International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
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There is an urgent need for change in the direction of world agriculture because of the rapid trends in the wrong direction that are currently taking place. The so-called Green Revolution delivered a large increase in agricultural production through the application of technology (scientific plant breeding, chemical weedkillers, insecticides and fungicides etc.) but it was achieved at a huge cost of pollution, damage to the environment such as the destruction of natural forests, damage to human health, and suffering to animals caused by intensive 'factory farming' methods. In the western world the real financial cost has been disguised by governments' willingness to load taxpayers instead of the farmer, the food industry and the consumer. This is especially so with meat. The taxpayer foots the bill for dealing with the consequent animal disease crises (BSE, Foot & Mouth, TB etc.), food poisoning emergencies, pollution of the natural environment and water supplies, the human health problems caused or exacerbated by eating animal products (a burden on health services), and direct subsidies on the production and processing of meat and milk. It is high time that the consumers of meat and dairy products paid at the till for the full cost of their production.

In spite of the acclaimed success of the 'Green Revolution' hunger is as widespread in the world as it ever was, or worse. To deal with that and the growing world population, experts propose, and are already embarked upon, a 'Doubly Green Revolution', which will make full use of even more 'advanced' technology such as the genetic engineering of crops and animals. HIPPO believes that the hope they hold out is a false one and that such methods will eventually lead to disaster. There is good cause to doubt the credentials of those who are proclaiming it. They are the servants and paid lackeys of huge multi-national businesses whose primary interest is financial gain and not the welfare of the world's poor and hungry as they often make out. World hunger for food and land and the desire for better health can be met only by widespread adoption of a vegetarian, preferably vegan, diet and vegan-organic food production. This will of course be a gradual process but it must begin NOW!

HIPPO insists that it is not necessary to gamble with the future of our planet by increasing still further the pressures its environment suffers from this sort of "progress". We need a different concept of progress, one that puts before financial profits the health of the global environment, the health of people, fairness in trade, generosity in the distribution of the world's resources, and kindness to animals. Instead of hastily applying potentially dangerous technology we should look first at the way we make use of existing resources and make changes that will reduce the demands we heap on this earth and all its living organisms. There are a number of good organisations working in the fields of nature conservation, environmental protection and fair trade but HIPPO's particular concern is to change the way in which food and the resources involved in the production of food (land, water and energy) are utilised. This is a fundamental need that underlies those other concerns. The reason why we consider this to be of vital importance will become clear if you consider two basic facts:

  1. When food is fed to livestock to produce meat and milk etc., 90% of it is wasted.
  2. More than 75% of the agricultural land in Europe and the U.S.A. is used to grow food for livestock. For example Soya is the biggest single agricultural crop by far in the USA and 95% of it is fed to livestock. Unfortunately the developing countries are rapidly moving in the same direction. China for example has moved in a decade from being a net exporter of cereals to being a massive importer, principally to feed its pigs, and the Chinese now consume more meat per capita than do North Americans. Africans produce and consume a fraction of the pulses that they did thirty years ago. Their place is taken by the growing consumption of animal foods resulting in the wholesale clearance of forests, soil erosion and floods. What point is there in breeding threatened animal species without tackling the very thing that threatens them - the destruction of their natural habitats?

Livestock production inevitably causes a huge waste of resources. If a significant number of people in the world became vegetarian, or better still vegan, there would be no need for the 'Doubly Green Revolution'. There would be a surplus of food and there could be a return to more natural, organic and extensive methods of producing it. Everyone could be well fed. Forests could be restored, to be again the natural 'sinks' for carbon dioxide. Methane production from animals and their manure would be drastically cut, moderating the 'greenhouse effect' and eventually halting the deterioration of the climate and the consequences of that. Precious water resources would be conserved and kept clean. Wildlife habitats could be protected and enhanced once the constant pressure to extend the area of agricultural cultivation is ended. In relation to the size of the problem and the scale of the genuine revolution needed in world agricultural and dietary practices, HIPPO is a small organisation but even the longest journey begins with the first step and we have every confidence that we will grow. If you are not yet a vegetarian we urge you become one, and if you are we call on you to give your maximum personal support to HIPPO and/or other agencies of the international vegetarian movement which is thankfully becoming stronger with each day that passes.

HIPPO is involved in projects mostly in Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, and Uganda), but also sends vegan food aid to Russia, Bosnia, and Croatia. Requests for information about HIPPO's past and current activities are welcome. Donations should be in the form of cheques made payable to HIPPO, or details for direct payment to our bank account will be provided on request.

Conact: HIPPO, Churchfield House, Weston under Penyard, ROSS-ON-WYE HR9 7PA ;