Read all about it...?
The story of IVU's
attempts to communicate with its members
Compiled by John
Davis, IVU Manager and Historian
The first communications from IVU to its members and supporters were
done entirely by the individual Society hosting each Congress, IVU had
no funds of its own until 1913 when the first General Secretary was elected.
But that turned out to be the last Congress for 10 years.
From the report from the 1923 Congress, held in Sweden:
The Hon. General Secretary of the International Vegetarian Union, Miss
Mathilde Hompes (Manchester), read a full report on the work of the
Union, . . . . During the long gap from 1913 to 1923, we could do very
little, but the members of Committee have not lost touch. We have kept
up a fairly lively exchange of opinions by correspondence, and have
from time to time published any matters which we deemed of sufficient
importance, in the organs of the various Vegetarian Societies. . . .
INTERNATIONAl. CORRESPONDENCE. The Esperantist Delegates asked that
the organ Vegetarano should become the organ of the International Vegetarian
Union. After some discussion the matter was left for the Committee to
decide later. It was resolved that:- The General Secretary should issue
a short bulletin every three months.
General Secretary : Miss Hompes expressed her desire to retire. . .
. Miss Ortt was duly elected to the office of Honorary General Secretary
of the International Vegetarian Union.
The quarterly bulletin was published as planned, we are not aware of
any surviving copies but some brief extracts were reprinted in The
Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester).
As early as 1923 we have the three main options:
- IVU publishes its own bulletin/newsletter/magazine;
- member societies are invited to reprint items in their own publications;
- another journal is used to include IVU's news.
From the reports of the 1926 Congress, held in London:
From time to time the Hon. Secretary had issued bulletins containing
reports of the activities of affiliated societies, and giving the Hon.
Treasurer's statement of the financial position.
Miss Ortt intimated that she was not able to continue to act its Hon.
Secretary, and her resignation was accepted with keen regret. . . The
following officers were elected .. Hon. Secretary, Oluf Egerod, Esq.,
The reports from the 1929 Congress make no mention of publications. Mr.
Egerod became the treasurer and was replaced as General Secretary by Hans
Feix of Czechoslovakia. However, the report from the 1932 Congress stated:
It was agreed, purely on the ground of expense, to discontinue the
publication of Vegetarano and to issue in its place a duplicated news
sheet from time to time. At this juncture the members present expressed
their grateful thanks to Mr. Oscar Bunemann for his work as Editor of
- which suggests that, at some point, the Esperantists 1923 offer of
using their publication as the official IVU news medium had been taken
up (option 3). There was no further mention of any publications until
IVU was re-formed at the 1947 Congress in England:
Introduced by Mr. J. H. BOLT (Holland), consideration was given to
the publication of an international vegetarian magazine, and it was
finally agreed that it be a recommendation to the I.V.U. Committee that
they take steps forthwith to have I.V.U. news circulated along the following
(a) The news to be sent in English to a central editor who will edit,
duplicate and remit this news sheet to National Societies who will be
asked to translate it into their own language and to publish it in full
in this language in their magazine.
(b) Each national representative to the I.V.U. to be responsible for
the news supplied to the editor.
What they appear to have agreed was not to produce an IVU magazine (option
1), but instead to distribute articles for local publication - back to
In 1950 IVU appointed a full time salaried General Secretary, Mr. Jon
Hanworth Walker, thanks to financial support from a wealthy American woman.
The meeting of the Executive Committee on July 17, 1951, minuted:
It was agreed that we aim at producing our own World Magazine at the
opportune time in the future, but that the present time was too early
for such an important venture. A duplicated bulletin should be used
for the present.
- back to option 1. ...
The Rudd Solutions
However the report by Mr. Walker to the 1953 Congress included:
A significant step was that when the proprietors of the international
vegetarian magazine World Forum agreed to their excellent publication
being used for IVU news, notices, and articles.
- this was confirmed at the meeting of the Executive Committee on October
The secretary drew the attention of the meeting to the valuable and
friendly co-operation given by the proprietors of World Forum stating
that free and extensive use of the pages of this excellent magazine
was always available and that we were mainly indebted to Mr.Geoffrey
Rudd for this invaluable assistance to our work.
This was an independent publication, more correctly titled The Vegetarian
World Forum (many issues now online, opens in a new window), edited by Geoffrey Rudd. So now we're back to option
The Forum was further discussed at the meeting of the Executive Committee
on May 1-2, 1954:
The position linking the IVU with World Forum was discussed and Mr
Rudd - the Founder & Editor of this unique magazine said that he
is most happy to place World Forum at the fullest disposal of the IVU.
