International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
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Vegetarian Federal Union 1889-1911

Reports from The Vegetarian (London) during, 1900:

April 14, 1900:

Compiled by Harry Phillips

In reply to the question, What is the Federal Union? I have written the following article which I trsut will induce any lonely Vegetarian to correspond with me, so that we may introduce him or her to some kindred soul.

The Idea and Methods of the Vegetarian Federal Union

What is the Vegetarian Federal Union? What is its aim? Why does it exist? What are its methods?

The Vegetarian Federal Union was founded on October 1st 1889.

The object or idea of the Union is to band together into one Union all Vegetarian Societies the world over ; so that however small the Local Society may be, it shall have the collective force of the whole Union at its back ; so that there shall be unity instead of rivalry - mutual interchange of experience and help, instead of competition and division.

This has practically become an accomplished fact, but for new members and young beginners just enbracing the movement it is well to re-state the principles of our faith and practice.

The following are the principle rules :-

1. Name. This Association shall be called "The Vegetarian Federal Union"

2. Definition. It shall be an association of such Societies throughout the world as may be willing to unite together for mutual counsel and the promotion of Vegetarianism, i.e., abstinence from the flesh of animals (fish, flesh and fowl) as food, and the encouragement of the use of cereals, pulses, seeds, grains, fruits, nuts, and all the wholesome products of the vegetable kingdom.

3. Objects. Its objects shall be :-
(a) to extend and organise Vegetarianism by the co-operation of the affiliated Societies of the Union.
(b) To strengthen existing Societies.
(c) To establish new ones where none is existing.
(d) To promote fraternal intercourse between affiliated Societies.
(e) To collect and disseminate information relative to the movement.

4. Methods. The means for effecting these purposes shall be by :-
(a) Grants of money, literature, and services of lecturers.
(b) Organisation of Mission effort, and employment of suitable Agents as Lecturers, Organisers, Colporteurs, Cookery Demonsrators &c.
(c) The holding of meetings and conferences on questions affecting the interest of Societies, and consulting as to the best means of furthering the Cause generally, and arranging for the carrying out of any united action agreed upon.

There are other rules dealing with the management of detail, but you will see by the above selection from them what the Vegetarian Federal Union is.

1. It comes with due authority. Up to 1889 there were Vegetarian Societies and Food Reform Associations which had done, and were doing, splendid work, but no Federated Union of these Societies existed. After much thought and care these Societies came together and officially fromed themselves into the Vegetarian Federal Union.

2. So it is a united effort. There is hardly a Vegetarian Society of any importance all the world over but is federated with the Union. Let me make this quite clear. The Federal Union is not a central office with every Society simply a branch, dominated and controlled by the Central Executive. The Societies federated retain the fullest autonomy or Local Government. The Central Committee is composed of delegates from each Society, and is constantly advising, assisting and developing new Societies and conducts all the collective business of the Federation.

3. It aims at nothing less than a Great Food Reform Movement throughout the world. We calim that food is a large factor in developing character ; also thatcharacter is the true capital of a nation. Hence this movement is not a fancy fad run by a few fanatics, but really a determining factor in solving hte social and natural problems of to-day.

This being the aim of the Vegetarian Federal Union, it must have a clear and definite method of realising that aim.


is to form in each town or village a society of such men and women who shall be in sympathy with the objects of the Union.

These Societies are composed of two classes :-
(a) Members who pledge themselves to abstain from flesh, fish or fowl as food.
(b) Associates who may be unable to accept such a pledge, but have a large sympathy with the movement, and will do all in their power to aid its development.

4. So that these Societies shall be capable of easy communion with each other, we make the county the area, with some principle town at its centre.

The Devon Vegetarian Society is a splendid and living example of what a County Association can do.

This is the plan of campaign. It is not new. It has been tried and stands to-day, a living reality. Hereand there societies may have grown weak. But every day it is becoming clearer to me what a large amount of Vegetarianism there is in the world. This force has to be organised. Will you help in the organisation? Do not remain an isolated unit, but send your name to headquarters, and let us help you help others.

For all information as to starting a Society or beginning Vegetarianism address

Vegetarian Federal Union,
Memorial Hall, Farringdon Street,
London, E.C.

April 21, 1900:

Compiled by Harry Phillips


First. Call together any friends and sympathisers in the district and have a small homely meeting to begin with.
Don't attempt a costly public meeting.
Try and get some common ground of meeting.
A drawing-room meeting in a friends house is best of all.
A meeting in a church or chapel hall may keep away the people who do not belong to that place of worship.
In starting a Society it must be laid down on the broadest basis ; all questions of politics, or religious opinions, should be kept out.
The chief question is : Ared you a Vegetarian or a sympathiser with Vegetarianism?
Also, will you agree to work on the broad principles laid down by the Vegetarian Federal Union?
These are the main questions to be considered, all details of local management will come afterwards.

. Get all who are willing to help in the formation of a Society to sign their names clearly and definitely on the members' forms ; next elect your officers, President, Secretary, Treasurer and Committee.
If your Society is likely to be a small one to begin with, appoint two or three officers only.
Don't attempt too many meetings ; most Societies have found one monthly meeting is sufficient.
Quarterly meetings should be held rather in the form of Conversaziones, so as to bring together new friends for personal talk and counsel. All meetings should be reported in local papers.

. Having started your Society, an important question is affiliation with the Vegetarian Federal Union. What is the value of this connection you may ask.
(a) It helps the Society in its first stages, and gives the collective force of the whole Union to that one Local Society. You are no longer a small self-contained self-satisfied group of Vegetarians, but part of a great and glorious movement, international and world-wide in its far-reaching influence.
(b) The Vegetarian Federal Union head office provides offical books, rules, and cards requisite to start a Society, and also offers literature and publications of every description at wholesale prices. It provides speakers and lecturers, will give assistance in missions, and every other help that a new and struggling Society needs until it can run alone, atthe same time always leaving a Society abundant Local Government, and the fullest freedom of local development.

Lastly. The Federal Union aims at forming County Associations wherever possible in one central town, as a central organisation for that county.

This then, is the "plan of campaign" ; will you help to make it possible?

Minimum subscriptions to the Union, one shilling per annum.

Further particulars may be had at the Central Office, Memorial Hall, Farringdon Street, London, E.C.