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7th International Vegan Festival 1993 - Tossa de Mar, Spain

from The Vegan Spring/Summer 1993:

The next International Vegan Festival will take place 17-24 July 1993 in Spain. It will be held in the north-east coastal town of Tossa de Mar (where bull fights are banned).
There will be varied activities including excursions. Lectures will be in Spanish or English with simultaneous professional translation through headphones.

The costs (full board) in British currency are approx. £230-£325 for hotel accommodation, and £175 for campers. Non-residents taking no meals will pay around £30 fro the week or £5,85 per day. [contact details]

from The Vegan Winter 1993:
Co-ordinator of the Sixth International Vegan Festival, Barbara Gamsa-Jackson, gives a punter's-eye impression of the Seventh "Begarno Congresso?" enquired the waiter, as we entered the Park Hotel dining room for breakfast, bleary-eyed after our overnight journey to Tossa de Mar. We hesitated at first, uncertain if there was another conference being held there that week or whether we were hearing the Spanish pronuncization of 'vegano' for the first time. Yes, our indefatigable friend Francisco Martin had managed to introduce the word into the language by organizing the 7th International Vegan Festival and founding the Spanish Vegan Association at the same time. (It must be all that raw food.)

Inside the dining room (definitely the best place to be indoors that week, we were soon able to greet some familiar faces from different countries and sit down with other members of our international vegan family.

As for the catering, there was an amazing variety and quantity of delicious raw and cooked food served up every meal time. The salads alone were so colourful and beautifully presented that many participants took photographs of them. Vegan and vegetarian cooks from Britain and Italy took over the kitchen for the week, with assistance from the resident Spanish staff. We also had the exclusive use of the dining room after that first breakfast.

Accommodation was divided between 2 adjacent hotels, some apartments and a canpsite. Most people had the meals providedin the main hotel, but with such a large attendance (around 150 from 15 countries) we were still meeting new people at the end of the week. We'd even mistaken some for ordinary holiday makers staying at the hotel. For lectures and workshops, we had a short walk to a local cinema and a cultural centre, and two evening concerts were held in a beautiful church. In free time during the the afternoons and evenings, there was shared use of the hotels' lounges bar and outdoor pool.

Busy, Busy, Busy

Certainly there was no danger of boredom. A three-hour guided walk through the mountain trails was arranged, and a boat trip to nearby sea caves. The all day coach excursion took in Girona - with its impressive cathedral and old quarter, the lake of Banyoles and the Salvador Dali Museum in Figueres. Yoga sessions on the beach and a cookery demonstration were also fitted in. If you wanted a break from the arranged (and impromptu) group events, you had only to stroll a short distance to find yourself in the older, pictureque part of Tossa. A town plan helped us to ge to know the place, although one lost vegan was found clutching a map of St. Albans - upside down!

As for the remainder of the week, well it wasn't all lazing in the sun, eating too much fabulous food and singing 60s songs to guitar accompaniment all night on the beach. There were plenty of the latter though, for those who can manage without sleep for a week! (An uncensored account of the Fringe Festival can be read in the Vegans International Newsletter).The serious side to the event comprised lectures and workshops galore during the day. Including the workshops there were around 23 speakers scheduled. The fact that some of them failed to appear was no problem, as it gave more time for interesting question and answer sessions. Names of speakers that Vegan readers may recognize included Alex Bourke, Maxwell Lee, Alan Long, Vicki Moore (with her video evidence of the horrific cruelty at bull-fights and village fiestas) and the Society's own Louise Wallis delivered 'Veganism and Empowerment'. A new video of Dr Michael Klaper was also shown, and reports were given from the various countries represented. Simultaneous translation was available in Spanish and English. Space doesn't allow for an account of the lectures and workshops here, but this can be found in Vegan Views, issue 92.

