|International Vegetarian Union (IVU)|
17th World Vegetarian Congress 1963
Mr. Anders Kocken, Sweden
Since we met at the last Congress in Hannover our Society in Sweden have had the pleasure to notice an increasing interest in the vegetarian mode of living. This depends on many contributory causes and not least on the increased information and propaganda from our society. Our possibilities in this respect have been considerably broadened due to a legacy given our society by the son of one of the pioneers of vegetarianism in Sweden, who at his decease gave half of his fortune to our society.
We have improved and increased our little journal Vegetarianen and given it a new look. In its new fashion it stands on the front page not only the word " Vegetarianen" but also, with capital letters, the word " Liv" (Life). Connected to the letters in this word are "Live every day in accord-ance to the principles of 'Ahimsa'".
With this little typographical trick we want to underline that vegetarian-ism is not only an activity for better health, as the man in the street, at least in Sweden, has hitherto grasped it, but also a question of ethical standard, whether we shall or shall not kill for food.
In accordance to the decision at the Congress in Hannover, but also
in accordance to an old tradition in the Swedish Vegetarian Society,
we have celebrated the International Vegetarian Day on the first Sunday
in September. On this day we have had our great annual dinner at Skansen
in Stockholm, but we have also made propaganda all over our country
with our posters advocating for a wholesome way of living.
With reference to the minutes of the Congress in Hannover where it
is stated that "The General Secretary was instructed to send out
a special message for the occasion," we have been waiting for that
special message. When we wrote the General Secretary asking for that
message he told us that "a slogan would not be acceptable here
as we do not take kindly to such things." That induces me to read
page 73 in the very excellent book Why Kill for Food? by him.
"Most of the great leaders and teachers of mankind in intellectual spheres have worked from a simple truth, often capable of being stated in a few words." Dear Mr. Rudd, our Bible is to a very great extent an excellent collection of slogans, so I personally believe in slogans!
Our summer school at Jaringe has been more and more appreciated and Mr. Thunfors and Mrs. Stuge, who are in charge of this summer curriculum, are really doing a very fine work to the benefit of our great ideas. Especially we try to interest the youth in this summer school, and to this end we are giving them ample sitholarships. For these scholarships we are indebted to our generous patron Mrs. A. Svennedal, who also makes it possible to run this summer school for 12 days and is visited by 50 participants every summer.
The activities of our local societies could be greater, but in many places we are regularly giving lectures and courses on the vegetarian way of living. At places where we have not yet any local societies we have engaged inter-ested members to act as contact-members in order to help us to distribute our books, pamphlets, leaflets and posters. A good help in this respect and especially in selling our journal Vegetarianen is given us by the many health-food shops all about the country.
On the 9th and 10th February this year we celebrated the 60th anniversary of our society. For this celebration we have already published in the autumn of last year an informative booklet on the vegetarian way of thinking and living, called Gröna Arsboken (The Green Yearbook).
This much appreciated booklet, has been printed and has sold 14,000 copies. For our small country it is a very large edition for a book of this kind.
On the 9th February we celebrated the festival day with a great Society
Supper and on the 10th February we had a large gathering in Stockholm
Concert Hall with over 1,000 visitors listening to the speech by Professor
We in the Swedish Vegetarian Society believe in the idea of vegetarianism, its scientific and ethical principles, It is doubtless inevitable for man-kind to give up the beastliness of the slaughterhouses and we will not spare any labour to promote the vegetarian way of living, to convince our fellow-countrymen that it is not necessary to slaughter other living creatures to live, think, and be healthy.
Our greatest problem is how we shall be able to interest the youth for our ideas. I suppose that this is one of the greatest problems we ought to tackle at this Congress.