|International Vegetarian Union (IVU)|
25th World Vegetarian Congress 1979
| Hon.General Secretary's Report
Hon.General Secretary's Report
My wife and I and a few other foreign representatives were lucky enough to reach New Delhi in time to attend the closing session of the 3rd, National (All-India) Conference on Animal Welfare. Mrs Rukmini Devi Arundale (I.V.U. - V.P.) was in the Chair and there was a simple but moving memorial to our dear-departed Mankarji on the platform. He had put so much of his long but arduous life into fighting for Animal Welfare and the Vegetarian Cause. The Congress collected a handsome donation in his memory later to help to propagate vegetarian lecturing particularly in Asia. We had missed the Prime Minister Shri Moraji Dosai and Lady Dowding of B.W.C. but were able to make amends later.
The 19th, 20th and 21st of November were taken up with Business Sessions mainly plus Member Society progress reports. A list of 12 Resolutions were passed, many particular to India on 22nd Nov. These have been propagated very well by the Indian Government banning the export of certain animals for experimentation and culinary purposes. The Prime Minister being a well-known avowed vegetarian had a great influence no doubt. The International Supplement for I.V.U. printed as a newspaper by Mr.H.J.Dinshah at the request of the I.V.U. Congress spread the word round well on the Congress generally. Over the next 17 days Congress participants attended further sessions in Agra, Jaipur, Varanasi, Calcutta, Madras, Bangalore and Bombay in halls holding anything up to 1500 people from 15 countries or more. There were Press meetings, Brains Trusts, learned lectures, food and cookery exhibitions banquets very generously donated by sponsors to the Indian Congress organisation. Several officials made T.V. appearances including the President Dr.G.Latto with considerable effect. The Participants also had the opportunity to go sight-seeing e.g. Taj Mahal and Red Fort at Agra; botanical gardens at Calcutta and Bangalore, Castles and temples at Jaipur, Mahabalpuram, Ashrams in Madras and Delhi and Pondischerry, see Indian art and dancing at its best and most importantly in the long run to go to outside colleges and lecture and discuss vegetarianism with the young people.
It is very difficult to adequately express out thanks to all concerned both in front and behind the scenes but Mr.Surendra Mehta no doubt carried a heavy burden both in work and in heart to carry-on with the Congress as Mankarji would have wished.... There is no doubt that these Congresses stir up a lot of interest in all forms of news media and through follow-up requests for further information particularly from Research colleges, universities and local societies who are looking for soundly-based nutritional and scientific and economic advice on vegetarianism particularly with regard to avoiding polluted foodstuffs and the environment.
A great deal of I.V.U. (H.Q.) work is taken up with painstakingly answering such queries or referring them to reputable sources elsewhere. Unfortunately this work is costing more and more as inflation forces up postal costs, materials and general running costs and there is a limit on part-time work. There may come a time that if transportation and energy costs rise any more then intervals between International Congresses may increase to allow participants to save up for them. More and more time must be put in on ensuring the success of national and regional Congresses and securing Government support as the high costs (uneconomic) of rearing animals for food rapidly begins to tell over the next 10 to 20 years even using enclosed factory farming. Direct food production from the land using surplus redundant labour, victims of the automatic micro chip revolution, will produce more off the land in intensive, natural crop-rotation; give healthier food and bring back individual worker skills giving the pleasant environment of smaller settlements to live in cutting down commuting from home to work. Crops will again be used for clothing, energy systems as well as food as a continually-renewing, non-fossil source.
International vegetarianism eschewing political and religious, racial bias will show the way to other forms of life and must be in the vanguard with its mobilised youth.
This is my retiring speech so I hope you will indulge my long-term way of planning projection which comes naturally to a trained environmentalist.
B. J.Gunn-King (Hon.Gen.Sec. - I.V.U.)