|International Vegetarian Union (IVU)|
The Vegetarian World Forum
WORLD FORUM - No. 2 Vol. XII - JULY 1958
THE INTERNATIONAL VEGETARIAN UNION
THE Vegetarian Society, of Manchester, was the first society of its kind in the world, being founded in 1847. There had, of course, been organisations and sects advocating aspects of vegetarianism as part of their philosophy, but this was the first secular organisation to devote itself entirely to the propagation of the benefits of a meatless diet.
At the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of the Vegetarian Society, Dr. Anjoa, of Nice, made the suggestion that an international organization should be formed and the first International Congress was held at Nice (sic) in 1908, and the second in 1909, at Manchester. Apart from breaks due to war years many Congresses have been held, and after the Second World War the series started again with a gathering at Wycliffe College, England, in 1947-during the Vegetarian Society's centenary year - followed by meetings in Holland, Sweden, France and India.
The I.V.U. has affiliated centres and co-operators in Africa, Argentine, Australia, Austria, Burma, Canada, Denmark, Eire, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Holland, India, Israel, Ireland, Italy, Luxemborg, Malaya, N. Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States of America. The meeting of representatives of these nations at Congresses is stimulating and the knowledge that friends are working for the same ideals all over the world is very heartening.
Until 1950 all the offices of the I.V.U. were honorary, but through the generosity of Mrs. Clarence Gasque, of California, a paid secretary was appointed with a permanent office in London. This enabled the work to be greatly expanded between 1950 and 1957.
At the very successful Indian Congress in 1957 it was suggested that the work of the 1.V.U., which is rapidly increasing, would be facilitated by the appointment of regional centres. Following this recommendation three Honorary Officers have now been appointed:
Hon. Secretary for the Americas - Dr. Dastur F. Bode, of 2552 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles 27, California, U.S.A.
Hon. Secretary for india and the East - Shri J. N. Mankar, of 149 Shroff Bazar, Bombay 2, India.
Hon. General Secretary - Geoffrey L. Rudd, c/o The Vegetarian Society, Bank Square, Cheshire, England.
Mr. Harry Harris, F.S.A., who has carried the burden of work for the last few years, has retired, and we are sure all wish him well in his retirement and thank him for his splendid services to the I.V.U. during a difficult period.
Mrs. Gasque, the I.V.U. President, who attends Congresses wherever they might be, continues her kind and generous support for which the I.V.U. is greatly indebted.
The Future Work
IT is already well established that vegetarianism is a scientific way of obtaining adequate nutrition. The work of vegetarian societies must be to educate the public in this fact and the I.V.U. can help towards co-ordinating the effort and encouraging the formation of new centres.
It is necessary for us to have immediate news in any nutritional development and any information with which we can bring pressure to bear on Government departments of health and food, and on the Press. The I.V.U. will pass on such information through the network of its organization. While the I.V.U. does not intrude upon the work of national societies its good offices are available to all on invitation.
We cannot expect spectacular results in the vegetarian movement because the change appears to be bigger than it really is, but world economic conditions are gradually working in our favour and will eventually make it impossible to maintain large cattle herds – no opportunity should be lost to emphasize this to national Governments, for in seventeen or eighteen years' time there will be an extra 350,000,000 people to feed. We have recently sent a memoranda to all Governments urging that planning should begin immediately and that vegetarian arguments should be given serious consideration.
Medical and scientific discoveries also tend increasingly to favour our arguments, especially recent announcements about the effect of fatty acids from meat which are said to be a factor in diseases of the heart and blood.
We should urge Governments to cultivate alternative sources of nutrients from the vegetable kingdom, with world-wide planting schemes for nut and fruit-bearing trees instead of the exclusive concentration on timber-yielding growth.
Plant-milks, which have been produced successfully in America, India and Britain, should be Government sponsored and further developed, for this can be better balanced for human consumption than animal milks and be free from all disease taints. Incidentally, they can be infinitely cheaper and have longer keeping qualities.
A world or national "Vegetarian Day" might be a possibility, especially if we can convince the Press and public that a person who insists on a meat diet ensures that another person, in another part of the world, goes short of food - this is a fact because a meateater needs about twice as much land as a vegetarian and takes more than his fair share of the land available.
The ethical side of vegetarianism is probably only important to vegetarians-it can still be an important argument, but Government officials are primarily interested in pounds, dollars, rupees and pesetas. Let us therefore settle down to pester them continually with hard facts and figures. Our arguments are right, everything is in our favour-we think we can help matters along a little quicker and more efficiently by making them known before the coming food crisis breaks on an unprepared world.
Geoffrey L. Rudd