News – March 2009
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Table of Contents
- Interview with IVU Regional Coordinator for North America
- Computer for IVU Africa Now Up and Running
- IVU IC Deputy Chair Testifies to U.S. Congressional Committee
- A History of Vegetarianism – Written in the Late 19th Century
- Welcome to New IVU Full and Associate Member Societies
- Launch of Animal Ethics Book Series
- Review of Book on Ducks
- Funding for Veg Food at Events
- Podcast on Energy Inputs in the Food System
- New and Free to IVU Member Organisations from Michael Greger, M.D.
- Welcome to Organisations That Have Recently Registered with IVU
- Upcoming Events
- Other Online Sources of Veg News
- Please Write for IVU Online News
Interview with IVU Regional Coordinator for North America
Dilip Barman - serves as IVU Regional Coordinator for North America. Here is a chance to learn more about Dilip.
Hi, Dilip. How were you involved in vegetarianism before you started working with IVU?
My parents have always been vegetarian. When I was in graduate school at Brown University (USA), I was exposed to veganism when I was invited to a vegan Thanksgiving. Later, I started attending conferences like Vegetarian Summerfest and, upon moving to North Carolina (USA), I became an active member of the local vegetarian organization, Triangle Vegetarian Society (TVS).
Tell us more about your vegetarian activism.
Soon, I found myself President of TVS. I love to cook and I enjoy teaching and public speaking, which was a natural marriage encouraging my activism. I take the words of Howard Lyman, ex-cattle rancher turned vegan and one of the best speakers on vegetarianism, to heart - when we point at a person and say "You should ...", three fingers point back at us. I try to get the word out non-judgementally and make people who have any level of interest in plant-based diets comfortable in discussing vegetarianism.
We’ve heard about your vegan cooking challenge. Please tell us more.
Yes. Some people feel that a plant-based diet must be so restrictive - what can one eat or cook? I find it liberating; often those who move from a meat-based diet are amazed at the diversity of food. I love to top off my discussions about veganism with a reference to my food blog - dilipdinner.blogspot.com
I do the cooking in my house and in almost five years of knowing my wife, I have never repeated a dinner for her. She has problems digesting tofu, but I have been able to make a new meal for her each night I cook (which is most nights) that is fully vegan and does not include tofu, soy cheese, or other non-fermented soy products (we do use and love tempeh)! We also enjoy eating out, incidentally, and almost always find good vegan choices.
When and how did you learn about IVU?
I can't remember! I guess it was through networking with other organizations and perhaps finding the IVU website.
Do you do your RC work full-time, or do you have a regular job, too?
I used to be a software engineer for IBM. I currently teach (vegan cooking, photography, Gandhian philosophy, math, and computer science) for two universities, a hospital, and several area towns and arts institutes, and am a professional photographer.
Is there anything unique about the vegetarian movement in North America?
We are lucky to have many important plant-based and animal rights organizations that have global impact working here in North America. Some examples include PeTA, Vegetarian Resource Group, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Farm Animal Reform Movement, North American Vegetarian Society, and Vegetarian Union of North America.
In addition to your work with IVU, you also lead the Triangle Vegetarian Society in North Carolina, USA, where you live. Please say a bit about TVS.
I'm lucky to be involved with such a group of committed, non-judgemental vegetarians and those interested in vegetarianism. One of the founders of the group is Tom Regan, who of course, is considered one of the key contemporary philosophers of animal rights. Our claim to fame is that for the past few years we have hosted what we believe is the country's largest vegetarian (all vegan) Thanksgiving.
Please tell us more about your Thanksgiving celebration.
Thanksgiving is an American holiday that in the second part of the twentieth century seemed to become synonymous with the eating of dead turkeys, when in fact it started as a harvest holiday that was probably vegan or near-vegan. We are trying to bring people back to those roots. At the November 2008 TVS Thanksgiving feast, for example, we had almost 600 people from more than forty cities and seven states at one extended seating, with a long wait list of even more people. Check out the menu and other details at www.trianglevegsociety.org/thanksgiving08 !
