What appeal can be made to people whose first instinct, on seeing a beautiful animal, full of joyousness and vitality, is to hunt or eat it?
-Henry Salt, Seventy Years Among Savages (1921)
Asceticism! Such is the strange idea with which, in many minds, our principles are associated. It would be impossible to take a more erroneous view of modern vegetarianism; and it is only through constitutional or deliberate blindness to the meaning of the movement that such a misconception can arise. How can we convey to our flesh-eating friends, in polite yet sufficiently forcible language, that their diet is an abomination to us, and that our “abstinence,” far from being ascetic, is much more nearly allied to the joy that never palls? Is the farmer an ascetic because, looking over into his evil-smelling pigsty, he has no inclination to swill himself from the same trough as the swine? And why, then, should it be counted asceticism on our part to refuse, on precisely the same grounds, to eat the swine themselves? No; our opponents must clearly recognise, if they wish to form any correct notion of vegetarianism, that it is based, not an asceticism, but aestheticism; not on the mortification, but the gratification of the higher pleasures.
-Henry Salt, The Logic of Vegetarianism (1906)