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This essay focuses on the first few decades of the original Vegan Society.It was partly written to support the contention that veganism is a rejection of nonhuman exploitation that goes beyond dietary guidelines.To address a practical hurdle on some people's path to veganism, Cross founded the Plantmilk Society in 1956.
He offered an analogy that identified the fundamental problem and suggested the necessity of abolition: "We can see quite plainly that our present civilisation is built on the exploitation of [nonhuman] animals, just as past civilisations were built on the exploitation of [human] slaves".The society's Eva Batt wrote in 1964 that owing to a dearth of "knowledge and experience", along with an excess of "enthusiasm", some vegan "pioneers developed symptoms of diet deficiencies and a few suffered much both physically and socially" The one serious question mark over veganism has been vitamin B12, and I confess I feel there is something in the argument that this vitamin, which is never directly found but as a result of microbiological action, is important for vegan progress.I must give my reason: some early vegans became ill and this frightened off many would-be-vegans. It appears that some human beings have lost the natural ability to use the vitamin B12 synthesised by microbiological action in their own intestines.The Society, therefore, sees no honourable alternative but to challenge the traditions of orthodoxy by advocating a completely revised dietary based on reason and humane principle and guided by science and [designed] to meet physiological requirements.It is not suggested that Veganism alone would be sufficient to solve all the problems of individual and social-well being, but so closely is its philosophy linked with morality, hygiene, aesthetics and agricultural economy that its adoption would remedy many unsatisfactory features of present-day life.
I am reasonably satisfied that this conclusion is justified and consequently that it is wise to include dietary vitamin B12 in the vegan diet.