|International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
20th World Vegetarian Congress 1969
The following article appeared in the Nov/Dec issue of The British Vegetarian. It was unusual at that time for the IVU President to write an article not connected with Congresses, so this may have also been used as a talk at the November 1969 Congress:
FROM AN INTERNATIONAL OUTLOOK
WOODLAND KAHLER DE ST. INNOCENT
President of the International Vegetarian Union
When you become a vegetarian you begin right at the start to be a member of a far-flung world-family. To have friends almost everywhere on earth is an ever new and rewarding experience. Towards the end of May, 1969, my Barcelona vegetarian friends asked me to say a few words at the opening of the first Semana de Vegetarianismo in Spain and I was very glad to have been offered this opportunity of expressing my opinion on what I consider to be the most vital problem in the world today. At the present moment, 64 cents out of every tax-dollar collected by the U.S. Government is being spent on the war machine, and a number of other governments are also building armaments capable of blowing up the whole world. The lives of all who inhabit the earth are endangered by the military-industrial complex which seems to be in control of today's so-called civilization, and unless mankind begins right now to develop a greater respect for life along non-violent lines of vegetarianism, the entire world-family, man, bird and beast, is doomed to extinction.
According to an article in a recent issue of the Yale Alumni Magazine,
the bloom has gone from Science. When I was a teenager, many years ago
before the First World War, everybody thought Science was going to create
paradise on earth, but today fewer and fewer students at Yale University
are taking science courses and everywhere on earth more and more people,
both young and old, are losing faith in Science as a means of solving
The important thing in life is not technology and its synthetic material
products, but man's relation to man. And also man's relation to animals,
air, land and water. We all need fresh air, pure water, wholesome food,
rest and sleep, sunshine, exercise, and physical and mental poise, but
with the help of Science, the air, land and water of our home~planet
are being progressively poisoned by the military-industrial complex
I have just mentioned. As a result, many people - private citizens and
public leaders alike-have lost their physical, mental and moral balance.
The sicker man gets in body, mind and soul, the more evident it becomes
that he cannot drug himself out of danger. Neither can he shoot his
way to salvation. The one and only means of solving any problem is to
remove the cause, and the cause of the present-day human predicament
is simply a lack of true self-knowledge, a subject sadly neglected in
almost all contemporary schools and colleges everywhere in the world.
How can man decide what is best for himself when he doesn't even know
who he really is? In reality man is not by nature a carnivorous beast
who must kill for food, but a peaceful vegetarian like the great apes
which he so closely resembles in more ways than one.
Fortunately for the future of mankind and all other living things on
earth, the vegetarian way of life is spreading as it has never spread
before. This is not something I read in a book by a wishful thinker.
I happen to he in a very favourable position to know what I am talking
about from actual exeprience on the world-vegetarian front. Almost every
day I get letters written to me by vegetarians in many different countries
from India to Iceland, and every two years 1 attend an international
vegetarian congress in a different nation.
The new Federacion Vegetariana Espanola is a typical example
of what is happening everywhere in the world. Just a few days ago I
returned home to Spain from the "May Meetings" of a new United
Kingdom Society of Vegetarians. For the past fifteen years or more the
International Vegetarian Union, in co-operation with the two most important
vegetarian societies in Great Britain, has been working to unite all
the vegetarian organizations in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Now at last the dream of unification has come true, just as it has with
vegetarians in Spain.
It would take me too long to give a detailed account of all the forty or more affiliations of the I.V.U. in various foreign lands, and so I shall mention only the most recent report I have just received from Mr Louis H. van Loon, President of the newly formed South African Vegetarian Union, composed of a number of societies in the main centres which include among others Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, East London and Cape Town. In regard to the vegetarian magazine, Man, published by the South African Union, Mr van Loon wrote to me that he is getting responses from readers, commentators, librarians and critics in many parts of the world - one more proof of an awakening world-wide interest in vegetarianism. Mr van Loon went on to say that his purpose is to call attention to the natural principles and universal laws that govern man and atom, cell and galaxy, and to lead modern man out of the materialistic morass of living into which he has fallen. It seems to me that Mr van Loon has very well expressed the aims of the vegetarian way of life.