IVU Online News – December 2009

Table of Contents

Notes from the West Africa Vegetarian Congress
Happy 10th Birthday to VegDining.com
Interview with the Head of the Winsome Constance Kindness Trust
‘Earthlings’ Speaks in Many Languages
Serving Veg Food to Non-Veg Conference Participants
Three Little Pigs Revisited
Database on Animal Free Agriculture – 1700+ References
Another Climate Expert Says ‘Minus Meat’
Worth-a-Look Books
Their Beef with Burgers 
New Associate Member Society
Upcoming Events
Welcome to Organisations That Have Recently Registered with IVU
Other Online Sources of Veg News
Please Send News to IVU Online News


CopenVegan?  CopenVegan
Richard Schwartz, head of IVU member society, Jewish Vegetarians of North America - www.JewishVeg.com - also heads the Veg Climate Alliance: http://vegclimatealliance.org  

The latter organisation will be one of many promoting veg at the Copenhagen Climate Conference this month. The Veg Climate Alliances activities will include a forum, demonstrations, street theatre and much more to turn Copenhagen into CopenVegan (using the Vegetarian V symbol).



Notes from the West Africa Vegetarian Congress 
Nicolas, from the Ivory Coast, contributed this report, excerpted below, from the West Africa Vegetarian Congress, 29 Oct – 2 Nov in Ghana, with leadership from IVU Regional Coordinator for Africa, Emmanuel Eyoh, and with some financial assistance from IVU. Thanks to Patricia Tricker for translating the report from French.

Friday 30 October

Approximately 75 of us met in the centre of Accra, the capital of Ghana. Everyone was wearing a Vegetarian Association of Ghana T-shirt - Ghanaians, Nigerians, Ethiopians, Cameroonians, etc. Togo put up a good show with a delegation of nine students, all vegan, representing the brand new and very enthusiastic University of Lomé Association of Vegan and Vegetarian Students (AEV-Togo), which already has about forty members.

We marched, carrying banners and distributing flyers, for about an hour to the Health Ministry. A car with loudspeakers led the demonstration. On the Health Ministry was a sign at least 12 square metres in size urging people to eat more fruit and vegetables and less meat.

For lunch, we went to ASSASEPA (http://www.ivu.org/africa/ghana-vag/index.html), one of the five or six vegetarian restaurants in Accra. Afterwards, we distributed food at an orphanage.

Saturday 31 October

That morning, we set up tarpaulins and chairs at Kwame Nkruma Memorial Park. This large green park right in the city centre is the ideal place for a veggie and eco conference. The talks started at about 10.30 in front of some 250 to 300 people. 50 yards away from the speakers, in the same park, around twenty stalls had been set up by producers of veggie food, owners of veggie restaurants, practitioners of traditional African herbal medicine and Esperantists. People kept arriving, and we can reasonably estimate that 500 people visited the stalls and listened to at least some of the talks.

Speakers included:
- the former chairman of Ghana's supreme court: 81 years old, vegetarian
for 50 years
- Emmanuel Eyoh, Nigeria, IVU Regional Coordinator for Africa
- Dr Anteneh Roba, chair of www.ifundafrica.org


Happy 10th Birthday to VegDining.com
Veg Dining - http://vegdining.com - is a website that helps us locate veg eateries and other veg-friendly establishments worldwide. Another such site is http://www.happycow.net

We can support these sites by telling our networks about them and by helping the sites keep up to date. For instance, if we visit an eatery not listed in the websites or notice that an eatery has changed its opening hours, we should send that information with the sites, so that they can better serve the growing community of people looking to eat veg.

IVU Online News did an email interview with VegDining’s founder, Dennis Bayomi.

  1. How and why did you start VegDining?


VegDining.com actually began as a natural extension of my vegetarian activism. Six years prior I’d started the Winnipeg Vegetarian Association (here on the chilly Canadian prairies) which I continue to coordinate. As a vegetarian activist, I strongly believed success of the vegetarian movement hinged on ensuring that fully vegetarian restaurants prospered and, ultimately, proliferated. By the late ‘90s, the excellent website World Guide to Vegetarianism had been inactive for some time and with my software development background, I thought I’d try to fill the gap by creating VegDining. The rest, as they say, is history!