Secretary stated that if World Forum could be developed & its revenue
employed by the IVU this would enable us to employ Mr Rudd fully in
Mr Rudd expressed the view that World Forum as a business concern should
be quite apart from direct IVU control and finances.
By this time Mr. Rudd was a member of the committee and had become assistant
treasurer. The employment of the salaried secretary was terminated in
1956 and he was replaced an unpaid General Secretary. In 1958 Mr. Rudd
became the (unpaid) IVU General Secretary.
By 1960 Mr. Rudd was also the (salaried) Secretary of the Vegetarian
Society (Manchester) which had combined with the London Vegetarian Society
to produce a joint magazine 'The British Vegetarian'. The British Vegetarian report of 1960 IVU Congress, held in Germany
THE Proprietors of The British Vegetarian have very kindly agreed to
allow The I.V.U. to publish its news and reports in this magazine, and
the facility is gratefully acknowledged. Secretaries of Societies affiliated
to The I.V.U. already receive free copies as part of the service given
to the movement by The Vegetarian Society and The London Vegetarian
Society, so it will be greatly appreciated if Secretaries will watch
these columns for official announcements and also keep us constantly
in touch with all developments in their countries so that a helpful
and interesting feature can be published in each issue.
- so we're still on option 3, but now in a different magazine, still
under the supervision of Mr. Rudd, and it it did contain many frequent
articles about IVU over the next few years (many articles from the British Vegetarian are included in the reports of IVU Congresses in the 1960s - see www.ivu.org/history ). In 1968 Mr. Rudd stood down
as General Secretary and was replaced by Brian Gunn-King. The use of The
British Vegetarian appears to have gone with Mr. Rudd as reports about
IVU suddenly became very sparse.
We have no records of any mass communication with members for the next
11 years. In 1979 Maxwell Lee became the General Secretary. At the meeting
of the International Council in May 1980, the minutes record:
The meeting approved the suggestion from the General Secretary that
a regular newsletter should be produced to enable him to keep in touch
with Members The first issue would appear later in the year and Members
were invited to send in suitable news items for it. In addition the
General Secretary hoped to develop the link with Members which was available
through the "Vegetarian Voice" produced by the North American
- now back to option 1, not used since the 1920s. From the next meeting,
in July 1981:
The Hon. General Secretary reported that the newsletter had been used
by the Regional Secretary for Australasia in his local information sheet
and that the Swiss vegetarians had translated the newsletter and printed
much of it in their magazine 'Regeneration'.
A number of messages welcoming the newsletter had been received. Members
of the International Council were invited to send in any items they
might have for the next issue of the newsletter.
The Council meeting of July 1983 noted:
Members expressed appreciation of the newsletters produced by the General
Secretary. It was agreed that they served a valuable service to members.
The meeting of August 1985 gave an alternative offer:
A suggestion from Mr Keith Akers of Washington, D.C. that he and others
in his area should produce a newsletter for I.V.U. on a quarterly basis
was discussed. It was suggested that it might offend the N.A.V.S. as
they included I.V.U. news in their publication. Various views were expressed
but it was decided to postpone a decision until the World Congress.
At the meeting of March 1986, they changed their minds:
The Hon. General Secretary reported that he would be happy to accept
the kind offer of Mrs Madge Darneille and Mr Keith Akers to undertake
the production of the I.V.U. Newsletter. The International Council agreed
that it would be willing to pay the reasonable expenses for this and
expressed gratitude for the offer.
- this appears to be a specific IVU Newsletter produced in the USA, rather
than including some IVU news in another publication.... the meeting of
August 1987 minuted:
Hon. General Secretary's Report The General Secretary reported his
appreciation of the work being done on the Newsletters by Mrs Darneille
and Mr Akers.
IVU Newsletter: It was agreed to discuss the matter at the Toronto
Congress. Mr. Akers indicated he might not be able to continue to help
in its production. It was emphasised that information should be sent
in if a successful newsletter is to be produced.
The minutes give no indication of what happened for the next few years
but, by the Council meeting of January 1993 we're back to the UK:
It was reported that the IVU Newsletters were still being sent to some
societies and individuals who did not reply at all. This was in line
with an earlier decision of the International Council. It was agreed
that this should cease where there was a lack of response over a period
of time. There were favourable comments about the Newsletter and it
was agreed that we should aim to move towards four issues per year.