What is one event or development that makes you particularly hopeful about the future of vegetarianism?
It is exciting to see how there are so many reasons, e.g., health, environmental, ethical, taste, ease of food preparation, strongly arguing for a plant-based diet. If I had to identify one development, it would be the increasing awareness of the environmental impact of a non-vegan diet.
Recently, you became a first-time father. Do you have any advice for new vegetarian parents?
Other than being in awe of your beautiful child, you should congratulate yourself on choosing a lifestyle of compassion. Much evidence shows that via a vegetarian diet you are giving your child perhaps the best path towards the great gift of health and longevity.
Please share a vegetarian joke with us.
Did you hear the joke about the farmer's fields? It's rather corny!
Computer for IVU Africa Now Up and Running
We now have a photo the new IVU Africa computer being operated by Emmanuel Eyoh, IVU Regional Coordinator for Africa: www.ivu.org/africa
Emmanuel sends his thanks to everyone for your response to the appeal a few months ago which enabled us to buy the computer.
IVU IC Deputy Chair Testifies to U.S. Congressional Committee
Below is testimony given in Washington, DC by IVU International Council Deputy Chair Saurabh Dalal to the Advisory Committee for the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Good morning. I’m Saurabh Dalal and I’d like to thank you for the
opportunity to provide testimony as you reshape the influential Dietary
Guidelines for Americans. These comments are presented on behalf of three
volunteer-driven, non-profit organizations:
The Vegetarian Union of North America (www.ivu.org/vuna)
The Vegetarian Society of DC (www.vsdc.org)
The International Vegetarian Union (www.ivu.org)
Vegetarian foods offer powerful advantages for humans. A large number and
wide variety of scientific studies have shown that well-planned vegetarian
diets support good health for all stages of the life cycle. Many
nutritionists and other health professionals recognize that a well-planned,
low-fat vegetarian diet – and preferably a vegan diet, completely free of
all animal products - is the best diet for humans. Animal products are the
main source of saturated fats, the only source of dietary cholesterol, and
contain no fiber, often resulting in high cholesterol levels and a variety
of diet-related disorders in people. Preventing and sometimes reversing
heart disease, preventing several types of cancer, preventing and reversing
diabetes, lowering blood pressure, and helping manage weight are among the
many successes of such a diet.
We urge the advisory committee to clearly emphasize plant foods and
alternatives to meat, dairy, and eggs in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for
Americans. A wide variety of plant foods consisting of whole grains, whole
fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and fortified cereals and
fortified plant milks like soy milk can ensure a healthy, well-balanced
diet. Naturally and strongly colorful vegetables and fruits should also be
emphasized for their anti-oxidant and phyto-nutrient value.
I’d like to highlight some key points.
- A diet drawn from varied plant sources can be nutrient-dense and easily
satisfies protein requirements, without the potential for protein excess.
Soy protein has been shown to be nutritionally equivalent in protein value
to proteins of animal origin. Animal products being acidic, force calcium
out of the body, thereby promoting bone loss.
- Many plant-based sources of calcium exist. Excellent examples are dark
leafy greens like collard greens and kale and fortified soy milk. The more
extensive range of dietary sources of calcium from plant foods would
increase intakes of boron, vitamin K, and magnesium, helping reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
Calcium absorption and bio-availability from dark leafy greens have been
shown to be very good.
Also very important in regard to the basic food groups is that each serving
of leafy green vegetables count as a serving from the calcium-rich foods
group AND in the vegetable group. This is an added benefit, showing the
versatility and benefit of plant foods.
- Iron is plentiful in beans, whole grains, and fruits.
- Flax seed oil and ground flax seeds are good sources of omega 3's, while
consumption of fish and other sea animals have the downside of potential
mercury and other contaminants, along with significant cholesterol.
