Annotations - Thanksgiving 1908

poisoned by fear and suffering

This idea that meat is tainted by the negative emotions and distress that living animals experience before they are slaughtered appears widely in vegan and vegetarian writings. In the modern period, one of the earliest (and most impassioned) proponents of a plant diet, for this among other reasons, was Thomas Tryon. His 1682 treatise promoting the bibical textual justification for veganism and against the consumption of animals, Healths Grand Preservative  (1682) includes the following warnings:

“when any Creature is Killed, the great pain and Agony they endure does so powerfully awake the Center of the wrathful Fire, and also the Internal Poysons which are the Root of every Life, that the said Fierce Poysonous Spirits seize the Blood on their fountain of preservation, so that the Blood does not only contain all the natural dispositions, passions and Inclinations, but also the awakened Poysons and irradiated Spirits which were violently stirred up by Death's stroke. For when the natural Life is in danger (the continuation of which is so sweet unto all Creatures, and they do so unwillingly part with it, especially when the Creature is in perfect Health and Strength) what a strange fear and dread must needs attend the creature in this condition? and how strongly and violently are all the Centers and Powers of nature stirred up? and then are awakened the vengeful Spirits, which do contain the Blood, for that is their Habitation, which in this Agonous condition does often spread itself through the whole Body, and makes the Flesh look red, but this is generally drawn back again by the drawing away of the Blood where the wound is made. Now if this Blood be exposed to the open Air, these fiery dark wrathful Spirits do by degrees evaporate, and incorporate themselves with the Air, and so defiles it, and renders it pernicious” (15-16).

Tryon's most widely read book was The Way to Health, published in 1691 as a second edition of Health's Grand Preservative; or, The Women's Best Doctor (1682). Benjamin Franklin claimed to have been inspired by Tryon's writings to adopt a plant-based diet.