International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
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6th European Vegetarian Congress
Bussolengo, Italy, September 21 - 26, 1997

Closing Remarks
Marco Stellini

President of AVI

First of all I'd like to thank all of you very much, especially for being so understanding about hitches due to organizational problems; and an extra-special thankyou to Francisco, who has believed in us right from the start.

The Congress has, in any case, been a great success. Some might think this an irrelevant piece of trivia, but I believe good evidence of our success is provided by the fact that even our sound technician has been converted to vegetarianism! Convincing just one person means saving thousands of animals, and this is important. And what can I say about the cook, a non-vegetarian - we deliberately chose a non-vegetarian venue for the Congress - who enthusiastically threw himself into vegan cookery (how about that!) although this took a lot of time and trouble, and his efforts were a great success. For a few days all the hotel staff have eaten vegetarian. It is really important for us to have had the opportunity to share our experience with non-vegetarians. The hotel Manager told us, "You vegetarians don't do without anything!" which is not true, of course, since we do without a great deal: we deny ourselves the suffering of other living beings… and this is a great satisfaction!

The Congress has had a fair amount of press coverage, although unfortunately less than was hoped because of technical problems. There were only a few of us organizing such a big Congress as this. I would also like to thank the journalists here, and the TV stations who have taken an interest in us (the RAI and Canale 5).

We are pleased with our success, but nobody must forget that we must forge ahead with our work - it must continue. Every person converted to vegetarianism is a step forward, not just for vegetarians, but for the whole of humanity.

- translations by Hugh Rees, Milan - commissioned by Associazione Vegetariana Italiana (AVI)