International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
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31st World Vegetarian Congress 1994
The Hague, Holland

Minutes of the IVU General Meeting

International Vegetarian Union

Meeting of Representatives of Member Societies
The Congress Building
The Hague, The Netherlands
6-13 August 1994

  1. President's Welcome
    The President welcomed the delegates and spoke of the growing interest in vegetarianism and for the need for us all to play our part in furthering the cause. He looked forward to a successful congress and hoped everyone would find it a worthwhile and satisfying experience.

  2. Meeting Procedures
    The Hon.General Secretary informed the meeting of the procedures and reminded delegates that the elections would take place during the meeting.

  3. Apologies for Absence
    The Hon.General Secretary reported a number of apologies for absence and messages of goodwill.

  4. Minutes
    The minutes of the meeting of representatives of member societies held during the world vegetarian congress at the Music Academy, Madras, India in January, 1993 were approved as presented.

  5. Matters Arising
    Minute 11. The resignation of the Hon.Auditor, Mr.William Parrot, was reported and the meeting was informed that Mr.Ray Drake, a chartered accountant, had agreed to act as Hon.Auditor and this appointment by the International Council was approved. No other matters were raised.

  6. Hon.General Secretary's Report
    The development of vegetarian movements in Eastern Europe was described and the presence of so many delegates from Eastern Europe welcomed. He mentioned that he had made several lecture tours visiting Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Poland and Lithuania since the last world congress. He had also represented IVU with the Deputy President and several others at a conference on vegetarian nutrition in Washington, DC. The President and Hon.General Secretary had met with Indian diamond merchants in Antwerp and this had led to sizeable donations to help IVU expand its work. Their support was most welcome. IVU continued to help newly developing vegetarian societies in various parts of the world. Requests for information to IVU continued to grow and the Vegetarian Society of the United Kingdom continued to help IVU by providing and sending out suitable material. The amount of correspondence was increasing and fax communication was an important factor in this. The new computer was proving a great asset due to its versatility and this meant the Hon.General Secretary was able to produce the newsletter on it as well as headed note paper. The workload of the Hon.General Secretary meant that it was desireable for IVU to look towards having a full-time person in the post as soon as possible. The meeting was reminded that the Hon.General Secretary had indicated to the International Council that he wished to retire from the office in 1996 and emphasised the need to arrange a suitable replacement. IVU's greatest need was fuel for the future. The fuel referred to is money. Unless the assets greatly increase the possibility of growth in IVU's activities would continue to be very much constrained.

  7. Hon.Treasurer's Report
    Since the Hon.Treasurer, Mr Bernard Colvin, was unable to be present, the Hon.General Secretary presented the accounts and financial report for the years 1992-3 and 1993-4. The accounts for the year 1992-3 showed year end assets of 38,307. Expenditure during the year exceeded income by 4,637 which was at least partly due to the cost associated with congress preparation. The year end accounts for the year 1993-4 showed an improved situation with net assets of 56,010. The considerable improvement was largely due to the donation from the Antwerp diamond merchants which led to an excess of income over expenditure of 18,000. The decline in interest rates and bank balances had led to a fall in "other income". The major change in the balance sheet for 1993-4 was the 30,000 increase in investments. This was achieved through reducing cash at bank by 10,000 and the increase in accumulated funds of 18,000. The report and accounts were approved as presented.

  8. Membership Report
    The list of members and membership report were accepted.

  9. Constitution
    It was agreed to accept the proposal of the Indian Vegetarian Congress that clause 8(b) of the constitution be amended to read "The President and Deputy President may not serve from more than three consecutive terms in the same position".

    Proposals from the Dutch Vegetarian Society that alterations relating to congress organisation be made to the constitution of IVU were defeated.

  10. Elections
    Mr.Surendra Mehta was elected President and Professor Marcel Hebbelinck Deputy President. The President reported the re appointment of Mr.M.G.Lee as Hon.General Secretary. Mr Francisco Martin had been appointed as Hon.Assistant General Secretary and Mr.Bernard Colvin as Hon.Treasurer. Although the constitution did not allow for more than one Hon.Assistant General Secretary, the International Council had agreed that Mrs Madge Darneille should be a second extra Hon.Assistant General Secretary.

