|International Vegetarian Union (IVU)|
15th World Vegetarian Congress 1957
(Statement given at a Press Conference held under the auspices of the Bombay Humanitarian League on Saturday the 25th December 1954.)
1. Some people think Vegetarianism is only an aspect of the Hindu religion. This is an erroneous view restricting considerably the scope and value of the bloodless diet. In reality under one form or another it has been advocated in the name of many religions and philosophies and has been practised by the elite of most countries from the dawn of history. Nowadays, it receives the support of numerous devotees of a non-religious character. Many modern vegetarians in the West, who are not practically religious, or even atheists, follow the bloodless regime for a variety of new reasons supplementing the the old religious and ethical motives of traditional vegetarians.
Anatomy and Anthropology Support it.
2. Some are prompted by scientific reasons. Two great scientific disciplines help man to appraise his nature and proper place in the world : comparative anatomy, showing his status among other animal species ; and anthropology, which sums up the researches in the nature of man. The founders of those sciences, both Frenchmen, Cuvier for comparative anatomy and Broca for anthropology, emphatically proclaimed that man was not a carnivorous animal, or a herbivorous one, nor a mixed feeder, but belonged to the frugivorous family which feeds on fruits and grains, these being the fruits of herbs and gramilieous plants. Consequently, many men who desire to live in harmony with the laws of nature have abandoned the eating of flesh.
Scientific Diet is Vegetarian
3. Since 1890, which was about the date of the beginning of scientific dietetics, vegetarianism has received a tremendous impetus. Repeated laboratory experiments in many countries of' Europe and America have proved beyond any doubt, that meat far from being an indispensable aliment, or even necessary and beneficial, was really responsible for a great many diseases. Europe was covered with a large network of Nature-Cure establishments in which innumerable invalids suffering from chronic nutritional disease were restored to health by a well-balanced scientific, vegetarian diet. Switzerland in particular, with its many vegetarian rest-homes and Nature Cure establishments has become a veritable Mecca for chronic sufferers and health seekers : and a great many among the numeilous vegetarians in Europe and America were prompted to adopt this pure regime for health reasons.
Will Solve the World Food Shortage.
4. Yet another, even more powerful, reason bids fair to bring the majority of mankind to the natural and pure regime. The population of the world has more than doubled in the last hundred years, and if this continues, mankind will be menaced by a terrible food shortage even with the improved (chemical) methods of cultivation.
The latter may be more harmful than helpful. Experience
shows that in many countries they are led to a dangerous decrease in
the fertility of the earth, which was robbed of some of its essential
constituents by the merciless exploitation allowed by chemical fertilizers.
6. The analysis of food chemists in agronomical institutes
shows that while one hectare (slightly over 2 acres) produces annually
2 million food calories in meat and milk, it produces 10 million calories
when planted in potatoes, 15 million calories when cultivated in the
average crop of wheat or other cereals, and over 25 million calories
when cultivated with intensified methods of truck gardening and constant
rotation of crops. Thus one could feed ten times more vegetarians on
a land devoted to vegetable gardening, than meat-eaters on the same
area. Statistics from the Department of Agriculture of the United States
confirm this view, showing that in the continental United States, although
the per capita consumption of meat has decreased by 2/3rds since 50
years, more land is devoted to produce cattle food than if used in producing
crops for human food. This is why many Governments of the most civilized
countries are considering measures to induce their citizens to eat more
Political and Social Conflicts.
6. This rapid survey suffices to show Vegetarianism in
its broader and wider aspect. It is more than a practice based on the
more or less effete taboo of more or less obsolete beliefs. It is a
way of life based upon the noble and fine ideal of a New World, where
people will be healthier, more humane and happier, because in following
the laws of Nature, they shall cease to accumulate causes of disease
in their daily life and will find it easier to solve political and social
conflicts in a brotherly way.
Growing International Movement.
7. This is why Vegetarianism is a growing International movement, in which the religious and spiritual idealism of the East is supplemented by the practical, scientific and progressive spirit of the West. United by a common ideal and common practices of life. vegetarians the world over aim at forming a new international, the Green International of Nature in harmlessness, health and hope.