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IVU News – Feb 2007
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Table of Contents

IVU Annual Report Now Online

The 2006 IVU Annual Report was already sent in 2006 by post to IVU members and supporters. It is now on the IVU website at www.ivu.org/news/2006

To receive your own hard copy of the 2007 Annual Report, when it appears next year, please consider becoming a member or supporter at www.ivu.org/members

Third Spanish Vegetarian Congress – April, 2007

Unión Vegetariana Española (UVE) is sponsoring the 3rd Spanish Vegetarian Congress, April 14-15, 2007 in Madrid, Spain. This meeting will feature key activists of the vegetarian movement, and the programme will include workshops, seminars and debates on topics related to vegetarian diets, health and holistic development, animal rights and environmental protection. There will also be a large area for exhibitors with educational materials, books, etc.

Lectures will be mainly in Spanish, but additional workshops in English can be scheduled if enough foreign participants sign up. More details will be published in the near future, so please keep checking: www.unionvegetariana.org/congreso/congre3.html

International Vegan Festival in India, Sep-Oct, 2007

The 11th International Vegan Festival will be held from 30 Sep to 6 Oct, 2007 at Murdeshwar, Karnataka, India. It aims to bring together vegans from many countries and give them an occasion to meet, network, enjoy and recharge in a picturesque locale and to give them an identity and voice. And for non-vegans, it will be an occasion to experience and explore. For details: www.ivu.org/veganfest (new photos just uploaded)

Welcome to New IVU Member and Supporters

Member Society: Vegetarian Union of IRAN, Dr.Abdol Ghaffar Ebadi -

Associate Member: Nandagokula Charitable Trust, Sridhar Avabhrath, Karnataka, INDIA - - We run a 'Goshala' for cattle

Business Supporters:
Bhagirathi Tourist Home
, K.N. Parameshwara Adiga, G.T. Road, KOLLUR-576220, Udupi Dist., Karnataka 576220, INDIA. Tel: 08254-258290
Hotel Pandurang International, N.H.17, Kumta-581343, Karnataka INDIA. We are a top class hotel in the area, with a vegetarian restaurant and close to many sight-seeing spots. - Shirish P.Nayak

Anniversary of a Remarkable IVU World Congress - 1957-2007

1957 was the year of the 'Fabulous Fifteenth' - the 15th IVU World Vegetarian Congress, and the first ever to be held outside of Europe. The Indians took it to Bombay, then Delhi, and Calcutta and Madras – thousands of miles spread over a month. The President of India opened the Congress with an audience of 5000 in Bombay. Audiences at the lectures were also counted in the thousands, with loud-speakers hanging from windows for the crowds unable to get in.

To commemorate this extraordinary Congress, the Indians produced an equally extraordinary 'Souvenir' - a 400-page hard-back book containing more than 100 articles on every aspect of vegetarianism, from writers around the world.

IVU obtained a copy of this book a few years back but it seemed too daunting a task to put it all on the website . . . until an email arrived from Bill Harris, MD from the U.S. Bill had picked up a copy at the 1965 Congress in England, and in 2006 decided to scan it - all of it. This was sent in the biggest PDF file ever to reach IVU; it had to be posted on a CD as it ran to about 150mb even with just low-res graphics - file-named, appropriately enough, 'Gigantic'.

After several months of conversion, and re-scanning the graphics to a higher quality, the entire book, even the 1957 adverts, are now on the IVU website. There are articles welcoming visitors to the Congress from the President of India, the Prime Minister of Burma, and dozens more, even the 'Buddhist Archbishop of Latvia' sent a message. There are articles about every religion and their attitudes to vegetarianism; articles about science and nutrition - some of them almost laughable now, but others with an insight way ahead of their time. There are sections on Famous Vegetarians of yesterday and 'today' (i.e., 1957), reports from many countries around the world, accounts of attitudes to animal rights and cruelty, and several items on 'How to Become a Vegetarian'.

