Henry Salt Archive

Henry Salt (1853-1939) was the author of the Life of Henry David Thoreau, Animals Rights and A Plea for Vegetarianism which inspired Gandhi for follow a vegetarian diet.

Aims and Objects of the Humanitarian League

The Humanitarian League has been established to enforce the principle that it is iniquitous to inflict avoidable suffering on any sentient being. This principle the League will apply and emphasise in those cases where it appears to be most flagrantly overlooked, and will protest not only against the cruelties inflicted by men on men, in the name of law, authority, and conventional usage but also, in accordance with the same sentiment of humanity against the wanton ill-treatment of the lower animals.

Among the reforms advocated by the Humanitarian League the following are prominent, and are dealt with by two special sub-committees:-

A thorough revision and more humane administration of the Criminal Law and Prison system, with a view to the discontinuance of the death penalty and corporal punishment, and an acceptance of the principle of reclamation instead of revenge in the treatment of offenders.

A more vigorous application of the existing laws for the prevention of cruelty to animals, and an extension of these laws for the protection of wild animals as well as domestic, with especial reference to blood-sports, vivisection, the slaughter of animals for food, and the cruelties inflicted, at the dictates of fashion, in the name of fur and feather trade.

Recognition of the urgent need of humaner education, to impress on the young the duty of thoughtfulness and fellow feeling for all sentient beings.

In brief, the distinctive purpose of the Humanitarian League is to consolidate and give consistent expression to the principle of humaneness, and to show that Humanitarianism is not merely a kindly sentiment, a product of the heart rather than of the brain, but an essential portion of any intelligible system of ethics or social science.