The obvious irony in considering
the history of organised vegetarianism in this region is that there have
always been millions of Buddhists practising varying degrees and types
of fleshless diet. But, inevitably, the vegetarian societies began in
Australia and New Zealand, where the vegetarians were a tiny minority,
copying the European model. The idea of secular organisations is relatively
recent in East and SE Asia.
- The earliest record we have is from the Dietetic Reformer and Vegetarian
Messenger (Manchester, England), August 1882, p181:
CHRISTCHURCH, N.Z. - Before leaving Christchurch I had the satisfaction
of founding in that colony an association entitled the Canterbury Dietetic
Reform Association, established 16th January, 1882, and of which my
son is secretary. The number of members is small as yet; but this young
offshoot may, I hope, become the stalwart oak, and so rescue multitudes
from an untimely grave, for there is much sickness. I think I am within
the mark when I say that more than two-thirds of the people are suffering
in some degree from ill-health, while the rate of mortality among the
children is very heavy. - H.S. [Dietetic Reform was an alternative
name for a vegetarian society and was common in England at that time,
this one in NZ does not appear to have lasted long as there were no
further reports from it].
- 1886 - Australian
Vegetarian Society (article by Edgar Crook with
links to more articles) - this one lasted until
about 1900 with some local groups in various parts of Australia at the
- 1889 - China
& Vegetarianism - a history by Ting Jen, Indonesia; and
'China and the Mongols' from the The Vegetarian (London),
November 9, 1889
The Burma Humanitarian League was in existence before WWII, precise
dates not known.
- 1943 - New
Zealand Vegetarian Society founded (link
to their history page)
- 1947 - Humaneness,
an assurance of health & happiness - Geoffrey
Hodson, President New Zealand Vegetarian Society
- News from
the Burma Humanitarian League and the New Zealand Vegetarian Society
(both above from the Vegetarian World Forum, Winter 1947)
- 1948 - Australian
Vegetarian Society re-founded
"It appears to have stemmed from a lecture given in Sydney in April 1948 under the title of 'The Humane Aspect of Vegetarianism', under the auspices of the local branch of the World League for the Protection of Animals. The speaker at that meeting was a bishop of the Liberal Catholic Church, Sten van Krusenstierna. Sten was the former Vice-President of the Malayan Vegetarian Society in Singapore." - from The Australian Vegetarian Experience by Robert
Zealand Society expanded nationally (scroll down)
- The Slaughter House - Sandra Chase, Vice-President, New Zealand Vegetarian Society, Auckland Branch
- Animal Protection in the East - Rie von Krusenstierna, Hon. Sec. Malayan Vegetarian Society
(all above from the Vegetarian World Forum, Spring 1948)
about the founding of the Australian Society - by Sten van Krusenstierna
- A Vegetarian Housewife
in Singapore - by the wife of the above letter writer
(both above from the Vegetarian World Forum, Summer
- 1953 - Geoffrey
Hodson, New Zealand, elected as an Honorary Vice-President of IVU.
This was a non-executive advisory role, representing
his country. He remained in the role in his death in the early 1980s.
- 1957 -
the first IVU Congress to be held outside of Europe was in several cities
of India, leading to the appointment of Jayantilal
N. Mankar (India) as IVU Regional Secretary
for 'India and the East'. That same year saw the electtion of two further
Honorary Vice-Presidents of IVU:
- U San Hla from Burma, General Secretary of
the Burma Humanitarian League who contributed an article on Did
Lord Buddha Countenance Meat-Eating? which
appeared in the Souvenir Book of the 1957 Congress.
- and the Venerable Dr. Mazakazu Vira Dharmawara Buddhist
advisor to the King of Cambodia. He is on the left in the photo,
at the 1957 Congress, with Rukmini Devi Arundale from India.
We know nothing more of these two except that they remained in those
positions until the mid-1960s.
items from the Souvenir Book of the 1957 Congress:
in Japan - an article by a visitor from Austria,
with a reference to 'Masakazu Tada is the founder and leader of a small
vegetarian school of life'.
from New Zealand (scroll down) - by Geoffrey
Hodson (left), President of the New Zealand Vegetarian Society
and of the Council of Combined Animal Welfare Organizations of New Zealand;
Theosophical Lecturer and writer
from the Hon'ble U Nu - Prime Minister of Burma
1958 - The Vegetarian
World Forum, July 1958, carried a complete list of IVU " Affiliated
Societies - and others in association with the I.V.U." These included:
- Australian V.S., Mr. W. H. Reynolds, Box 821 G, G.P.O.,
Adelaide, South Australia.
