadhvis (nuns) who were very used to communicating with foreign and English-speaking audiences, because of their outreach overseas. When I got there, I discovered all the English-speaking sadhvis were overseas doing outreach. So I had very little time to find both a learned sadhvi, and a way of interviewing her. An English-speaking physician, a glaucoma consultant from the hospital on the other side of the site, helped me out and acted as interpreter; and I’m very grateful to her indeed. Dubbing a non-English speaking guest is a lot more work (Yasājhe’s words were retranslated carefully and then read by actress Sandeep Garcha) but I’m glad now that the first words you hear from a guest in the series are in Hindi. This left me not much time to get to the station for the train back to Patna – later Magadha capital and current Bihar state capital. The background noise at the start of the show was from two different journeys: a crowded auto-rickshaw in Mahabodhi, and that train I took back to Patna. Both were travelling the kinds of routes Śramaṇas would have taken within ancient Magadha. Credits Particular thanks to Dr. Smita Bagrecha for interpreting Yasājhe at short notice. The featured pic is public domain painting of Mahavira, Rajasthan, circa 1900. Bibliography Where there are no established Anglicisations (eg “ahimsa” for “ahiṃsā”), I have rendered Indic languages in Latin letters with marks called diacritics, loosely following the IAST standard explained at Jainpedia. For example “ś” is a soft “sh”, and a bar over a vowel lengthens it. 1630116 DV884EHE items 1 chicago-author-date author asc 1 http://theveganoption.org/wp-content/plugins/zotpress/ Alsdorf, Ludwig, and Hanns-Peter Schmidt. 2010. The History of Vegetarianism and Cow-Veneration in India. Routledge Advances in Jaina Studies. London: Routledge. 1 Balbir, Nalini. 1984. “Normalizing Trends in Jaina Narrative Literature.” Indologica Taurinensia 2: 25–38. Basham, Arthur Llewellyn. 1951. History and Doctrines of the Ajivikas: A Vanished Indian Religion. London: Luzac & Company. Bronkhorst, Johannes. 2000. “The Riddle of the Jainas and Ājīvikas in Early Buddhist Literature.” Journal of Indian Philosophy 28: 511–29. https://www.academia.edu/3285845/The_riddle_of_the_Jainas_and_%C4%80j%C4%ABvikas_in_early_Buddhist_literature. Dundas, Paul. 2002. The Jains. 2nd ed. Library of Religious Beliefs and Practices. London ; New York: Routledge. Gombrich, R. F. 2009. What the Buddha Thought. Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies Monographs. London: Equinox Pub. Haussleiter, Johannes. 1935. Der Vegetarismus in der Antike. A. Töpelmann. Nattier, J. J., and C. S. Prebish. 1977. “Mahasamghika Origins: The Beginnings of Buddhist Sectarianism.” History of Religions. An International Journal for Comparative Historical Studies 16 (3): 237–72. http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=12877906. Jha, D. N. 2002. The Myth of the Holy Cow. London; New York: Verso. Smith, Brian K. 1990. “Eaters, Food, and Social Hierarchy in Ancient India: A Dietary Guide to a Revolution of Values.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion LVIII (2): 177–206. https://doi.org/10.1093/jaarel/LVIII.2.177. 2 The post VegHist Ep 1: Ahimsa. Mahavir, the Jains, and other śramaṇas; with DN Jha, James Serpell, Richard Gombrich, & GC Tripathi; at Veerayatan, Rajgir, India first appeared on THE VEGAN OPTION radio show and blog.

22 Jan 2016

Rank #1

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Veganism in Politics: Chris Williamson MP, Cathy Jamieson MP and Kerry McCarthy MP with questions from Dennis Kucinich and Maneka Gandhi

AudioPlayer.setup("http://theveganoption.org/wp-content/plugins/simple-audio-player/player/player.swf", { width: 290 });AudioPlayer.embed("audioplayer_6483", {soundFile: "http://www.archive.org/download/TheVeganOptionVeganPoliticans/TheVeganOption-VeganPoliticians.mp3", titles: "Vegan Politicians", autostart: "no", loop: "no", animation: "no", remaining: "yes", noinfo: "no", initialvolume: "70", buffer: "5", encode: "no", checkpolicy: "no", rtl: "no", width: "479", transparentpagebg: "no", bg: "E5E5E5", leftbg: "0xBED3BA", lefticon: "333333", voltrack: "F2F2F2", volslider: "666666", rightbg: "0x155C06", rightbghover: "0xCCCCCC", righticon: "0xCCCCCC", righticonhover: "0x155C06", loader: "0xBED3BA", track: "FFFFFF", tracker: "DDDDDD", border: "CCCCCC", skip: "666666", text: "333333"}); (40 min) Play or download (20MB MP3) (other formats) (via iTunes) Veganism in Politics 1: Worldwide We profile the handful of people who combine veganism with politics at their country’s national level. I went to the UK Parliament to meet Britain’s three vegan MPs. What was their path to politics? And I took with me questions from their counterparts in the rest of the world. Press the play button to find out. (Or, better still, subscribe via iTunes or your podcast catcher of choice.) The British Vegan MPs Chris Williamson (@ChriswMP on twitter) has an official site at www.chriswilliamson.org, but also find: Chris Williamson on Wikipedia; Chris Williamson at They Work for You ; Chris Williamson on BBC Democracy Live Kerry McCarthy (@KerryMP)’s official site is www.kerrymccarthymp.org. Also: Kerry McCarthy on Wikipedia; Kerry McCarthy at They Work for You ; Kerry McCarthy on BBC Democracy Live Cathy Jamieson (@cathyjamieson) is officially at CathyJamieson.com, but also: Cathy Jamieson on Wikipedia ; Cathy Jamieson at They Work for You ; Cathy Jamieson on BBC Democracy Live The American Congressman Dennis Kucinich (@repkucinich) has two official sites: kucinich.us and, for his constituency, kucinich.house.gov. He’s also Dennis Kucinich on Wikipedia. The Indian MP Maneka Gandhi chairs People for Animals. She is, obviously, also Maneka Gandhi at Wikipedia. As Diana mentioned in the show, Maneka advocates veganism and sometimes identifies as such, but admits she doesn’t always live up to it. References for science I referred to studies by the large long-term EPIC-Oxford study, in particular their 2009 paper on cancer incidence. The team have a particular interest in vegetarians and vegans, and I reported their results in my 2008 podcast short at Verdant Reports. Diana talked about sex differences between men and women with respect to vegetarianism and veganism, and levels of testosterone. Her sources were: (for vegetarian sex differences) Beardsworth, A., & Bryman, A. (1999). Meat consumption and vegetarianism among young adults in the UK: An empirical study. British Food Journal, 101(4), 289-300. doi:10.1108/00070709910272169 (for vegetarian sex differences) Neumark-Sztainer, D., Story, M., Resnick, M. D., & Blum, R. W. (1997). Adolescent vegetarians: A behavioral profile of a school-based population in Minnesota. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 151(8), 833. (for veganism being equally distributed between sexes) Stahler, C. (2006). How many adults are vegetarian. Vegetarian J, 4. (for vegan men having the same testosterone levels as omnivores)  Key, T. J. A., Roe, L., Thorogood, M., Moore, J. W., Clark, G. M. G., & Wang, D. Y. (1990). Testosterone, Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin, Calculated Free Testosterone, and Oestradiol in Male Vegans and Omnivores. British Journal of Nutrition, 64(01), 111-119. doi:10.1079/BJN19900014 The post Veganism in Politics: Chris Williamson MP, Cathy Jamieson MP and Kerry McCarthy MP with questions from Dennis Kucinich and Maneka Gandhi first appeared on THE VEGAN OPTION radio show and blog.

1 Nov 2011

Rank #2

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VegHist Ep 2: The Middle Path. On Siddharta Gautama, and Buddhism; with Rev Varasambodhi Thera, Peter Flugel, and Richard Gombrich; at Mahabodhi Temple, Bodhgaya, India