You can find everything from a late 19th century article by the composer Richard Wagner, to 'Vegetarianism in Tamil Literature'; from 'Sunlight Food' by the Bircher-Benner clinic of Zurich, to a very graphic 'Slaughter in India'; and from 'A Vegetarian in Central Africa' to ‘How to Make a Nut Roast’.

The entire book is now at: www.ivu.org/congress/wvc57/souvenir

Interview on Research Related to Vegetarianism

Paul and Galina ApplebyPaul Appleby is a a founder member of the IVU Science group and Secretary of Oxford Vegetarians: www.ivu.org/oxveg  Professionally, he serves as a Principal Statistician at the Cancer Epidemiology Unit of the University of Oxford. [right: Paul and Galina Appleby - about 10 years ago!]

IVU News: The news media is full of reports of research related to health. What are some common errors that the media make in interpreting this research?

Paul Appleby: The media sometimes fail to see the bigger picture, forgetting that a single study is rarely definitive.  They may also extrapolate results from a particular study and apply them to the population as a whole, rather than to the population from which the study subjects were drawn.  As good example of this was the misinterpretation of a study of undernourished Kenyan children in which the children whose diet was supplemented with meat performed better on one measure of mental development than the children whose diet was supplemented with either milk or vegetable oil.  In some sections of the media this study was presented as proof that “it's unethical for parents to bring up their children as strict vegans”, although the research was of no relevance to well fed children reared on a varied vegan diet.

IVU News: What are some common errors that the public make in attempting to apply this research to their own health?

Paul Appleby: Like the media they may fail to see the bigger picture, preferring to ‘cherry pick’ the findings that support their particular beliefs whilst ignoring those that do not.  They may also forget that we are all unique individuals, and that results that apply to a particular group of people may not apply to them.  It is often said, especially by representatives of the food industry, that there is no such thing as an unhealthy food, only unhealthy diets.  This may be true, but it ignores the fact that unhealthy diets contain too many foods of low nutritional quality.  For example, dark chocolate has some desirable nutritional properties that may confer some beneficial effects, but that does not make it a ‘health food’ and like everything else it should be eaten in moderation.

IVU News: Researchers themselves often disagree on how to conduct research and on how to interpret the results. How can this be? Aren’t they all trained in the same scientific tradition?

Paul Appleby: Yes, but remember that researchers are human too.  They all have prejudices that can cloud their judgment, and they naturally tend to value their own research above that of others.  This does not mean that what researchers say is wrong, rather that theirs is one voice among many, and that until a consensus is reached it is best not to place too great a reliance on the results from a particular study.

IVU News: Are there certain words to watch out for? For example, if someone writes, “This study ‘proves’ that ____”, should we be wary? Conversely, what words should be used instead?

Paul Appleby: Epidemiology [the study of the patterns and causes of disease in human populations] is not an exact science because it is based on probabilities.  Thus, epidemiological studies can, at best, provide “strong evidence” or “good evidence” for a particular hypothesis.

IVU News: In looking at the research on health, sometimes one might feel overwhelmed with how complicated it is to get all the nutrition the experts say we need. For example, recently I was reading something from Vegan Outreach about iodine. It said that even if you eat the right foods, it depends if the plants were grown in soil that was rich in iodine. The matter is further complicated because you could end up getting too much iodine.

Paul Appleby: It all too easy to give up in despair at what appear to be conflicting findings and to think that what you eat makes little or no difference to your health.  However, there is a broad consensus as to what constitutes a healthy diet*, and following such a diet should ensure that most nutrients are obtained in adequate but not excessive quantities.  The good news for vegetarians is that a healthy diet is one based of plant foods, although vegans in particular may need to supplement their diet with some vitamins and minerals that are difficult to obtain from plant foods. (* According to the WCRF/AICR (World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research)  report “Food, Nutrition and the Prevention of Cancer: a global perspective”, individuals should “choose predominantly plant-based diets rich in a variety of vegetables and fruits, pulses (legumes) and minimally processed starchy staple foods”.)