  1. What was one idea you tried that didn’t work?


Oh sure, you could say that over the years I’ve tried a lot of ideas and some haven’t "worked out" as planned. But that’s never really deterred me, realizing that my vegetarian activism has, is, and will forever be a life-long endeavor, no matter the adversity. The key has been perseverance!

  1. What is one of your favourite success stories?


I’d say perhaps the most personally satisfying of the VegDining "success stories" has been my "meeting" thousands of vegetarians around the world. In those ten years I’ve corresponded with so many people – including vegetarian restauranteurs and new vegetarians – and have become very good friends with many of them. For example, a visitor to VegDining explained she and her husband had recently moved to Ulan Bator, Mongolia. After a few e-mails I encouraged them to start a vegetarian group there. It was gratifying to know I had a small part in starting a veg group in such a far-away place!

  1. What is one piece of advice that you have for fellow veg activists?


As I mentioned above, I think "persistence" is a key part of being a vegetarian activist. It’s easy to say "oh, this won’t work or that won’t work" or "only 3 people showed up for an event, it’s not worth the effort". But we just have to keep going. Our mission of promoting vegetarianism is just too important to be impeded by the occasional set-back. I’d also add that networking with as many like-minded people in your community and around the world is another key tool for veg activists.

  1. How do you think your site will be different 10 years from now?


Wow, 10 years is an eternity in the tech world – it’s hard to anticipate what things will be like in two! With constant improvements in technology, networking among vegetarians will be easier and easier, and getting the word out to non-vegetarians equally so. Maybe our website will be able to deliver real-time video from the chefs in their restaurants’ kitchens, complete with scents and sounds. Who knows, maybe we’ll be able to deliver take-out through "teleporting" ("beam it up, Chef!") In whatever form, whether through VegDining or other outlets, I’ll definitely be promoting vegetarianism as widely as I can!

  1. Do you collaborate in any way with sites that are similar to yours, such as Happy Cow?


VegDining works with a lot of other sites, collaborating over the years with both commercial and non-profit organizations.  For example, for a long time we've worked with TheVegetarianSite, a great online vegan products retailer as well as vegetarian travel companies like VegVoyages and Green Earth Travel, offering specials to our VegDining Card holders. We've brought on-board some great freelance writers, such as Vesanto Melina RD, and of course, we've worked with dozens of veg groups all over the world. But we've intentionally not collaborated with other restaurant sites per se, mostly out of a concern to ensure a certain amount of diversity in veg restaurant sites and to avoid the potential of establishing a single mega veg restaurant site which I don't think would be the best for our movement.


Interview with the Head of the Winsome Constance Kindness Trust 
About a year ago, a reader recommended that we interview Phil Wollen of the Winsome Constance Kindness Trust - www.kindnesstrust.com - because of the great work the Trust does for human and nonhuman animals in Australia and elsewhere. Read more about Phil at http://www.deccanchronicle.com/supplementary/sunday-chronicle/vegan-lifestyle-holds-key-spiritually-evolved-society-855 and http://veganeasy.org/Phil-Wollen

Here’s an email interview with Phil.

1. What made you become vegan and when?

Phil: I was a merchant banker whose favourite meal was filet mignon and lobster. Many years ago I was mandated to act for a large corporate client and visited one of their main subsidiaries. It turned out to be a slaughterhouse. I had never seen a slaughterhouse before. My blood ran cold. This didn’t just turn me into a vegetarian. It turned me into an activist. Anybody who eats the murdered carcass of an innocent animal cannot claim to be compassionate - not with a straight face anyway.
The slaughterhouse turned my life around. I ultimately became vegan eight years ago when I saw what happens to millions of chickens - their beaks burned off, millions of tiny male chicks being hurled to their death into grinders, premature calves being deliberately induced and being killed by crushing to death. It is a crime of unimaginable proportions. It is so tiresome to still hear the hideous lies and self delusion from those who profit from this ghastly trade. There are no valid reasons to eat animals. Just excuses.

I am a vegan because I love life in all its forms. The life of a human necrovore is not a life. It is a life sentence. Short, nasty, and brutish.

