James Herriot Meets PETA: You Don’t Have To Be A Rabid, Vegan, Animal Rights Activist

This post is my draft introduction to FitOldDog’s eBook #6

Metaphor: James Herriot Meets PETA

All about kindness to animals

For James Herriot meets PETA: FitOldDog's dog looks at metal pig sculpture, in Asheville, NC

Friends to play with or food? Photo by FitOldDog

All Comments Appreciated

My business, Old Dog’s in Training, LLC, is dependent upon my success as an author. No easy task. I have five (5) FitOldDog’s eBooks out there. Sold hundreds, but far from covering my publishing expenses. Learning new things everyday. This will be number six, of the FitOldDog’s eBooks series. It’s 90% done. Torn apart by editors, and in the rebuild phase.

Thought I would publish the introduction as a blog post, for fun.

FitOldDog in his pro-vegan teeLife without fun (or risk) is no life at all!

Excerpt From FitOldDog’s eBook Series, #6:

James Herriot Meets PETA

Veterinary Stories To Save The Animals:

You Don’t Have To Be A Vegan, Animal Rights Activist, To Make A Difference

Save The Animals Tip: Increase awareness of what you’re buying, doing and eating.

The ingredients of this book (what you will be in for, if you buy it):

  • Twelve servings: Stories from my life as a country vet visiting English family farms, in the 1970s. Each one related to a simple way that you can save animals.
  • Twelve servings: Recipes for inexpensive, easy to make, vegan meals, that I enjoy. One at the end of each veterinary story. You can include meat, dairy or eggs, if you want!
  • Three servings: Biographies. Alobar, Becky and Trixie. They passed on, but I still miss them.

Effectives stories can be aided by metaphors. Mine is James Herriot meets PETA.

Rat, for james herriot meets PETAI was invited to consult, about one year ago, on the issue of animal testing for chemical safety. This was due to my experience in the field of Toxicology (Science of Poisons), combined with knowledge of new, and powerful, research technologies. I reluctantly agreed. Reluctant because I am trying to learn how to be a successful businessman. I like to learn new things.

[ASIDE: When it comes to finding alternatives to animal testing, I concluded that they didn’t need me, a scientist. They needed better marketing. It’s not a science problem, it’s a people problem. Starting with the Toxicology community – they should all go vegan, at least for one month!]

The work involved saving animals, especially rats and mice. I accepted the job. Furthermore, as a yet-to-be-successful entrepreneur, the money was a plus. It was the summer of 2015. I started to explore the issues. How to save rats and mice from chemical testing? Within hours, I realized that I couldn’t put my heart into the work, if I continued to eat pigs and chickens.

for James Herriot meets PETA: piglet with chick

They love life as much as rats and mice do.

I went vegetarian!

Two weeks later, as part of my research work, I watched, Cowspiracy. This excellent documentary opened my eyes to the abuses, and negative environmental impacts, of factory farming in the dairy and meat industries.

I went vegan, on August 4th., 2015 – since then I’ve been estimating how many animals I’ve saved as a result.

Veganism turned out to be easier than I expected. It led to many changes in my life. Including the creation of this little book. Veterinary tales, designed to encourage others, through increased awareness, to reduce avoidable animal abuse.

I Was Also Inspired By James Herriot

For James Herriot meets PETA; james herriot

James Herriot (James Alfred “Alf” Wight)

I hope to make people realize how totally helpless animals are, how dependent on us, trusting as a child, must that we will be kind and take care of their needs.”

““If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans.”
James Herriot, All Creatures Great and Small

James Herriot meets PETA: All creatures great and smallEnglish vets know James Herriot (James Alfred “Alf” Wight). This wonderful story teller became one of my heroes and favorite authors. I read all of his books, about life as a veterinarian in Yorkshire, England. Starting with All Creatures Great And Small. He qualified as a veterinary surgeon from Glasgow vet school, in 1939, whereas I qualified from Bristol University, in 1967.

As an English country vet myself, in the early 1970s, I lived in real life many of the stories in his books. Most of the farms I visited, in Somerset and Devon, were not much different from those described by James Herriot, 200 miles to the north, in Yorkshire. Same quirky people. Same animal issues. Except we had more effective drugs at our disposal.

