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IVU Online News – June 2013

Table of Contents

Ghana Representative Joins IVU Council Ahead of 2014 World Vegfest
Two Additions to Our History Collection
A Humorous Look at Drawbacks of Being Vegan
Vegetarianism: A Muslim’s View
Humans Are Becoming Smarter about the Smarts of Others ‘Humane Slaughter’ Is an Oxymoron
This Month’s HCYKTASEM
IVU Business Supporters
Save Money – Eat Vegetarian
Book News
Upcoming Events
Other Online Sources of Veg News
Please Send News to IVU Online News

Ghana Representative Joins IVU Council Ahead of 2014 World Vegfest

edwin baffourThe IVU International Council regularly co-opts a person from the IVU member society that will be hosting our upcoming IVU World Vegfest. For the 2014 event in Ghana we had the good fortune to be able to welcome Edwin Baffour (pictured here) of the Vegetarian Association of Ghana.

Edwin was born in Ghana and has lived in five African countries, in addition to traveling in the US and Europe. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations from the College of William and Mary in the US. Edwin has been a member of the Vegetarian Association of Ghana since 2003 and has played a key role in organizing educational programs to engage the Ghanaian public on healthy lifestyle options.

See: IVU World Vegfest 2014 Ghana

Two Additions to Our History Collection

The IVU website offers a treasure trove of information on the history of vegetarianism. That treasure trove recently became even more bedazzling with the addition of two new resources.

First is a listing of every international veg event ever held

What may be of particular interest is the inclusion of past events in the two countries that will be hosting the next two IVU World Vegfests – Malaysia in 2013 and Ghana in 2014. Malaysia hosted a regional event in 2007, while Ghana did the same in 2009 (see photo).

The second addition to the IVU history collection offers a complete history of vegetarianism . At this you will learn that Ghana has been home to the West African Vegetarian Society since 1958, and that a Malayan Vegetarian Society was founded in 1958.

Thanks to IVU historian, John Davis, and others for their treasure hunting efforts.

A Humorous Look at Drawbacks of Being a Vegan

image3The previous article talked about additions to the IVU website. Thanks are due to Vegsource who have kindly hosted our for many years website at no charge. Vegsource itself offers a wide range of resources, including videos of talks by well known vegetarian health experts. Plus, Vegsource hosted the Los Angeles part of the 2012 IVU World Vegfest.

Recently, a humorous article on the Vegsource website caught our attention. The article by Patti Breitman is titled ‘Five Drawbacks to Being a Vegan'

Patti is founder and director of the Marin Vegetarian Education Group and one of the co-founders of Dharma Voices For Animals.

Vegetarianism: A Muslim’s View


Anita Muhammad, of the Toronto chapter of Muslims for Progressive Values, recently posted a blog entry about her evolution to a plant based diet

-  here is an excerpt:

Interestingly enough, the idea of Muslims being vegetarian or vegans has prompted some debate. Islamic scholars such as the late Egyptian scholar Gamal al-Banna agree that Muslims who choose vegetarianism/veganism can do so for a number of reasons including a personal expression of faith or spirituality. 

Al-Banna has stated "When someone becomes vegetarian they do so for a number of reasons: compassion, environment and health reasons. As a Muslim, I believe that the Prophet (Muhammad) would want followers to be healthy, compassionate and not destroy our environment. If someone believes not eating meat is that way, it is not like they are going to go to hell for it. It may be the right thing to do."

Hamza Yusuf Hason, a popular American Muslim scholar, has been warning against the ethical and environmental dangers of the factory farming industry and the health related issues of over consumption of meat (video - at 35 min mark).

Yusuf believes the fallout of industrialized meat production -- the abuse of animals, the detrimental impact to the environment and human health, the link of such a system to the exasperation of global hunger -- is at odds with his understanding of Islamic ethics. In his view animal rights and protection of the environment are not foreign concepts to Islam but a divine mandate. And his research indicates that the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad, and most early Muslims were semi-vegetarians, consuming meat on occasion. 


