Donald Watson

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Donald Watson (2 September 1910 – 16 November 2005) was an English animal rights advocate who coined the word vegan and one of the 24 founders of the Vegan Society.

Early life

Watson was born in Mexborough, Yorkshire, the son of a headmaster in a mining community. As a child, Watson spent time on his Uncle George's farm. The slaughtering of a pig on the farm horrified Watson; he said his view of farm life changed from idyllic to a death row for animals. Watson began to reassess his practice of eating meat. He became a vegetarian in 1924 at the age of fourteen, making a New Year's resolution to never again eat meat. He gave up dairy products about 18 years later, having understood the production of milk-related products was also unethical.

He said: "I was surrounded by interesting animals. They all "gave" something: the farm horse pulled the plough, the lighter horse pulled the trap, the cows "gave" milk, the hens "gave" eggs and the cockerel was a useful "alarm clock" - I didn't realise at that time that he had another function, too. The sheep "gave" wool. I could never understand what the pigs "gave", but they seemed such friendly creatures - always glad to see me."

See also