Believe it or not, refusing to eat meat was once considered to be a radical act, reports Vox:
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Today, October 1, is World Vegetarian Day. The North American Vegetarian Society started the holiday in 1977, and the International Vegetarian Society picked it up the next year. But the history of vegetarianism in the West stretches back far, far earlier, all the way to the 19th century. And the early days were … well, sometimes they were a bit weird.
Back in the 1800s, people in England first began to organize groups that promoted vegetarianism as a means of preserving animal life. The 1809 founding of the Bible Christian Church marked an early starting point, and other organizations — both religious and secular — followed. As early as 1811, potential vegetarians could find arguments in books like John Newton’s strident testimonial The Return to Nature:
In the ensuing decades, vegetarianism grew in popularity, thanks to advocacy from some religious groups and support from parts of the medical community (one example, from 1838: Vegetable Diet, as Sanctioned by Medical Men, and by Experience in All Ages).