Humans Are Becoming Smarter about the Smarts of Others

image5 The belief that humans are vastly superior to other animals has long served as a key support for the ways we abuse and kill non human animals. Fortunately, that support continues to weaken, as evidenced in a recent article in the very mainstream Wall Street Journal: The Brains of the Animal Kingdom 

Here is an excerpt:

A growing body of evidence shows, however, that we have grossly underestimated both the scope and the scale of animal intelligence. Can an octopus use tools? Do chimpanzees have a sense of fairness? Can birds guess what others know? Do rats feel empathy for their friends? Just a few decades ago we would have answered "no" to all such questions. Now we're not so sure.

‘Humane Slaughter’ Is an Oxymoron

Is it possible for humans to use the word ‘humane” to describe our killing for food of fellow animals well before the end of their normal life spans, even when we can be at least as healthy without eating meat???

As this blog post from Mercy for Animals Canada explains, slaughtering practices do not even meet the weak standards set by government bodies: Shocking Truth about Chicken and Turkey Slaughter

Here is an excerpt.

Dr. Ian Duncan, professor emeritus of applied ethology in the Department of Animal and Poultry Science at the University of Guelph, has stated that at least 1% of birds remain conscious when dropped into the scalding tanks. Dr. Dan Weary, associate dean of graduate studies and professor in the University of British Columbia's Animal Welfare Program, arrived at the same number after witnessing a portable chicken slaughter unit in operation, which left 1% of the birds insufficiently electrocuted to bring about stunning.

Over 650 million chickens and turkeys were killed in Canadian slaughterhouses in 2012. This means an unbearable six and a half million birds were burned to death or drowned in scalding tanks in Canada last year alone.

Chickens and turkeys possess intelligence, individual personalities, and emotional lives just like dogs and cats. You can help bring an end to their needless suffering by transitioning to a healthy and humane, plant-based diet.

Mercy for Animals produces some highly impactful videos, such as this one which has already attracted more than 200,000 views on Youtube:

This Month’s HCYKTASEM


On a much more positive note, here is a video in which the BBC’s David Attenborough (pictured here) recites the words to Louis Armstrong classic song ‘What a wonderful world’, accompanied by a montage of vibrant scenes from nature.

Can we all agree that we should do our part to keep the world a wonderful place for ourselves, future generations of humans and for all our fellow creatures?

IVU Business Supporters

image7 IVU needs funds to support our work. One source of funding is provided by our Business Supporters. Here is information on the this programme

Two IVU Business Supporters who recently renewed their memberships are VegVoyages and Vegucated. Here’s a little blurb about each.

VegVoyages - Founded by long time vegetarians and avid travelers with almost twenty years experience living, working and organizing trips within Asia, VegVoyages' aim is to provide you with exciting and unique "off-the-beaten-track" vegan and vegetarian adventures.

Vegucated -  - is the name of a sometimes humorous, sometimes dramatic, sometimes eye opening film about three people who try a vegan diet for six weeks. You can buy the video in several ways including downloading. The Vegucated website also offers a range of recipes at

Save Money – Eat Vegetarian


When meat eaters ask vegetarians whether eating veg costs more, a common reply is that a veg diet is likely to lead us to save a large amount of future medical expenses. However, according to a recent post on Dr Michael Greger’s NutritionFacts website, eating veg can also save us money right now: Eating Healthy on a Budget 

Here is an excerpt:

“While junk food may be 4 times cheaper than vegetables, there's 20 times less nutrition. For meat, we'd be spending 3 times more to get 16 times less. More money for less nutrition.  … Beans and raw vegetables are less expensive, nutrient dense, and may be more satiating, so, for example, incorporating more beans/legumes and less meat may be a cost-effective way to improve diet quality," not only for low-income populations, I might add, but for everyone.”

Book News

image9Vegetarian Christian Saints, by Dr Holly Roberts, Anjeli Press,, 258 pages, ISBN 0-9754844-0-0, US$20.00

Physician and vegetarian Holly Roberts explains why she wrote this book:

By writing this book, I sincerely hope I am planting a tiny seed contributing to a world in which ‘compassion and non-violence toward all beings’ might flourish. The text contains an enormous amount of meaningful and sensitive information concerning the lives and minds of over 150 canonized Christian saints who chose to live as vegetarians.

