Newsletter - Animal Writes sm
14 June 2000 Issue

Jay Dinshah, President and Founder of the American Vegan Society, Dies
Written and compiled by [email protected]

The vegan world is reeling in shock at the sudden and untimely death last Thursday of one of its most outspoken and dedicated leaders.

H. Jay Dinshah was at the forefront of the vegan movement, traveling countless miles to spread the idea of Ahimsa, a way of life centered on the idea of non-killing, non-injuring, and non-harming. In 1960 he started the American Vegan Society as an educational organization that teaches compassionate living by Ahimsa and reverence for life.

AVS president, author, publisher, speaker and lecturer, newsletter editor, photographer, videographer, book seller, carpenter, businessperson -- these are all hats Jay wore, often simultaneously. Between working on issues of the AVS quarterly newsletter, Ahimsa, he would think nothing of packing up his trusty (most of the time!) van with a plethora of animal rights- and vegan-related books, trekking off to a conference in another state. There he would set up a makeshift bookstore. Often he would also be one of the guest speakers at the conference. To say that Jay worked incessantly to champion veganism is a gross understatement. His dedication and service to promoting the rights of all beings to a full and natural life knew no bounds. He labored ceaselessly to get the message out.

I write all this from first hand experience working with Jay. Not only did I have the honor and privilege of meeting him and his wife, Freya, but also of being able to pick his brain as we worked side by side on the newsletter. He was energetic, passionate, and quite knowledgeable on a wide range of topics, with a quick wit and a keen sense of humor. Amongst the misery-laden topics we dealt with we were able to share laughs now and then. He lived a simple, orderly life, caring little about worldly objects.

Oh, and he loved bunny rabbits -- bunny rabbits at home in nature, where he felt was the only place they belong.

Anyone who is vegan owes at least a bit of gratitude to Jay for his lifetime of service to veganism. He was vegan back in the beginning when it was difficult -- soy milk was not available in stores! His unwavering dedication helped make it possible for us to be where we are today. He was optimistic about the movement, and told me many times that he had seen great improvements over the years. Yet, there was still work to be done.

Please take a moment to read below what some others have said about him, as well as visiting two websites that have been set up to honor this incredible man. Also, take this opportunity to rededicate yourself to veganism. Pick a new area to explore, challenge yourself to DO something to promote more compassionate living. Write letters, make phone calls. Get involved in non-violent means of facilitating change. Jay is no longer with us. His light has been passed to us, and it is now up to us to keep his vision alive of a kinder, gentler, more compassionate world.

Date: 00-06-11 15:30:14 EDT
From: Maynard S. Clark

(This news about the Founder of the American Vegan Society (Malaga NJ) has been sent originally from Robert Cohen.)
A number of us fondly remember working closely with Jay and Freya Dinshah, and their noble, simple, and self-effacing and self-sacrificing character in the principled commitment to affirming an ethic of noninjury as our world's way forward into this millennium and beyond.

Date: Sun, 11 June 2000 09:29:34 -0400
From: Robert Cohen

We who eat no animals, we who call ourselves VEGAN, stand upon the shoulders of a great man who left behind his magnificent legacy.

Jay did more to promote the VEGAN lifestyle in America than any other individual, beginning his life's work in the 1950's. He was the founder of the American VEGAN society, and tirelessly worked to combine his compassionate message to thousands of people.

Check out these websites:

For information on joining the AVS, please write to:
The American Vegan Society
PO Box 369
Malaga, New Jersey 08328
(Editor's note: As yet, the AVS does not have an e-mail address. If you wish to send condolences via e-mail to Jay's wife, Freya, their two children, Daniel and Anne, and to his brothers and sister, please send them to [email protected] All messages will be forwarded to Jay's family.)

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