International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
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32nd World Vegetarian Congress 1996
[Vegetarian Summerfest '96: A World Vegetarian Congress]

Minutes of the IVU General Meeting


  1. President's welcome
    The President, Mr Surendra Mehta welcomed participants, spoke about the success in the promotion of vegetarianism world-wide and expressed the expectation of a full and successful meeting. He emphasised the need to move forward as a movement. He expressed regret at the ill health of the Deputy President, Professor Marcel Hebbelinck which prevented him coming to the congress. He stated he had many pleasant memories of his period of office and wished IVU every success in the future.

    The President referred to the fact that Mr Maxwell had indicated he wished to retire from the post of Hon.General Secretary of IVU after 17 years in this post. He expressed sincere thanks to Mr Lee for his dedicated service and hard work. He spoke about the support that Maxwell Lee had received from his wife, Sylvia and thanked her for it. He was sure that Mr Lee would give every help to his successor to solve the problems which might face IVU. He stressed the need for all to work for the vegetarian cause.

    Finally, the president thanked the North American Vegetarian Society for taking on the responsibility for the congress at short notice and that they had done an excellent job in the way in which they had set up the congress.

  2. Meeting Procedures
    The Hon.General Secretary explained that there would be two sessions for the meeting of member societies and that the elections would take place during the second session. He explained that anyone wishing to address the meeting should raise their hand and wait until called to the microphone. Speeches should be brief and to the point to enable as many as possible to play a part in the discussion.

  3. Apologies
    The Hon.General Secretary, Mr Maxwell Lee, reported expressions of regret for absence from Mr.Mark Berriman, Dr Riccardo Trespidi, Dr Igor Bukovsky, Professor Marcel Hebbelinck, Mr.Jan Beeldman, Mr Saurabh Dalal, Ms Diana Ratnagar. Mrs E.M.(Mick) Fearnside and Mr.Edwin Heller and his colleagues of the Regeneration Magazine.

  4. Minutes of the meeting of member societies held at he world vegetarian congress at the Congress Centre, The Hague, The Netherlands from 7th - 13th August, 1994

    The minutes of the meeting were approved.

  5. Matters arising
    The Hon.General Secretary explained the reasons given by Mark Berriman for the cancellation of the congress planned for Sydney in 1996 and expressed his thanks to the North American Vegetarian Society for their co-operation and goodwill in working with IVU to ensure a good congress.

  6. Hon.General Secretary's report
    Mr Lee spoke about the role he had played for 17 years and the changes that had occurred to IVU during the period. He described the difficulties of trying to maintain one's own career whilst carrying out the duties of the Hon.General Secretary in spare time. There had been a growing amount of correspondence by mail fax and e-mail which demanded the General Secretary's attention. The role had also grown to encompass lecture tours to promote vegetarianism in various parts of the world, the need for the General Secretary to visit world congress venues and to negotiate future possibilities. IVU, as an international organisation needed to obtain recognition from the United Nations and other world and regional organisations so that it could put forward the vegetarian point of view at meetings concerning, food, health, morality and environmental matters. All these activities had financial implications.

    There is a growing demand for IVU support to newly developing vegetarian societies and, in recent years, IVU has played an important role in encouraging the developing vegetarian movements in Eastern Europe and Africa. The regional organisations of IVU are not strong and need much greater support in terms of finance and participation by vegetarians in the regions. In particular Latin America, the Middle East and Australasia and Asia are in great need for support to enable new societies and groups to be encouraged and helped to develop.

    Without growing financial support IVU would not be able to do these things. It was desirable for the post of Hon.General Secretary to be replaced by a full time paid General Secretary and for the regional organisations to be strengthened and provided with resources.

    The Hon.General Secretary thanked everyone for their support during his time in the post which had not always been easy and had put increasing demands on his time during the period.

    The President, Mr Surendra Mehta, thanked Mr Lee most sincerely for all his efforts over a long period and paid thanks to Sylvia Lee who had helped and supported her husband during his period of office.

    He mentioned how harmoniously he and Mr Lee had worked together.

  7. Hon.Treasurer's Report and Accounts
    As the Hon.Treasurer was not present, the Hon.General Secretary presented the financial reports for 1994-5 and 1995-6 and he reported that both sets of accounts had been approved by the Hon.Auditors. The value of investments had been reduced by 2,034 due to the fall in value during the year and the write off of the loan to EVU together resulting in the surplus being converted to a deficit of 2,109. The level of donations had been influenced by a generous donation of 9,500 by Indian diamond merchants in Antwerp although their donations were below those of previous years of 23,000. The total income was 12,186 and total expenditure was 4,295 including the write off of the loan to EVU. Net assets were 53,902.

    The total income in 1995-6 was 5,759 compared with 12,186 in the previous year. The deficit of income compared with expenditure was 574 compared with 2,109 in the previous year. The balance sheet revealed total assets of 53,328 compared with 53,902 in the previous year. The accounts were approved.

  8. Membership
    The Hon.General Secretary provided a list of members and payments received in the previous two years. He reported that he did not have sufficient information to have incorporated membership throughout North America and Europe in the report since many in the regions paid their subscriptions to the regional secretary and subsequently the payments were shared with IVU.

  9. Elections - Officers and Members of the International Council
    There being only one candidate for the post of President, Mr.Howard Lyman, and one candidate for the post of Deputy President, Mr Maxwell Lee, the President, Mr Mehta, declared them both elected unopposed. Mrs Sigrid De Leo questioned the procedure since she felt that a vote should have been called. It was explained that there had not been a vote at previous elections where there was but one candidate for a post. Member societies had had many reminders to make nominations and the result was the two nominations, other candidates having withdrawn prior to the election.

    Mr Howard Lyman spoke about his hopes for IVU and gave encouragement to the participants to make every effort to win support for the vegetarian cause. The outgoing President, Mr Mehta, thanked him for his words and wished him well in his task.

    Mr Maxwell Lee stated he looked forward to continuing to work for world vegetarianism, albeit in a different role. He felt there was much to do and wished his successor, Mr Francisco Martin, well in his task. The President, Mr Mehta, stated he had known Mr Lee since 1979 and spoke of his role in both the British and international vegetarian movements. He felt Mr Lee was sincere and hard working and he had moved the vegetarian movement forward during his period of office as Hon.General Secretary.

    He felt that the combination of Howard Lyman and Maxwell Lee leading IVU would move international vegetarianism higher and higher.

    An election by secret ballot was held for membership of the International Council there being more candidates than vacancies and Dr Igor Bukovsky, Dr Alex Hershaft, Ms Pat Carney, Mrs Hildegund Scholvien, Professor Marcel Hebbelinck, Dr Mitsuko Kakimoto, Mr Pornthep Srinarula and Mr Kevin Pickard were elected.

  10. Appointment of Auditors
    This was referred to the International Council which was authorised to approve a suitable person or company.

  11. World Congress 1996 - report
    It was explained why the world congress was being held in Johnstown, USA, instead of Sydney, Australia. The President congratulated the North American Vegetarian Society for taking on the organisation of the congress. Everyone was most impressed with the organisation. programme, accommodation and catering arrangements. The attack on Mrs Krystyna Chomicz Jung whilst travelling to the congress was reported and members expressed their regret. A group of participants were going to visit her in hospital. Participants decided to make a collection to help here during her long recovery stay in the USA.

    It was reported that there was good press coverage organised by Mr Scott Williams. Some 700 - 800 participants were expected for all or part of the congress.

  12. World Congress - 1998
    Due to climatic considerations, it had been agreed that the congress should take place in January, 1999. The congress would be in two cities, Chiang Mai and Bangkok. Mr Pornthep Srinarula answered questions about the congress.

  13. World Congress - 2000
    There were two candidates for 2000, Toronto, Canada and Brighton, England, UK. Representatives of the Toronto Vegetarian Association and the Vegetarian Society of the united Kingdom made presentations about their proposals. Member societies then voted for the venue and Toronto obtained the higher vote. Mr Peter McQueen of the Toronto Vegetarian Association thanked members for their support. Mr Maxwell Lee congratulated Toronto and mentioned the last congress he had attended in Toronto and stated that the organisation had been excellent so he expected the year 2000 one would also be an outstanding congress.