Notably, there were no English factory farms at the time. Furthermore, we were both in practice well before the 1980 founding of PETA (People For The Ethical Treatment Of Animals). Animal rights was about to come into it’s own. As a scientist, I felt demonized by PETA, while being proud of my attempts to solve the riddles of animal diseases.

In many ways, this book is a reaction to PETA, and their harsh, dogmatic ways.

Their heart is in the right place. I just do not approve of mindless, abusive animal rights tactics. The use of animals for food or research is not a black and white issue. It involves difficult ethical decisions. The questions involved are not readily addressed by blunt statements, such as that on the PETA website.


PETA banner for James Herriot meets PETA

Life isn’t that simple!

I wonder what James Herriot would have thought of the more extreme animal-rights movements? They don’t approve of agricultural animal products, of any kind, including meat, dairy. Even eggs!

James Herriot, like myself, spent a great deal of time treating livestock, destined for slaughter and the meat trade. Which, I guess, would make us animal abusers. This is a tricky, but extremely important, subject.

I’m pleased to see animal rights evolving, as in recent support by PETA for research into alternatives to animal testing.

Such groups provide an essential service, by raising awareness.

For James Herriot meets PETA: book by PETA, One Can Make A DifferenceI just wish they would cut back on the horror stories, because these graphic images, both verbal and visual:

  • Put people off.
  • Provide a distorted view of researchers, such as myself, attempting to understand and cure diseases.
  • Provide ammunition to those who have no interest in reducing animal use.

I prefer a gentler approach.

Based on recent comments from friends, both face-to-face and online, my work is already reducing their meat consumption.

As PETA asserts, one person can make a difference.

I’m working to be one such person.

My book is designed to encourage reduction of animal use and abuse, without excessive drama.

I’m hoping to appeal to kindness, rather than outrage or guilt, using stories from my life as a country vet, from 1967 to 1970.

For James Herriot meets PETA: FitOldDog with his dog

Thanks for caring, Willbe!

PS I’ve taken the liberty of interspersing brief descriptions of three of my beloved animal companions, throughout the book.

PPS To show that vegans don’t live on grass or salads, each chapter is concluded by one of my simple, inexpensive and tasty, vegan recipe.


FitOldDog Vegan Cuisine

Grilled Potato Sandwich: Modified From The British Chip Butty

For James Herriot meets PETA: FitOldDog vegan meal

I was raised on potatoes. Always eat the skin! As kids, we had potatoes fried, boiled, grilled, mashed or baked! There are all sorts of strains potatoes, each with it’s own texture, aroma and taste. Choose the ones you like the best. Keep them in the dark, or they go green and potentially poisonous (Solanin).

Here is how I made this sandwich.


  1. Small toaster oven with tray.
  2. Olive oil (now there’s a tricky question – get the best you can find or afford).
  3. Sea salt.
  4. Dried thyme flakes, the fresher the better (sniff before you buy).
  5. Pack of small potatoes – I like Dutch potatoes best.
  6. Two slices of fresh sour dough bread (see comment below).
  7. Two lettuce leaves, if you so desire (I do desire).
  8. Butter alternative, if you so desire.

Rinse potatoes, arrange in tray. Coat thinly with olive oil (I pour on a little, and turn them to coat with oil). Sprinkle on salt and thyme, which sticks to the oil – I’m liberal with the thyme. Roast at 450ºF, for 30+ minutes (test with fork), basting once at 15 min. Butter-substitute the bread, crush the roasted potatoes onto the bread. Add lettuce and a little more salt, if you so desire, and it’s good to go.

Choose healthy sides: When I prepared this meal, I included raw, fresh zucchini slices, with a handful of raisins and nuts. Plus, of course, my cup of PG Tips Tea, with soy creamer.

Prep time: 30 minutes, mainly oven time.

Cost: ~$2, assuming you don’t waste much of your food.

Note: Great carbo-load for Ironman training, a couple of hours later.

Bon appetit!

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  1. Did you rewrite this from one I read earlier? I like this version with its (watch proper use of ‘it’s’ which you have wrong in some places) nice tight writing.

    One comment about this: Starting with the Toxicology community – they should all go vegan, at least for one month!] Tell us why in your opinion they should do this.

    Also where you mention Solanon, about green potatoes, tell us why not to eat that.

    OK, keep on!

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