“A man can live and be healthy without killing animals for food; therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite.”
Leo Tolstoy, On Civil Disobedience
Who was Leo Tolstoy?
Leo Tolstoy, Tolstoy also spelled Tolstoi, Russian in full Lev Nikolayevich, Graf (count) Tolstoy, (born August 28 [September 9, New Style], 1828, Yasnaya Polyana, Tula province, Russian Empire—died November 7 [November 20], 1910, Astapovo, Ryazan province), Russian author, a master of realistic fiction and one of the world’s greatest novelists.
Tolstoy was an advocate for animals and a vegetarian
Animal Rights: A History, Leo Tolstoy
“Count Leo Nikolayevich Tolstoy, 1828 – 1910 is best known as one of Russia’s greatest novelists, the most well known of his novels are War and peace and Anna Karenina. He was also a contemporary of Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky another advocate of vegetarianism and animal rights.
Tolstoy was however more than a writer he was a moral philosopher, a humanitarian, and a mystic. After his conversion to vegetarianism he lived upon simple food such as bread, fruits vegetables and porridge.”
“Tolstoy was an ethical vegetarian and an advocate of the humane treatment of animals. In 1885 along with two of his daughters Tolstoy became a vegetarian. His reasons for doing so are expressed in The First Step, which Tolstoy wrote as a preface for the 1892 Russian Edition of The Ethics of Diet written by Howard Williams. According to this influential preface, important in it’s own right, from which you will find selections below, Tolstoy’s principal reason for becoming vegetarian was his conviction that eating flesh is “simply immoral as it involves the performance of an act which is contrary to moral feeling -killing; and is called forth only by greediness and the desire for tasty food”. Tolstoy thought that all men were brothers and therefore a natural bond existed between them. He believed that bond was love and that this bond should extend to all living creatures.
Read more, includes for quotations: