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Global News Round-Up
from IVU Newsletter, February/March 1996

Hong Kong

The Vegetarian Society of Hong Kong is a lively new organization which was formed in late 1993. They have an active programme of events and have now produced a Vegetarian Guide to Eating Out which is available at a cost of $16 Hong Kong. from Ms Jan Moor, BLK 48, 15th Floor, Baguio Villa, 550, Victoria Road, Pokfulam, Hong Kong. Telephone 2551 5561.

Since Hong Kong reverts to China in 1997, this might be a good time to visit before changes occur.

Zambia

The new vegetarian society in Zambia is trying to arrange a programme of activities and hopes to spread the vegetarian message around the country. They need plenty of literature and financial support to develop their society. They would welcome magazines, books and other vegetarian literature. Please send to: Mr E. M. Chakanga, President, The Vegetarian Society, P.O. Box 40728, Mufulira, Zambia.

Malta

The young Maltese vegetarian society is adopting a lively approach and produces a magazine in Maltese and English, a range of literature and regular meetings. They will welcome and advise vegetarian visitors. They would welcome copies of your literature. Write to:- The Vegetarian Society, 48, Church Avenue, Paola, PLA05, MALTA. Telephone 695812.

Toronto Vegetarian Handbook

Should you be visiting Canada, then the 1996 Vegetarian Handbook would be an asset. It contains some 650 listings from Newfoundland to Vancouver Island including more than 100 entirely vegetarian eating places (42 in the Greater Toronto region). It also lists ordinary restaurants which feature a number of vegetarian items on their menus. There is information about food and many aspects of vegetarianism. For a copy send Canadian $6.00 to Toronto Vegetarian Association, 736, Bathurst Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 2R4 or telephone 1 416 533 3897.

German on the Internet

Sigrid de Leo, European Regional Secretary of IVU, has informed us that the Swiss Union for Vegetarianism has set up and looks after vegetarian information in German on the Internet. Choose the following address: http://www.vegetarismus.ch. Contact address is Mrs Sigrid de Leo, Bluetschwitzerweg 5, 9443 Widnau, Switzerland Tel/Fax 41 726445.

Airline Meals

Whenever I travel by air I ask for vegan catering. Sometimes this is provided but often the meal is not correct. After some months of negotiation with Air France due to lack of vegan provision, the airline has agreed to provide vegan meals. The code is the same as for British Airways - VGML. If you pay the fare you should be treated as well as any other passengers. Polite protest and negotiation can produce the right result. Dont give up!

On or Off the Mark

by Mark Reinhardt

This is a summary of a report in the January/February, 1996 edition of Vegetarian Living, the newsletter of the Vegetarian Society of Colorado, USA.

The report is about a Californian company which has discovered a genetic link to vegetarianism. The company has announced the discoveries which seem to confirm a link between genetics and vegetarianism in humans and other animals. The three year long investigation was based on using rats which most of us would not approve. They had been feeding them a commercial food made with animal by-products but, when they had received the gene, code named V237, they refused to eat the animal origin food, nor would they eat the ham sandwiches staff had brought in for their lunch. Subsequently, one of the research team brought some tofu into work for his meal and found the rats were very keen to eat it. They then tried them with other foods such as bok choy, brown rice, Tsing Tao Beer which they ate with enthusiasm. The next food tried was Italian and they readily took to roasted peppers but they would not touch anything containing animal remains. Eventually, the staff realized the vegetarian connection.

There then followed experiments on human volunteers who also found their taste for meat had gone. Is this the answer to our prayers? Apparently the meat and livestock industry was very upset at the potential of the gene! There is a fear that the distribution of the gene will be blocked by the Food and Drug Administration and the US Department of Agriculture!

World Animal Awareness Week

The American organization called The National Alliance for Animals. It plans to hold a major event in Washington, DC, 18th - 24th June this year. They ask groups from all parts of the world to join in to make it a really international event. Events planned for the week include a national press launch, the World Expo for Animals, a world congress for animals, a March for the Animals,a lobby of the US Congress and a celebrity gala dinner at a Washington, DC hotel. A very ambitious and exciting programme which should obtain a great deal of publicity. For full details contact:- National Alliance for the Animals, P.O. Box 77196, Washington, DC, 20013-7196.

This initiative is most welcome and I am sure we all support any action that will reduce animal suffering. However, there are now rather a large number of days of action for animals and pro vegetarian days. The total impact could well be much greater if the various organizers could get together and work to a co-ordinated plan. What do you think?

And Finally

With so much cruelty in the world one can be forgiven for feeling a degree of despair at times. Then something happens which raises one's spirits and gives real hope. Just as I was about to write this I heard that the British House of Commons had just passed the first reading of a Bill to protect wild animals from acts of cruelty and torture. It seems likely that the bill will also be approved by the House of Lords thus giving some protection to a number of wild animals not presently protected from cruelty. Sadly, it does not prevent killing humanely or hunting deer or foxes.

Then I heard on the news that a French lady in Paris who had dumped her pet dog in a rubbish bin had been reported by people who rescued her dog. Now she has been sentenced to a term of imprisonment for cruelty, the first time anyone has been imprisoned in France for cruelty to animals. A major step forward!

Surely, these examples gives us hope for human nature and for a vegetarian future.

We all need to work carefully and diplomatically on our friends, colleagues and neighbours. By example, answering their questions well, leaving around suitable literature, attempting to get letters printed in the press when local incidents occur relevant to vegetarianism and by offering to speak on radio and television, we can all play a part in drawing the vegetarian message to peoples' attention. It is amazing but true that many people have not heard about vegetarianism. In Britain, where we have a very high vegetarian profile and great interest in vegetarianism, one often meets people who know nothing about it or the Vegetarian Society. There is much work to do.

I hope to see you at the world congress. Do book early, its cheaper.

Maxwell G. Lee


Contributions to IVU News are welcomed. Material published does not necessarily reflect the views of the editor or the policy of the International Vegetarian Union.