International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
IVU logo



Ernest Bell
(1851-1933)
Congress President, 1923-26

The first mention we have of Ernest Bell is that he was invited to speak at a Congress organised by the Vegetarian Federal Union in 1902.

From the report of the 1923 IVU Congress, held in Sweden:

According to the Constitution Mr. Ernest Bell becomes the President for the period from this Congress to the end of the next.

Mr Bell was President of The Vegetarian Society (Manchester, UK), despite living in London, where the London Vegetarian Society also operated nationally. The Manchester and London Societies was due to jointly host the 1926 Congress in London, and the President of the next host Society automatically became President of the Congress. Clearly Manchester and London had agreed between themselves that Mr. Bell would take the role.

From the Manchester report of the 1926 IVU Congress, held in London:

The Congress was held in England on the invitation of the Vegetarian Society and the London Vegetarian Society and it gave special pleasure to our Executive to collaborate with the London Committee, under the presidency of Mr. Ernest Bell.

On Wednesday morning, May 26th, the Congress was formally opened by the President, Mr. ERNEST BELL, M.A., of London. In welcoming the delegates, he said it was advisable to have conferences to make known that theirs was not a ''hole-and-corner" movement; it was a great international movement and stood at the back of many other economic and humane reforms. Evolution was on their side, and there were signs everywhere that they were making progress.

This appears to have been the only involvement by Ernest Bell in the affairs of IVU.

Quotes from 'Summer School Papers' (The Vegetarian Society organised an annual Summer School)::

The old assumption that animals acted exclusively by instinct, while man had a monopoly of reason, is, we think, maintained by few people nowadays who have any knowledge at all about animals. We can only wonder that so absurd a theory could have been held for so long a time as it was, when on all sides the evidence if animals' power of reasoning is crushing.

Let us not think that [vegetarianism] is the end in itself. It is a means only to an end, and we must not be content to be vegetarians only. The end is the civilisation of the universal feeling of brotherhood, on which it rests, not towards animals only, but towards all men . . . our treatment of our fellow-humans is largely reflected from our behaviour towards the sub-human races. As long as our ethics in this matter are based on barbaric cruelty and selfish tyranny it will forever be well-nigh impossible to attain a high and just social morality.