  14. Congress Organisation
    Discussions centred on the problems that had been met in the past over organisation and the need to use modern technology in the future. Members mentioned the need to consider the period in the year when families could take holidays when determining dates of congresses. Mr Maynard Clark reported that there was a cyber cafe during the congress and this would keep people around the world informed about the congress and its activities.

  15. The future role of IVU and the internet
    The Hon.General Secretary reported on the IVU pages on the internet and their future. The interest was growing and the number of accesses to the IVU pages was already greater than the Hon.General Secretary could cope with had they been letters of enquiry. It was reported the International Council was considering the future of the IVU pages and ways of developing their content and use.

  16. Manker Foundation and Trophy
    Mr Lee explained the history of the Manker Foundation developed in memory of Mr Manker, leader of the Indian vegetarian movement who died just before the 1977 world congress in India. Its purpose was to promote vegetarianism world-wide and to make grants to encourage the development of new vegetarian societies.

    At each world congress the Trophy was awarded for outstanding service to the international vegetarian movement. The International Council had set up a sub committee to consider who should be recommended for the award of the Manker Trophy and this time it was agreed that the award should be made to Mrs Madge Darneille who was retiring from the International Council and had played an important part in the work of IVU for several decades, for a number of years as Assistant Hon.General Secretary.

  17. Patrons Fund
    This is a form of life membership. The Hon.General Secretary suggested encouraging members of vegetarian societies to take out membership as a Patron since this would help IVU to increase its funds and support.

  18. Matters from the International Council

  19. Reports from Regional Secretaries

    Mrs Sigrid De Leo reported that three EVU newsletters had been produced in the past year. She enjoyed the work of regional secretary although she found it difficult to carry it out in her spare time. A meeting at Trogen had been a success.

    India and The East
    Mr Jashu Shah explained that vegetarianism was under attack in India due to Government support of meat consumption, particularly chicken. He had visited Bangkok to encourage support for the next world congress. Mr Shah informed members that Reverence for Life (Bombay) made an international vegetarian of the year award and that earlier in 1996 this had been made to Mr Maxwell Lee.

    The various societies were continuing their own activities. Many regretted that Australia was not hosting the world congress but hoped they would be in a position to do so in the near future.

    Mr Jan Beeldman was unable to attend the congress but had sent a report to the Hon.General Secretary. He welcomed the newly developing vegetarian societies in various countries and hoped they would play a growing role in the international vegetarian movement. There was much to do in Africa.

    North America
    Mr Saurabh Dalal reported on the growth of vegetarianism in North America and the support coming from television programmes, films and famous personalities. The Food and Drug administration now recognises vegetarianism and the benefits of a healthy, largely vegetarian, diet. Vegetarian events, like the world congress, were receiving increasing support The annual march for the animals had won support from more than 23,000 people. VUNA is giving advice to newly formed societies. The internet was playing an increasing role in bringing vegetarians together and promoting interest in vegetarianism. Local and regional networking was encouraging the exchange of information and ideas.

  20. Reports from Member Societies
    It was agreed that time was running out for the meeting and that member societies should send any reports to the Hon.General Secretary who would include relevant parts in future editions of the IVU newsletter. It was proposed and agreed that there should be a special meeting at future congresses at which member society reports could be presented and ideas exchanged.

  21. Resolutions
    A resolution from Mr Surendra Mehta concerning the Indian Government policy in respect of mechanised slaughter houses and the export of meat and meat products was presented and agreed.

  22. Any Other Business
    It was agreed that IVU should endeavour to participate in events such as the next world food summit.

  23. Votes of Thanks
    Mr Howard Lyman thanked Mr Surendra Mehta for his outstanding service to IVU and the Indian vegetarian movement. He also thanked the organisers of the congress for their outstanding efforts and commented on the great success of the congress.

    Mr Surendra Mehta thanked everyone for their support during his period of office as President.