- An adequate intake of B12 is necessary and straight-forward, and should
be from fortified foods or a reliable supplement. Fortified soy milk for
example is a good source of vitamins B12 and D as well as protein and
- Eating patterns are changing and the diets of a great many are more
plant-based than a decade ago. The Dietary Guidelines must address the needs
of those moving away from animal products, consistent with the messages of
many major public health organizations, but also with guidance that is more
comprehensive in terms of alternatives to animal foods and cow's milk.
We urge the advisory committee to clearly incorporate even more plant foods,
specifically a well-planned, low-fat, vegan diet, with its health benefits
and other benefits in all respects, as you update the Dietary Guidelines for
Americans for 2010.
A History of Vegetarianism – Written in the Late 19th Century
Here is another major addition to the history section of the IVU website. In 1883, Howard Williams published 'The Ethics of Diet', which was the first history of vegetarianism, being a collection of articles about everyone he could find from the ancient world onwards.
We now have the complete book online - from a mixture of 1883, 1887, 1896 editions: www.ivu.org/history/williams
Welcome to New IVU Full and Associate Member Societies
Kisii Vegetarian Group - email@example.com
Vegetarian Earth Green (Non-Governmental Organization) - firstname.lastname@example.org
Brotherhood of the Cross and Star - email@example.com
Vegetarian Society of Utah - vsutah.org
Launch of Animal Ethics Book Series
The publisher Palgrave Macmillan in partnership with the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics has launched a book series in a new field of enquiry: animal ethics.
The new Palgrave Macmillan book series will be jointly edited by the internationally known theologian the Reverend Professor Andrew Linzey, Director of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, and Professor Priscilla Cohn, Emeritus Professor in Philosophy at Penn State University and Associate Director of the Centre. The book series will publish work written by new and established academics from a wide range of disciplines including anthropology, ethics, history, law, literature, linguistics, political theory, religion and science. The aim of the series is to provide a range of key introductory and advanced texts that map out ethical positions on animals.
Palgrave Macmillan aims to publish the first set of books in early 2010. Commenting on the new series, Professor Linzey notes, “Interest in the ethics of our treatment of animals has increased markedly over the last 40 years. This series will explore the challenges that Animal Ethics poses, both conceptually and practically, to traditional understanding of human- animal relations.”
Academics working in relevant areas of enquiry are invited to send ideas and proposals via email to Professor Linzey by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to request a proposal form.
Review of Book on Ducks
Paul Appleby contributed this review of Duck by Victoria de Rijke, Reaktion Books, 192pp, paperback, 124 illustrations, 74 in colour; ISBN 978 1 86189 350 5, £9-99
Ducks, in many parts of the world, are such a familiar sight that we tend to take them for granted. Whereas other species of waterfowl such as the reclusive heron or the stately swan might prompt us to stare in admiration, ducks are rarely afforded a second glance unless we have set out to entertain ourselves by feeding them our leftovers. There are around 250 species and sub-species of duck, and fossil records suggest that they have existed for at least 50 million years, surviving the extinction of the dinosaurs. Today, several species are endangered owing to loss of habitat, climate change, hunting and pollution, including the eider duck (the original source of eiderdown and still farmed for this purpose in Iceland) and the Spanish white-headed duck, the purity of the species being threatened by interbreeding with the ruddy duck, a native of North America, leading to the controversial culling of its more numerous relative.
Like other titles in Reaktion Books’ Animal series, Duck is more concerned with the cultural significance of ducks than their natural history, although the latter topic is covered in the first chapter of the book. Here Victoria de Rijke, Reader in Arts and Education at Middlesex University, describes ducks’ habitat (anywhere that is wet), migration (all ducks are either completely or partially migratory), feeding (varied and voracious) and their reproductive behaviour (promiscuous, occasionally deviant and often downright dangerous for the females, as many as 7-10 per cent of whom can die from drowning or injuries sustained as a result of forced copulation). Other chapters discuss the rich use of duck metaphor in language, mechanical and animated ducks (notably Walt Disney’s Donald Duck), quack doctors, ducks in art and ducks as toys, including the ubiquitous rubber (actually vinyl plastic) duck, an incredible 165,000 of which were launched into the River Thames at Hampton Court in September 2007 to compete in the Great British Duck Race.