    The elections for the International Council resulted in the election of Ms Diana Ratnagar, Mrs Madge Darneille, Mrs Hildegund Scholvien, Mrs Kathy Silk, Ms Julia Jacquel, Dr Igor Bukovsky, Dr.Alex Hershaft, Dr.Riccardo Trespidi.

  11. Appointment of Auditors
    Mr Ray Drake was elected as Hon.Auditor for the 1994-96 accounts. He was sincerely thanked for his services.

  12. World Congress 1994
    A report was given of the arrangements for the remainder of the week and an explanation of some of the difficulties which had been experienced. A number of points were raised by participants about arrangements and their queries were to be attended to. The President of the Vegetarian Society of the United Kingdom, Mr.Neville Hall, complained about the attack on the VSUK by VEGA in the congress programme brochure and the organisers apologised over this.

  13. World Congress 1996
    Mr Mark Berriman reported the arrangements proposed for the world congress due to be held in Sydney, Australia in 1996. He reported that he was carrying out a survey to ascertain the most suitable time of year and invited people to speak to him about their preferences. He reported that excursions would also be arranged.

  14. World Congress 1998
    Mr Pornthep Srinalula of Veg International proposed that Veg International should host the 1998 world vegetarian congress and spoke about the advantages of Thailand for a congress. Mrs Hildegund Scholvien suggested Italy as a venue for a joint IVU/EVU world congress in 1998. After some debate a vote was taken and it was agreed that the 1998 world vegetarian congress should be held in Thailand.

  15. Reports from Regional Secretaries

    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.

    Middle East - The Hon.General Secretary read out the report from Mr.Mark Weintraub who was unable to attend the congress. He reported the continuing problems of communication within the Middle East due to the political situation but hoped that the easing of tension would lead to greater association and future potential for the vegetarian movement. In Israel the vegetarian movement was growing and quite strong.

    Europe - Mrs Hildegund Scholvien, in the absence of the regional secretary, Mr Rob Snijders, made the report. The regional office is in the home of Rob Snijders which puts some costs upon him. The EVU delays with many queries and issues newsletter six times a year. There is a need to get assistance from international bodies and Ms Kim Hebbelinck is working to develop an association with the European Community. The lack of funds was a constant problem hindering the development of the work of EVU. The European regional congress in 1995 was to be held in Bratislava and participants at the world congress were asked to attend and encourage others to do so.

    Africa - The regional secretary, Mr Jan Beeldman, was unable to attend the congress and sent his apologies. He reported the developments in South Africa since the liberation and the prospects for growth in the vegetarian movement. He received little from other parts of Africa but looked forward to increasing co-operation between African vegetarian societies as time progressed. Mr Maxwell Lee, the Hon.General Secretary, reported in contacts he had with vegetarian societies in Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In addition he heard periodically from vegetarian groups in Mauritius. He reported that it was encouraging to find vegetarian societies increasingly being developed in new countries.

    North America - Mr Saurabh Dalal presented the report. A poll by "vegetarian Times" had suggested there were at least 12 million vegetarians in North America in 1992. A survey by The Vegetarian Resource Group indicated between 0.5 and 2.5% of people never eat meat, fish of fowl and that 6% of the population do not eat meat. Provision for vegetarians was increasing in North America and it was getting much easier to obtain suitable meals. A letter was read from the President of the North American Vegetarian Society sending good wishes to IVU.

    India and the East - Mr Jashu Shah, the regional secretary reported the situation had been difficult in 1993 due to the riots which limited activity. Nevertheless, there had been a very successful congress in Madras. Action by vegetarians and animal protection groups had led to less slaughter house activity and stray dogs are no longer killed. A major aim of Indian vegetarians is to discourage people from taking up meat eating. Maharaj Bir Singh Ji of the Nanhari Sikhs spoke about the history of the Nandhari Sikhs and their approach to vegetarianism. They support the holding of vegetarian congresses and try to attend them. They offered their congratulations to Veg International on becoming the hosts for the 1998 world vegetarian congress.

  16. Manker Foundation and Trophy
    The Hon.General Secretary reported that the Trophy would be awarded on the final evening. However, the person to whom the trophy was to be awarded declined the honour because he did not believe in honour awards. Consequently, it was decided not to make an award on this occasion. The gathering was reminded of the origins of the Manker Foundation and the purpose it served. Members and friends were invited to support the fund since its aim was to further the vegetarian cause in the world.

    At this point the President, Mr Surendra Mehta offered thanks to Professor Marcel Hebbelinck the Deputy President, for his work on the preparation of the congress. He also thanked Mr.Maxwell Lee, the Hon.General Secretary, for all his work for IVU. The President suggested that Mr.Lee's entire desire was to promote the vegetarian cause. He suggested we all needed to consider our duties to the cause as well as our own wishes. The President also thanked Mr.Bernard Colvin, the Hon.Treasurer, for his efforts and all involved in promoting international vegetarianism.

  17. Patron's Fund
    The Hon.General Secretary reminded participants of the purpose of the Patron's Fund and asked all to encourage their members to become Patrons. It was a form of life membership so contributed over time to the work of the International Vegetarian Union.

  18. Mehta Fund
    It was reported that the fund had resulted from contacts made with diamond merchants in Antwerp and was named after the president who had done so much to develop the finances of IVU. The aim of the fund was to develop vegetarian activity in all parts of the world.

  19. The Future Role of IVU and its Funding
    The Hon.General Secretary reported the problems resulting from insufficient funding. IVU's ability to take much international action was constantly limited due to the financial situation. If IVU is to play a meaningful role on the world stage, expand its activity, encourage growth of world vegetarianism and become the major influence on the vegetarian movement, a much greater level of funding was necessary. The potential to participate in world bodies would rely on IVU having a permanent office and secretariat as well as funding to enable travel and full world-wide activity.

  20. IVU Newsletter
    Members were reminded to send information to the Newsletter since the Hon.general Secretary was happy to include material from all parts of the world. Use could be made of the Newsletter's contents quite freely by any vegetarian organisation. The expansion of the newsletter was reliant on increased funding. The Hon.General Secretary thanked Ms Diana Ratnagar for her help in printing and distributing the newsletter.

  21. Resolutions
    a) i) A resolution from the Vegetarian Society of Western Australia proposed that the proceedings of congresses should be published and made available. It was reported that this was done for some congresses but much depended on the lectures and the ability of organisers to record and reproduce the lectures. It was reported that the Dutch were proposing to produce a book of the congress lectures. Whilst supporting the spirit of the resolution, it was not felt we could require this.

    a) ii) A resolution concerning the definition of 'vegetarian'. It was not felt that it was possible to establish a legally enforceable definition. The way forward was felt to be for individual vegetarian societies to tackle the problem in their own countries.

    b) i) The proposal from the Swedish vegetarian society that the president's report, financial report and budget should be circulated to member societies was defeated.

    b) ii) The Swedish society suggested that proposals which will be voted on at IVU meetings of member societies should be circulated to member societies in advance with the views of the International Council sent with them. Since IVU did not have a meeting of the International Council until the start of a congress and because resolutions were often not produced until near or at the start of a congress, this proposal was not approved.

  22. Reports from Member Societies
    Due to lack of sufficient time these were not read out. It was suggested they should be given to the Hon.General Secretary who would use suitable material in future newsletters if he could do so.

  23. Any Other Business
    The International Council asked the membership to accept an increase in annual subscriptions to IVU. It was agreed to increase subscriptions in a graded manner as long as no increases exceed 50% and this was approved.

    The Deputy President mentioned the problems that had occurred during the congress and assured participants that there had been a strong despite to get things right. The President thanked the retiring International Council and welcomed the new one. He also thanked all who had worked for the success of the congress. He declared the meeting closed.