Activists +
Ten Vegetarian Leaders
posted by Jake Richardson Apr 22, 2011

Clara Barton
Famous for nursing countless injured, sick and dying patients, she also played a very important role in establishing the Red Cross in the United States. Additionally, she participated in the women's suffrage and anti-slavery movements. Even though she was exposed to war and witnessed great carnage and death, she lived until the age of ninety.

Jane Goodall
One of the world's leading conservationists and primatologists, she became a vegetarian after reading a book called Animal Liberation in the 1970s. Because she travels so much, she does eat some animal products like dairy milk, cheese and eggs, when she can't find other foods.

Susan B. Anthony
She was not only a pioneer in the women's suffrage movement, she also campaigned against slavery. She lived to the age of eighty-six, but did not witness the the passage of the bill that gave women the right to vote.

Aung San Suu Kyi
She is a pro-democracy activist who has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. One of her quotes about human rights is, 'Human beings the world over need freedom and security that they may be able to realize their full potential.' (Source:

Rosa Parks
Parks played an instrumental role in the civil rights movement, and is well known for her activism around the world. In a magazine called The Crisis a 1996 article documented her vegetarian background, 'I have been a vegetarian a few years. I grew up in rural Alabama and we did not eat a lot of pork meat. When I was young I couldn't eat fresh meat. It made me kind of sick. I was not in the practice of eating a lot of meat. We had peach, apple, plums. We would go into the woods and pick blackberries. It was not hard at all for me not to eat meat.' (Source:

Cesar Chavez
He was a farmer, labor leader and civil rights activist who worked tirelessly to help get better working conditions for field laborers, and end discrimination. The niece of Cesar Chavez said this of her famous uncle's diet, 'Cesar was a vegan. He didn't eat any animal products. He was a vegan because he believed in animal rights but also for his health. Growing up I was always surrounded by vegetarians and vegetarian meals were always an option.' (Source: Google Books) When he passed away, she decided to follow his non-meat eating ways to show respect for him.

Thich Nhat Hanh
He is a Buddhist monk, author, poet and peace activist. He has spoken openly about how a vegetarian diet is a way of practicing non-violence and environmental conservation, 'If we look deeply, we will see that eating can be extremely violent. UNESCO tells us that every day, 40,000 children in the world die because of a lack of nutrition, of food. Every day, 40,000 children. And the amount of grain that we grow in the West is mostly used to feed our cattle. According to a recent report, of all the agricultural land in the U.S., 87% is used to raise animals for food. That is 45% of the total land mass in the U.S.' (Source:

Dennis Kucinich
United States Congressman Kucinich said he stopped eating animal products due to the influence of former girlfriend Yelena Boxer, who was vegan. In an interview his wife, Elizabeth Kucinich, said, 'I think it's a combination of three things. One is compassion. A vegan diet is in line with what we're trying to create in the world. Equal to that is sustainability. We understand feeding all of our plant-based foods to animals is an inefficient way of feeding people. Then there's health. We're constantly traveling through different time zones. The vegan diet just gives us energy. We're not trying to convert anyone, but we do talk about the benefits of the choices we've made.' (Source: Both he and his wife have tried to raise awareness about vegetarian food and its benefits for the environment and health. He went vegan in 1995.

Coretta Scott King
The wife of Martin Luther King was known to be a vegetarian, and various sources confirm this fact. A Washington Post journalist in 2006 wrote of traveling with Scott King to a weight loss center in Florida where she only ate raw vegetables for a week. She did not see herself only as a wife and mother, but an equal participant in the civil rights movement.

'When whites bombed our home in Montgomery, Alabama, I was in the home with my infant daughter. We could have been killed, but I refused to give in to fear, because I had a wonderful role model, my father, Obadiah, who, like Martin, was one of the most fearless men I ever met.' (Source:

Princess Diana
She worked on various charitable causes, such as raising awareness about the devastation caused by land mines, and children's health in developing countries. It has also been reported she was aware of animal abuse, and did what she could personally to refrain from practices contributing to it.

'She also annoyed the royal family by refusing to take part in hunting expeditions. She could not condone the hurting or killing of animals.' (Source: EuroVeg)

animals.' (Source: EuroVeg)

Image Credit: Public Domain

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