|International Vegetarian Union (IVU)|
Regional Report - Australia
Australia has not been directly affected by the twin events of Mad Cow
Disease and Foot and Mouth Disease which have swept Europe, but the Australian
meat industry has rubbed it's hands in glee at the extra product it can
export - and as a result, domestic meat prices have gone through the roof.
it is to be hoped that this fact alone turns some consumers to consider
the vegetar-ian alternative. This report focuses on how three groups are
meeting this challenge.
Societies are active in most capital cities, and in the Australian Capital
Territory, which includes Canberra, the nation's capital, the ACT VegSoc
have been very active of late. They recently created a new pamphlet, which
has been widely distributed, and they have created a large e-mail list.
They are active at university orientation days and environmental events.
Future plans include stalls giving away or selling cheaper information
booklets with nutritional information rather than cookbooks. Their experience
is that many people approach stalls genuinely wanting to know more about
vegetarian nutrition and wanting to become vegetarian but don't know how.
Newly joined IVU member Animals Australia was founded in 1980 by Professor
Peter Singer (author of 'Animal Liberation') and Christine Townend (founder
of the first Animal Liberation group in Australia). Animals Australia
acts as the umbrella organization for around 40 animal protection groups
in Australia and New Zealand.
In Australia, as elsewhere, non-human animals are exploited and abused
in many ways: for food and clothing, in rodeos and circuses, the killing
of native and feral animals, testing cosmetics and household products
and in various scientific experiments, including medical procedures and
drug testing. Animals Australia has undertaken to be 'THE VOICE FOR ANIMALS',
serving on the National Consultative Committee on Animal Welfare (NCCAW)
and State Animal Welfare Advisory Committees (AWAC). It provides resource
material for members fighting local issues such as intensive farming,
wildlife farming and duck shooting. it provides resource material on animal
welfare issues, and keeps contact with animal welfare overseas. It makes
submissions to govern-ments and other bodies on animal exploitation/welfare
proposals to ensure that the case for the animals is always heard when
legislation is being formu-lated or revised.
In Queensland, on the north-eastern coast of Australia, the Vegan/Vegetarian
Society (VVSQ) furthers it's aims by providing information to members
and the general public at many festivals and stalls, distributing information
leaflets and vegan recipes, and selling books, videos, magazines and other
materials. Vast quantities of material are photocopied and printed, and
they find a very positive response from the public at those venues. At
some festivals, they provide and sell vegan foods and give cooking demonstrations.
Quarterly mailings include not only the national publication "New
Vegetarian and Natural Health", but their local newsletter, Vital!
Social activities, dinners and lunches in members homes, speakers for
local radio, television and schools are part of their approach; along
with Shopping Centre stalls providing information and petitions against
Battery Hens and GE Foods.