- Australian V.S. (Sydney), Mrs. K. Morrison, Suite 21, Paling's Buildings,
2 Ash St., 2nd Floor, Sydney, N.S.W. Branches at - Adelaide: 16, Pirie
St. Brisbane: 364, Queen St. Melbourne: c/o, Caris Club, 343 Little
Collins St. Perth: Overseas Club, Orient Buildings, William St.
- Australian V.S., Mrs. Shirley Chatfield, 75 Arabella St., Longueville,
- International Buddhist Mission, U Po Ka, Suvana House, Thaton, Burma
- Mandalay V.S., Mr. Kyaw-Hla, Civil Lines, Mandalay, Burma
- Malayan V.S., Mr. Charles Lee, P.O. Box 454, Auckland, C1, N.Z.
- 1960 - Dr. Masakazu
Tada, from Japan was elected an Honorary Vice-President
of IVU and remained in that role for at least 25 years, until the mid-1980s.
[from minutes of the IVU General Meeting in Germany]
representatives from Australia,. . . Japan, . . .
[from the General Secretary's report] The following societies
and organisations are now affiliated to The I.V.U.
Australian Vegetarian Society
Malayan Vegetarian Society
Mandalay Vegetarian Society
New Zealand Vegetarian Society
- 1963 - [from
minutes of the IVU Business Meeting in Spain]
representative . . . Malaya, . . . Greetings
were announced from Societies in . . . .Australia . . .
Mr C.D.Harding; Australia, elected as an IVU Honorary Vice President
- 1965 [from
the minutes of the General Meeting of the IVU Congress in England]
The Congress greatly appreciated
the interesting reports of activities in various Member countries. From:
. . .Mr Roger Boswarva (Australia), . . .
- [from reports of the IVU Congress in Sweden]
Dr. Masakazu Tada, heading the Japanese delegation, said that Japan
was vegetarian for a 1,000 years, but westernisation and industrialisation
over the last 50 years has meant a 28 per cent increase in meat-eating,
but there was evidence now of a reversion to their former way of life.
At a display of national dance and set-dancing, Mrs. Sachiko Tada, wearing
the traditional obi sash, performed the delicate ritualistic Cherry
blossom dance. The photo right is Dr. Tada at the Congress,
using headphones for the translations.
The list of participants at the Congress shows: Mrs Nadine Mellen
as the sole Australian; and a group of 20 from Japan.
- 1975 - Bruce
W. Standish (Melbourne, Australia) appointed as IVU Regional Secretary
for Australasia, becoming the first person East of India to join the
IVU Council. He was a former Editor (1970-72) of Health and Vision.
"This long running journal (1948-72) concentrated on promoting
vegetarianism, animal rights, religion, psychology and health (especially
alternative therapies)." - Edgar Crook.
- 1977 [from
the General Sectretary's Report] The venue for the 25th World
Vegetarian Congress in 1979 has been put forward as . . . Japan by Dr.
Tada . . .
Following the death of Jay
Mankar just before the Congress he had organised in India, Surendra
Mehta and Dr.
M. M. Bhamgara (both from India) were appointed as joint Regional
Secretaries for India and the East.
IVU Membership records for
1975-77 show subscriptions from::
- Japanese Vegetarian Union
- Vegetarian Society of Australia
- Vegetarian Society of South Australia
- New Zealand Vegetarian Society
- and Mr.G.Karolyi and Dr. Tada made a personal donations.
- 1979 - [from
the IVU Congress in England] Dr.M.Tada (President of the
Japanese Vegetarian Union) gave a talk.
Massage demonstration by Dr. H. Ohnishi (photo right), Tatsua
Tada, R. Lizuka
Society reports were read out at two following sessions of the Congress:
- Japanese Vegetarian Union - Mr. M. Tada
- Australasia & S.Australia Veg.Soc, by Mr Fred Whittle
George Karolyi (South Australia) appointed IVU Regional Secretary
for Australasia. He was recorded as being a Professional Engineer.
Fred Whittle (Australia) was elected as an Honorary Vice President
- 1981 - [from
minutes of the International Council] Australasia:
Mr Karolyi has issued a newsletter to societies in his region and hopes
to hold regional meeting before the 1982 World Congress
- 1982 -
[from the minutes of the General Meeting] Australasia:
Mr.George Karolyi reported growing interest in vegetarianism and increasing
co-operation with experienced welfare groups. He pointed out the
problems experienced due to the large distances between population centres
Asia: The main centres of activity are. . . . Japan and Singapore.
