International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
IVU logo Members and Supporters

The 1982 Constitution
of the International Vegetarian Union


As completely revised at the 26th World Vegetarian Congress, held in Neu Ulm, West Germany, 22nd July - 1st August, 1982.

[This constitution was replaced in 1993]

CLAUSE 1 - Name

The body of vegetarian societies and individual vegetarians banded together for their common interest and for the furtherance of the vegetarian ideal throughout the world shall be called the International Vegetarian Union (abbreviated to I.V.U.) with headquarters at any suitable place decided by the International Council. 

CLAUSE 2 - Membership

  1. The I.V.U. shall be a non-profit-making organisation consisting of all vegetarian societies and individual members subscribing to its aims and objectives enumerated in Clause 3 which have indicated a desire for membership and have paid the due subscription or are excused from such subscription by the International Council.
  2. Full membership of I.V.U. is open to any society which advocates vegetarian ideals and whose executive authority is vested exclusively in vegetarians.
  3. Individual membership shall be available to practising vegetarians who may, but need not be, members of societies affiliated to I.V.U. There shall be three categories of such membership.
    1. Honorary Fellows, elected for life by Congress in recognition of their services to the world vegetarian cause. Such positions shall be non-executive and non-voting.
    2. Life Patrons, who shall make a minimum donation to I.V.U. of £50 or such other amount as shall be from time to time decided by the Congress. Their names shall appear on the list of honour but they shall have no other rights than those given to individual members.
    3. Individuals, who may apply for individual membership of I.V.U. at a subscription to be determined by Congress or, if this is not possible, by the international Council. They shall be kept informed of I.V.U. news and activities. Individual members shall not have full voting rights unless as a delegate representing a member society but may be elected to office in I.V.U. and if so elected to the International Council may vote at meetings of the International Council.
  4. Associate membership shall be open to any society concern, commission, or corporate body which is in sympathy with the aims and objectives of I.V.U., animal welfare, humanitarian, health or similar relevant objectives and which shall be acceptable to the International Council. Associate membership shall carry all the rights of membership except for voting.
  5. The annual subscription rates for each category of membership shall be determined by the delegates meeting in a General Meeting at a Congress or, if this is not possible by the International Council.
  6. All member societies shall be autonomous and I.V.U. shall have no power to participate in the internal affairs of any national or regional vegetarian society except by express invitation by that body.
CLAUSE 3 - Aims and Objectives
  1. In connection with these aims and objectives the definition of vegetarianism shall be the practice of living on grains, pulses, nuts, fruits and other products of nature, with or without the use of dairy produce and eggs, to the entire exclusion of the flesh of animals (flesh meat, fish or fowl) as food and the term "Vegetarian" means a person who conforms consistently to such practice, or when used adjectively, conformation to such practice.
  2. To promote, as a means of advancing the spiritual, moral, mental, physical and economic improvement of Mankind: knowledge of vegetarianism and the practice of living on the products of the vegetable kingdom.
  3. To promote research into and to publish the results of such research and to provide information upon the production, utilisation, preparation, preservation and dietetic effects of vegetarian substances for human consumption.
  4. To publish and distribute books, pamphlets, an I.V.U. bulletin, other propaganda material and news of vegetarian interest.
  5. To maintain (when possible) a library of publications on vegetarianism, dietetics, food reform, vegetarian recipes, food production and animal welfare.
  6. To assist in the formation of vegetarian organisations.
  7. To promote the organisation of vegetarian world Congresses every two years or at such intervals as shall be decided by a Congress or the International Council.
  8. To encourage close co-operation between Member Societies.
  9. To represent the vegetarian cause on appropriate international bodies.
  10. To encourage the holding of regional Congresses and vacation schools in years in which there is no world Congress in order to promote vegetarian activity by countries which might not be in a position to hold world Congresses.
CLAUSE 4 - Organisation
  1. The affairs of I.V.U. shall be administered by an International Council consisting of: the President, the Deputy President, a maximum of eight and a minimum of four Executive Vice Presidents, the Hon. General Secretary, the Hon. Treasurer, a representative of the executive committee of each world region of I.V.U. (where there is no regional executive committee the Congress may appoint a representative for the region), and up to a maximum of eight other members at the discretion of the Congress.
  2. All officers, Hon. Vice-Presidents and International Council members, except the Hon. General Secretary, the Hon. Treasurer, and if desired an Hon. Assistant General Secretary and an Hon. Assistant Treasurer, shall be elected at a meeting of members of I.V.U. at a world vegetarian Congress. All elections shall be for the period until the next world Congress. All shall be eligible for re-election. The immediate past President shall remain a member of the International Council for a period of two years following retirement from that position.
