International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
IVU logo

12th IVU World Vegetarian Congress 1950

Oosterbeck, Netherlands

From the Vegetarian Messenger, (Manchester) :

The International Vegetarian Union Congress. Our present issue is largely devoted to the proceedings of the The International Vegetarian Congress, held in July, in Holland. The International Vegetarian Union was founded in 1908, and whatever its shortcomings, it has accomplished much during its comparatively short existence, working from its inception with honorary officials who have all been very busy men and women engaged in full-time occupations outside the vegetarian movement. Those officials have no illusions as to what they have and have not accomplished, and -what they could do . . . if. . . ! The Congress in Holland, however, will certainly be a turning point in the history of the Union. Chiefly as a result of the kindly interest and generosity Mrs. Clarence Gasque (U.S.A.) it will be possible, in the very near future to appoint a Secretary with an official address in Great Britain. Thus will it be possible for the work of the Union to assume significance, for closer connexions to be made with Vegetarian Societies throughout the world, and for extending the activities in many other directions.

The vigorous address of Kaj Dessau, which is included in this number, is a clarion call to action. It is sincerely written by an idealist with a real concern for the future of the international movement and we agree entirely with him when he says "I know we could do much, much more." The complete answer to Mr Dessau's challenge is provided by himself in his address- "Until we give all, we do not give enough" and this explains his disappoint-ment with the progress made in our movement. But there is not one person in a million who can give all or even nearly all, and if we started afresh to-day with new organizations, new officials, etc., the problem would still be an individual one and the progress or otherwise of the movement would still advance in proportion to individual enlightenment. Organizational problems are important but whether there is one or half a dozen organizations working for the same object, that particular movement can only expand with the rate of development of the individual consciousness. Indeed, a rapid expansion would give much cause for suspicion because emotions can swayed backwards and forwards in response to any clever orator at almost any time. Human consciousness does not ordinarily develop rapidly, nevertheless, it is on this development that the real stability of the vegetarian movement is based. Mr. Dessau's criticism could be applied equally to Christianity and its progress during the past 2,000 years, or to any other movement which demands from the individual some sacrifice-and the reason for the comparatively slow development of all is virtually the same. It is important that we should understand this fundamental fact which, to a large extent, regulates the progress of our movement. Nor does it mean that because we are cognisant of this obstacle we be complacent-no one should be complacent in the world of to-day, but as Bernard Shaw says in his Postscript to Back to Methuselah. "We must not stay as we are, doing always what was done l ast time, or we shall stick in the mud. Yet neither must we undertake a new world as catastrophic Utopians, and wreck our civilization in our hurry to mend it."