News – August 2009
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Table of Contents
- Interview with Cristina Rodriques of Centro Vegetariano - Portugal
- Most Popular Veg-Related Websites
- Sweden: Draft Guidelines Urge Citizens To Eat Less Meat
- And, A Petition for Taiwan
- New Book: ‘Why Animal Suffering Matters’
- American Dietetic Association’s New Paper on Veg Diets
- Energy Flow, Environment and Ethical Implications for Meat Production
- Survey on the Status of Vegan and Vegetarians in UK Care Homes
- Vegetarian Travellers' Tales
- Advice for a Not Yet 100% Veg Reader
- Upcoming Events
- Welcome to Organisations That Have Recently Registered with IVU
- Other Online Sources of Veg News
- Please Send News to IVU Online News
Interview with Cristina Rodriques of Centro Vegetariano - Portugal
Cristina Rodrigues is leader of Centro Vegetariano - www.centrovegetariano.org - a vegetarian organisation in Portugal. Cristina kindly agreed to be interviewed for ‘IVU Online News’.
What made you decide to become a vegetarian? When did that happen? How old were you at the time?
It all happened 8 years ago, when I was 23. I realized that I could eat a more healthy diet, while saving the lives of many animals and mitigating environmental problems.
You are a leader of a member society of IVU. How long have you been a leader of this organisation?
I have been the head of Centro Vegetariano since 2004. But I have been with the organisation since 2001, when we decided to create the organisation.
What made you decide to become active in promoting vegetarianism?
When I became aware of the many advantages of the vegetarian diet and lifestyle, back in 2001, there was little information in Portuguese about it. That's why we decided to get active, to pass the word to other people who might be interested and, at the same time, to contribute to a better world.
What is it that sustains your desire to be active?
What motivates me most is that I see the interest in vegetarianism and Centro Vegetariano growing every day. I understand that my organisation is doing good work. Our website is increasingly popular, there are more and more media reports about us, more people and companies interested in becoming members, etc. This inspires us to continue.
What is an obstacle that you face in remaining active in promoting vegetarianism? How do you overcome this obstacle?
The lack of volunteers is an obstacle. We minimise this problem by working in a virtual team that communicates through a mailing list. This way, we can live several kms apart and still work together.
Another problem is the constant lack of financial resources. We tried to minimise that by negotiating with stores and other businesses for some advantages for our members. We also opened an online veg store on our website, and that really made a difference.
What is one of your organisation’s accomplishments that makes you especially proud?
In 2007, we commissioned a survey to determine the number of vegetarians in Portugal, conducted by the company AC Nielsen. It was the first of its kind in Portugal. We can affirm with 95% confidence that in October 2007, there were 30 thousand vegetarians in Portugal. That was a great achievement for our organisation.
Another great accomplishment was the Vegetarian Week. In 2008, we promoted it for the first time, and it was also quite a success. More than 35 organisations and companies got involved, in 12 different cities. That was enough to get some attention from the media and have people talking about it. This year, we expect no less than that.
How do you try to maintain good relations and enthusiasm amongst your organisation’s members?
We discuss a lot and make an effort to help everyone feel comfortable and involved with the team. All the opinions are welcomed and encouraged, even if not followed. We also try to reward individual merit, as well as share the responsibilities. That is very important.
We offer free membership for people who do actual work, so that no one is prevented by financial reasons from getting involved.
What is one way that your organisation cooperates with other veg organisations?
We are always open to cooperation, national or international. The Vegetarian Week is one example of an international project which I think is being very successful.
At a national level, we always invite other organisations to help us in big projects and help them with theirs, within our means. We've been very supportive of the anti-bullfighting movement, for example. We have produced and distributed leaflets together, and we also advertise their initiatives in our newsletter and magazine.
Do you have any fundraising tips for other organisations?