Mr M. I. Abdul Khalik, from Singapore was elected to the IVU
Council as an Executive Vice President. He remained on the Council until
1993 and was elected a Fellow of IVU in 2000. Photo right from the
1996 IVU Congress in the USA:
Reports were presented from the following societies:-
- Vegetarian Society of South Australia - Mrs E.M.Fearnside
- Vegan Society, Australia - Mr Fred Whittle
- Japanese Soto Institute & You-I Club International - read
- New Zealand Vegetarian Society - read
- 1984 -
[from Minutes of the International Council] - Present: .
. . Mr. Tada (observer).
The meeting noted with deep
regret the passing of . . . Mr Geoffrey Hodson founder of the New Zealand
Vegetarian Society. Hon.Fellow of I.V.U.
[from the minutes of the
General Meeting] Australasia: The Hon.General Secretary read the
report for Mr Karolyi in his absence. He reported that there are now
five active vegetarian and vegan societies in Australasia. The growth
of the animal rights movement was leading to co-operation between the
societies and the animal rights movement. An Australian Vegetarian Congress
is planned for 1985.
Asia: In Indonesia a vegetarian society was being developed. Interest
in Singapore was very encouraging. The Japanese Society continued to
Reports were presented from the following societies:-
- South Australia Vegetarian Society - Mrs E.M.Fearnside
- Australian Vegetarian Society - Mr K.Salat
- Vegan Society of New South Wales - Mr.K.Salat
- Vegan Society of Victoria - Mr F.Whittle
- Japan: You I Club International - read
- New Zealand Vegetarian Society - read
- 1985 - 1st
Australasian Regional Congress, Sydney, Australia
- 1986 - 2nd
Australasian Regional Congress, Adelaide, Australia
[from the General Meeting minutes]
Australasia: Mr Fred Whittle gave a report in the absence of
Mr George Karolyi. He reported on the growth in activity and the holding
of a regional congress and brought greetings from his region.
Fred Whittle (Australia) was appointed as Regional Secretary
Jashu Shah (India)
was appointed as Region Secretary for India and the East.
- 1987 - a 3rd Australasian
Regional Congress was planned for Melbourne, but it is not known whether
it took place.
- 1988 - photo below
from Robert Fraser of the Vegetarian Society of Western Australia: "Gina
and I pretending to work on our magazine 'Western Vegetarian' in 1988.
Photo taken by/for local community newspaper. Taken in pre-computer
days, showing our latest proud possession, a second-hand IBM electric
typewriter (real cutting-edge technology!)"
- 1990 -
[from minutes of the IVU General Meeting in Israel] Reports
were presented by or on behalf of the regional secretaries of . . .
Australia, . . . Reports of Member Societies were received from . .
- 1993 - Mark
Berriman appointed Regional Secretary for Australasia
Japan Vegetarian Society
right: a meeting of Vegetarian Union of Australasia in a restaurant,
Adelaide, South Australia - 6 July 1993. Mark Berriman is standing at
back right, Robert and Gina Fraser are front left and Mrs Emma (Mick)
Fearnside is front centre.
- 1994 - [from
the General Meeting minutes] Australasia
- Mr Mark Berriman reported a very active year with increasing co-operation
between societies. The magazine "New Vegetarian" was enjoying
success and was supported by most of the Australian vegetarian societies.
The sales were increasing and 5,500 were currently being sold. They
were producing a number of leaflets and promoting the use of the VSUK
sprouting seed emblem on products marketed in Australia. They had held
a national meeting of vegetarian society representatives and there had
been keenness to work together and looked forward to a successful congress.
Subscriptions paid to IVU between 1991-94 from:
- Australian Vegetarian Society
- Earthcare Hong Kong
- Japanese Vegetarian Society
- New Zealand Veg.Soc.
- Office of the World Peace Envoy Thailand (Assoc)
- Veg Bangkok
- Vegan Soc.New South Wales
- Veg.Soc.South Australia
- Veg.Soc.Western Australia
below: Maxwell Lee, on the left, and Robert Fraser, centre, and
others at a Vegetarian Society of Western Australia seminar in 1994.
- 1995 - Vegetarian
Centre of Thailand
- the 32nd IVU World Vegetarian Congress was planned for Sydney,
Australia, but was cancelled in 1995 and moved to the USA.
