International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
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photo: Francisco MartinFrancisco Martín

IVU Council Member, 1986-2000; 2002-04
IVU General Secretary, 1996-99
IVU Patron and Fellow of IVU

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Founder of Spain's first animal rights organisation, Alternativa para la Liberación Animal [ALA], Francisco has been vegan for more than three decades. On his return to Spain after living and working in Canada for many years, he founded the Spanish Vegan Society, Associación Vegana Española (AVE) and introduced the word "vegano" into the Spanish language.

Fluent in half a dozen languages, Francisco attended his first IVU congress in 1979, at Loughborough in the UK, and spoke at regional and world congresses for many years. A member of the IVU Council from 1986, he became General Secretary in 1996. From 1996 to 1999 he edited two magazines: IVU News [in English] and Veganismo [in Spanish]. His articles have been translated into several other languages.

In 1993 Francisco singlehandedly organised the Seventh International Vegan Festival, held in Tossa de Mar - the first town in Spain to ban bullfighting. As IVU General Secretary, he also supported the 33rd IVU World Vegetarian Congress, held in Thailand in 1999. The following year he stood down from the International Council to concentrate on veganising the Spanish-speaking world and was made a Fellow of IVU in recognition of his services to the movement.

A tireless campaigner against bullfighting and all other forms of cruelty and injustice, Francisco is a familiar figure on Spanish television as well as in the press and on radio. A supporter of the disadvantaged and abused since early childhood, when he kept a hen as a pet and was devastated when she "disappeared", his reply to a Canadian radio station who recently contacted him for comment on a fisheries dispute between the two countries was an uncompromising "I'm on the side of the fish".