  3. The President and all elective honorary officers and International Council members shall be nominated by member societies. Voting shall be by secret ballot by official delegates of member societies. The International Council may make recommendations to the meeting of official delegates.
  4. The Hon. General Secretary, the Hon. Treasurer, the Hon. Assistant General Secretary and the Hon. Assistant Treasurer shall be appointed by the International Council.
  5. The Hon. Treasurer shall open or authorise to be opened banking accounts in the name of the I.V.U. in such country or countries as the International Council shall decide. Cheques shall be signed by two authorised signatories one of whom shall be the Hon. Treasurer unless he is unavailable. All decisions about cheque signatories shall be taken by the International Council, but may be any of the president, the Deputy President a nominated Vice-President, the Hon. General Secretary or the Hon. Assistant Treasurer.
  6. A statement of accounts shall be prepared for each year with the financial year ending on 31st March of each year. Audited annual accounts shall be presented at each Congress for the period since the last Congress.
  7. Auditors shall be elected at each Congress and shall be eligible for re-election. Should no auditors be elected at a Congress, the International Council shall have discretion to determine the appointment of auditors.
  8. Should any position become vacant between Congresses, the President, the Deputy President and the Hon. General Secretary shall determine how the duties shall be performed until the next meeting of the International Council, When temporary arrangements shall be made for the period until the next Congress.
CLAUSE 5 - International Council
    1. The International Council shall be responsible to the membership of I.V.U. for the day-to-day running of the affairs of I.V.U.
    2. The International Council shall meet as necessary at International Congresses and between Congresses in order to carry out the business of I.V.U.
    3. The general administration of I.V.U. shall be carried out by the Hon. General Secretary under the instruction of the International Council.
    4. Meetings of the International Council shall be called by the Honorary General Secretary and the President. Such meetings shall be called upon the instruction of the International Council or any two officers of the International Council or upon the written request of any four members of the International Council. The Hon. General Secretary shall be given at least two calendar months' notice of any request for a meeting of the International Council and he shall give all members of the International Council at least one month's notice in writing of any such meeting.
    5. A quorum at meetings of the International Council shall be five members.
    6. The International Council may fill any vacancies which may occur on the Council between Congresses and may co-opt up to two additional members who shall have full, voting rights.
    7. All decisions at meetings of the International Council shall be by majority vote. Where there is even voting the Chairman of the meeting shall have a casting vote.
    8. The venue for meetings of the International Council shall be decided by the President and Hon. General Secretary acting on the advice of members of the International Council.
CLAUSE 6 - Scientific Council (S.C.I.V.U.)
  1. I.V.U. shall encourage the scientific investigation of the vegetarian diet and to this end shall have a Scientific Council which shall operate on behalf of I.V.U.
  2. The Scientific Council shall consist of experts in the fields of medicine, science and economics and other interested persons.
  3. Its aim shall be the collection, editing and dissemination on aspects of vegetarianism.
  4. The Scientific Council shall operate under its own constitution which shall be subject to the approval of the International Council of I.V.U. and it will maintain its own financial system and provide accounts for the approval of the International Council of I.V.U. at yearly intervals.
  5. Should S.C.I.V.U. cease to operate all its remaining funds shall be given over to I.V.U. for its benefit.
CLAUSE 7 - Regions
  1. I.V.U. shall have seven administrative areas which shall be Africa, Australasia, Europe, Latin America, North America, the Far East and the Middle East.
  2. During the years when there are no world Congresses, each of the seven regions shall, if possible, hold regional vegetarian Congresses.
  3. Each region shall hold elections at its Congress to administer the affairs of the region through a regional executive. The number of officers and committee elected shall not exceed the total number elected under the constitution of I.V.U. for the International Council.
  4. When it does not prove possible to hold regional Congresses the affairs of the region and elections may be conducted by post.
  5. Each region shall determine its own constitution which may not conflict with any of the clauses contained within the constitution of I.V.U.
  6. Each regional executive shall elect one representative to serve on the International Council of I.V.U.
  7. Should any region not be able to maintain a regional organisation the International Council may take whatever action it may deem necessary to ensure representation of the region on the International Council until the next world Congress.
CLAUSE 8 - Subscription and Membership
  1. Membership subscriptions shall become due upon the written request of the Hon. General Secretary for such subscription.
  2. Non-payment of subscriptions for a period of two years without the consent of the International Council shall result in the deletion of the society from the membership list and the loss of voting and other rights.
