British MPs Celebrate Gandhi’s Birthday by Going Vegan

Posted by on September 30, 2013 | Permalink

On 2 October, we celebrate the birth of one of the greatest practitioners of nonviolence in all of history, Mahatma Gandhi. To mark it, the UN has declared 2 October as the International Day of Non-Violence, a day dedicated to “disseminate the message of non-violence, including through education and public awareness”.

On top of that, it is World Farm Animals Day, an occasion to recognise the suffering of billions of terrified animals who are beaten, crippled and killed on factory farms and in slaughterhouses around the globe – all for nothing more than a fleeting taste of their flesh.

The perfect way to mark this important day is to adopt a vegan diet.

Gandhi taught that nonviolence begins with what we eat.

Gandhi taught that nonviolence begins with what we eat. He famously said, “I hold that the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man”. And in his total commitment to nonviolence, Gandhi always included animals, stating, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”.

These words are even more appropriate today in light of our animal factories and slaughterhouses. More than 1 billion land animals and fish are killed for food each year in the UK, and they are killed in ways that would horrify any compassionate person. The overwhelming majority of animals killed for food are raised on filthy, crowded factory farms, where they are caged and deprived of everything that is natural and important to them. They rarely – if ever – smell fresh air or feel the sun on their backs until the day when they are sent off to slaughter.

According to Indian politician Maneka Gandhi, “The best way for individuals, government offices and businesses to honour Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday is by not eating meat or dairy on the International Day of Non-Violence”.

And we’ve asked British MPs to do just that.

Compassionate members of parliament, including Adrian Sanders MP, Torbay; the Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons, Angela Smith MP, Penistone and Stocksbridge; the Chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party, David Watts MP, St Helens North; Frank Doran MP, Aberdeen North; Grahame Morris MP, Easington; Martin Horwood MP, Cheltenham; Nic Dakin MP, Scunthorpe; the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Department of Transport, Norman Baker MP, Lewes; Teresa Pearce MP, Erith and Thamesmead and the Shadow International Development Minister, Dame Tessa Jowell MP, Dulwich and West Norwood, Tony Cunningham MP, Workington, have pledged to give vegan eating a try in honour of Gandhi.

They join Kerry McCarthy, Chris Williamson and Cathy Jamieson, three MPs who already leave meat, dairy products and eggs off their plates. These political leaders are leading by example.

More than 50 years after his death, Gandhi remains a source of wisdom and inspiration to the world. We may not be able to stop all the violence in the world, but we can lessen the amount of violence in our own lives. The only way to stop this cruel cycle of animal abuse is to practise non-violence and stop eating animal products.

Join the celebration, and mark Gandhi’s birthday by making the compassionate choice and leaving animals off your plate. Order our free vegan starter kit for recipes, tips and advice.

Gandhi image: duncanh1 / CC BY 2.0