Ian travels to the tree where the Buddha is said to have achieved enlightenment, and explores the paradox of his early followers’ attitudes to vegetarianism. Episode 2: The Middle Path Of the many monks of the ancient Indian kingdom of Magadha, only one has become a global household name. Buddhism will spread ahimsa to the ends of the earth, and inspires many millions of vegetarians today. And yet the oldest Buddhist texts seem to portray the Buddha eating meat. Hear commentary from theologians from both vegetarian and meat-eating interpretations of Buddhism, the insights of world-leading historians, and a dramatisation of the moment in early texts where vegetarian Jain activists clash with Buddhist meat-eating. Play or download (43MB MP3) (via iTunes) or read transcript. Contributors: Rev Dr Varasambodhi Thera, International Meditation Centre, Bodhgaya Prof KTS Saroa, University of Delhi Dr Peter Flügel, SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London) Prof Richard Gombrich (Wikipedia) (University of Oxford) Prof Dwijendra Narayan Jha (Wikipedia) Prof Uma Shankar Vyas (Buddhist University of Nalanda) Rev Dr Varasambodhi by the enclosure housing the trunk of the Mahabodhi tree and the Buddha’s throne. Readings The story of General Siha of Vaiśālī, and the rule of Seen/Heard/Suspect is in the Vinaya Pitaka (“The basket of discipline”) VI.31. Translation by I B Horner 1951 The story of Siddharta Gautama’s search for enlightenment is from the Jātaka Sutra of the Sutta Pitaka. Translation by Henry Clarke Warren 1896 Gautama Siddharta’s proclamation upon enlightenment is from the Mahāvastu (“great story”) 286. This is the only reading from a text that’s not part of the Pali canon followed by Theravada Buddhists, but from another early Buddhist collection that developed alongside it. Translation by J J Jones 1952 The “middle path” speech is from sermon in the Deer Park (at Sarnath, where the Buddha preached for the first time). Translation by Piyadassi Thera 1999 Notes on the Ājīvikas I was fascinated to find out there was a whole other religion, at the time as important as the Buddhists and the Jains, that’s now almost forgotten, called the Ājīvika. But the evidence we have is fragmented and contradictory – so it was an area where one spends much time but grows only in uncertainty. Even the small picture I give in the episode only hints at the patchwork of information we have about them. The very word “Ājīvika” for example, is often used in Buddhist texts in a similar sense to “heretic” – capturing every śramaṇa other than Buddhists and Jains. (US Vyas used the word in the heretical sense in the full interview; but I only used his references to the movement of Makkhali Gosal, which is consistent with the later use. It would have been too confusing to introduce different meanings.) The “educated guess” I mention is that of Arthur Llewellyn Basham, the twentieth century Welsh Indologist. His book “The Wonder that was India” was the leading popular history of the subcontinent. He did his PhD thesis on the Ājīvikas in the 1940s, and 65 years after publication (Basham, 1951) it is still the standard reference work. Another view I didn’t have time to include was Johannes Bronkhorst, who quite radically reinterpreted the mentions of Ājīvikas at the turn of the century (Bronkhorst, 2000). He argues that the early Buddhist texts named rival groups not according to doctrine but according to appearance. Most academics assume “Niganthā” in Buddhist texts means the Jains. (The word “Jain” didn’t emerge for many centuries.) So in his view, the words “Ājīvika” and “Niganthā” in Buddhist texts describe (respectively) naked rival orders and clothed rival orders; with the former term including not just the “true” Ājīvikas, but the Jain followers of Mahavir (who would have been naked) and the latter including the Jain followers of the teachings of Parshwa, the preceding tirthankara (Jain inspired teacher, literally “ford-maker”) who had lived centuries before. (We don’t know if the Jains cohered as a single tradition during Mahavir’s lifetime.) So, as interesting as this all is, all this tells us is how little we know about this period. (We can be confident that the Niganthās in the argument at Vaiśālī that our actors portray are Jains because Mahavir is mentioned earlier in the story. Just in case you were wondering.) Though I did manage to learn that the Ājīvika leader is, once you translate both names into their meaning, basically called Gandalf. (Those years poring over Tolkein’s fictional etymology finally pay off.) Credits Music by Robb Masters. The actors were Sandeep Garcha, Chetan Pathak, and Selva Rasalingam. Bibliography Where there are no established Anglicisations (eg “ahimsa” for “ahiṃsā”), I have rendered Indic languages in Latin letters with marks called diacritics, loosely following the IAST standard explained at Jainpedia. For example “ś” is a soft “sh”, and a bar over a vowel lengthens it. 1630116 DV884EHE items 1 chicago-author-date author asc 1 http://theveganoption.org/wp-content/plugins/zotpress/ Alsdorf, Ludwig, and Hanns-Peter Schmidt. 2010. The History of Vegetarianism and Cow-Veneration in India. Routledge Advances in Jaina Studies. London: Routledge. 1 Balbir, Nalini. 1984. “Normalizing Trends in Jaina Narrative Literature.” Indologica Taurinensia 2: 25–38. Basham, Arthur Llewellyn. 1951. History and Doctrines of the Ajivikas: A Vanished Indian Religion. London: Luzac & Company. Bronkhorst, Johannes. 2000. “The Riddle of the Jainas and Ājīvikas in Early Buddhist Literature.” Journal of Indian Philosophy 28: 511–29. https://www.academia.edu/3285845/The_riddle_of_the_Jainas_and_%C4%80j%C4%ABvikas_in_early_Buddhist_literature. Dundas, Paul. 2002. The Jains. 2nd ed. Library of Religious Beliefs and Practices. London ; New York: Routledge. Gombrich, R. F. 2009. What the Buddha Thought. Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies Monographs. London: Equinox Pub. Haussleiter, Johannes. 1935. Der Vegetarismus in der Antike. A. Töpelmann. Nattier, J. J., and C. S. Prebish. 1977. “Mahasamghika Origins: The Beginnings of Buddhist Sectarianism.” History of Religions. An International Journal for Comparative Historical Studies 16 (3): 237–72. http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=12877906. Jha, D. N. 2002. The Myth of the Holy Cow. London; New York: Verso. Smith, Brian K. 1990. “Eaters, Food, and Social Hierarchy in Ancient India: A Dietary Guide to a Revolution of Values.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion LVIII (2): 177–206. https://doi.org/10.1093/jaarel/LVIII.2.177. 2 The post VegHist Ep 2: The Middle Path. On Siddharta Gautama, and Buddhism; with Rev Varasambodhi Thera, Peter Flugel, and Richard Gombrich; at Mahabodhi Temple, Bodhgaya, India first appeared on THE VEGAN OPTION radio show and blog.

1 Mar 2016

Rank #3

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VegHist Ep 6: Hinduism. On Indian Vegetarianism, Vaishnavism, Satvik, and Mahayana Buddhism; with Sanjukta Gupta, Deepak Anand, and Ranjan Garavu; at Ananta Vasudeva Temple, Bhubaneswar and Nalanda Mahavihara

In the first millennium CE, Indian vegetarianism advances from an ascetic fringe to a mainstream high-status lifestyle. Episode 6: Hinduism How did vegetarianism permeate Indian society? Ian tracks the changes in India’s religious life during the first millennium, following the vegetarian strands of the tapestry that we now call Hinduism. Ian travels to a temple to Vishnu in eastern India to understand the importance of vegetarianism to his worshippers. He talks to theologians and historians in Oxford and Delhi about the factors that caused the change. He uncovers heated arguments about vegetarianism and animal advocacy in the leaves of India’s sacred texts. And he explores the medieval Buddhist monastic university of Nalanda, in the company of a lecturer from its modern namesake. Play or download (42MB MP3) (via iTunes) or read transcript. Contributors: Ranjan Garuva, Ananta Vasudeva Temple (Wikipedia), Bhubaneswar Prof KTS Saroa, University of Delhi Prof GC Tripathi Prof Richard Gombrich (Wikipedia) (University of Oxford) Sanjukta Gupta (University of Oxford) Dr Deepak Anand (blogger.com) (Buddhist University of Nalanda) Readings Rules for student Brahmins, from the Gautama Dharmasūtra. Translation by Muller. Extracts from Laws of Manu on vegetarianism (V26/7, V39, V48). Translation by Bühler Defence of the cow to be sacrificed by Brahmins from Manimekalai. The argument about the sacrifice of a goat, from The Anugita Parva of the Mahābhārata, based on the translation by Ganguli in consultation with John Smith. The half-golden Mongoose, from the Mahābhārata Extracts from Nīlakēci’s argument with Buddhist nun Kuṇṭalakēci, in the Tamil Jain epic Nīlakēci’s, translation by Katherine Ulrich Shaivite condemnation of Jains by Campantar and Appar, taken from the Teveram, translation by Katherine Ulrich The Lankavatara Sutra, translation by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki Half-Golden Mongoose You might be wondering what the deal with the half-golden Mongoose in the Mahabharata was. He was looking for a perfect sacrifice to remove his curse (of being a half-golden Mongoose), and had hoped that the immense horse sacrifice at the end of this truly epic war might be it. But he learns that whatever makes an offering perfect, victory in war and animal sacrifice isn’t it. Pun of the Month One reading I didn’t get a time to include was from the Laws of Manu, about how meat-eaters will be consumed in return: “He whose meat in this world do I eat will in the other world me eat.“ Wise men say this is why meat is called meat. This is just because of the heroic act of punning that renders the Sanskrit folk etymology (“mamsa” = meat, “mam” = me, “sa” = he) into English in a way that still makes sense. (Alas, I’ve lost the name of the first translator to do this. ) Credits I’d like to thank Sanjeeb Kumar (YouTube) of the artistic Kanti Centre for practical help in Bhubaneswar. Katherine Ulrich and John Smith helped enormously with historical advice and translations. Music by Robb Masters. The actors were Sandeep Garcha, Chetan Pathak, and Selva Rasalingam. Bibliography Where there are no established Anglicisations (eg “ahimsa” for “ahiṃsā”), I have rendered Indic languages in Latin letters with marks called diacritics, loosely following the IAST standard explained at Jainpedia. For example “ś” is a soft “sh”, and a bar over a vowel lengthens it. 1630116 GH4SGBH6 items 1 chicago-author-date author asc 1 http://theveganoption.org/wp-content/plugins/zotpress/ Alsdorf, Ludwig, and Hanns-Peter Schmidt. 2010. The History of Vegetarianism and Cow-Veneration in India. Routledge Advances in Jaina Studies. London: Routledge. 1 Basham, Arthur L, and Kenneth G Zysk. 1991. The origins and development of classical Hinduism. New York [u.a.: Oxford Univ. Press. Chakravarti, A, and Prākr̥ta Bhāratī Akādamī. 1994. Neelakesi. Jaipur: Prakrit Bharati Academy. Davis, Richard H. 1998. “The Story of the Disappearing Jains: Retelling the Śaiva-Jain Encounter in Medieval South India.” In Open Boundaries: Jain Communities and Cultures in Indian History, edited by John E Cort. Albany (N. Y.): State university of New York press. De Bary, William Theodore. 1958. Sources of Indian Tradition. New York: Columbia University Press. Hiltebeitel, Alf. 2001. Rethinking the Mahabharata: A Reader’s Guide to the Education of the Dharma King. University of Chicago Press. 2 Peterson, Indira V. 1998. “Śramaṇas against the Tamil Way: Jains As Others  in Tamil Śaiva Literature.” In Open Boundaries: Jain Communities and Cultures in Indian History, edited by John E Cort. Albany (N. Y.): State university of New York press. Smith, Brian K. 1990. “Eaters, Food, and Social Hierarchy in Ancient India: A Dietary Guide to a Revolution of Values.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion LVIII (2): 177–206. https://doi.org/10.1093/jaarel/LVIII.2.177. 3 Ulrich, Katherine E. 2007. “Food Fights.” History of Religions 46 (3): 228–61. https://doi.org/10.1086/513255. Ganguli, Kisari Mohan, trans. 1883. “The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa Translated into English Prose.” In . Vol. 14. Calcutta: Bharata Press. http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m14/index.htm. 4 The post VegHist Ep 6: Hinduism. On Indian Vegetarianism, Vaishnavism, Satvik, and Mahayana Buddhism; with Sanjukta Gupta, Deepak Anand, and Ranjan Garavu; at Ananta Vasudeva Temple, Bhubaneswar and Nalanda Mahavihara first appeared on THE VEGAN OPTION radio show and blog.

5 Jul 2016

Rank #4

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VegHist Ep 5: Flesh and Spirit. On Egyptian monasticism, Early Christianity, Plutarch, Neoplatonism, and Manicheansim; with David Grummet, Nicholas Baker-Brian, Michael Beer, and Fr. Abouna Yostas St. Athanasius

In the eastern Roman Empire, several faiths and philosophies agree on one thing; that you need to eschew flesh to live a life of the spirit. Episode 5: Flesh & Spirit Not all Romans celebrated pagan sacrifices or the bloodthirsty arena. Some Romans followed the semi-mythical vegetarian Pythagoras, or neoplatonist philosophers who preached a vegetarian contemplative life. In the melting pot of Jewish mythology, Greek philosophy, and the worship of Jesus many forms of Christianity emerge. Some of them advocate vegetarianism. The lost world religion of Manichaeanism took ideas from India and was led by a plant based priesthood that would last a thousand years. Alexandria in Egypt is the epicentre of many of these contemplative movements. Ian visits a valley in Yorkshire that still echoes with the traditions of the ancient Egyptian desert – the Coptic Christian monastery of St. Athanasius. He discovers why the monks pursue that life, what it means to them, and how they maintain some of the original vegetarian traditions of the Egyptian desert fathers. Play or download (43MB MP3) (via iTunes) or read transcript. Contributors: Fr. Abouna Yostas St. Athanasius (St. Athanasius’ Monastery) Dr David Grummet (University of Edinburgh, davidgrumett.com) Dr Michael Beer (@Sutekh69) Dr Nicholas Baker-Brian (Cardiff University) Readings Seneca the Younger, “Epistles“, 1st Century CE. Philo (attributed), “The Contemplative Life”, 1st Century CE. Translation by Charles Duke Yonge Paul of Tarsus, “Letter to the Romans”, 1st Century CE.  Romans 14:2-3. Gospel of the Ebionites, 1st or 2nd Century CE (as quoted in fragments by a later Christian heresiologist). Translation by Montague Rhode James 1924 Jerome (attributed), “The History of the Monks (Fr Theon)”, traditionally 5th century. Plutarch, “On the Eating of Flesh”, 1st Century CE. Translation by PD Loeb Clement of Alexandria, “Miscellanies”, turn of 3rd Century CE. Translation by William Wilson 1885 Porphyry, “On the Abstention from Flesh”, 3rd Century CE, Translation by Thomas Taylor Council of Ancyra, 314 CE. Translation by Henry Percival 1900 Augustine of Hippo, “Against the Manichaeans”, 388 CE. Translation by Richard Stothert 1887 Production Diary Now the story has reached characters whose writing survives to the present in volumes, I’m spending less time talking about historical sources and more time quoting people. And it’s hard to leave things out. There are so many things that Plutarch said in the first century that people like Vegan Sidekick have had to repeat in the twenty-first. This was also the hardest episode for which to arrange a location visit; the story unfolded a long way from where I live, there’s not enough reason to travel, and precious few ethical vegetarians. It took me a while to find the monastery of St. Athanasius. The tattoo of a Coptic cross on Fr. Yostas’ wrist is what modern Copts (Egypt’s Christian minority) show on entry into a church. Credits Music by Robb Masters, and Michael Levy. The actors were Jeremy Hancock and Yasser Sha’aban. The music was: Theme by Robb Masters Sacred Flame of Vesta, by Michael Levy Avinu Malcheinu, Jewish traditional, arranged and performed by Michael Levy Hurrian Hymn, anonymous ancient Mesopotamian, arranged by Michael Levy based on translation of Ugarit tablet by Richard Dumbrill The show also included part of a service at the monastery of St. Athanasius, and (at the end) an Ethiopian Orthodox Service at St. Mary of Tserha Sion in Hackney, East London. The icon of St. Nofer the hermit is taken with permission from this Russian-language tourist website. Special thanks to the Coptic Monastery of St. Athanasius, and Marian and Kevin McDonald (my parents) for driving me there. Bibliography 1630116 5QRZZUW9items 1 chicago-author-date author asc1http://theveganoption.org/wp-content/plugins/zotpress/Beckwith, Roger T. 1988. “The Vegetarianism of the Therapeutae, and the Motives for Vegetarianism in Early Jewish and Christian Circles.” Revuequmran Revue de Qumrân 13 (1-4 (49-52)): 407–10. Brock, Sebastian P. 1999. From Ephrem to Romanos: Interactions between Syriac and Greek in Late Antiquity. Aldershot; Brookfield, USA: Ashgate. Grimm, Veronika E. 1996. From Feasting to Fasting, the Evolution of a Sin: Attitudes to Food in Late Antiquity. London; New York: Routledge. Kelhoffer, James A. 2005. The Diet of John the Baptist: “Locusts and Wild Honey” in Synoptic and Patristic Interpretation. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck. Magness, Jodi. 2002. The Archaeology of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls. Grand Rapids, MI.: William B. Eerdmans Pub. Muers, Rachel, and David Grumett. 2010. Theology on the Menu: Asceticism, Meat and Christian Diet. London, New York: Routledge. Schott, Jeremy M. 2008. Christianity, Empire, and the Making of Religion in Late Antiquity. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Shaw, Teresa M., Michael Beer, and John Wilkins. 2008. “Perspectives from Antiquity.” In Eating and Believing Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Vegetarianism and Theology, by David Grumett and Rachel Muers. London; New York: T & T Clark. http://site.ebrary.com/id/10427149. Strousma, G. 1986. “The Manichaean Challenge to Egyptian Christianity.” In The Roots of Egyptian Christianity, by Birger A Pearson and James E Goehring. Philadelphia: Fortress Press. Wilkins, John, and Shaun Hill. 2006. “Meat and Fish.” In Food in the Ancient World, 133,147. Malden, MA; Oxford: Blackwell Pub. Geek recommendation: some of the Christian theologians in this episode also appear in the excellent (and uncharacteristically monster-free) Doctor Who audio drama Council of Nicea.The post VegHist Ep 5: Flesh and Spirit. On Egyptian monasticism, Early Christianity, Plutarch, Neoplatonism, and Manicheansim; with David Grummet, Nicholas Baker-Brian, Michael Beer, and Fr. Abouna Yostas St. Athanasius first appeared on THE VEGAN OPTION radio show and blog.

7 Jun 2016

Rank #5

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VegHist Ep 3: Pythagoreans. On the Cults of Orpheus and Pythagoras in Ancient Greece; with Hugh Bowden, Michael Beer, John Wilkins, and Armand D’Angour

In Ancient Greece, vegetarianism belongs to a secretive subculture – amongst the mystery religions of Orpheus and the musical mathematical cult of Pythagoras. Episode 3: Pythagoreans The Greek philosophers knew about vegetarians. But they were part of cults associated with the mythical figure of Orpheus, and the guru of harmony and number – Pythagoras. The people who introduced the concept of reincarnation into Greece. In the British Museum, Ian talks to Hugh Bowden, the head of the classics department of King’s College London and mystery religion specialist. There, Prof Bowden examines what its artefacts of Greek life and death tell us about attitudes to animals. Including – some suspect – an Orphic pocket guide to Hades. Play, download (43MB MP3) (via iTunes) or read transcript Contributors: Prof Hugh Bowden (@HughBowden) (King’s College, University of London) Prof Armand D’Angour (@ArmandDAngour) (Wikipedia) (www) (University of Oxford) Dr Michael Beer (@Sutekh69) Prof John Wilkins (University of Exeter) Readings The translations used in the show aren’t necessarily the ones linked to here; for example, I used “animate” as a consistent translation of “ἔμψυχος” (empsychos), to help communicate that they all used the same phrase to mean abstaining from flesh. Hesiod’s “Works and Days”, 8th century BCE. Translation by HG Evelyn-White 1914 Genesis 2:13 The accusation of Theseus from Euripides’ “Hippolytus” 428BCE. Translation by EP Coleridge 1910 Discussion of customs around meat in Plato’s “Laws”, Book 6, §782c, early 4th century BCE. Translation by RG Bury Mention of Orpheotelestai in Plato’s “Republic”, early 4th century BCE. Translation by Jowett 1892 Empedocles in Aristotle’s “Rhetoric”, Book 1 §13, 4th century BCE. Translation by JH Freese 1926 Polybius’ “Histories”, Book 2, 2nd century BCE. Translation by ES Shuckburgh 1889 Ovid’s “Metamorphoses”, Book 15, 8 CE. Translation by AS Kline 2000 Recreating Ancient Greek Music It was extremely tempting to go on a long tangent about efforts to record ancient Greek music. There are two extant compositions – the Delphic Hymn (which far from being Pythagorean relates to an animal sacrifice), and the haunting Epitaph of Seikilos. Historians go to great length to try to recreate lost instruments. Academics like Armand d’Angour endeavour to infer melodies based on the rhythm and accents. His current project to recreate ancient Greek music will bear fruit in the shape of a CD and radio broadcast later this year. Meanwhile, dedicated amateurs like Michael Levy simulate a range of ancient music. Credits Music by Robb Masters, Michael Levy, and Stefan Hagel. The actors were Jeremy Hancock, Sandeep Garcha, Orna Klement and Vinay Varma as Ashoka Maurya. Additional sound engineering by Mathieu Gillon. The track played under discussion of musical harmony is the “First Delphic Hymn to Apollo”, performed by Michael Levy on his album “The Ancient Greek Lyre”. The track played under the Orphic totenpass is “The Epitaph of Seikilos”, performed by Stefan Hagel. Special thanks to the British Museum, and to Elizabeth Alexandra Fisher for assistance and photography. Bibliography 1630116 6QPQ92P2items 1 chicago-author-date author asc1http://theveganoption.org/wp-content/plugins/zotpress/(Translator), Paula Wissing, and Jean-Pierre Vernant. 1998. The Cuisine of Sacrifice among the Greeks. University Of Chicago Press. Beer, Michael. 2010. “Vegetarianism (Ch 2).” In Taste or Taboo: Dietary Choices in Antiquity, 74–113. Totnes: Prospect Books. Berthiaume, G. 1997. Les Roles Du Mageiros: Etude Sur LA Boucherie, LA Cuisine Et Le Sacrifice Dans LA Grece Ancienne (Mnemosyne , Vol Suppl. 70). Brill Academic Pub. Bowden, Hugh. 2010. Mystery Cults of the Ancient World. Princeton ; Oxford: Princeton University Press. Haussleiter, Johannes. 1935. Der Vegetarismus in der Antike. A. Töpelmann. Naiden, F. S. 2007. “The Fallacy of the Willing Victim.” The Journal of Hellenic Studies 127: 61–73. http://www.jstor.org/stable/30033502. Rives, James B. 2011. “The Theology of Animal Sacrifice in the Ancient Greek World.” In Ancient Mediterranean Sacrifice, edited by Jennifer Wright Knust and Zsuzsanna Varhelyi, 187–98. Oxford University Press. http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199738960.001.0001/acprof-9780199738960-chapter-9. Nerdy language coincidence of the month: the Pythagoreans’ adversary at Croton was called Cylon (although pronounced with a hard “c”). Someone should make a TV series about their years on the run from a Cylon attack. It could have lots of references to Greek deities and mysticism.The post VegHist Ep 3: Pythagoreans. On the Cults of Orpheus and Pythagoras in Ancient Greece; with Hugh Bowden, Michael Beer, John Wilkins, and Armand D'Angour first appeared on THE VEGAN OPTION radio show and blog.