Ethical Tossa

Perhaps you're wondering how vegans could be persuaded to visit Spain, a country boycotted by many people due to its public displays of animal cruelty? Tossa, on the Costa Brava, was chosen specifically because the town council has banned bull fighting there. Unfortunately, some travel agencies still advertised excursions to bull fights elsewhere. This caused considerable upset amongst IVF participants, and a street protest was reported in local papers. At our tree planting ceremony on the last evening the Mayor expressed regret for the advertising.

The week closed with a farewell dinner complete with live band. Then, for some of us, it was time to pack and disappear into the nithg, whilst those who could stayed on for the animal rights march in Barcelona the next day.

Thanks are due to Francisco Martin for all his hard work. His unfailing good humour in all situations and at all hours is an insporation. The next Festival will be in the USA in 1995, details to be announced.

---- from The Vegan Winter 1993:

A lecture delivered by Vegan Society Chair, Louise Wallis at the 7th International Vegan Festival, Spain in July 1993 full text printed.

7th International Vegan Festival

After the inspiring occasion of the 6th IVF in Bedfordshire in 1992, there was much to be hopeful for in the run up to this year's event. Francisco Martin, the tireless (raw food!) veteran of our movement took on organizing the venue, accomodation, presentations (lecture/workshops) catering and socialising of this incredibly important part of the vegan calendar.

Many familiar faces were to be seen as were new faces and some unfortunately conspiscious by their absence. The truly international element to the festival was clearer this year with Spanish and English as official languages and professional translations (via headsets) laid on in the cinema lecture hall.

The town of Tossa has declared its opposition to bull-fighting though the legal complexity of the situation is borne out by the omnipresent Bullfight poster ads for the neighbouring towns. There were in fact some 'disagreements' about some of this violent promotion between festival goers and 'traditional' blood sport supporters, but fortunately the overall impression given by vegans to locals was probably positive on balance.

As to be expected, we were exposed to increased awareness of the cruelties that surround us. The opening video on Spanish fiestas left many devestated and crying - there is room for debate on how much sufferring we must force ourselves to swallow reasonably.

The first days lectures were on the theme, "The Roots and Challenge of Animal Exploitation." and included various presentations from spanish participants giving their particular cultural perspective. A suggestion by an English lecturer that we forget vegan organisations and work solely within the vegetarian movement was not welcomed.

The full timetable continued on the second day with consideration of "Veganism, Agriculture, Factory Farming and the Environment", including presentations by Dr. Alan Long, and Louis Wallis. Several of the Spanish and other time-tabled speakers failed to turn up which gave opportunity for Francisco to bring some of the lectures back on schedule. There was certainly no lack of things to learn.

Day 3 was on "Vegan Ecology, and the Present and Future of Human Health and Nutrition" with fascinating contributions from Julia Jacquel (Including a video of Michael Klaper's work), Eric Karlsson, on Nature Cure and Francisco Martin on the benefits of the raw food life style. There followed international progress reports on veganism from participants of all the different countries represented.

By this time everyone was overflowing with information, ideas and possibilites that led favourably to workshop participation on Day 4. This included discussions on Christianity, womens experiences, on how to produce a vegan book (a very inspirational introduction to this by Alex Bourke), and public presentations and relations, Nature Cure among other subjects. This concluded the main part of the programme.

A significant number of participants went on excursion to Figueres and Dali Museum the following day and on the last day, there was a protest demonstration march in Barcelona to raise the profile of the abuse of animals to the Spanish public.

In all, the week was extremely busy with much work, play (evening sing-songs on the beach, Sean McElherron on the guitar and Sunflower Robin, our vegan chef, on harmonica) and thoughts for the future. The energetic Julia Jacquel was busy organising the American vegans for the proposed 1995 International Vegan Festival in the US before anyone had recovered from the intensity of this one.

I hope many of us will be able to support that truly international event, held for the first time outside of Europe, as we work and study for a more compassionate world for all creatures everywhere.

The more we can come together to exchange opinions on a broad spectrum at events like this, the stronger we will be in our ability to cooperate for the future.