Clearly, what has worked best for us is the online veg store. As a non-profit, we would have difficulties running the store, so we set up the website and hired it to a friendly company. The company takes care of all the logistic and bureaucratic work, and donates part of the profit to us. This is our main source of financing, with little work for our organisation. Besides, that is an important service to the vegetarian community, since we are providing products which are hard to find in Portugal.
How does your organisation reach out to people who are trying to become veg or who are newly veg?
The most important means is the Internet. Our website is very complete. It has hundreds of articles about different topics, as well as recipes, nutritional tables and many other resources. It indeed attracts thousands of visitors interested in vegetarianism and related topics. But we still use other traditional tools, such as leafleting and distributing free copies of our magazine.
Please share a vegetarian joke with us.
Oh, it's tough to make it look fun. But I can think of tens of ridiculous situations that I've experienced in traditional Portuguese restaurants after saying I'm a vegetarian. The most common answer from the waiter is, “Oh, vegetarian! Very well, I'll get you some fish!” Then, I explain, “Sorry, vegetarians don't eat fish.”, only to hear, “Ah, very well, I'll get you some cod or tuna.”(!)
But perhaps the most embarrassing situation was a wedding party, in which I was served a different soup. However, I noticed it contained ground meat. I called the waiter and explained, “Sorry, I'm a vegetarian, I don't eat meat.”, only to hear, “Ah, sure, we know you're vegetarian, that's why we prepared that soup. The meat is all ground up, you won't even notice it.”
Most Popular Veg-Related Websites
If you're ever in the mood for some veg-related surfing, this list might come in handy.
Global rankings of the 90 most successful veg-related websites, taken from 1,500 in the IVU database - updated July 25, 2009 (the figures change daily so this is already out of date, but a useful rough guide)
The number next to each entry is the site's actual ranking out of countless millions of sites on the internet - averaged over the last 3 months.
see: www.ivu.org/members/weblist.html - if you know of other veg-related website that you think should be in the top 100, do let us know on firstname.lastname@example.org !
Sweden: Draft Guidelines Urge Citizens To Eat Less Meat
Momentum towards eating less meat grew recently when the Swedish government issued draft guidelines suggesting that people can reduce global warming by cutting back on meat: www.slv.se/. . .food_choices_proposal. . .pdf
www.ciwf.org.uk/. . . /visionary_sweden.aspx
However, a Swedish vegetarian who used to live in Singapore is sceptical:
The text is very vague. It puts all the work on the reader (=public) to reduce the carbon footprint, while it offers no legislation/taxes/subsidies to facilitate this effort. I suspect very little will change due to this report, except a few upset farmers as usual. Alas, the world will not be saved by individuals, because far too many don't care about it.
Finally, the EU and Sweden speak with double tongues, as always. On one hand, they talk about greenhouse gas reduction, environmentalism, support to developing countries, and, with the other hand, they pay billions and billions to EU farmers and fishermen to continue producing greenhouse gas, polluting the environment and driving African/Asian farmers out of jobs. Just now, the EU has agreed to pay out enormous sums of money to European dairy farmers, because not enough people are buying "their" milk, despite the already substantial subsidies.
It's a good first step, but sadly much more is needed.
And, A Petition for Taiwan
A petition is circulating on the internet urging the government of Taiwan to adopt Meatless Mondays: www.gopetition.com/. . /meat-free-monday-taiwan.html People from outside Taiwan are welcome to sign the petition.
Similar petition campaigns are happening in several other countries: www.meatfreepetition.com
New Book: ‘Why Animal Suffering Matters’
Professor Andrew Linzey is Director of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, and a Member of the Faculty of Theology in the University of Oxford. He has published more than 20 books including: Animal Theology, Creatures of the Same God, and The Link Between Animal Abuse and Human Violence.
His new book is ‘Why Animal Suffering Matters: Philosophy, Theology, And Practical Ethics’. [link to amazon.com] The following thought-provoking information was provided by the publisher, Oxford University Press.
Lots of people are disturbed by animal suffering, but hard pressed to say why it really matters. It is still sometimes supposed that caring for animals is just an ‘emotional’ issue with no rational basis. Our exploitation of animals rests on a range of ‘differences’ that are supposed to justify their inferior treatment. But when analyzed, these very differences, so often regarded as a basis for discriminating against them, are the very grounds for discriminating in favor of them.
When reconfigured, these considerations include:
- The inability of animals to give or withhold their consent
- Their inability to verbalize or represent their interests
- Their inability to comprehend
- Their moral innocence or blamelessness
- Their relative defenselessness and vulnerability
When these considerations are taken fully into account, it becomes as difficult to justify the infliction of suffering on animals as it is to do so in the case of human infants. In ‘Why Animal Suffering Matters’, Andrew Linzey offers a radical new paradigm for our treatment of animals, maintaining that animals, like young children, should be accorded a special moral status. The argument is buttressed by a detailed analysis of three practical issues: hunting with dogs, fur-farming, and commercial sealing. After reading this book, it will be difficult for anyone to argue that any of these practices is morally defensible.
American Dietetic Association’s New Paper on Veg Diets
The American Dietetic Association is the world’s largest organization of nutrition professionals. This month, they released an updated version of their position paper on vegetarian diets.
eatright.org/. . ./advocacy_933_ENU_HTML.htm
Here’s an excerpt. You can read the entire paper online.
It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.
Energy Flow, Environment and Ethical Implications for Meat Production
This is the title of a draft report issued by UNESCO. While the report focuses on Asia, it has implications worldwide. Perhaps a somewhat unique aspect of the report is that in addition to considering economic and environmental issues, it also discusses the ethics of industrial meat production. Here is an extract from the report’s Executive Summary:
An ethical analysis of principles associated with use of animals in intensive meat production is presented and, while recognizing a right to adequate access to food – that all people should be free from chronic hunger, should be free from food insecurity and should have access to safe food of nutritional value, the report also includes examination of the perspectives from the point of view of animals and the environment.
www.unescobkk.org/. . . /EETAPWG13rptdraft3.pdf
Survey on the Status of Vegan and Vegetarians in UK Care Homes
Vegetarian for Life (VfL) is an advocacy and educational charity working on behalf of older vegetarians and vegans throughout the UK.
In 2009, VfL commissioned a survey of care homes, which was completed during May and June 2009. From a database of all the UK’s 12,500 care homes, a representative sample of 1,000 were surveyed.
- 22% of care homes have one or more vegetarian residents
- Care homes with vegetarian residents are heavily weighted to the southern half of England (72%)
- 1.25% of care home residents are vegetarian or vegan
- Of the 410,000 care home residents in the UK, around 5,250 are vegetarian
- Vegetarians make up around 3% of the whole population, according to the Food Standards Authority, so, proportionately fewer vegetarians are in care homes
We can only speculate why:
- there are probably more vegetarians in the younger age ranges
- older vegetarians and vegans may be generally healthier than meat-eaters, so less likely to need a care home
- vegetarians are more likely to make ‘lifestyle’ choices that are ‘healthy’ e.g. not to smoke
- older veggies may be more likely to be independently-minded and try to remain in their own homes for longer, especially if they feel catering in care homes will not include good vegetarian provision
The reality is probably a combination of these reasons. However, staying in a care home is expensive, so most people delay moving into care until absolutely necessary. Therefore, it seems reasonable to speculate that part of the explanation of why older vegetarians and vegans seem to have less need of care homes is that they are generally healthier than the whole population.
- VfL works on behalf of the 5,000+ vegetarian care home residents – a significant minority – and was pleased to find a high degree of interest from care home managers in its publications and catering training courses (organised in conjunction with the Cordon Vert Cookery School of the Vegetarian Society), together with a high approval rating for its website
For a more detailed summary of the survey results or further information please contact Tina Fox in the UK on 0151 608 1595 or email@example.com
Vegetarian Travellers’ Tales
If you’ve been travelling to one or more other countries recently, please send some of your brief (no more than 300 words) stories to firstname.lastname@example.org
Good, bad, horror stories, … All are welcome. Thank you.