2. What’s been the best part of being a vegan?

Phil:  Being able to look in the mirror without feeling profoundly ashamed.

3. Have you found any difficulties being vegan?

Phil: Being vegan is the easiest thing in the world! I think you asked precisely the wrong question. You should have asked “have you found any difficulties being a necrovore?”  And then I could have written several books on this particular subject without pausing for breath.  I would find being a necrovore utterly impossible!!

4.  What makes you happy?

Phil: Using the word ‘ahimsa’ in a speech or saying the ‘V’ word without getting a blank stare. When someone actually “gets it” is a great feeling.

5. What is happening with vegetarianism in Australia these days?

Phil: If you plotted the vegetarian metrics on a graph you would be delighted with the growth in awareness. If you plotted the growth in animals killed on the same graph you would be disheartened. More people are aware of the benefits of vegetarianism – but more animals are killed every day to satisfy the cravings of flesh eaters. On sheer mathematics, we are going backwards at a rate of knots.

6. Which rationale for vegetarianism – health, environment, kindness towards our fellow animals, world hunger – seems most effective in Australia?

Phil: It is difficult to be precise – but my guess is health and environmentalism. People deliberately close their eyes to the cruelty because it is the elephant in the room. Everyone knows it is rampant – but to admit it is to confess to our cruel character. And we will tell any lie, concoct any frame of self delusion, if it preserves the myth of “humanity”.

7. What are your plans for promoting vegetarianism in Australia?

Phil: We currently support some 400+ animal projects in some 40+ countries, with shelters, clinics, ABC programs, schools, orphanages, biogas plants, ambulances etc. Our projects have a strong focus on non-human animals. To put it bluntly, we provide advice, encouragement, promotion and money to organizations that work for animal rights. The best way to do this is for humans to stop exploiting non-human animals for our own preposterous purposes.

One of our most “unusual” projects is Kindness House. It is our 40,000 square foot building in Melbourne and is home to around 300 young activists – Greenpeace, The Wilderness Society, Lawyers for Animals, Vegetarian Network Victoria, Sea Shepherd, Wildlife Victoria, Edgar’s Mission etc. We provide this massive “incubator” for NGOs to prosper and grow. The building has all the modern conveniences and technology that one would expect to find in a major corporate head office. The two most important clauses in the lease are “One, if you consume any animals in my building, we kick you out. And, two, if you have a dog, and don’t bring him to the office, we kick you out”.

8. Do you have a favourite movie/book/blog that inspired you that you’d like to share?

Phil:  The simplest book of all - by John Waddell ‘But You Kill Ants/; Gary Francione’s  ‘Rain Without Thunder’; Will Tuttle's book ‘The World Peace Diet’, The Abolitionist website www.abolitionistapproach.com; and I recommend the films ‘Earthlings’, ‘Peaceable Kingdom’ and ‘A Delicate Balance’.

9. What is one lesson you have learned that might benefit other veg activists?

Phil: The main message is “Stop pussy-footing around”. Many activists are tentative, diffident, and timid. And I really don't understand why. After all, they have ethics, facts, science, film footage, and even the law on their side. But they still play every shot defensively. We need the guts to say it out loud and mean it. Meat and dairy is the new asbestos and tobacco. Activists could learn a lot from the tactics of the meat, dairy, fur, footwear, and hunting industries. These pernicious industries have infiltrated every aspect of life – the media, government, schools, the church and sport. By and large, the animal rights / welfare movement is an utter disgrace. They spend a lot of time bickering amongst themselves, justifying their failures or trying not to provoke the meat industry and their lobbyists. Frankly, many of them don’t deserve to be called activists. They are pacifists with faster broadband.

10.  Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Phil:  We now know beyond any shadow of doubt that the livestock industry releases more greenhouse gases than cars, trains, buses, ships, planes all put together - by a country mile.

We now know that meat and milk are four letter words for good reason. They kill. These noxious products are grossly inefficient sources of food for a hungry planet. They are profligate wasters of precious drinking water. They are indescribably cruel. And they are horrendous polluters of our rivers and oceans.

Clearly, it is no longer (just) an animal rights issue. It is a social justice issue. Make no mistake about it. Every morsel of meat we eat is slapping the tear stained face of a hungry child.