Nutrition and Health of Japanese High School Students: SDA Vegetarians
and Non-vegetarians - by Mitsuru Kakimoto, Japan,
at the Congress in the USA
Japan, elected to the IVU Council photo right
Thailand, elected to the IVU Council
the IVU Newsletter] Fred Whittle - We regret to announce
the death of Fred Whittle, founder of the Vegan Society of Australia
and former Hon. Secretary of the Australian Vegetarian Society, at the
age of 93 years on 20th September, 1995 in Melbourne, Australia. A long
standing supporter of IVU, he was for some time an Hon.Vice President
A Thai Welcome
- A report on the 1999 World Vegetarian Congress venue,
- 1997 - Subscriptions
paid to IVU:
Vegetarian Society of West Australia
The Vegetarian Society of South Australia
New Zealand Vegetarian Society
Japanese Vegetarian Society
Malaysian Vegetarian Society
- 1998 - 9th
International Vegan Festival, Victoria, Australia
Indonesia Vegetarian Society
Silver Dove Network,
Chiang Mai, Thailand founded
Vegetarians in Japan - by Mitsuru Kakimoto, Japan,
the Land of the Rising Sun - Francisco Martin, Spain,
- Another Amazing Experience - Francsco Martin,
Spain, IVU News
- do they have a chance to survive?
- Katharina Bless, Thailand, EVU News
Reports from Malaysia
and Japan - IVU News
- 1999 - 33rd
IVU World Vegetarian Congress, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Western Australia, appointed Regional Secretary for Australasia photo
Thailand, elected to the IVU Council
Hong Kong, elected to the IVU Council
talks at the Chiang Mai, Congress
and Sound Therapy -
Katharina Bless, Thailand,
Development of Vegetarian Ahimsa Dharma in Thailand
- Dr. Phichai Tovivich, Thailand
Aspects of Vegetarianism: The Australian Experience by
The Australian Vegetarian Experience by Robert
Elephant Hospital by Miss Soraida Salwala, Thailand
Vegetarian Movement in Thailand - General Saiyud
Regional Report - By Robert Fraser, IVU News - August
Asian Vegetarian Union
Vegetarian Society (Singapore) founded
- 2000 Richard
Dimech (Australia) elected to the IVU Council as organiser for
the 2004 IVU Congress in Melbourne, but this was cancelled the
from the viewpoint of Preventive Medicine and Dietics -
by Mitsuru Kakimoto, Japan, IVU News
Hong Kong Vegan
- 2001 - Regional
Report - Australia by Robert Fraser - from IVU News 2001
Congress 2000 - Chiang Mai, Thailand, By Katharina
Bless, IVU News
- 2002 - Talks at
the 35th IVU Congress in Edinburgh, Scotland:
Vegetarian Influences in Japanese Cuisine by Mitsuru
to a Definition of Vegetarianism by"Relational Value"
by Yoshihiko Miyazawa, Chief Representative, Food and
Relational Value Laboratory, Japan
VegWeb of Western Australia
- the 36th IVU World Vegetarian Congress initially had a bid from Japan
in 1999, but that was postponed. In 2000 it was agreed to go to Melbourne
but that had to be cancelled in 2001. In 2002 it was planned for Singapore
but that too had to be cancelled in 2003. It went to Brazil....
[from a Congress report] countries represented: . . . Australia, Japan, Philippines, Singapore,
Vegetarian: Toward Nonspeciesist Language - by George
Jacobs, Singapore, at the Brazil Congress.
- 2005 Loh Yeow
Nguan (Singapore) co-opted to the IVU Council, remained for one
- 2006 - 2nd
Asian Vegetarian Union Congress in Bangkok, Thailand
- from the 37th IVU Congress in Goa, India:
Countries represented by people at Goa: Australia, China, Indonesia,
Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand
Meatless Day & Animal Rights Day - Pishu Murli
Hassaram, Penang, Malaysia
The Intelligence, Emotion, and Personality of Nonhuman Animals
- by George Jacobs, Singapore
How the Chinese
Delegation Arrived in Goa - by Jashu Shah, India
- following the retirement of both Jashu Shah and Robert Fraser,
the South & West of Asia, including India, was made into a separate
region, and the Eastern part of Asia and Australasia combined into
the new region of East/SE
Asia & Oceania.
(Chief Operations Officer of the Indonesia Vegetarian
Society) appointed as Regional Coordinator for East/SE Asia &
Oceania - photo far right
(President of the Vegetarian Society, Singapore)
co-opted to the IVU Council as Editor of IVU Online News. photo right
- 2007 - 3rd
Asian Vegetarian Union Congress in Taiwan in November
- 2008 - IVU WVC in Dresden Germany, included a meeting of Asian delegates and lectures given by people from the region.
- Malaysia Vegetarian Society re-joined IVU
- region renamed 'Asia-Pacific'
- 2009 - 4th AVU Congress planned for Batam Island, Indonesia
- 2010 - IVU
World Vegetarian Congress in Indonesia