International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
IVU logo
34th World Vegetarian Congress 2000
Toronto, Canada

Reports originally from by Tiffany Refior
July 17, 2000

Tina Fox

During the evening sessions on Wednesday night during the 34th World Vegetarian Congress in Toronto, Tina Fox, the Chief Executive of the Vegetarian Society of the United Kingdom (VSUK), showed some very steamy television ads based on the little-known sex appeal of ... well, vegetables.

These clips are part of the VSUK's latest advertising campaign, which seeks to educate the public about vegetarianism by taking a humor-based approach rather than the blood-and-dead-animals perspective previous campaigns have featured. Not surprisingly, Ms. Fox reports that the recent campaign has proven much more effective, illustrating the importance of humor in delivering the vegetarian message.

She also announced that a new term has cropped up in the U.K. -- "vegetarian appreciators." These are people who aren't vegetarian themselves but are sympathetic to the cause. They may eat vegetarian most of the time, or may have a partner, family member, or friend who's vegetarian. And, while not vegetarian themselves, this new group is also demanding more veg food in restaurants and stores -- all good news for vegetarians.

Ms. Fox, in another lecture later in the week, discussed the use of the VSUK's logo and their certification of products -- and even items on restaurant menus -- as suitable for vegetarians. This is a program she's eager to export to other parts of the world, although she notes that her organization is limited by its small staff. The VSUK is happy to sub-license certification rights to local vegetarian societies, but there must be one local vegetarian society in any given area to thoroughly research each product's sources and independently confirm that products are, in fact, completely vegetarian.

The VSUK's certification program has been extremely sucessful, with about 2,000 products and items certified, and some companies paying a considerable amount of money for the privilege of the VSUK's stamp of approval (the certification fee is based on product sales). Enough companies have found that the certification actually increases sales that quite a few of them have even been willing to change a product's ingredients to conform to the Society's standards. These include stipulations that eggs, if used, must be free-range; there can be no genetically modified ingredients; and ingredients must not have been tested on animals since 1986.

Tina Fox is the Chief Executive of the VSUK, the world's largest national vegetarian organization. She is also a councillor of the International Vegetarian Union (IVU).

Photo ©2000 by Tiffany Refior.