Unfortunately, flaccid governments are influenced by lobbyists who don’t care if our planet ends up in a ditch, as long as they get to drive. So we continue this ludicrous charade of governments pretending to be concerned about jobs - and caving in to the industry with subsidies for low paid jobs for unskilled work.

But the writing is on the wall. Intelligent people are fast learning that this planet is being trashed by an industry that is well past its use by date. The Stone Age did not end because we ran out of stones. The meat industry will end because we run out of excuses.


‘Earthlings’ Speaks in Many Languages 
The DVD ‘Earthlings’ - www.earthlings.com - has won praise for many activists for its broad coverage of the many not so happy interactions between humans and our fellow animals. Fortunately, the DVD is available with subtitles in 10 languages including:  English, French, Spanish, German, Dutch, Portuguese, Arabic, Russian, Italian and Hindi.

IVU would like to compile a list of videos, free and for sale, that are useful for promoting vegetarianism. This list will include the languages in which the video is available. Thanks.



Serving Veg Food to Non-Veg Conference Participants 
Editor’s Note: IVU Online News reader Mary Vincent - http://www.gratitudegourmet.com/contact.html - sent news of the Green Software Unconference she organised last August in Silicon Valley (USA). Veg food was served exclusively. Below, Mary explains how she did that.

I have been a vegetarian and vegan for 15 years since hearing a pig squeal while being killed. In 2008, I founded Gratitude Gourmet - http://www.gratitudegourmet.com/blog.html - which features veg food and policy news.

This year, I organised the Green Software event to bring software and business professionals together to work on software applications to reduce climate emissions. In addition to ensuring I had fabulous attendees at the event, I wanted to walk the talk by bringing in other concepts to help reduce emissions. Thus, I wanted only veg food at this event. I advertised to the attendees in advance there would be a sustainable lunch served. I also ensured that a tree was planted for every attendee to help offset their transportation costs and that there would be no plastic bottles.

During the lunch, I took the microphone and told the attendees we were having a veg lunch to help reduce carbon emissions since meat causes more emissions than transportation according to the United Nations Climate Change Report: http://www.fao.org/newsroom/en/news/2006/1000448/index.html

No one complained either during the conference or during the post-survey. The lunch was delicious, which I believe helped. During the lunch, I heard a conference attendee ask, "Do you have vegetarian?” The answer from the person serving them was, “It's all vegetarian!"


Three Little Pigs Revisited 
Here’s an update on pig cognition. It’s nothing to turn up your snout at:


Database on Animal Free Agriculture – 1700+ References 
Editor’s Note: Thanks to Patricia Tricker of the Vegan Society for this news item.

The Vegan-Organic Network, in collaboration with Vegatopia, have compiled a new database of over 1700 scholarly references related to the science, practice and benefits of animal free agriculture:

For notes explaining the database fields and the abbreviations used, see http://www.vegatopia.org/pdfs/dave%20of%20darlington%20database%20notes.pdf


Another Climate Expert Says ‘Minus Meat’ 
From the UK newspaper, The Telegraph: Lord Stern, author of the 2006 Stern Review on the cost of tackling global warming, predicts that eating meat could in the future become as socially unacceptable as drink driving.

Here are some rebuttals to the view that we should go veg to reduce greenhouse gas emissions:

Plus, after years of being queried by vegetarian activists, Nobel Prize winning Global Warming campaigner Al Gore has come out to advocate meat reduction: http://www.abc.net.au/news/video/2009/11/05/2733587.htm 

In an interview with ABC News, when asked if he agreed with British climate expert Lord Nicholas Stern’s call for people to be vegetarian to reduce emissions, Mr. Gore replied, “It’s a legitimate point of view. Nick Stern is a very able advocate for whom I have enormous respect… I have cut back sharply on the meat that I eat and it’s absolutely correct that the growing meat intensity of diets around the world is one of the issues connected to this global crisis. Not only because of the CO2 involved, but also because of the water consumed in the process.” 

The former vice president went on to say, “You can add in the health consequences as well. We’ve all heard from our doctors for many years that vegetables and fruits should occupy a bigger part of all of our diets, and that’s important for a lot of reasons. I’ve made those changes.” 


