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History of Vegetarianism

Some Notes on the History of IVU
Compiled by John Davis, IVU Webmaster

How many went....??
Attendees at IVU World Vegetarian Congresses since 1908

1908 Dresden : about 20 visitors, plus a few more from Dresden.

1909 Manchester: no numbers but seems to have been a few more, they met in a restaurant so obviously not huge.

1910 Brussels : no numbers but seems to have been slightly more again.

1913 The Hague : "Over a hundred assembled" for the opening reception

1916 Paris - cancelled due war

1923 Stockholm : "over thirty foreign delegates" plus Swedish guests.

1926 London : no numbers during the week but on two days lunch was in local restaurants suggesting modest numbers, but the Saturday evening social had "about 150".

1929 Czech Rep.: "considerably more than five hundred people listened to some of the principal speeches"

1932 Berlin : "reception organised by the Berlin Vegetarian Society was attended by about four hundred people . . the number of visitors from outside Germany being about two hundred";

1935 Denmark (moved at short notice from Zurich) : "200 visitors in residence at the School" ; "evening festival over 200 Congress members and guests" ; "one hundred were originally expected, . . . the booking gradually grew to two hundred"

1938 Norway (moved at short notice from Bulgaria) : "some ninety delegates and visitors" . Travel around Europe was getting very difficult by this time.

1941 England - cancelled due war
1944 - Holland - cancelled due to war

1947 England : photos indicate about 70. Severe food rationing still in force in England.

1950 Holland : the mid-Congress day trip required "two fifty-seater single deck buses" suggesting 100 from outside Holland, presumably more from Holland.

1953 Sweden : "20 nations represented", "Coach loads" went on the trips.

1955 Paris, France : "Over a hundred delegates stayed in the University and surrounding hostels," presumably plus more locals from Paris.

1957 India : no numbers, but: "The inauguration in Bombay was held in a colourful flat-roofed durbar tent - at least two acres in extent - with seating accommodation for 5,000, and a vast food exhibition with products and speciality dishes from all over India." The report implies large numbers in all four cities. A report from the next Congress also mentioned 5,000 in India.

1960 Hamburg : "In the evening a Festival Banquet was held at the Maschseegaststatten when about 350 enjoyed the magnificent views over the lake "

1963 Barcelona : no numbers

1965 England : "Among the 350 people taking part . . . - there had been about 600 applications to attend the Congress and it was with great regret that so many had to be refused through lack of space - we had committed ourselves some two years before to this, the largest conference centre we could find, thinking that we were taking a great risk in guaranteeing 200 delegates, an estimate based on previous congresses.

1967 India : "One of the outstanding events of the Congress was the Vegetarian Youth Session which was attended by more than 2,000 students." ; "The Deputy Prime Minister of India opened the Bombay Sessions at the Cricket Club of India and the occasion was attended by more than 3,000 people." ; "A religious gathering of 2,000 people was held at Chowpatty Beach".

1969 Israel : we have a verbal report that 'only about 90 people attended' probably due to the political situation in Israel at the time. The Congress was almost cancelled completely.

1971 The Netherlands : "There were 290 delegates from 26 countries"

1973 Sweden : no numbers, but seems to have been well attended.

1975 USA : "1500 vegetarians from across the world gathered at the University of Maine" ; "1,400 (plus) participants meeting for simultaneous lectures and events in up to 26 halls by over 100 speakers giving 120 items, events, etc."

1977 India : "Over the next 17 days Congress participants attended further sessions in Agra, Jaipur, Varanasi, Calcutta, Madras, Bangalore and Bombay in halls holding anything up to 1500 people from 15 countries or more."

1979 England : " 400 plus participants from some 20 nationalities"

1982 Germany : "Six hundred or so vegetarians from over 20 societies"

1984 USA : "350/400 people"

1986 Yugoslavia : "In all over 200 people attended."

1988 Mexico : cancelled for administrative reasons

1990 Israel : no numbers, but verbal reports suggest it was relatively small.

1993 India : no reports available

1994 Holland : very limited reports, no numbers

1996 USA : "More than 800 participants from 21 countries" - but this was moved from Sydney, Australia at short notice to be combined with the NAVS Summerfest. Many of the attendees were already booked NAVS.

1999 Thailand : "over 450 visitors with 400 of them Thais" verbal reports suggested nearer 200 non-Thais and 400 Thais.

2000 Toronto : "more than 500 attendees from 20 different countries." No details of how many of the 500 were day visitors from Toronto. Another report says "More than 300 participants from 20 nations" ; another referred to "a thousand vegetarians".

2002 Edinburgh : "brought together over 100 vegetarian societies and 300 participants"

2004 Brazil : "700 subscribers from 35 different countries and 2000 all together – about 1000 came to the Veg Fashion Show – including the dean of University and about 300 come to the Cruelty Free Fair – both of witch were free of charge."

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