Unfortunately, ducks’ sociability has made them easy to domesticate and rear for food: 2.5 billion ducks and geese were killed for food worldwide in 2005 alone. Chapter 2 deals with the hunting and farming of ducks, but the author rather ducks the issue of intensive farming, noting only that “factory farmed duck has its critics”. One can only hope that readers will browse the Viva! website (www.viva.org.uk/campaigns/ducks), listed in an Appendix, to find out what makes the factory farming of ducks so objectionable. The force-feeding of ducks (and geese) to produce foie gras (literally ‘fat liver’) is covered in greater detail. Although the practice has now been banned in twenty countries, a typical EU compromise prohibits force-feeding of animals for non-medical purposes except where it is current practice, and around 20,000 tons of foie gras are still produced worldwide each year.
Duck generally makes interesting reading, and it is refreshing to find a book about ducks that is not aimed at children or backyard farmers, but the author’s detached and rather academic approach to her subject matter makes the book less engrossing than it might have been. Nevertheless, Duck would make a reasonable primer for anyone eager to learn more about the inhabitants of their local pond.
Funding for Veg Food at Events
How many times have you gone to a fundraiser or other event that has a compassionate mission but serves food that promotes violence and environmental degradation? VegFund provides funding to groups and individuals wanting to table at community events and give away free delicious vegan food! VegFund covers the cost of all food, serving supplies, and booth/table fees for events such as: Rescue/Shelter events, School Events, Farmers' Markets, Art Openings, Religious Events, etc. For more information and an application form visit www.VegFund.org
Podcast on Energy Inputs in the Food System
In this new podcast, Dr. David Pimentel of Cornell University is interviewed by Louisa Dell'Amico on topics related to his paper: "Reducing Energy Inputs in the US Food System": h2opodcast.com/vsse.html#re
Other podcasts can be found at h2opodcast.com/vsse.html and www.vegcast.com
New and Free to IVU Member Organisations from Michael Greger, M.D.
Michael Greger, M.D. is one of the vegetarian world’s best-known medical experts. He serves as Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United States. Every year, Dr Greger reviews the world’s scientific
nutrition literature for groundbreaking developments and compiles key findings into an annual “Latest in Nutrition” talk. He has recorded the two most recent years — 2007 and 2008 — of these talks on 90-minute DVDs available at: www.DrGreger.org/DVDs
Dr Greger has kindly offered to send copies of these two DVDs by regular mail, not email, plus a copy of his DVD on Bird Flu to any IVU member organisations who send him their postal address. You can contact Dr Greger at email@example.com and you can subscribe to his free electronic newsletter at firstname.lastname@example.org
Furthermore, in February, 2009, Dr Greger published two articles in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. They are available free, full-text at www.DrGreger.org/writings.html In March, 2009, Dr Greger is slated to appear on U.S. tv on the comedic Colbert Report.
Welcome to Organisations That Have Recently Registered with IVU
Peace Kitchen - www.peacekitchen.typepad.com
0711veggie - vegetarische Restaurants in und um Stuttgart - www.0711veggie.de
Kafedaun.com - The Largest Vegetarian Info - www.kafedaun.com
Sociedad Mexicana Hogar y Salud - email@example.com
NEW ZEALAND -
Meat and Egg Free - www.meatandeggfree.com
Jorge Luis Sierra Reategui (veg blog) - vidadeosho.blogspot.com
Beauty without Cruelty - www.bwcv.com
Kindhearted Women - www.KindheartedWomen.com
Vegan Bits - veganbits.com
VegFund.org - www.vegfund.org
Veggies Become U LLC - www.veggiesbecomeu.com
1. Green Lifestyle Film Festival - March 13-15, 2009, Los Angeles, California, USA
From the Festival website: The Green Lifestyle Film Festival is an annual, global event which is designed to inspire, motivate and elevate us to more sustainable choices in our lives.