The Hon. General Secretary indicated the problems he had with a printer
and the fact that the present computer system was not able to operate
a desk top publishing system for the Newsletters. It was agreed that
a desktop publishing system and a good printer, possibly a laser printer,
should be purchased. The cost was left open and the Hon. General Secretary
agreed to seek the best deal possible.
The meeting of the International Council in July 1995 minuted:
It was agreed that the Hon. General Secretary should be asked to include
a statement in the IVU newsletter indicating the various reports etc.
that were available from the Research Officer of the Vegetarian Society
of the United Kingdom.
It was felt that it was desirable to resuscitate SCIVU [Science Council of IVU] but that the name
of the organisation should be The Scientific Committee of the International
Vegetarian Union. The Hon. General Secretary was asked to put an article
in the Newsletter about the possibilities for such a development.
[re regional reports] Due to the lack of time, it was agreed
that the Hon General Secretary should consider giving other reports
in summary in a future newsletter if they are sent to him.
The Age of the Internet
In December 1995 the IVU website was created to further the aims of mass
communication and attracted 1,000 page views in the first month online (in 2009 it attracts about 1.5 million page views per month).
The newsletters produced by Maxwell Lee, at two or three month intervals during 1995/6 are available online at www.ivu.org/news/magazine.html.
At the July 1996 Council meeting, the General Secretary's report mentioned:
" The increasing importance of the internet for communication was
leading to a growing need for IVU to lead the way and to take some responsibility
for the Vegetarian Pages which were becoming more and more popular."
[Vegetarian Pages was the major website at that time, now largely defunct].
In 1996 Francisco Martin became IVU General Secretary and produced 3
issues of a more substantial, glossier, magazine up to the summer of 1998.
The full contents of these issues can also be found at www.ivu.org/news/magazine.html.
The September 1997 meeting of the International Council commented: "The
General Secretary was congratulated on the quality of the newsletter.
It was agreed that its value in promotional and recruitment terms justified
the cost of producing it. New members received a newsletter straight away.
Although sales revenue was not great new membership subscriptions were
In February 1997 the 'ivu.org' domain was registered.
In December 1998 the IVU webmaster started a monthly email newsletter,
IVU Online News. Apart from a few of missed issues this was sent
to up to 2,000 readers every month until 2006. Subscription is public
but only news by or about IVU members and supporters was normally included.
Shortly after Online News began, IVU also took over the running of the
'veg-news' list, now called 'ivu-veg-news'. This has news items forwarded
from the many online newspapers around the world by any of the list members.
This is open to the public and currently has about 450 subscribers, most
of them activists running other magazines or newsletters, either in print
or online, and many of them re-use the news items in their own publications. There have also been a couple of attempts to create a 'syndicated' email
list, whereby original articles can be sent to editors of publications
produced by IVU member societies for their own use. This has met with
The ivu-sci email group replaced SCIVU in 1999, and is open to scientists and
all editors of IVU member society publications. This has removed the need for
scientific articles to be distributed by print & post. It currently has about 140 subscribers.
There are also many other ivu email discussion groups with several thousands subscribers between them, many carrying local or specialist news items.
In January 1999 Paul Turner was appointed IVU magazine editor and produced
5 issues of IVU News up to the summer of 2002. Most of the contents of
these issues are also linked from www.ivu.org/news/magazine.html .
At its July 2000 meeting, in Toronto, the International Council had some
discussion about the magazine:
Paul Turner discussed the production of the IVU magazine and reviewed
areas of difficulty. He suggested we have a theme for each issue; new
and regular contributors (such as Rae Sikora and Dr. Claus Leitzmann);
a letters page would be included; a Q & A section; more advertising;
and member society contributions.
The next issue might have the theme of local and regional organizations.
The Regional Coordinators should submit their reports for the upcoming
Paul requested more regular input from Council members and more local
and regional societies' reports. It was agreed that Gerry, Tina, and
Saurabh would prepare a report on the Congress for the next issue.
At the 2002 Congress a new magazine editor was appointed, but no further
issues were ever produced.
In 2005 the International Council decided to produce an Annual Report,
to be printed and posted to all members and supporters. This was commenced
with the 2006 report and there were plans to continue in this way, but they never materialised.
In 2006 George Jacobs took over as editor of IVU Online News and expanded the content whilst maintaining more regular publication than had been previously achieved. It also moved to becoming primarily web based, but with the email version going to those requesting it - all these issues are online at www.ivu.org/news/online . The success of these editions has ended any further discussions about printing and posting news - IVU news is now fully online.
In 2009 IVU added a new database for news at - www.ivu.org/news - this opens up further possibilities for the future...