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The Bylaws of the International Vegetarian Union

seal IVU

These bylaws first became effective on October 31 1999, having been modified since then, and should be read in conjunction with the Articles and Memorandum of Association.

  1. The procedures defined in these bylaws are subject to the principles defined in the Memorandum and Articles of Association of IVU, and may not in any way exceed or overrule those documents.
  2. The Bylaws of IVU constitute an agreement between the Members of IVU and are not subject to the laws of any country.
  3. 'Members' or 'membership' in these Bylaws refers to Full Member Organisations unless stated otherwise. 
  1. The International Council may pursue any objectives that it considers, from time to time, to be appropriate, but these may not take priority over the objectives defined in Section 4 of the Memorandum of Association.
  1. The IVU shall consist of all members and supporters as defined in Section 2 of the Articles of Association.
  2. Full or Associate Membership becomes effective upon payment of an annual subscription, and acceptance of the application, and subject to ratification, if required, by the International Council.
  3. New applicants for membership may be required to supply a copy of their constitution, or their rules, which may be subject to the approval of the International Council.
  4. Any society concern, commission, or corporate body which is in sympathy with the aims and objectives of IVU, including animal welfare, humanitarian, health or similar relevant objectives and which shall be acceptable to the International Council, may become an Associate Member or a Supporter of IVU. Individuals and families may become Supporters of IVU.
  5. Supporters shall receive all the rights of membership and any other benefits considered appropriate by the International Council but shall have no voting rights unless as a delegate representing a Member organisation.
  6. Fellows of IVU shall be individuals who may be elected for life by IC in recognition of their services to IVU. Such positions shall be non-executive and non-voting. They shall have no other rights than those given to individual supporters. The number of Fellows at any one time shall normally be limited to 12, but may be temporarily varied at the discretion of IC.
  7. Patrons shall make a minimum donation to IVU, of such amount as shall be from time to time decided by the International Council. They shall be classed as lifetime supporters for the purposes of Section 2.3 of the Articles of Association.
  8. Any proposed changes in the IVU Subscription Rates for any category of members or supporters shall be sent by the IC to all Member Organisations by email. A minimum of one month shall be allowed for members to make their views known before any changes become effective. Full details of all subscriptions, and the benefits available to each type of subscription, shall be recorded in Appendix E of these Bylaws.
  9. Non-payment of subscriptions for a period of 3 months shall result in the deletion of the society from the membership list and the loss of voting and other rights. At its full discretion the International Council may accept late subscription.
  10. All members and supporters of IVU shall abide by the Memorandum and Articles of Association and the Bylaws of IVU.
  11. Members or supporters may be removed for conduct contrary to the aims and objectives of the IVU by an affirmative vote of 2/3 of all the members of the International Council, following a minimum of two months' notice of the charges and the opportunity to present their defence at a meeting of the International Council, either in person or by email.

4.1. Congresses/Vegfests
  1. IVU shall coordinate an annual event combining features of congresses and vegfests
  2. All matters appertaining to the organisation of Congresses/Vegfests/Vegan Festivals shall be agreed by the International Council in accordance with the guidance document 'Guidelines for IVU World Vegfest' which shall form Appendix A of these Bylaws.
4.2 General Meetings and Ballots
  1. At each World Vegfest a General Meeting shall be held to discuss the current state of the vegetarian movement and IVU's role in promoting that movement.
  2. Email ballots of members may be called by the International Council, either from its own initiative or on the demand of ten member organisations.
  3. IVU shall conduct all communications with member organisations using email. It is the responsibilty of member organisations to provide IVU with a valid email address to take part in IVU discussions and voting, and to notify IVU of any changes to this email address.
  4. The General Meeting shall carry out an agenda as has been requested by the International Council or Member Societies at least one month prior to the commencement of the meeting. Items submitted on the day may be accepted at the discretion of the General Meeting.
  5. Email ballots shall only be valid if a minimum of 25% of members respond to the call for a vote within 28 days of the ballot papers being sent.
  6. A chairperson as shall be decided by the International Council or the General Meeting shall take the chair at all General Meetings.
4.3 Elections