  3. At its full discretion the International Council may accept late subscription.
  4. New applicants for full or associate membership shall supply a copy of their constitution and be subject to the approval of the International Council.
  5. All subscriptions shall be paid to the Hon. General Secretary and the appropriate membership form shall be completed with each annual renewal.
  6. All members, Associate members and Officers of I.V.U. shall abide by the constitution of I.V.U.
  7. Any Member, Associate Member or Officer who acts in any way contrary to the aims and objectives or interest of I.V.U. may be removed from membership or office by the International Council subject to a minimum of three quarters of those voting at the International Council being in favour of the proposal The person or organisation it is proposed to remove from membership may appear, to present a defence at the appropriate meeting of the International Council.
CLAUSE 9 - World Vegetarian Congress
  1. The World Vegetarian Congress, being the governing body, shall make all decisions as to the conduct and activities of I.V.U. All regional executive committees and the International Council of I.V.U. shall be bound thereby. In the event that it should not be possible to carry out any decision of the Congress the International Council shall carry out a referendum of all paid up members of I.V.U. giving details of the proposed alteration and the reasons for it. Member Societies shall be given a period of four weeks to reply to the Hon. General Secretary with their vote which shall be either "for" or "against" the proposed change. A simple majority shall suffice for the proposed change, and in the event of an equality of vote, the President shall have the deciding vote.
  2. Each World Vegetarian Congress shall be organised in accordance with the constitution of I.V.U. and the next but one World Congress will be agreed during the current Congress.
  3. Members of I.V.U. undertake to publicise the details of each World Vegetarian Congress.
  4. Each Member Society with up to 150 members shall be entitled to send one delegate to any World Vegetarian Congress or meeting of Members of I.V.U. who shall be empowered to speak and vote on behalf of the Society. Societies which have more than 150 members shall be empowered to send one additional delegate for each 500 members or part thereof up to a maximum of 10 delegates for a society with 4,650 or more members. Each such delegate shall be empowered to speak and vote on behalf of the member Society.
  5. All matters appertaining to the organisation of World Vegetarian Congresses shall be agreed by the International Council or, if this should not prove practical, by the Hon. General Secretary.
  6. All suggestions for programme items for World Vegetarian Congresses shall be sent to the Hon. General Secretary by a date to be determined by the International Council. All members of I.V.U. shall be given at least six months notice of such date in writing.
  7. Applications may be made to the Hon. General Secretary at least one year before a Congress for simultaneous translation facilities to be made available at the Congress, subject to a guarantee that Congress fees for a minimum of thirty persons of a single linguistic group shall be paid six months prior to the Congress.
Clause 10 - General Meetings
  1. At each World Vegetarian Congress a Meeting shall be held to deal with the business of I.V.U. within the first three days of the Congress. Sufficient time shall be allowed to deal with all current business but not less than four hours shall be allocated for this purpose. A quorum for business meetings shall be fifty percent of the official delegates attending the Congress.
  2. The General Meeting shall elect the members of the International Council and Honorary Officials.
  3. The General Meeting shall carry out such business as has been requested of the Hon. General Secretary by the International Council or Member Societies at least one month prior to the commencement of the World Vegetarian Congress. Late items may be accepted at the discretion of the General Meeting.
  4. Voting at a General Meeting, except when concerning the constitution, shall be by a simple majority.
  5. Voting by proxy shall be permissible up to three votes but such proxies shall be presented to the Hon. General Secretary in writing by the start of the relevant business meeting.
  6. The President or such other person as shall be decided by the International Council or the General Meeting shall take the chair at all General Meetings.
CLAUSE 11 - Alteration of the Constitution
  1. Notice of any proposed alteration of the constitution must be received by the Hon. General Secretary at least five months before the opening of a Congress so that adequate time shall be allowed for the circulation of such proposals to Member Societies, Regional Secretaries and I.V.U. Officers. Such proposed change to the constitution shall require the support of seventy five percent of Official Delegates present at the General Meeting.
CLAUSE 12 - Dissolution
  1. Dissolution of I.V.U. may be effected by at least seventy five percent of the total Member Societies requesting the same. Upon such a request a referendum of all Member Societies shall be held with one year's notice being given of the proposal. At the end of one year, if seventy five percent of all Member Societies approve of dissolution, I.V.U. shall be dissolved
  2. After all liabilities have been met any remaining assets shall be sold and the cash balance handed over to an appropriate vegetarian cause or organisation which has charitable status, according to the decision of the International Council at that time.