This festival is a celebration of film makers who dedicate their talents, income and energy to examining what sustainability really means: from how we birth our young, to how we raise children, the construction and design of homes in which we live, to how we deal with illness and how all this is reflected in how we feed ourselves, to how we treat others in the animal kingdom all in the name of "the perfect steak" the "fashionable coat or accessories" or for entertainment, and its impact on all spheres of life on Earth.
2. Meatout – 20 Mar, 2009
Join caring people around the world on or around March 20th to publicize the benefits of a plant-based diet. This year marks the 25th observance of Meatout, the world's largest and oldest annual grassroots diet education campaign. Activists in all 50 U.S. states and two dozen other countries will get active.
3. Animal Care Expo – 6-9 Apr, 2009, Las Vegas
The Humane Society of the United States is organising this event on animal protection and emergency services.
4. EVU (European Vegetarian Union) Talks - 30 Apr – 3 May, 2009 - Croatia
Vegetarian Solutions to a Sustainable Environment
The EVU Talks for this year is not one to be missed! It will take place in
the great city of Zagreb in Croatia for the first time. A joint event of the
EVU and Animal Friends Croatia, the Talks will be held over the long weekend
of Thursday 30 April to Sunday 3 May 2009, and will include a visit to an
This year's theme is 'Vegetarian Solutions for a Sustainable Environment',
which is highly topical and so you can look forward to a lively and exciting
time that will be inspiring and thought-provoking.
As with all EVU (and IVU) events, all catering is vegan. It is also a
wonderful opportunity to network and socialise with like-minded people from
all over Europe and to make new friends. The city of Zagreb has many
attractions too and the weather there is always lovely at that time of the
5. NAVS (North American Vegetarian Society) Summerfest – 8-12 Jul, 2009 - Johnstown, Pennsylvania, USA
7. 12th International Vegan Festival - PUC University, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 22-25 Jul, 2009
6. FARM Animal Rights Conference – 16-20 Jul, 2009 - Los Angeles
The world longs for peace, respect and dignity. The Environment is being mercilessly destroyed and gives back its answer. Natural resources are being exhausted by the unsustainable exploitation imposed by a wasteful mode of life. We lose species diversity without even knowing it. Diseases, obesity, suffering and hunger abound.
After so many years of ideals of 'peace and love', 'gender and ethnic equality', ‘freedom of speech' and 'respect for nature' we still crawl on, delegating to others the task of bringing about lasting, real changes. By changing our life style we can play a vital role in the construction of the better world we all want, where the white dove of peace can rest her tired feet.
8. Asian Vegetarian Congress – 6-10 Nov, 2009
The 4th Asian Vegetarian Congress, organised by the Asian Vegetarian Union and the Indonesia Vegetarian Society, will be held on Batam Island, Indonesia, near Singapore from 6-10 Nov. People from everyone in the world are warmly welcome to enjoy delicious Indonesian vegetarian food.
Among those who have agreed to speak are 2007 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, R.K. Pachauri, well-known vegetarian crusader Maneka Gandhi, and IVU Regional Coordinators for India and for Asia-Pacific, Shankar Narayan and Susianto Tseng.
9. China Xiamen International Vegetarian Food Fair, 12-15 Nov, 2009
Where: Xiamen International Conference & Exhibition Center, China
Who: Xiamen Municipal Government, Xiamen General Chamber of Commerce, Xiamen International Chamber of Commerce, Xiamen Jinhongxin Exhibition Co., Ltd.
With: Vegetarian materials, vegetarian food, organic food, natural food, healthy food, vegetarian snacks: fruits, vegetarian books, vegetarian restaurants, and other vegetarian products -
Plus: International Vegetarian Forum, a million signatures for vegetarianism, food tasting, cooking competition.
10. IVU World Vegetarian Congress – 1-7 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. The Congress starts in Jakarta and then moves to Bali. An outline of the programme is available.
Other Online Sources of Veg 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
6. AnimalConcerns.org doesn't have a newsletter, but they post stories daily at www.animalconcerns.org/categories.html?do=shownews
Please Write for 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 – firstname.lastname@example.org
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