Antony Coles. - MCL

The participants at the Vegan International Festival in Tossa del Mar (Spain) were delighted to find themselves in such a beautiful and welcoming resort for their gathering. Since the local authorities have taken a strong stance to ban bull-fights and animal cruelty, they were happy to find a part of Spain to which they could support.

It was thought fitting that our visit should be commerated in a suitable way. Brian Gunn-King from Ireland, a specialist in Country Planning, suggested the planting of a commemorative tree, as has been done at the previous festival, and chose a pine tree as suitable for the local conditions. This was duly planted at a ceremony with suitable speeches by the (lady) Mayor of Tossa de MAr, and representatives from various countries who attended and also assisted in the planting by adding their shovelful of earth.

So if you ever go to Tossa de Mar, surely a place suitable for vegans to visit, go up towards the tower for which the town is famed, but turn right before the top and look plaque beside a small pinea pinea.

Or.. If you are reading this 50 years from now.. look for a tall tree bringing forth its fruit for the numerous vegans of this world.

- Copied from Vegan Views no 63. Winter 93/94.

Vision of a Gentler World
by Micheal Klapper, MD, Vegan Views 63 (Winter 93/94) The following address was read out at the International Vegan Festival at Tossa de Mar, in Spain in July 1993.

To the attendees of the 7th International Vegan Festival and to friends of the vegan ideal everywhere, it is an honor to be able to address you, if only through these words spoken by another.

Of all the festivals that are celebrated around this earth, there is none more appropriate, nor more needed, than a festival celebrating the preciousness of life itself. If ever there were a time for voices to be raised in favor of reverence, of gentleness, of compassion for all who live, surely the time is now.

Today, so many seem to hold life so cheaply - human life, animal life, the life of the Earth itself. Life is often treated as a consumer product, a disposable commodity to be "used up". People exploit human and animal life for profit. They snuff it out for entertainment, and obliterate the living world out of a misguided vision of " progress".

Daily on television we see pictures of soldiers firing high-explosive artillery shells into cities and villages where women and children live - an ultimate disconnection from the preciousness of life. Shielded from the lives they are shattering, they are blinded by a veil of ignorance and fear that makes them see other people as "them" rather than "us", "enemy" rather than "family".

The vegan ideal says that if there are diffe-rences between people and their cultures, between humans and animals, between humans and the natural world, ways must be found to accommodate and co-exist based on mutual respect and compassion for the other and their situation. We need each other, and we need to live in harmony with the natural world, far more than any of us realize.

Such harmony and compassion begins with the acknowledgment that all that lives is a miracle, and carries with it a spark of the divine. As such all living beings are worthy of our recognition, of our reverence, of our protection.

As humans we are all on a journey of the spirit. This is not an easy journey, or one that proceeds without effort, obstacles, or setbacks.. An essential element of that journey is fully opening to the sanctity of life and originating our thoughts and words and actions from that center. Fortunately, life is a journey we are allowed to take one day at a time, one decision at a time - and each decision invites us to choose and to grow.

Frequently, situations arise where our actions make a statement about our true feelings towards life. What we order in a restaurant to eat, from what material the shoes, belts and wallets we choose to buy are made, what soap we buy to wash our hands - all these actions make statements about how much we care about life.

The vegan person says, "I care". "It does matter what I do", "It matters how much harm I create or do not create". "It matters how much healing I can bring into the world around me". It is from such a vegan ideal that the healing of the world can come.

As a vegan physician, my medical practice is based upon pure vegetarian nutrition. Daily I see the health-enhancing powers of a diet free from the flesh and milk of animals. The medical journals are now filling with scientific reports on the hea-ling properties of a vegan diet, of its abilities to unclog arteries, lower high blood pressure, nor-malise cholesterol, and soothe inflamed joints. It is gratifying to see these reports, yet not really surprising. Beyond the elegant science that explains why a vegan diet is such a healing one, there is a further, overreaching truth. To me, it is altogether natural and proper that a reverent, vegan approach to nutrition is rewarded by a leaner, healthier body - far more resistant to disease and degeneration.

