International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
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17th World Vegetarian Congress 1963
Barcelona, Spain

A Congress Resolution:


In Man and Hunger (1958) the FAO stated that "Today, although more food is produced than at any previous time in his-tory, we are still a long way from being able to provide enough good food for everybody. Indeed, the world food situation is perhaps more serious than ever before."

The situation being still critical, the International Vegetarian Union, meeting at its 17th World Congress in Spain, June 23rd to 29th, 1963, submits with respect the following Memorandum for the consideration of the FAO and Governments concerned with the provision of improved subsistence levels.

The present efforts of Governments to increase meat production to meet the growing protein needs can only be a very stop-gap short term policy which, however commendable, cannot solve the problem on a long term basis.

There is already competition for land between Man and animals. As the world population increases through improved hygiene, pre-and ante-natal care, and medical services, competition will become fiercer. In Britain alone 50,000 or more acres are lost per year through building development, new schools and industry.

It is doubtful if meat-bearing animals could be increased to meet the protein needs of the present population, even without the eco-nomic and political factors which prevent an equitable distribution of food.

The FAO is familiar with the population increases throughout the world and has stated that two-thirds are at present under-nourished. It is also familiar with the various estimates of land per person, which Sir John Russell (Rothamsted) put at about one acre of good fertile soil, and stated:

A meat diet requires about 1.63 acres per person for subsistence. A vegetarian diet requires .75 of an acre including some dairy produce.

Meat-bearing animals require considerably more land than Man - up to eight times more when fed on grains and other crops, which could be fed directly to the human population. Furthermore, out of every 100 lbs. of dry substance eaten by cattle only 4 lbs. become available as human food.

Meat protein is, therefore, expensive and wasteful to produce. Expensive refrigeration, equipment and transport are also involved.

Further: meat products have the following disadvantages : -
(a) A high percentage of water content.
(b) Contain toxic wastes, and with present methods of pro-duction, residues of vaccines and inoculations, etc. They also contain the bacteria of natural putrefactory decom-position.
(c) Animal fats tend, it is thought, to be factors in causing a high blood~cholester0l level and coronary diseases.

The following figures indicate that meat is a relatively poor source of protein and fat compared with other food products which are easier and cheaper to produce. The latest methods of chemical assay show that the soya bean is a richer source than meat of the essential amino acids including methionifle.

Comparative Food Values quoted from H.M.S.O. "Nutritive Values of Wartime Foods"

Foostuff %
Water Content
Sirloin 59 16 23 - 271
Steak 65 17 16 - 212
Mutton 64 16 19 - 235
Cheese 37 25 34 - 410
Peanuts 4 28 49 7.7 584
Brazils 8 14 61 3.7 624
Almonds 5 20 53 3.9 579
Lentils 6 29 - 48.0 287
Soya Beans 7 40 23 13.3 426

It is agreed that the problem is essentially to increase supplies of protein suitable for direct human consumption, especially for children. Also to provide more Calories, vitamins and minerals to improve the health of children and adults, and enable the latter to increase food production and raise their incomes.

The International Vegetarian Union represents several millions of people who already live adequately and well on a vegetarian diet, usually including dairy products, and it is prepared to co-operate in providing data of their wide experience in the use of vegetable pro-tein foods.

The work of Pine at Rothamsted, and others, has shown that any form of vegetable matter, leaves, weeds and waste, can yield edible protein which can be balanced with the addition of vitamin B~ and other essential nutrients to give a highly nutritious product quickly and at a reasonable cost. The value of this new food is being demonstrated in clinical trials, tests on children and adults in different countries.

Palatable vegetable milks are also in preparation to be made available in liquid and powder form.

The solution thus seems to lie in increasing all possible supplies of vegetable proteins. Extra Calories, vitamins and minerals, can best be provided from vegetable sources, supplemented with added nutrients if necessary.

In the development and testing of the new vegetable protein foods which can play a vital part in solving the world food pro-blems, the Vegetarian Nutritional Research Centre, at Watford, England, in collaboration with workers in other research organisa-tions, is taking an active part. Its assistance is being sought by governmental and other administrative bodies in many parts of the world, and its experience is available.

Bearing in mind the foregoing facts, the FAO and Governments are, with respect, asked to consider seriously the possibility of long term programmes of production of sources of nutrients from the vegetable kingdom, with special study of the newly discovered sources of protein, including the vegetable milks which have special importance in the feeding of infants in the tropics. They are also respectfully urged to consider long term plans for the training and education necessary for the most favourable production of these foodstuffs and their inclusion in the diets of the undernourished peoples of the world.

(This Momorandum has been sent to the Director General of FAO and to all foreign Ambassadors and Ministers in England.)