5 Apr 2016

Rank #6

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VegHist Ep 4: Ashoka. On India’s animal advocate Buddhist king and the spread of the śramanas; with Bharati Pal and Suchandra Ghosh; at the Kalinga rock edict, India

In the largest ancient Indian empire, at the height of its power, its Buddhist king advocates for animals in his edicts, and tries to change India for good. Episode 4: Ashoka In the fourth century BCE, the śramaṇa movement (anti-violence anti-ritual ascetics) has produced three religions: the vegetarian Jains, the freegan(ish) Buddhists, and the mysterious (and now vanished) Ājīvikas. The Mauryan Empire is absorbing almost all of the subcontinent, from present-day Afghanistan to the Bay of Bengal. At its height in the middle of the third century BCE, the king – Ashoka – has edicts carved in stones and columns across the realm. Alongside the rulings and propaganda you might expect, his edicts oppose the slaughter and abuse of animals. Ian travels to the Indian Museum in Calcutta to speak with historian Dr Suchandra Ghosh. And he visits a hillside that looks down on the battlefield that – King Ashoka says – turned him way from violence forever, and where Ashoka erected an edict that still stands today. Play or download (44MB MP3) (via iTunes) Contributors: Dr Suchandra Ghosh (Calcutta University) (Academia.edu) Dr Bharati Pal (Odisha State Museum) Dr U.C. Dwivedi (Patna Museum) Locations: Dhauli, Odisha, India Travelog by Rangan Datta Patna Museum, Bihar, India The Indian Museum, Calcutta/Kolkata These are the artefacts of the Ashoka and his dynasty we talk about during the show. Please select a thumbnail to bring up the gallery: Readings The translations of the edicts of Ashoka Maurya are based on those of Hultsch 1925, Ven. S Dhammika 1993, and Romila Thapar 1999. I had a look at the original work of Prinsep and Wilson (PDF) who decoded the Brahmi characters in the nineteenth century. The Indian diplomat is Megasthene. He was based in Pataliputra, at King Chandragupta’s court, and his work Indika (PDF) (various fragments and translations) remained the major Greek source on India for centuries. Translating “dāsa” – slave or servant? When Ashoka defines dharma, he starts with a list of who should be treated properly, beginning with “bonded servant”. This is how I translated “dāsa” – a word scholars variously translated as “servant”, “slave”, or simply left untranslated. (It has other meanings, too, like “religious devotee”, but not here.) So what is a dāsa? We know from a contemporary orally transmitted book of governance that they couldn’t change master unless they bought their freedom, but they also had legal protections against abuse, demeaning tasks, property theft, or being sold on to someone else. Ancient Greek commentators say there’s no slavery in India, implying they don’t recognise dāsas as slaves. My original script used the translation “slave”, explained that in more detail, and added: Ashoka usurps the spiritual monopoly of Brahmins, spreads a casteless religion, and his attempt to change a continent’s values is astounding; but it’s still a stratified society. He does not seem to change that. I changed it because that would have been a distraction from the story. But accepting that dāsas are quite different to Greco-Roman slaves, they’re still forced labourers in any modern sense. And the Mauryan empire has a Greek corner in which Greek-style slavery presumably did exist. (In one text, the Buddha says that the Greeks have only two castes – slaves and free.) We look back at Ashoka from the perspective of a society that finds all forms of human slavery abhorrent but generally takes it for granted that other animals exist for humans. We’re used to assuming that the first injustice is challenged before the second, but that’s not always the case. Of course, the word “slavery” today principally conjures up the racist “peculiar institution” of the southern United States and Caribbean, and the transatlantic slave trade. When the movement to abolish those horrors gets going, campaigners against the abuse of animals will be part of the alliance. But that’s seven episodes (and almost 2000 years) away. Diary The interviews were recorded in early 2014, before the the lion capital was seriously damaged in a museum accident. Recording these interviews was a little hectic. In order to make a different interview in Calcutta on the Saturday after interviewing Dr Ghosh, I took an overnight train to Bhubaneswar on for Friday morning, gave myself a day to set up the Dhauli interview, head back overnight to Calcutta for another interview; and then back to Bhubaneswar in the hope of gathering material on Sunday. (Which you’ll hear in episode six.) The following Monday was Holi, the Indian spring festival of colours. Folk in the west have embraced it as a chance to throw brightly coloured powder at each other. I alighted in Bhubaneswar, Orissa. I’d given myself a day to setup and a day to interview. My solution in India when I hadn’t managed to set anything up with phones and emails beforehand was to turn up on people’s doorsteps – and the local Archaeological Survey of India office can be relied upon to know everyone. They very kindly sent me to Dr Pal at the museum. This is probably where I should mention that Holi is a much bigger deal in Orissa. There’s a major procession with religious idols, and two linked festival days. So I’d turned up on the Friday before a bank/public holiday weekend. And at the end of the working day, just before starting her holiday, Dr Pal very graciously got into a motor-rickshaw for the Dhauli hillside. That schedule meant I completely missed Holi on the following Monday, apart from sharing the carriage with young folk whose clothing was still tinged with coloured powder. Credits The actors were Jeremy Hancock, Sandeep Garcha and Vinay Varma as King Ashoka Maurya. The series has included some brilliant actors in a range of roles, but this is the first episode where a single actor carries the show in a single role. Vinay is an accomplished Hyderabad-based actor who has appeared in a range of Hindi and Telugu films, TV series, and theatre. The music is by Robb Masters, and Michael Levy. The clip played under discussion of Greek India is the “Epitaph of Seikilos”, taken from a Greek gravestone, performed by Michael Levy on his album “The Ancient Greek Lyre”. The composite image (of the Dhauli elephant with text of the edict) is available for re-use under a CC-BY-SA license; attribution should link back to this page (or list veghist.org in physical media) and name either the “The Vegan Option” or “Vegetarianism: The Story So Far”. The original photograph is by Michael Gunther. Special thanks to the Archaeological Survey of India, and to Nimi Hirani of The Philosophy Club Ahmedabad (FB) for advice and interpretation throughout my time in India. This episode was sponsored by Kickstarter backers Menka and Ajay Sanghvi, to whom I’m very grateful. Bibliography Where there are no established Anglicisations (eg “Ashoka” for “Aśoka”), I have rendered Indic languages in Latin letters with marks called diacritics, loosely following the IAST standard explained at Jainpedia. For example “ś” is a soft “sh”, and a bar over a vowel lengthens it. 1630116 7Q2FRN4Zitems 1 chicago-author-date author asc1http://theveganoption.org/wp-content/plugins/zotpress/Aśoka, and James Prinsep. 1838. On the Edicts of Piyadasi, or Asoka, the Buddhist Monarch of India, Preserved on the Girnar Rock in the Gujerat Peninsula, and on the Dhaulí Rock in Cuttack; with the Discovery of Ptolemy’s Name Therein. [Calcutta]. Dhammika, Shravasti, Aśoka, and Buddhist Publication Society. 1993. The Edicts of King Asoka: An English Rendering. Kandy, Sri Lanka: Buddhist Publication Society. Hiltebeitel, Alf. 2001. Rethinking the Mahabharata: A Reader’s Guide to the Education of the Dharma King. University of Chicago Press. 1 Hultzsch., Eugene, and Aśoka. 1925. Inscriptions of Aśoka. Vol. 1. Corpus inscriptionum indicarum,. Oxford: Printed for the Govt. of India at the Clarendon Press,. Thapar, Romila. 1997. Aśoka and the Decline of the Mauryas. Rev. ed. Delhi : Oxford University Press,. Wilson, H. H, and Aśoka. 1836. On the Rock Inscriptions of Kapur Di Giri, Dhauli and Girnar. [Place of publication not identified]. http://books.google.com/books?id=iDJBAQAAMAAJ. The post VegHist Ep 4: Ashoka. On India's animal advocate Buddhist king and the spread of the śramanas; with Bharati Pal and Suchandra Ghosh; at the Kalinga rock edict, India first appeared on THE VEGAN OPTION radio show and blog.

3 May 2016

Rank #7

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VegHist Ep 8: Contacts. Indian Sufism, Bhakti, Akbar, Portuguese Christianity, and Gaudiya Vaishnavism; with Sanjukta Gupta; in Agra, Delhi, and London

When conquerors who profess Islam or Christianity rule over Indian vegetarians, the conversations about food ethics go both ways. Episode 8: Contacts Ian discovers the ecstatic dancing and singing shared by Sufis and Hindus – including westerners singing Hare Krishna in London’s main shopping street.  In Delhi, he finds out about the inquisition that started with European antisemitism and ended with Indians being forced to eat beef. And in the royal city of Agra, he visits a shrine built to commemorate a conversation about religion and vegetarianism between a Jain saint and the Mughal emperor Akbar. He uncovers the fascinating story of this heretic emperor who advocated vegetarianism. At the halfway point of this 15-part history of vegetarianism, the traditions of East and West come together. From hereon, it’s all one story. Play or download (52MB MP3 37min) (via iTunes) or read transcript. Contributors: Pius Malekandathil (Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi) Sushil Jain and Ashoka Jain, Agra Sanjukta Gupta (University of Oxford) Dr Peter Flügel, SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London) ISKON (“Hare Krishnas”): Devotees of Radha Krishna Temple, Soho, London Prasad distributed by Food For All Ter Kadamba das (askamonk.org) Readings Andrea Corsali, Letter to Giuliano de Medici 1515 Emperor Jahangir, Memoirs (Translated by Alexander Rogers, 1914) Kabir, in the Guru Granth, translation assisted by Manvir Singh. Abu Fazl Allami’s Akbarnama, on the sayings of Akbar (see translation by Gladwin 1800) and on the Hall of Worship (from Rezavi and Blochman) Palatina Inscription Akbar’s Farmans (from Malcom’s Memoir of Central India 1832, Jhaveri, and the Bhanuchandra Gani courtesy of the Digital Library of India) Letter of Father Pinheiro, from Vincent Smith’s “Akbar the Great Mogul” 1917 Matteo Ricci, from “The Truth Meaning of the Lordof Heaven”. Francis Bacon, “The Partitions of Science”, discussing Proverbs Ch XII v10 (“A right-minded person cares for his beast”). The Italian and Portuguese sources used the word “gentoo” (related to “gentile”, but from the perspective of Christians). Here I variously translated it as “Hindu” or “Infidel”, but I’m wishing I’d translated it as “pagan”. Special Bonus for Australian Listeners Andrea Corsali’s letter is famous for more than casually implying that Leonardo da Vinci was vegetarian. He was the first person to draw the constellation of the Southern Cross, which is part of the Australian flag. There is a copy of the letter (ironically on animal skin) in the State Library of New South Wales. Untranslated Vegetarian History I tried to find readings from some of the Sufis mentioned early in the show. But their words do not seem to be published in the vernacular, let alone in translation. So again, I’ll leave these footnotes here in the hope that scholarly specialists will one day come across them! Hamid ud-Din Nagori’s commitment to animals is mentioned on p221 of Sururu’s Sudur, which is in the Habibganj collection at Aligarh University. Nuru’d-Din’s admission that he considered meat-eating cruelty despite it being allowed under Shari’a is in the Asraru’l-Abrar (“The Secrets of the Pious”) by Dawud Mishkati (ff. 236a-b), published 1654. I haven’t been able to find it anywhere. Kabir, Sikhs, and Vegetarianism There’s a well-worn debate about vegetarianism amongst Sikhs, including a seventeenth century account that the early Gurus (in the early sixteenth century) were vegetarian. There are arguments over whether particular verses condemn meat-eating, or just the ritual killings of Muslims and Hindus. Some of the strongest lines against eating animals seem to come from the poet Kabir. (He may have inspired the first Sikh guru, and the Sikh scriptures include his poetry.) But even Kabir’s rhetoric is open to interpretation; much of it seems directed at particular kinds of slaughter. It seems reasonable to assume he was vegetarian, but it’s not absolutely explicit (either in the poetry, or in my script). For example, there is one line of the Bījak quoted in Religious Vegetarianism from Hesiod to the Dalai Llama that seems to advocate vegetarianism, but I had no reasons to choose their translation of “You should not eat fishes or flesh over what grows in the fields” over the very different “You eat animals and fish as if they grew in the fields“. I’m grateful to Brianne Donaldson and Susan Brill for that discussion. The original Hindi text is online, should anyone wish to discuss the translation in the comments. The non-vegetarian interpretation of the Kabir lines in the show would be to claim that throat-cutting was about Islamic ritual slaughter, rather than killing in general. But Kabir obviously isn’t suggesting a different way of killing; he’s suggesting kichri. (“Kichri” is the name of the dish of rice and beans. Its seasoning of salt was described as “amrit”, literally “un-death”, which after talking to a helpful Sikh vegan I rendered as “bloodless salt”.) With time, I could have delved into Sikh vegetarianism more. As it happens, the oldest marathon runner in the world is a Sikh vegetarian who (like me) lives in East London. I didn’t go into detail in part because I couldn’t find a consistent strand that goes back to the sixteenth century; the movements towards vegetarianism within Sikhism are informed by its own sense of self-discipline, the conversation with the other religious traditions of India, and the basic principle of compassion. Emperor Jahangir Jahangir is Akbar’s son and successor. He kept lurking at the fringe of the story, barely doing enough to be properly featured. Most interestingly, there’s his complex relationship with Akbar. He ordered the murder of Akbar’s vizier (who described the Hall of Worship in this episode). His guilt over this might be a driver of his own dalliance with vegetarianism (see Findly). Which might be why he wrote so admiringly of the Rishis (also in the episode). He also ordered the death of the Sikh leader Guru Arjan, which pushed the Sikhs into becoming the martial religion we know today. Geek Reference of the Month “Ferengi” / “Farang” is the word for foreigner throughout Asia – not just in Hindi (and Tamil, which is what the Jesuit Roberto de Nobilis spoke with locals) – but in Persian and Thai and Chinese as well. It derives from “Franks”, which became the Arab name for Western Europeans back when Charlemagne’s Frankish empire was its main power. For most westerners, though, it was familiar for another reason. Writers chose the Asian word as the name of an acquisitive species in Star Trek who would rival the East India Companies for greed. Credits Archive Qawaali and Sikh Temple audio CC-BY Vintage Sense and Casa Asia, respectively. The theme music is by Robb Masters. The actors were Sandeep Garcha, Selva Rasalingham, and Jeremy Hancock. This episode is sponsored by Kickstarter backer Jaysee Costa. Bibliography A bar over a vowel (“ā”) lengthens it. I particularly recommend the chapter of Rizvi that deals with the interactions with Bakhtis – it’s on the Internet Archive. 1630116 X5UIHXD7 items 1 chicago-author-date author asc 1 http://theveganoption.org/wp-content/plugins/zotpress/ Ahmad, Imtiaz, and Helmut Reifeld, eds. 2004. Lived Islam in South Asia: Adaptation, Accommodation, and Conflict. New Delhi: Social Science Press. Bramly, Serge. 1994. Leonardo: The Artist and the Man. London; New York: Penguin Books. Findly, Ellison B. 1987. “Jahāngīr’s Vow of Non-Violence.” Jameroriesoci Journal of the American Oriental Society 107 (2): 245–56. ʻAzīz Aḥmad. 1964. Studies in Islamic Culture in the Indian Environment. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Jain, Shalin. 2012. “Interaction of the ‘Lords’: The Jain Community and the Mughal Royalty under Akbar.” Socialscientist Social Scientist 40 (3–4): 33–57. Jhaverī, Kr̥shṇalāla Mohanalāla. 1928. Imperial Farmans, A.D. 1577 to A.D. 1805, Granted to the Ancestors of His Holiness the Tikayat Maharaj. India: publisher not identified. Malcolm, John. 1824. A Memoir of Central India 2. 2. London. O’Hanlon, Rosalind, D. A Washbrook, and St. Antony’s College (University of Oxford), eds. 2011. Religious Cultures in Early Modern India: New Perspectives. New Delhi: Routledge. Rezavi, S. A. N. 2008. “Religious Disputations and Imperial Ideology: The Purpose and Location of Akbar’s Ibadatkhana.” Studies in History 24 (2): 195–209. https://doi.org/10.1177/025764300902400203. Rizvi, Saiyid Athar Abbas. 1978. A History of Sufism in India. Vol. 1. 2 vols. New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal. https://archive.org/stream/AHistoryOfSufismInIndiaVol.OneSaiyidAtharAbbasRizvi/. Saraiva, António José, and H. P. Salomon. 2001. The Marrano Factory: The Portuguese Inquisition and Its New Christians 1536 - 1765. Leiden: Brill. 1 Truschke, Audrey Angeline. 2012. “Cosmopolitan Encounters: Sanskrit and Persian at the Mughal Court.” http://academiccommons.columbia.edu/item/ac:145903. The post VegHist Ep 8: Contacts. Indian Sufism, Bhakti, Akbar, Portuguese Christianity, and Gaudiya Vaishnavism; with Sanjukta Gupta; in Agra, Delhi, and London first appeared on THE VEGAN OPTION radio show and blog.

6 Oct 2016

Rank #8

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Digital Vegans: Picking up the Tab, with Stephanie Redcross of Vegan Mainstream

Digital Vegans: The Tab As the internet transforms the media landscape, how can vegan organisations and businesses survive and thrive? In the midst of the crowdfunding campaign for Vegetarianism: The Story So Far, Ian McDonald interviews Stephanie Redcross of Vegan Mainstream. Play or download (23MB MP3) (via iTunes) This show is an update to Digital Vegans, in which we spoke with Eric Brent of Happy Cow, Kerry McCarthy and others at venerable group London Vegans, and reviewed vegan smartphone apps. The interview will form part of the Resonance 104.4FM broadcast radio edit of Digital Vegans. Stephanie Redcross Stephanie Redcross is the managing director of Vegan Mainstream – a San Diego-based marketing company that specialises in vegan and vegetarian businesses. @VeganMainstream on Twitter Thanks Digital media artist Robb Masters wrote our theme. Also, thank you to everyone who has backed the Kickstarter for a radio history of vegetarianism.The post Digital Vegans: Picking up the Tab, with Stephanie Redcross of Vegan Mainstream first appeared on THE VEGAN OPTION radio show and blog.

2 Feb 2014

Rank #9

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VegHist Ep 9: Renaissance. Descartes, Montaigne, Gassendi, and the “sparing diet”; with Jean-Charles Darmon, Deepak Kumar, and Justin Begley; in Paris, France

Ancient philosophers inspire Renaissance thinkers to challenge the old hierarchy of man over beast.  Episode 9: Renaissance Old medieval certainties are cracking under the combined assault of new sciences and rediscovered classics. It’s an age when “natural philosophers” combine scientific discovery with philosophical treatises, and when their Republic of Letters transcends political boundaries in the name of free thought. It’s the age of Descartes, whose mechanical philosophy dismisses animals as “automatons”. But rivals like Gassendi suggest that animals have more in common with humans than he thinks. Ian traces the trail from Paris to the Mughal Court and back to the medical schools of the Enlightenment. He discovers the forgotten story of how Christian mythology, early anatomy, classical thinkers, and Indian medicine came together in respected medical schools that taught students to prescribe a vegetable diet. Play or download (61MB MP3 44min) (via iTunes) or read transcript. Contributors: Justin Begley, University of Oxford (academia.edu) Jean-Charles Darmon (Université de Versailles) (on Wikipedia) Deepak Kumar (Jawaharlal Nehru University) Tristram Stuart (tristramstuart.co.uk) (on Wikipedia) Click to view slideshow. Readings Lucretius, “On the Nature of Things”, 56 BCE (see translations by Hugh Munro 1910 & Cyril Bailey 1900) Montaige, “Apology [in the old sense of “propounding”] for Raymond Sebond”, 1580 (see translation by Charles Cotton) Gassendi, Letter to Van Helmont, 1629 Descartes, Letter to Henry More, 1649 Descartes & Gassendi, Appendix to Meditations, 1642 Bernier, appendix to “Concerning Happiness”, 1674 (see translation) Bernier, “Travels in the Mogul Empire”, 1670 (see translation by Constable 1891 & Smith 1916) Philip Hecquet, “Traité des dispenses du Carême” (translation for by Elisabeth Lyman) John Wallis & Edward Tyson, 1700 (see below) Alexander Munro, “An Essay on Comparative Anatomy”, 1744 Herman Boerhaave & William Cullen taken from Stuart (see below) Descartes’ readings represent the course of his philosophy, but aren’t in chronological order in the show. Descartes first propounded his mechanistic ideas about animal “automatons” in his 1638 “Discourse on Method”, but articulated it more clearly for us in a letter from 1649. He didn’t touch on it in his First Meditations (1641), but Gassendi did raise it in his response. Geek Reference of the Month Just Lady Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle. And all the characters in the show who are leading scientists. Credits Background advice came from Renan LaRue and Antonia Lolo. Location photographs are by Vincent Migeotte, my production assistant in Paris. The theme music is by Robb Masters. The period music was Anna Simboli’s performance of ‘Signor, quell’infelice’ from L’Orfeo by Montiverdi (CC-BY); and, to evoke 1700 London, Papalin’s performance on recorders of Henry Purcell’s Sonata in C Major (CC-BY), which is dedicated to Lady Rhodia Cavendish. Archive monastery bells recorded by Robin Whittaker, Gregorian chant CC-BY Ramagochi, fast ticking recorded CC-BY Patrick Liberkind, and clockwork toy recorded CC-BY Steven Brown. The cover picture is The Garden of Eden, by Jan Brueghel. I’m very grateful to the actors of historical drama group Joot Theatre Company, at the University of Dundee – Connor Ogg (Monro), Iain Brodie (Cullen) and Vachel Novesha. Dr Jo George is their director of Joot Theatre Company, and was extremely helpful in helping set this up, and Brian Hoyle was their studio producer. Other parts were played by Sally Beaumont (Margaret Cavendish) and Guillaume Blanchard. Bibliography 1630116 VGRU9HKC items 1 chicago-author-date author asc 1 http://theveganoption.org/wp-content/plugins/zotpress/ Bramly, Serge. 1994. Leonardo: The Artist and the Man. London; New York: Penguin Books. Kundra, Sakul. 2010. “François Bernier’s Discourse on the Health System in Medieval India.” The National Medical Journal of India 23 (4): 236–39. Stuart, Tristram. 2007. The Bloodless Revolution: A Cultural History of Vegetarianism from 1600 to Modern Times. New York: W.W. Norton & Co. Wallis, John. 1700. “A Letter of Dr Wallis to Dr Tyson, Concerning Mens Feeding on Flesh.” Philosophical Transactions 22 (260–276): 769–85. https://doi.org/10.1098/rstl.1700.0070. The post VegHist Ep 9: Renaissance. Descartes, Montaigne, Gassendi, and the "sparing diet"; with Jean-Charles Darmon, Deepak Kumar, and Justin Begley; in Paris, France first appeared on THE VEGAN OPTION radio show and blog.

8 Dec 2016

Rank #10

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Palm Oil: with Catherine Laurence, Eric Lambin, Orangutan rescuer Daniek Hendarto, RSPO SG Darrel Webber

Palm Oil Palm oil is everywhere – from cooking oil to soap to vegan margarine. Equatorial rainforest and peatland are cleared and replaced with serried ranks of oil palm trees (Elaeis guineensis).  The biodiversity of Borneo and Sumatra, including  the iconic Orang Utan, is threatened by habitat loss. Some vegan activists say no product that causes so much destruction can be considered vegan. But is palm oil really worse than the alternatives? And can poor countries like Malaysia and Indonesia develop without it? Environmentalist Catherine Laurence helps me disentangle the thicket of issues. Hear academic experts Eric Lambin and Robert Greenland; vegan baker Ms Cupcake; primatologist Georgina Ash; vegan MP Kerry McCarthy; the boss of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil; and vegan Indonesian palm oil activist and Miskin Porno lead singer Daniek Hendarto. Play or download (38.3MB MP3) (via iTunes) Catherine Laurence There is more about Catherine in her blog post, “Being part of the solution“. Follow @calaurence on Twitter Guests Georgina Ash Georgina Ash is a primatologist who has worked and volunteered with Orangutans. She is now the picture editor for the World Society for the Protection of Animals in London, UK, where I spoke with her. Daniek Hendarto Daniek (pronounced “Danny”) works for Indonesian NGO the Centre for Orangutan Protection: he helps advise Zoos on care, resettling Orangutans from threatened areas, and campaigning against the impact of palm oil. Daniek is vegan, and also the lead singer of punk rock band “Miskin Porno”, which (content warning) sings sweary rants against palm oil: Listen to Miskin Porno at ReverbNation.com Prof Eric Lambin Dr Lambin is a Professor of Geography at Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium and at Stanford University, California. He specialises in land use change. Because of his work, he has received the Prix Franqui, and been elected to the US National Academy of Sciences. He is a meat reducer, for environmental reasons. Eric Lambin at Standford University, California USA Eric Lambin at Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, California USA Eric Lambin’s research activities, Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium (PDF) Dr Robert Goodland Dr Goodland is a tropical ecologist. He went from an academic career to being an environmental advisor at the World Bank, and from there to being an environmental campaigner, consultant, and writer. He is vegan. Dr Goodland blogged at WorldBank.org about the research he did with Dr Anhang that concluded that livestock are responsible for 51% of Greenhouse Gas Emissions. He also wrote a column for The Guardian criticising the World Bank’s environmental impact in 2007. He received the Coolidge Memorial Medial from the International Union for Nature Conservation in 2008. Robert Goodland’s site Darrel Webber Darrel Webber left a career in business to join the World Wildlife Fund, where he liaised with palm oil companies to build wildlife corridors into their plans. He is omnivorous – his interest in conservation is led partially by his fishing. He joined the RSPO from WWF. As Director General of the RSPO, he has taken part in: A Google hangout with other palm oil activists and stakeholders (1 hr) Business podcast “The Breakfast Grill” (“The Green Side of Palm Oil”) Melissa Morgan (“Ms Cupcake”) Ms Cupcake is a vegan baker and media personality, the author of “The Naughtiest Vegan Cakes in Town” cookbook, and winner of the British Baker 2011 “Rising Star” award. Her bakery is in the gentrifying south London suburb of Brixton. @MsCupcakeUK on Twitter Kerry McCarthy MP You hear the Member of the UK Parliament for Bristol East and her two parliamentary colleagues in the shows about vegan politicians.  There is more about her on the page for the first politics show. Oil Palm You can read reports from US-based Center for Science in the Public Interest (2005, PDF), the United Nations Environment Programme (2011, pdf), and campaigns from the Rainforest Action Network and  the UK magazine Ethical Consumer. But you should definitely read Catherine’s blog post about what she thinks the solutions are, now the episode is done. As a commodity, we used statistics from the US Department of Agriculture. The Three Oil Palm Fruit Products The Oil Palm yields fruit; the fruit has both flesh and kernel; and both of those produce meal as well as oil. In the show, we talked mainly about the fruit oil (which is four-fifths of the economic value). Here is my working for how the economic yield breaks down (showing that it’s mostly the fruit oil). According to the Malaysian Palm Oil Board, each hectare produces: Oil: 4t at $750/t = $3000 = 80% Kernel oil: 500kg at $840/t = $420 = 16% Kernel cake/meal: 600kg at $250/t = $150 = 4% Total = $3750 The oils are used mainly for food, but are also used in biofuel and other non-food products. The kernel meal is mainly used as animal feed, but is sometimes also used locally as biofuel. The Oil as an Ingredient The saturated fat molecules in palm oil have a kink that makes it easy for the molecules to stack into a solid. For this reason, palm oil is a source of fats that are solid at room temperature, making “ambient products” possible. This is an issue for anyone avoiding fat, as well as for bakers. Orangutans and Habitat Loss The Orangutans (Indonesian: forest man) are the only species of great ape restricted to Asia. The Sumatran Orangutan is critically endangered; the Bornean Orangutan is endangered. (The other great apes are Chimpanzee, Bonobo, Eastern/Western Gorillas, and – lest we forget – Human). See also: “Orangutan Island” (Video, Discovery Channel) The Orangutans are a symbol, but not the only threatened species; the Sumatran Rhino is thought to number fewer than four hundred;  and the Sumatran tiger is also critically endangered: with just 1 percent of the Earth’s land area, Indonesia’s rainforests contain 10% of the world’s known plants, 12% of mammals and 17% of all known bird species – Rainforest Action Network Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil The RSPO includes a wide range of producers, traders, and consumers of palm oil as well as NGOs. It marks palm oil that is traceable to source and produced in line with its principles and rules as CSPO (Certified Sustainable Palm Oil) The RSPO website provides information on consumption, production and purchase of CSPO Rainforest Action Network summed up the case against CSPO in a series of blog posts; and reported on breaches of local regulations and RSPO rules by Cargill (PDF) I mentioned the complaint against IOI; or see this letter to the press from one of the complainants (hat tip COP). The RSPO revised the specifics of some of its rules in 2013: I mentioned that WWF was so disappointed with this revision that they want to set up a new, stricter, certificate within the RSPO (PDF). Catherine includes more information about Green Palm and CSPO on her blog post about what consumers can do. Makers of Vegan Margarines Kerry Foods Kerry Foods make “Pure”, the UK’s leading brand of vegan margarine. They are RSPO members (membership page). Their Annual Communication of Progress for 2010-11 said only 2% of their palm oil was CSPO. My comparison with 10% of Palm Oil production being CSPO was based on these RSPO figures for CSPO production. Kerry failed to file an ACOP in 2011-12, as shown by their absence from this list [Update 2018: list now vanished, but you can looks at this empty search result instead]. The RSPO process does at least make it obvious when someone does not even fill in the paperwork. Earth Balance Earth Balance are produced by Boulder Brands. They are not RSPO members, and have a web page about their palm oil sourcing. Thanks … go to Robb Masters and Miskin Porno for the music. The title of the Miskin Porno song used in the show, translated and bowdlerised, is “F___ palm oil”. The illustration pic of Indonesian deforestation is by Vincent Poulissen, used with permission; the sound clip pic is of Orangutan is Kani from Melbourne Zoo by Macinate (and yes, I did try to find a pic of a freeliving Orangutan) used under CC-BY.The post Palm Oil: with Catherine Laurence, Eric Lambin, Orangutan rescuer Daniek Hendarto, RSPO SG Darrel Webber first appeared on THE VEGAN OPTION radio show and blog.

13 Sep 2013

Rank #11

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Vegan Politicians: Kerry McCarthy MP on Brexit

As the British public make their biggest decision in a generation, Ian asks Kerry McCarthy MP about the potential impact of Brexit on animals. Vegan MP on EU Referendum In this special short extra edition of the Vegan Option, Ian catches up with longstanding vegan MP, and main official opposition spokeswoman on farming and the environment, Kerry McCarthy. How does she think animals would vote? (And, for that matter, how will Ian?) Play or download (17MB MP3) (via iTunes) I compiled the thoughts of ten EU immigrant vegans for a post on my friend Sean’s blog, Fat Gay Vegan. I also mentioned the UK Government’s recent proposal (now withdrawn) to make the poultry industry self-regulating. Party Spokeswomen and man on Brexit: “A Vote for the EU is a vote for Animals” by Kerry McCarthy MP, Labour shadow secretary of state for the Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs “If Animals Could Vote, they Would Vote to Remain” by Keith Taylor MEP, Green party spokesman on animals “Leave or Remain? AWP’s position …” by Vanessa Hudson, leader of the Animal Welfare Party Podcaster and YouTuber VeganTrix (SoundCloud) filmed Kerry McCarthy’s full talk to VegFestUK [since deleted from YouTube]. It’s an hour long and very interesting, with a bit of gossip about life as a vegan MP. Plus, I’m in it. An audio-only version will be up soon. Other articles: A video explainer for non-Brits from the Guardian “In or Out, that is the Question” by Jasmijn de Boo (quoted in the show) “Brexit would be Disastrous for Britain’s Farmed Animals” by Sam Barker in The Guardian “Will EU Exit put a Stop to Live Animal Exports?” from Kent News “What would Brexit mean for Animals?” by Maria Chiorando in Vegan Life magazine “Greener In – Obviously!” by Jonathon Porritt (not about animal issues, but is about the tension between ethical regulation and other political priorities) Credits Music by Robb Masters. Interview recorded at VegFestUK Bristol.The post Vegan Politicians: Kerry McCarthy MP on Brexit first appeared on THE VEGAN OPTION radio show and blog.

11 Jun 2016

Rank #12

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VegHist Ep 10: Revolution. English civil war, diet gurus, and the poetry of Sensibility; with Tristram Stuart and Anita Guerrini; at the Ahmedabad Panjrapole

When printing lets ordinary people access a world of ideas, including Indian vegetarianism, some European radicals and diet gurus begin to oppose meat-eating. Episode 10: Revolution In England, the 1600s are a century of revolution. The artisans and yeomanry are picking up books – and the New Model Army is picking up pikes and muskets to turn the world upside down. Ian meets Dr Ariel Hessayon, a lecturer in the radicals of the English Civil War at a Thameside pub that was there during the 1600s, to discover tabloid scares and firebrand sermons about people who ate only bread, and water and fruit. In Ahmedabad, India, he visits the kind of animal hospital that astounded European travellers. And he hears from author Tristram Stuart about the impact stories of India had on Europeans, and how they shook Christendom’s moral certainty. Dr Anita Guerrini researches the first vegetarian diet gurus, whose books about food and medicine interpreted the intellectuals of the Republic of Letters for everyone else. And she tells Ian about the secret religion of Sir Isaac Newton. Play or download (62MB MP3 44min) (via iTunes) or read transcript Contributors: Sherwin Everett and Giraben Shah (Jivdaya Charitable Trust, within Panjrapole Ahmedabad) Ariel Hessayon, Goldsmiths, University of London (@ArielHessayon1 on Twitter) Anita Guerrini, Oregon State University (@NickyTheProf on Twitter) Tristram Stuart (tristramstuart.co.uk) (on Wikipedia) (@TristramStuart on Twitter) Readings Traveller Jan Huyghen van Linschoten, “Voyage .. to the East Indies”, 1595, translation by Burnell 1598 Thomas Bushell on his diet, quoted in Stuart p 8 Richard Baxter, “The Poor Husbandman’s Advocate to Rich Racking Landlords”, 1691 (published as “The Last Treatise of Rev Richard Baxter” in  1926 [PDF]) Thomas Edwards, “Gangraeana”, 1646 John Reeve, “A Transcendental Spiritual Treatise”, 1711 (1st ed 1652) Lodowick Muggleton, “The Acts of the Witnesses of the Spirit”, 1699 Anon & Roger Crab, “The English Hermit”, 1655 John Evelyn, “Acetaria”, 1699 Thomas Tryon “A dialogue between an East-Indian brackmanny or heathen-philosopher, and a French gentleman concerning the present affairs of Europe”, 1683 “Transcript of several letters from Averroes – also several letters from Pythagoras to the King of India”, 1695 Anonymous, “Letters Writ by a Turkish Spy”, Vol 4 & 7, 1691-4 (following Giovanni Paolo Marana tr William Bradshaw, “Letters Writ By a Turkish Spy”, Vol 1 1687) Isaac Newton, “Irenicum”, some point within 1711-1727 Bernard de Mandeville, “Fable of the Bees”, 1723 Alexander Pope, “The Essay on Man”, 1733/4 George Cheyne “The Case of the Author” in “The English Malady”, 1733 “An Essay on Regimen”, 1740 John Wesley letter to Bishop of London, 1747 Sermon 60, as published in 1872 Production Notes This is really where the story breaks open in the west and a “Pythagorean” diet re-enters the popular consciousness for the first time since antiquity. Frustratingly, I had to leave out a lot, such as how Thomas Tryon follows the mystic Jakob Boehme (quite a lot of early vegetarians are mystics) . In particular, George Cheyne has a very specific theory of how the nervous system works, based on the physical laws of Newton. But I can’t go into detail on all the theories that have fallen and risen as “natural history” stumbles towards a useful understanding of the body. The monument to Roger Crab is still in St. Dunstan’s, Stepney, London, though unfortunately I haven’t been able to locate it. As I live near there, it would be nice to pay our vegan predecessor some respects. The broadcast of this episode was on 6 Dec 2016. The podcast release was severely delayed. Rather than date this page with the broadcast date (as usual) I’m dating it to the January broadcast slot that was superseded by Resonance FM’s holiday schedules. Content (whether books, journal articles, or programmes) tends to be identified by its publication year, and so I thought it particularly important that that stays accurate. Credits The theme music is by Robb Masters. The period music was Greensleeves performed by Paul Arden-Taylor and Carol Holt (PD); slow reels (dances) “Long Acre” and “Kerry Fling” performed by the “Peak Fiddler”; Papalin’s performance on recorders of Henry Purcell’s Sonata in D Major (CC-BY) to again evoke turn-of-the-century London, and Telemann’s performance of Händel’s recorder Sonata. With the voices of Jeremy Hancock, Ian Russell, and Brian Roberts. Nimi Hirani gave me enormous help and assistance in Ahmedabad, and in India in general. The cover picture (by me) is some of the books in the readings: “Acetaria” (Evelyn) , “The English Hermit” (Crab), a pamphlet attacking Crab, and “Guide to Health, Long Life and Happiness” by George Cheyne. Bibliography 1630116 B8MIXFTF items 1 chicago-author-date author asc 1 http://theveganoption.org/wp-content/plugins/zotpress/ Ariel Hessayon. 2004. “Crab, Roger (c. 1616-1680), Hermit.” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Guerrini, Anita. 1999. “A Diet for a Sensitive Soul: Vegetarianism in Eighteenth-Century Britain.” Eighteenth-Century Life 23 (2): 34–42. https://muse.jhu.edu/article/10487. Hill, Christopher. 1964. Puritanism and Revolution: Studies in Interpretation of the English Revolution of the 17th Century. New York: Schocken Books. Hill, Christopher. 1972. The World Turned Upside down; Radical Ideas during the English Revolution. New York: Viking Press. Larue, Renan. 2009. “Les bienfaits controversés du régime maigre le Traité des dispenses du carême de Philippe Hecquet et sa réception (1709-1714).” Dix-huitième siècle, no. 41 (September): 409–30. http://www.cairn.info/resume.php?ID_ARTICLE=DHS_041_0409. Lodrick, Deryck O. 1981. Sacred Cows, Sacred Places: Origins and Survivals of Animal Homes in India. Berkeley: University of California Press. Stuart, Tristram. 2007. The Bloodless Revolution: A Cultural History of Vegetarianism from 1600 to Modern Times. New York: W.W. Norton & Co. The post VegHist Ep 10: Revolution. English civil war, diet gurus, and the poetry of Sensibility; with Tristram Stuart and Anita Guerrini; at the Ahmedabad Panjrapole first appeared on THE VEGAN OPTION radio show and blog.

3 Jan 2017

Rank #13

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Veganism in Politics: Chris Williamson MP, Cathy Jamieson MP and Kerry McCarthy MP answer your questions

AudioPlayer.setup("http://theveganoption.org/wp-content/plugins/simple-audio-player/player/player.swf", { width: 290 });AudioPlayer.embed("audioplayer_7338", {soundFile: "http://www.archive.org/download/TheVeganOptionVeganPoliticians2Of3/TheVeganOption-VeganPoliticians2-QnA.mp3", titles: "Vegan Politicians Q and A (2/3)", autostart: "no", loop: "no", animation: "no", remaining: "yes", noinfo: "no", initialvolume: "70", buffer: "5", encode: "no", checkpolicy: "no", rtl: "no", width: "479", transparentpagebg: "no", bg: "E5E5E5", leftbg: "0xBED3BA", lefticon: "333333", voltrack: "F2F2F2", volslider: "666666", rightbg: "0x155C06", rightbghover: "0xCCCCCC", righticon: "0xCCCCCC", righticonhover: "0x155C06", loader: "0xBED3BA", track: "FFFFFF", tracker: "DDDDDD", border: "CCCCCC", skip: "666666", text: "333333"}); (14 min) Play or download (15MB MP3) (other formats) (via iTunes) Veganism in Politics 2: Q & A The three vegan Members of the British Parliament (MPs) answer your questions. Are they afraid about how voters will react to their veganism? And what’s the food like at the House of Commons? Press the play button to find out. (Or, better still, subscribe via iTunes or your podcast catcher of choice.) Veganism in Politics This is the second of a series of three shows about veganism in Politics: you can also hear the first show, in which we profile vegan advocates in politics around the world, and the MPs answer questions from their counterparts Maneka Gandhi and Dennis Kucinich. The third show will be about the World Vegan Day debate. Show notes The first show’s notes have more about interviewees Chris Williamson MP, Cathy Jamieson MP, and Kerry McCarthy MP. Jordan Wyatt’s show is Coexisting with Non-Human Animals. His World Vegan Day episode included us amongst dozens of vegans talking about their year. Other people provided questions here on this blog. Diana mentioned Peter Singer being offered ham by someone in the RSPCA. This incident is in his book Animal Liberation. Robb Masters wrote our theme. A tangent about the Green Party Kerry McCarthy MP and Cathy Jamieson MP, from the main opposition Labour party, both talk about lawmakers from the environmentalist Green Party. Listeners from the United States might be used to a two-party system and surprised to hear a minor party get elected; listeners from countries with more proportionate systems might wonder why the Greens only have one MP. The Green Party is the fifth Great-Britain-wide party in opinion polls. The British Parliament, in common with national parliaments in the USA and India, uses an electoral system which hurts minor parties with evenly spread voters. This is why it’s taken the Greens until the 2010 election to gain a single representative. The Scottish and European Parliaments use more proportionate voting systems, so the greens have more representatives there. In the show, Cathy Jamieson mentions green Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs). I talk about some of the other ways that animal activists engage with British politics in my Verdant Reports blog post about the 2010 UK general election.The post Veganism in Politics: Chris Williamson MP, Cathy Jamieson MP and Kerry McCarthy MP answer your questions first appeared on THE VEGAN OPTION radio show and blog.

1 Dec 2011

Rank #14

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Science Fiction and Animals: from Jonathan Swift and HG Wells to Star Trek and Doctor Who; with Sherryl Vint, Robert McKay, and Tara Lomax

Science Fiction and Animals From Jonathan Swift’s talking horses to Star Trek’s Vulcans, from HG Wells to the Wachowskis, science fiction tackles the big questions about our relationship with other animals. Join the experts who investigate where animal studies meets media theory. Discover the themes in famous books, film, and TV – as well as the cult sci-fi stories that examine food ethics, the boundaries of humanity, and alternative ways of living. Discover what the experts really think of Planet of the Apes; what Soylent Green used to made from before they started using people; and hear everyone’s favourite Time Lord try to talk a monster out of eating humanity in our Doctor Who sketch. Play or download (18.5MB MP3) (via iTunes) Guests Dr Sherryl Vint Sherryl Vint edited the Animal Studies Issue of the Journal of Science Fiction Studies and has written Animal Alterity: Science Fiction and the Question of the Animal. She is a professor of English at the University of California, Riverside, where she reads science fiction and popular culture. She previously lectured at Brock University in her native Canada, which is a centre of animal studies theory. She calls herself a “vegetarian with vegan tendencies”; those tendencies include eating vegan apart from honey, alcohol filtered in non-vegan ways, and similar exceptions. Dr Robert McKay Robert McKay lectures in English literature at the University of Sheffield, England, specialising in animal studies and literature after 1945. He is part of the UK’s Animal Studies group, and contributed an essay to the collection Killing Animals. The Introduction and Conclusion by Erica Fudge are available to download via Academia.edu. He is vegan. Tara Lomax Tara Lomax is a PhD candidate in screen studies at the University of Melbourne, and a vegan activist. She is currently working on a conference paper on animal issues in Twleve Monkeys. Tara Lomax at academia.edu Tara is vegan and a campaigner. Books, Films, and TV cited Gulliver’s Travels Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, by Jonathan Swift, 1726 Gulliver’s Travels at Project Gutenberg Gulliver’s Travels at Wikipedia Frankenstein Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, by Mary Shelley, 1818 Frankenstein (1818 edition) at Project Gutenberg Frankenstein at Wikipedia Sherryl Vint mentions that the creature was made of human and non-human animal parts. When petitioning Victor Frankenstein to create him a bride, the creature promised to take the vegan pledge: If you consent, neither you nor any other human being shall ever see us again: I will go to the vast wilds of South America. My food is not that of man; I do not destroy the lamb and the kid to glut my appetite; acorns and berries afford me sufficient nourishment. My companion will be of the same nature as myself, and will be content with the same fare. We shall make our bed of dried leaves; the sun will shine on us as on man, and will ripen our food. The picture I present to you is peaceful and human, and you must feel that you could deny it only in the wantonness of power and cruelty. To be fair to to Victor Frankenstein (and to angry torch-wielding mobs everywhere) the creature had already killed at this point. Hat-tip to Philip Armstrong for the quotation. Mary Shelly was almost certainly vegetarian (although I haven’t tracked down a citation that would give me absolute confidence). Her husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley, was an advocate of Rousseauist “back-to-nature” vegetarianism under the mentorship of her father. After Percy’s early death, she was best known for publishing his works, including pro-vegetarian poetry. Island of Dr Moreau The Island of Dr Moreau, by HG Wells, 1896 The Island of Dr Moreau at Project Gutenberg The Island of Dr Moreau at Wikipedia Our hero Prendick returns home distrustful of other humans: Then I look about me at my fellow-men; and I go in fear. I see faces, keen and bright; others dull or dangerous; others, unsteady, insincere,—none that have the calm authority of a reasonable soul. I feel as though the animal was surging up through them; that presently the degradation of the Islanders will be played over again on a larger scale. War of the Worlds The War of the Worlds, by HG Wells, 1898 The War of the Worlds text at Project Gutenberg The War of the Worlds at Wikipedia I mentioned that – despite comparing the carnivorous Martians to humanity’s own habits – HG Wells mocked vegetarians. For example his 1908 novel Ann Veronica features parody vegetarians Mr & Mrs Goopes. Sirius Sirius: a Fantasy of Love and Discord, by Olaf Stapledon, 1944 Sirius text at the University of Adelaide Sirius at Wikipedia Beyond Lies The Wubb Beyond Lies The Wubb, short story by Philip K Dick, 1952 Beyond Lies the Wubb at Project Gutenberg Beyond Lies the Wubb at Wikipedia Reading of “Beyond Lies The Wubb” by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau as part of her podcast Vegetarian Food for Thought I ended up leaving this out of the show, even though it includes a conversation about food ethics very similar to our Dr Who skit. To Serve Man To Serve Man, short story by Damon Knight, 1950 To Serve Man at Wikipedia To Serve Man, Twilight Zone episode, screenplay by Rod Serling, 1962 To Serve Man at Wikipedia To Serve Man at IMDB Doctor Who The clip is taken from: The Bells of Saint John, written by Steven Moffat, 2013 The Bells of Saint John at bbc.co.uk The Bells of Saint John at IMDB The Bells of Saint John at the Tardis Wiki The Doctor himself turns vegetarian in 1985’s The Two Doctors. A 1986 comic has him lapse; but Paul Cornell’s 1995 novel Human Nature (adapted for TV in 2007) suggests that he’s still vegetarian in his subsequent, seventh, incarnation. Either way, he was not vegetarian on his return to TV in 2005. Planet of the Apes The franchise begins with Pierre Boulle’s 1963 novel. Tara Lomax and Sherryl Vint specifically discussed … Planet of the Apes, screenplay by Michael Wilson and Rod Serling, 1968 Planet of the Apes shooting script Planet of the Apes at Wikipedia Planet of the Apes at IMDB Escape from the Planet of the Apes, screenplay by Paul Dehn, 1971 Escape from the Planet of the Apes at Wikipedia Escape from the Planet of the Apes at IMDB Rise of the Planet of the Apes, screenplay by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, 2011 Rise of the Planet of the Apes at Wikipedia Rise of the Planet of the Apes at IMDB Rise of the Planet of the Apes has attracted praise and caution from animal activists. I mentioned: Rise of the Planet of the Apes receives Peta’s seal of approval – Peta.org “Human, all too human” – Dr Nik Taylor of Flinders University disagrees in a column in The Guardian Soylent Green Make Room! Make Room!, novel by Harry Harrison, 1966 Make Room! Make Room! at Wikipedia Review and commentary by Paul Tomlinson Soylent Green, screenplay by Stanley R Greenberg,1973 Soylent Green at Wikipedia Soylent Green at IMDB Soylent Green review in an episode of Our Hen House podcast Bladerunner Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K Dick, 1968 Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? at Wikipedia Bladerunner, screenplay by Hampton Fancher and David Peeples, 1982 Bladerunner at Wikipedia Bladerunner at IMDB Star Trek The clips are from: The Slaver Weapon, by Larry Niven, 1973 The Slaver Weapon at StarTrek.com The Slaver Weapon at Wikipedia The Slaver Weapon at Memory Alpha Yes, I did begin this show with yet more carnivorous cats. Is that not a perfect segue from the last show? Lonely Among Us, by D.C. Fontana and Michael Halperin, 1987 Lonely Among Us at StarTrek.com Lonely Among Us at Memory Alpha Lonely Among Us at IMDB There are a range of commentaries on the franchise’s treatment of animals: “A vegan’s view of Star Trek”, blog post by “Busy Vegan” Veronique Nicole, 2012 Vegetarian at Memory Alpha Star Trek wiki “Where no vegan has gone before”, blog post by Daniel of Austin TX lifestyle blog Red Hot Vegans, 2012 Uplift Uplift, series of novels by David Brin, 1980-1998 Uplift Universe at Wikipedia The Matrix The Matrix, screenplay by Lana and Andy Wachowski, 1999 The Matrix at Wikipedia The Matrix at IMDB Tara Lomax mentioned that the themes of the Matrix have been adopted by The Grace Communications Foundation in their series of satires The Meatrix. GCF argues makes an environmental and welfare case for non-intensive animal farming. Animals Animals, by Don LePan, 2000 Animals at Don LePan.com Don LePan at Wikipedia Transhuman Space Under Pressure, role-playing game sourcebook, written by David Morgan-Mar, Kenneth Peters, and Constantine Thomas, 2003 Transhuman Space at Steve Jackson Games Transhuman Space at Wikipedia This near-future hard science fiction setting is notable for two reasons. Firstly, it posited a European Union that had banned land animal farming. And secondly, I contributed a few paragraphs – undersea “pan-sentient” activists who kidnapped fish-farm executives and forced them to relive the braintaped last moments of dying tuna. [Spoiler Alert: Title Redacted] Even naming this book in this context would spoil a major turn of the plot – a spoiler that was impossible to completely avoid in the show. The curious can follow this link, and find out about the film adaption via the studio and IMDB. Wess’har Wess’har, series of novels by Karen Traviss, 2004-8 Wess’har at Karen Traviss.com Wess’har at Wikipedia The Doctor Who Skit The skit was written by myself with Sally Beaumont; and performed by Sally Beaumont. The skit references the Doctor’s acquaintanceship with Vegan miners working on Peladon, Leonardo Da Vinci (and his vegetarianism), and (in the extended version) convention 15 of the Shadow Proclamation. Sally Beaumont is an actor, playwright, and voiceover artist. She has played Ada Lovelace in a BBC documentary and sold Chewbacca a hair dryer in a TV commercial. Sally Beaumont at IMDB I am obviously very very grateful to her. Thanks :). (No, Time Lords do not always retain the same gender across incarnations. Thank you for asking.) See Also Discussions of science fiction of interest at: VeganSciFi.com – upbeat blog about animal questions and vegan personalities in science fiction Fiction with a vegan / animal rights sensibility at LibraryThing Thanks … go to Robb Masters for the music and voiceover, Catherine Laurence for voiceover, the guests, and to Sally Beaumont. Many academics took the time to help me with my research, but for whatever reason did not end up interviewed on the show. These include Nik Taylor, John Miller, Claire Molloy, Susan McHugh, and Philip Armstrong. Copyright Doctor Who, Star Trek, The Twilight Zone, Planet of the Apes, Escape from the Planet of the Apes, The Matrix, The Meatrix, and Bladerunner are copyright their respective owners. No challenge is made or implied. Short clips are used under fair dealing for the purposes of media criticism. The Dr Who skit used freeware sounds “Connecting to Earth” by Philip Bock,  “Giga Core” by Cosmic Dreamer, “Crowd Talking” by SoundJay. It also used Tardis, Sonic Screwdriver and Sting sound effects that are copyright BBC, and used without permission. I am grateful to the BBC’s tolerant attitude to unauthorised work, make no challenge to the BBC’s copyright, and will remove those sound effects if the BBC requests. As I recognise that some of these corporations could, in principle, get out their lawyers and contest my fair use, and because I am using BBC intellectual property without permission, I cannot make this show available under a Creative Commons licence.The post Science Fiction and Animals: from Jonathan Swift and HG Wells to Star Trek and Doctor Who; with Sherryl Vint, Robert McKay, and Tara Lomax first appeared on THE VEGAN OPTION radio show and blog.

5 Jul 2013

Rank #15