And, as a man on this planet who loves this earth and all who dwell upon it, I know a vegan approach to eating and to life will heal far more than the human body. When we no longer kill sen-tient beings for our food, when we no longer have to blind ourselves to the blood and the pain that fills the slaughterhouse, when we finally eat food sown with love and harvested with gratitude, much will change within us and around us.

I believe, and the scientific literature is now beginning to show, that plant-based foods tend to balance the brain chemistry and create a-gentler, more serene nature. Vegan people seem less prone to violence and aggression, which can only help our ever more crowded population.

An Earth with a population of vegan humans will be a far healthier Earth. The land required to grow the food for a person consuming a meat-based diet could sustain seven people eating in a vegan style. The effects of this economy are profound, as land now in bondage to feedgrain production will be freed for other, more life-giving uses. A vegan diet, on a national and even global level, will mean billions of acres of fertile land freed from the tyranny of fodder production, and with this will be lifted much of the curses of soil erosion and chemical agricultural pollution. We can look forward to present feedcorn fields being replaced by fruit orchards, forests, and fast-growing growing fiber crops that make textiles, paper and cleaner biomass fuel - fuel which is actually stored solar energy. As this nutritional and then agricul-tural evolution occurs, the land will begin to heal deeply, the forests will return, and the waters will begin to run sweet and pure again.

But for this wonderful, and now essential, evolution to occur, a quantum leap of the human spirit is required. Now is the age when the human heart must gain the ascendance. Now must the heart of love and wisdom become the source of our actions as we set about trying to solve the many problems we have created on this planet. For only with guidance from our hearts will we make the best decisions. When, from this heart of compassion, we view ourselves and all our fellow passengers on this huge - yet tiny - Earth, we see that the answers lie in not more violence, but in more caring, more reverence, more love.

For the vegan person, the list of possibilities for solving a given problem simply does not include violence, does not include killing. We hold our lives, and all lives, as something to be cherished and preserved. Wherever possible, killing is to be avoided, especially where matters of the palate or fashion are concerned.

The vegan person knows what they do does matter. Not only does their decision to eat or not to eat a meat-based meal affect the fate of farmed animals everywhere by perpetuating the demand for their flesh, but the example that we set ripples out to all who observe - friends, family, business associates - and who use our example to guide: and justify their own actions. Thus do our decisions and actions become magnified and make great impact upon the world.

Mahatma Gandhi said that example is not the best way to teach; example is the only way to teach. Now is the time for the vegan ideal to flourish, to flow around the globe, to bring its life-giving message to people everywhere.

The vegan ideal is you, and is me. It lives in our hearts, and within our vision of a kinder, gentler world. Perhaps each of us alone cannot remake the world, but we each can take responsibility for our corner of the world - and make that part of the world as peaceful as can be. Once we understand the vegan approach to life, even seemingly small things become very important. The thoughts we think, the words we say, the actions we cause to happen, when coming from the center of vegan understanding, all have the power to heal even the deepest wounds. What more beautiful and needed concept around which to build a festival. I am grateful to each and every one of you who have worked to make this festival a success, and to keep the vegan ideal alive in your hearts.

May the example set by this festival and by this city, where noble bulls are no longer tortured and killed for entertainment, inspire people and government leaders everywhere to stand courageously on behalf of compassion for all life. The Earth has a human problem, and a human solution. A safer, greener, saner world is ours for the growing. If we act soon, wisely and compassionately, there is still time to save ourselves and the other passengers on our magnificent spaceship. May the vegan spirit within our beings, nourished by this festival, kindle the flame of love and understanding in hearts around the globe. If we all love enough, we will see a brighter day.

- Copied from Vegan Views no 63. Winter 93/94.

- John Davis IVU Manager & Historian

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