  1. The International Council (IC) shall be elected by email ballot, with voting from April 1-30 of every four (4) years. The results to be announced by emaiI during the first week of May.
  2. Member Organisations shall be invited to send nominations from January 1 to March 15 of each even numbered year. Candidates must be vegetarian, and a current Board Member or Senior Employee of a Member Organisation, and nominated by that same organisation. Nominations must be sent by someone other than the candidate. Existing IC members may be re-nominated without restriction or time limit, provided they continue to meet the above criteria.
  3. On or shortly before April 1, of each election year, all full member organisations shall be sent, electronically, full details of all candidates, including position statements submitted by the candidates, of a length and format prescribed by IC. (see Appendix I for the format) 
  4. Voting shall be by a confidential ballot of member organisations. Votes shall be sent to persons nominated by IC who are not standing for election, and kept confidential until the result is announced. Leaders of Member Organisations shall be encouraged, but not required, to disclose to their own members how they voted.
  5. The eight candidates receiving the most votes shall be elected for a term of office expiring when the next council is announced during the first week of May, two years later. 
  6. IC may fill an interim vacancy of the eight elected members, by a 2/3 majority vote of all IC, to expire when the next IC is elected.
4.4 International Council
  1. The International Council (IC) shall be responsible to the membership of IVU for the running of the affairs of IVU.
  2. Email ballots of the IC may be called by the Chairperson or by the request of 1/3 of all the International Council members. Two weeks shall be allowed for repliesbefore the final result is announced. Anyone not replying within that time shall be deemed to have abstained. Seven members shall constitute a quorum.
  3. The business of IC shall be discussed via email. It shall be expected that anyone elected to the IC shall arrange to be reasonably contactable by email. Any councillor not contactable by this means may be deemed have excluded themselves from discussions and voting.
  4. IC shall elect a Chairperson and other IC members shall be elected to any roles as required. The detailed list of roles and responsibilities shall form Appendix B of these bylaws.
  5. IC may co-opt, by a 2/3 majority vote of all IC members, up to three additional members who shall have full voting rights. All such positions shall be valid until the next IC is elected, or such earlier date as IC shall determine at the time of co-option.
  6. All decisions of the IC shall be by majority vote, except where 2/3 majority is mandated elsewhere. Where there is even voting the Chairperson of the meeting shall have a casting vote.
  7. Representatives of member organisations may be allowed read-only access to IC email discussions on request.
  8. The IVU shall have no headquarters or central office. Responsibilities shall be divided amongst all members of the International Council and any staff in different parts of the world.
  9. Council members may be removed from office for conduct contrary to the aims and objectives of the IVU by an affirmative vote of 2/3 of all Council members, following a minimum of two months' notice of the charges and the opportunity to present their defence .
  10. Any council member who fails to communicate by email, phone or other means for a period of three months shall be removed from IC unless 2/3 of all IC members vote to keep her/him on the council.
  1. Regional Organisations (ROs) may become partners of IVU as defined in Section 4 of the Articles of Association.
  2. The International Council (IC) shall conduct discussions with any RO interested in forming a partnership in a defined geographic region. Any such partnership shall be subject to ratification by the IVU Members at the earliest opportunity.
  3. The IC and the RO shall negotiate and agree a contract which is appropriate to the circumstances of each region. The contract may not conflict with the IVU Memorandum or Articles of Association or Bylaws but may add any matters of relevance to the needs of the region.
  4. Each RO shall determine its own constitution which may not conflict with any of the clauses contained within the Memorandum or Articles of Association or Bylaws of IVU. Any such contradiction shall invalidate the partnership.
  5. Each RO shall nominate a Representative to the IC who shall be agreeable to the IC. In the event that the Representative is unable to attend an IC meeting then the RO may nominate a temporary replacement, subject to agreement by the IC.
  6. IC may define regions according to current circumstances. Where an RO does not exist for a defined region, a 2/3 majority vote of all IC members may appoint a Regional Representative who shall be a full voting member of IC. All such positions shall expire when the next IC is elected, and the new IC shall appoint (or re-appoint) Regional Representaives at the earliest opportunity.
  7. Regional representatives shall be responsible for regular contact between the IC and all IVU Members in the defined region. S/he shall encourage the formation of local/national societies within the region, and shall encourage the establishment of a suitable regional organisation to form a partnership with IVU.
  8. Termination of a partnership with a RO shall be decided by the IVU Members, to which the IC may make recommendations.
  9. Each of the ROs shall be encouraged to hold Regional Vegetarian Congresses or support others holding such events. IVU shall endeavour to assist in any way considered appropriate by the RO.
  1. The fiscal year of the IVU shall begin and end on dates to be determined the IC subject to advice from the treasurer.
  2. IVU shall open or authorise to be opened banking accounts in the name of the IVU in such country or countries as the IC shall decide. The IC shall determine the signatories for IVU accounts.
  3. A budget shall be proposed to the IC, for the following financial year, not less than three months before the start of the financial year. The IC shall determine the budget not less than one month before the start of the financial year. Any alterations to the budget during the course of the year shall require the vote of a majority of the IC.
  4. A statement of IVU accounts shall be preparedfor each year, and these shall be presented for approval by the IC within three months of the end of the financial year.IC may arrange interim reports as required.
  5. Auditors shall be appointed by each new IC by the end of July in the even numbered years. Audited annual accounts for each financial year shall be made available on the website by the end of the following September, for access by IC, Member Organisations, and by the public on request.
  1. The Memorandum or Articles of Association may only be altered by email ballot of all Full Member Organisations (as per 4.2.f. above). Proposed alterations shall be reviewed by IC which may make a recommendation to the members.
  2. Bylaw alterations may be proposed and seconded by the authorised representatives of any two member societies of IVU, or by any two members of the IC. The IC shall schedule a vote on proposed amendments within one month of receipt of said proposals.
  3. from the Articles of Association: The bylaws may be altered by a two-thirds (66%) majority of all International Council members.
  4. Appendices to these Bylaws may be altered by a simple majority decision of the International Council.
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