IVU News: Einstein is quoted as having said that "Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts." Is it possible that there are some important health factors that are not easily measured which could be significant?

Paul Appleby: Absolutely.  An individual’s state of mind is undoubtedly an important factor in determining their state of health but it is very difficult to measure.  Epidemiologists must assume that non-measurable factors even themselves out in their studies – a reasonable assumption if their study is large enough and randomized where appropriate to avoid selection bias.

IVU News: In addition to research on health, other types of research are relevant to vegetarians, such as research on the intelligence, emotions and personalities of our fellow animals. What is your advice on understanding such research?

Paul Appleby: My advice would be to apply the same criteria as when judging the validity of health-related research.  For example, you should ask yourself whether the research is generally applicable and, if not, what are the constraints, whether the researchers had a potential conflict of interest that might have influenced their interpretation of the results, and whether their findings corroborate or contradict previous studies.  A dose of healthy skepticism never did anyone any harm!

Note: Qualified people are welcome to join the IVU Science group which Paul helped to found. Professional scientists, nutritionists, doctors, etc., plus editors of publications of IVU member societies are the intended participants. For more info, please visit www.ivu.org/science/ivu-sci.html

If You Like Charlotte’s Web

The latest Hollywood version of the classic children’s book “Charlotte’s Web” was released late last year. If you and any children you know enjoy that book, another book about a young pig saved from slaughter is “Pigs Might Fly” by Dick King-Smith, author of the book on which the movie “Babe” is based. In “Pigs Might Fly”, the protagonist is Daggie Dogfoot who, like Wilbur in “Charlotte’s Web”, is the runt of the litter. Daggie is saved by his mother, his own ingenuity and bravery, and the help of an otter, a duck, some humans and other friends. “Publishers Weekly” praised the book, stating that, “It’s impossible to remain unmoved …a soaring, heartening fantasy.” [buy from the amazon.com links on the right and IVU gets commission]

And another book for those who like “Charlotte’s Web” is “Cricket in Times Square” with drawings by Charlotte’s illustrator, Garth Williams. While this book isn’t directly about eating or not eating our fellow animals, it’s nonetheless a great read that helps us humans put on the shoes (in this case, all six of them – for a cricket) of our fellow animals.

Get Ready for a New Excuse for Eating Meat

Vegetarians have many different reasons for not eating meat, and meat eaters have a wide and sometimes wild excretion of excuses for their eating habits. It looks like meat eaters are about to add a new excuse: animal fat a bio fuel. Major meat producers are working on ways to create fuel from the huge amounts of animal fat derived from their manufacturing processes: www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200607/s1681086.htm

The Metaphysics of Meat-Eating – A Poem
by Julius Babarinsa

Why do human beings eat dead animals?
The most common and simplistic answer is that -
Our parents fed us and brought us up as meat-eaters
As we become adults we too continue to be meat-eaters
Which leads to the likelihood of bringing up our
own children as meat-eaters also
Why should we continue this inherited meat-eating pattern?
Have you ever wondered if survival is possible on this Earth -
without the consumption of dead animals
Can human beings be truly happy without eating meat?
Is it possible to live in perfect health without eating meat?
Can we become a better person without eating dead animals?
All the answers to the above questions are capital YES
Have you ever heard about those people called vegetarians!
Have you tried to live a whole day without eating dead animals?
Can you live from sunrise to sunset without eating meat?
Can you live for a week without eating dead animals?
How about a month or probably a whole year?
If you have been a meat-eater all your life
because your parents brought you up as a meat-eater
Let today be day you discover a new direction
That human beings can be happier on this earth
without eating dead animals
Let today be the day you find out a new way
That human beings can live healthier lives
without burying dead animals inside their own bodies
Let today be the day you start a brand new life
A life of compassion towards fellow creatures
A life of non-violence to all animals
A life of kindness to all your brothers and sisters
Let today be the beginning of a brand new you.
Good luck and happy destiny

© Julius Babarinsa, www.juliusthepoet.net


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