Advice for a Not Yet 100% Veg Reader
Our last issue included a request for advice from a not yet 100% vegetarian reader. Here are some of the eclectic ideas that other readers sent in.
- Many organizations provide Vegetarian and Vegan Starter Kits, along the lines of www.vegansociety.com/. . ./bevegan.php and
- Do some research and find recipes to get you started, or start with some meat substitutes like Quorn and tofu to ease the transition. Ensure you have a balanced diet. Supplement with vegetarian vitamins and minerals at first, particularly zinc in the winter or iron and B vitamins, especially for women. Read labels and research carefully to avoid meat related ingredients, they lurk everywhere. Be adventurous, you'll discover fabulous new foods.
- (from Carol Adams) The interpersonal relationships are often harder than the dietary changes; meat eaters often hate to see someone leave the fold and will often do things to sabotage a budding vegetarian if they realize someone is about to defect. Sorry to be self-promoting, but I advise reading my book ‘Living among Meateaters’, which draws on the experiences of more than 200 "new" vegetarians.
- Don’t expect people to support you in vegetarianism despite all the reasons you know they should. It is a threat to their belief. Do not try to make people become vegetarian, as it makes them wrong. Accept them for what they eat. Just gently and firmly stand to your ground in your choice. Don’t think you are more right than others. To them, they are right too. It works better to include not exclude.
- Drink lots of water, exercise and eat whole grains.
- Start with taking only the vegetables in meat dishes that include vegetables. Tell as many people as you can that you do not take meat. Know why you do not want to take meat and stay with your belief.
- If you have health questions, consult a doctor, nutritionist or other health professional. Be sure to eat a range of foods. There are many websites with good advice, such as, www.veganhealth.org
- Join a vegetarian society.
- Vegan Music and Arts Festival - 19-26 Aug, 2009, Largentière, Ardèche, France.
There will be concerts, discussions, food and more at this first ever event. They are looking for volunteers and associations/groups to get involved.
- 2009 Healthy Lifestyle Expo – 16-18 Oct, 2009, Burbank, California
- West African Vegetarian Congress - 29 Oct-1 Nov, 2009, Accra, Ghana
- Opening of Sthitaprajna-Vegan Life Centre – 1 Nov, 2009, Byndoor, Udupi Dist., Karnataka, India.
Here, away from the hustle-bustles of city life, one can learn how to live happy and healthy in harmony with nature without hurting or harming others. A vegan event is planned for the occasion with many important people planning to attend and endorse the vegan lifestyle. Be part of this historic moment! For more information, please write to Vn.Shankar Narayan, President-Indian Vegan Society and Councillor and Regional Coordinator for India, South and West Asia-International Vegetarian Union at email@example.com or visit www.indianvegansociety.com
- Asian Vegetarian Congress – 6-10 Nov, 2009. Batam, Indonesia
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.
- China Xiamen International Vegetarian Food Fair - 12-15 Nov, 2009
- 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.
Welcome to Organisations That Have Recently Registered with IVU
Forever-Vital - www.forever-vital.de
Natural Dyed Garments - www.naturaldyedgarments.blogspot.com
Hotel Kadampa Italy - www.hotelkadampaitaly.com
Woods Eco-cuisine - www.macrobiotics-malaysia.com
Delicias Veganas - www.deliciasveganas.wordpress.com (Espanol)
My Vegan Planet - www.myveganplanet.com
Vegppl.com - www.vegppl.com
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 News
3. Farmed Animal Net
4. Vegan Outreach
6. AnimalConcerns.org doesn't have a newsletter, but they post stories daily
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 – firstname.lastname@example.org
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