Worth-a-Look Books
Here’s a review of ‘Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs And Wear Cows’ by Melanie Joy, PhD:

An excerpt from the review:

"Carnism" is the belief system that says it's okay to eat certain animals and not others. Like feminism, racism, ageism and speciesism, carnism has been inflicting harm for centuries. And because it was invisible and unnamed, it was challenging, if not impossible, to confront it and and to argue against it.. Now that carnism has been identified, explored, and brilliantly analyzed, it will become a powerful tool in changing the ubiquitous and dangerous misconceptions about eating meat.

The opening chapter of Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows is startling and effective. We are asked to imagine a dinner party at which the guests are enjoying a delicious stew. But when one guest asks for the recipe the host explains that it starts with a golden retriever. The disgust and revulsion that follows this announcement is examined in detail later in the book, and Dr. Joy is both succinct and smart in showing us the overlapping circles of identification, empathy and disgust that color our relationships with animals.

The publisher created a promotional video with a reenactment of this scene: http://www.vegsource.com/news/2009/11/why-we-love-dogs-eat-pigs-and-wear-cows-book-review.html



The Beef with Burgers 
Jonathan Safran Foer, author of ‘Eating Animals’, and T. Colin Campbell, professor of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University and author of the best selling ‘China Study’, were among the guests on an episode of the CNN show ‘Larry King Live’. The topic was whether people should stop eating burgers.

The show is worth watching to see a very broad range of views, including someone from the meat industry and a Nutrition professor who admits that veg is possible but claims being veg is more difficult and that there’s nothing nutritionally wrong with meat. This professor has received many hundred of thousands of dollars in research grants from the meat, egg and dairy industries: http://www.cag.uconn.edu/nutsci/nutsci/hpg/nrr.html



New Associate Member Society


To view a listing of international upcoming events online, visit http://www.ivu.org/congress

1. Congreso Internacional Crudivegano En Bolivia (International Raw Vegan Congress) – 4-7 January, 2010, La Paz, Bolivia.

The Congress will be held in a rainforest location approximately two hours drive from La Paz. For more information: http://encuentrocrudo2010.blogspot.com (in Spanish) or contact Victor Maceda at integraarte@yahoo.com.


4. IVU World Vegetarian Congress – 1-9 Oct, 2010, Jakarta and Bali

The 39th IVU World Vegetarian Congress will be held in Indonesia in two places, Jakarta, the capital (and the economic centre of the country) and Bali, the country’s most famous tourist destination. An outline of the programme is available at the congress website.

(5th) Asian Vegetarian Congress will be in Hangzhou, China. in Oct.

With the success of the AVC in Batam we can expect much more from the 39th World Vegetarian Congress (WVC) from 1 - 9 Oct. 2010 in Jakarta and Bali, Indonesia.  On the way to Jakarta, you may plan a stop-over in Dubai, UAE, for the First MidEast Veg Congress from 28 - 30 Sep., 2010 (dates to be confirmed).

The 13th International Vegan Festival will be in Turin, Italy, in 2011.
Meanwhile the IVU India, South & West Asia Regional Vegetarian Congress will be on 13 & 14 Aug. 2010 (dates to be confirmed) in Bangalore, India.


Welcome to Organisations That Have Recently Registered with IVU




Other Online Sources of Veg News
In addition to IVU Online News, there are many other places to go online for general veg-related news, rather than news mostly about one country or one organisation. Here are some.

1. Dawn Watch
2. European Vegetarian Union
3. Farmed Animal Net
4. Vegan Outreach
5. VegE-News
6. AnimalConcerns.org doesn't have a newsletter, but they post stories daily at http://www.animalconcerns.org/categories.html?do=shownews


Please Send News to IVU Online News

Dear Veg Activist

Please use this newsletter as a way to share your knowledge, ideas and experiences with fellow veg activists.

Thx. -–george jacobs – george@vegetarian-society.org


IVU Online News is non-copyright. Readers are encouraged to share the contents elsewhere. If you do so, please consider including a link to http://www.ivu.org/news as others may wish to subscribe to this free publication.


Here are some rebuttals to the view that we should go veg to reduce greenhouse gas emissions: