Henry Salt and Mahatma Gandhi at a public meeting of the London Vegetarian Society in 1931.

Henry Salt and Mahatma Gandhi at a public meeting of the London Vegetarian Society in 1931.

If there is a moment in the history of the animal rights movement I wish I could take myself back to it would be to a public meeting of the London Vegetarian Society on November 20 1931. Looking at the photograph which records the historic event, my eye is drawn to the recognizable figure of Mahatma Gandhi and to the distinguished looking older man with a full pointed beard seated on his right. It is Henry S. Salt, founder of the Humanitarian League in 1891 and author of Animals’ Rights first published in 1894. A meeting in which Gandhi and Salt sit together on the same stage represents a lineage in understanding why animal rights matters. The provenance begins from before the twentieth century when Gandhi and Salt drew inspiration respectively from such diverse sources as the Buddha and the American writer and naturalist Henry David Thoreau.

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