|International Vegetarian Union (IVU)|
35th World Vegetarian Congress
'Food for all our futures'
Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland
July 8-14, 2002
The Vegetarian Society
of the United Kingdom
THE 21st CENTURY
I think that it is extremely vital that as a movement we take stock of where we are going and how best can we promote our cause in the coming years. For this to happen we should get a clear picture of what we are and what we are not. Let us first start with the negatives.
We are not a political party. We are not a religion. We do not have the political clout of the multi national companies. We do not for historical reason campaign like Compassion in World Farming or The National Anti Vivisection Society. Now let us see what we are:
We are a group of like-minded people, united in what we see as the moral high ground we occupy. We like each other's company. We are good at doing things such as eating out and travelling abroad in each others company. This is my perception of what we are and what we are not. The crucial question now is to ask whether we are content with our lot or whether we should transform ourselves into an effective and committed campaign group. The BSE crisis, the GM crops global warming, the foot and mouth disease all these are issues are a golden opportunity for us to drive our agenda for a vegetarian world.
I will set out what
I see is the way forward:
We should attempt
to reach out to every section of society and this can be done by forming
groups such as vegetarian doctors, lawyers, air-line pilot's, teachers.
Each profession and each organisation should have a vegetarian link. This
group may only meet once a year ---the important thing is that there should
be a group.
Our literature and
magazines should not only sent to members, we should aim to send at least
10% of our magazines to prominent people in all walks of life. By doing
this we will win over new people and 'soften' up those who are very averse
to us. We have on our mailing list Prime Ministers, Princes, and famous
individuals. We have had Cliff Richard on our mailing list for many years
as well as Richard Branson, Cherrie Booth (from whom we received a nice
acknowledgement). We once persuaded the Prime Minister of Guyana to give
up meat for a week. This is again because he was on our mailing list.
We should think nationally and globally while act locally. In the town and city we live, we should make an impact. For example in Croydon, where I live we have organised a Vegetarian lunch every year for the last 21 years and we are known to every agency in the town.
So what do we exactly stand for? At the millennium rally, we read out our vision statement for the 21st Century. It is as follows:
THE MILLENNIUM VEGETARIAN PLEDGE
At a vegetarian rally held on the Friday 31st of December 1999 in Hyde Park, London the following historic declaration and a vision statement was read out:
pledge to bring about a 21st Century in which the human race will finally
make peace with the animal kingdom. Human beings will no longer kill,
maim, torture or exploit fellow sentient beings for food or other purposes.
Animals will have fundamental rights which will be internationally recognised.
The human race will reach the pinnacle of civilisation when it extends the hand of friendship and compassion to the animal kingdom and returns to the plant based diet best suited to the moral and physical needs of our species, thus avoiding the related evils of animal exploitation, human starvation and environmental destruction.
turn of the 20th. Century and the beginning of the 21st. let us make a
tryst with destiny to create a world free of violence towards all living
beings that are dependent on our love and compassion. Together let us
embark on that journey that will bring about a world in which all animals
are treated with mercy and compassion and accorded rights that human beings
take for granted.
was born in Kenya in a Jain family and came to the UK in 1972. He formed
the Young Indian Vegetarians in 1978 and over the years has campaigned
extensively and is well known for the Hyde Park rallies. Nitin also started
vegetarian societies in Kenya, Mauritius, Portugal and Delhi.
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