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A plea for an International Vegetarian Union - 1889


From The Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), September 1889, p266-268:

THE INTERNATIONAL UNION FOR A HUMANE MODE OF LIFE.

The folIowing is a translation of an appeal issued in German by A. Engel:

"One needs but to have faith in a just cause to make it succeed," is a motto which is always true for those who have to perform the preliminary tasks incident upon the organisation of any movement. The necessity has been strongly felt of uniting Vegetarians wherever they may be scattered into one band, so that they may work for the good of the Vegetarian cause and further its spread and prosperity, of all private interests or local forms. Each separate society works within definite, but also within very narrow limits; indeed, it is only by each one fulfilling its own part that the whole can attain to perfection. But the outside world has no conception of the extent to which Vegetarianism has already spread. It has now become necessary that not only should each body of Vegetarians know of the working the other, but that the whole community should be made aware of their endeavour, and roused to assist in the same. The mere existence of an international union will secure attention and gain for Vegetarianism that notice which it can never otherwise attain, and without which it can never hope to spread as it ought.

This Union hopes to unite Vegetarians of all lands. The existence of separate societies, journals, &c., though not its concern, will receive all possible support, and in order that there may be every possible facility afforded for membership, no fee will he exacted.

Every member will be expected to give all practical help in his power towards its good work.

Undertakings of a larger compass will be supported voluntarily, and after deducting the necessary expenses, the remainder of the funds will be devoted to the acquisition of property, such as land and the like which may be deemed necessary for the good of the cause. An open account will be submitted of all donations received.

The organ of the Union will he the "Correspondenzblatt für Lebensweise," which shall be the binding tie for us all. In it every member shall communicate with every other member; questions may be asked and answered; information and advice given ; proposals made and discussed; and news of all that has been done and is to be done freely offered. This is calculated to stimulate the sympathy of all Vegetarians, to give them that joy and hope which adds a double strength to every activity, by chronicling the ever-increasing success of our work, and to keep every member well informed of all that is being done within the realm of humane endeavours.

This journal will be distributed without any charge. Its cost will be defrayed by advertisements, which will by this means secure a wider sphere of readers, as the journal will be sent not only to all members within and without Germany, but will also be freely distributed as a pamphlet. This free circulation will secure not only to Vegetarians, but to all business men, a very wide reading of any advertisements, with which they may favour us. The journal will appear, for the present, on the 1st and 15th of every month in the form of a letter and a cover, which will give contents and the number of advertisements.

Whilst giving notice of these projects we earnestly invite all those who abstain from the food obtained from dead animals to join the union, and the intention simply expressed on a post-card, adding correct address of sender, will suffice for this purpose.

As the statistics might prove valuable for many purposes, it would be well if each member would furnish the following particulars: Age occupation, how long he has been a Vegetarian, which kinds of foods he chiefly uses, and any other remarks thought worthy of record. Also, the number of surviving children under 16 years of age. All over that age are expected to have an opinion about their mode of life, and are, thereore, able to join the union independently.

All Vegetarian journals are requested to send their address, and also give space to stating the objects of this union ; as also all Vegetarian restaurants, institutions, business houses, &c., and unions pursuing other humane modes of life. The latter, and all Vegetarians are requested to send us at once their advertisements. Our price is 6d. per line. £1 per folio. The first number of our journal appeared on July 1, and reported on the result of this proposal and on the general state of Vegetarianism; and we trust the result may prove as encouraging as it is important.

We hope that thousands of copies will be required, in which case the postage required to send to each address would be so great as to make an undue demand on our cash. Even could we afford it we think the money might be much more usefully spent, and we propose, therefore, that local unions or private individuals should undertake its distribution within their neighbourhood, and inform us of the probable number of copies they will need.

In order to establish a bond with those who do not live as Vegetarians, we shall be glad to welcome all who are interested in our cause as "friends of the union," and will send them the ''Corresponlenzblatt," that they may have an opportunity of viewing Vegetarianism from right point, and after accurate knowledge of its whole field of working, may form a definite opinion. And that this object may be still further attained, we shall endeavour to make the journal a "correspondenzblatt" for other newspapers. In this way it is hoped that many now existing errors respecting our cause may be corrected through the press, and this alone outhg to rouse all our brethren to our hearty support.

A wide field lies before us, and workers are not wanting. We all press towards the same goal, why should we not all tread the same road? All our wishes have the same object, why not make it a reality? Why not strive unanimously for that which we all so unanimously desire?

Our flagstaff is planted, we need but rally round it. No sacrifice is needed, union will work its way, for union gives strength. We need only look to the founders of all religions to feel how much the mind has been the element of force in all fights for the culture and the higher life, Out of the mustard seed grows the tree which shall overshadow the earth, if only the seed be worthy, and we cannot doubt that every Vegetarian has faith enough in the principle of his mode of life to make him recognise the powerful impulse within, that shall sprout afresh to-day after having slept, like the grain of wheat in Egyptian vaults, and make the future his as the past has been.

Every Vegetarian is called upon to aid in this work of the future, and surely he will not refuse to bring one stone to the building by letting us enter his name. The address of the union, as well as for all communications to the "Correspondezblatt," is A. Engel, Schwerin i/M Schelfstrasse 8.