These saints form a diverse and totally fascinating group of spiritual, dedicated, self-motivated and determined individuals. As a group, these saints seemed to have been amazingly enlightened, contemplative individuals with profoundly advanced spiritual souls.

My hope is that this book will serve as a link between the values of Christianity and the value of compassion toward all beings. Its passages show that within the history of Christianity, those individuals who sought peace for all beings and who, accordingly, lived without consuming the flesh of any being, were not only revered by, but were canonized by, the early Christian Church.

One of the saints highlighted in ‘Vegetarian Christian Saints’ is St Francis of Paola, who is also mentioned ‘Oranges’, which was reviewed for the May 2013 edition of IVU Online News by Paul Appleby. Paul sent the following note:

In "Oranges" by Clarissa Hyman (Reaktion Books). the author relates the story that King Louis XI of France "gave sweet oranges from Provence to St Francis in 1483 as a gift 'for the holy man who eats neither fish nor meat'".  At first I assumed that the recipient of the oranges was St Francis of Assisi,  founder of the Franciscan order, who reputedly preached to the birds, but the date didn't tally as this St Francis died more than 250 years earlier.

There are, in fact, several saints bearing the name Francis in the Catholic Church, the one in question being St Francis of Paola (1416-1507), also known as St Francis the Fire Handler, an Italian friar and founder of the Roman Catholic Order of Minims.  According to Wikipedia: 

"The two major movements in this order were humility and non-violence. The word 'Minim' refers to living as the smallest or least, or embracing radical humility and simplicity. The call to non-violence was expressed through veganism, or not doing harm to any creature.  He followed a vegan diet, not only free from animal flesh, but also from all animal-derived foods, such as eggs and dairy products. One of the vows of the order he founded was the abstinence from meat, fish, eggs, butter, cheese and milk." (

The Order of Minims exists to this day, with nearly 50 communities mainly in Italy.  Members of the Order make a vow of perpetual abstinence from all meat and dairy products, except in case of grave illness and by order of a physician.

In his history of vegetarianism, "The Heretic's Feast", Colin Spencer notes that although St Francis of Assisi addressed non-human animals as "brother and sister" he "still ate them" because "meat was prohibited only on fast days or for purely ascetic reasons".  However, his book makes no mention of St Francis of Paola or of the Order of Minims.

St Francis of Assisi's Feast Day, 4th October, is celebrated as World Animal Day ( each year.  However, if the information in Wikipedia is correct, I contend that the vegetarian / animal rights movement should also recognise the teachings and legacy of St Francis of Paola and consider celebrating his Feast Day, 2nd April, as well.  If nothing else, St Francis of Paola deserves a very special place in the history of veg(etari)anism.


World Weeks for the Abolition of Meat  - 18-26 May and 21-29 September, 2013 – various locations -

11th Congress of the European Society for Agricultural and Food Ethics – ‘The ethics of consumption’ – 11-14 September, 2013, Uppsala, Sweden -

India Vegan Festival - 27-29 September, 2013 -.Details of the venue and programs will be soon available at

41st IVU World Vegfest and 6th Asian Vegetarian Congress – 3-7 & 8-9 October 2013, Kuala Lumpur and Penang, Malaysia -

5th China Xiamen International Vegetarian Food Fair
, Oct 10-13, 2013 -

British Animal Studies Network meeting – Theme: Winged Creatures - 11-12 October, 2013 – Glasgow, Scotland -

College Art Association conference – Theme: Unbecoming Animals – 12-15 February, 2014, Chicago, USA -

Other Online Sources of Veg News


In addition to IVU Online News, there are many other places to go online for general veg-related news, rather than news mostly about one country or one organisation. Here are some.

1. European Vegetarian Union
2. Meatout Mondays
3. Vegan Outreach
4. VegE-News
5. VegNews
6. VegSource
7. doesn't have a newsletter, but they post stories daily at
9. IVU-Veg-News E-Mail List
10. Vegetarianism in the News

Please Send News to IVU Online News

image17Dear Veg Activist

Please use this newsletter as a way to share your knowledge, ideas and experiences with fellow veg activists.

Thx. -–george jacobs – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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