Anna Kingsford

English physician, activist and feminist

Anna Kingsford, née Bonus (16 September 184622 February 1888), was an English anti-vivisection, vegetarian and women's rights campaigner. She was one of the first English women to obtain a degree in medicine, and the only medical student at the time to graduate without having experimented on a single animal.

Anna Kingsford (1880s)

Quotes edit

  • Things are not going well for me. My chef at the Charité strongly disapproves of women students and took this means of showing it. About a hundred men (no women except myself) went round the wards today, and when we were all assembled before him to have our names written down, he called and named all the students except me, and then closed the book. I stood forward upon this, and said quietly, "Et moi aussi, monsieur." [And me, Sir.] He turned on me sharply, and cried, "Vous, vous n'êtes ni homme ni femme; je ne veux pas inscrire vôtre nom." [You, you are neither man nor woman; I don't want to write your name.] I stood silent in the midst of a dead silence.
    • Written to her husband in 1874; quoted in The Scalpel and the Butterfly by Deborah Rudacille (University of California Press, 2000), p. 35.
  • How many times, for instance, have we not heard people speak with all the authority of conviction about the "canine teeth" and "simple stomach" of man, as certain evidence of his natural adaptation for a flesh diet! At least we have demonstrated one fact; that if such arguments are valid, they apply with even greater force to the anthropoid apes—whose "canine" teeth are much longer and more powerful than those of man … And yet, with the solitary exception of man, there is not one of these last which does not in a natural condition absolutely refuse to feed on flesh! M. Pouchet observes that all the details of the digestive apparatus in man, as well as his dentition, constitute "so many proofs of his frugivorous origin"—an opinion shared by Professor Owen, who remarks that the anthropoids and all the quadrumana derive their alimentation from fruits, grains, and other succulent and nutritive vegetable substances, and that the strict analogy which exists between the structure of these animals and that of man clearly demonstrates his frugivorous nature. This is also the view taken by Cuvier, Linnæus, Professor Lawrence, Charles Bell, Gassendi, Flourens, and a great number of other eminent writers.
    • The Perfect Way in Diet (London: Kegan Paul, Trench & Co., 1881), pp. 13-14.
  • No man who aims at making his life an harmonious whole, pure, complete, and harmless to others, can endure to gratify an appetite at the cost of the daily suffering and bloodshed of his inferiors in degree, and of the moral degradation of his own kind. I know not which strikes me most forcibly in the ethics of this question the injustice, the cruelty, or the nastiness of flesh-eating. The injustice is to the butchers, the cruelty is to the animals, the nastiness concerns the consumer. With regard to this last in particular, I greatly wonder what persons of refinement—aye, even of decency—do not feel insulted on being offered, as a matter of course, portions of corpses as food! Such comestibles might possibly be tolerated during sieges, or times of other privation of proper viands in exceptional circumstances, but in the midst of a civilised community able to command a profusion of sound and delicious foods, it ought to be deemed an affront to set dead flesh before a guest.
    • Addresses and Essays on Vegetarianism (1912); quoted in Awe for the Tiger, Love for the Lamb by Rod Preece (Routledge, 2002), p. 344.

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