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

Delegate Report

Mrs. Tamara Kruse, France
It is an honour and a great pleasure to me to represent the Association Végétarienne of France at this Congress. All that can be said on the subject of vegetarianism has already been said - scientists doctors and philosophers, have all confirmed the benefits of this way of life. There is no point in repeating all this. We must advance with the times and plan our actions in accordance with the conditions in which we now live. What I have to say to you is very simple - perhaps it will seem too simple to you - since we now live in the atomic age. But I cannot and do not wish to speak otherwise.

The fundamental basis of vegetarianism is, and always will be, love and kindness. Human beings all over the world are losing the true meaning of the word loving-kindness. I am not speaking of the false kindness which caresses the little cat or dog with one hand and stabs the so-called "meat-bearing " animal to death with the other. Nor do I speak of the type of kindliness which encourages people to love and be peaceful, and at the same time tells them to close their eyes to organised massacre of thousands of sentient beings. I mean true kindness, protective kindness, creative kindness.

Yet, in spite of the fact that even the most religious people do not spare the lamb; in spite of ritual slaughter and blood sports; although the most highly civilised people encourage vivisection; kindness, the force more powerful than hate, still lives.

One day, a rich butcher from Bordeaux told me: "I kill about 40 oxen every day; unless I do this I do not feel I have done a day's work. But, when I have to kill lambs, something stirs in me . . . But I have never heard anyone say that one should not kill them."

This "something " that stirs in this man, hardened as he is to his job, must be the natural instinct of kindness. But he ignores it because since his Childhood he has seen slaughter and he now slaughters Continually himself. To stop this slaughter of animals and to help the millions of children who live miserably, half-starved, throughout the world, only one step is neces-sary. The step towards kindness. With kindness, respect for life, and a true feeling of compassion, vegetarianism would follow. And if people would accept this way of life there would be neither hungry children nor miserable animals.

So what must we do, we vegetarians of different backgrounds, different countries, different professions? We, who represent vegetarjanis~ in so many countries, must redouble our efforts, for what we have done so far has not been enough. We must make further efforts so that from today onwards the seeds we sow will be more fruitful. Let us rejoice when we see a new vegetarian helping to spread this gospel through the world. For to every deep thinking person, vegetarianism symbolises love and peace.