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IVU News

Global News Round Up
Europe, Africa, Hong Kong, India, Surveys
from IVU Newsletter, October 1995

Regional Secretary for Europe

Mr Rob Snijders, the regional secretary for Europe (EVU) resigned from the post in July after having served in the position since the early days of the European Vegetarian Union. A most conscientious person, Rob gave of his best to the work of EVU and helped to ensure firm foundations for its future growth. We are most grateful to him for all his efforts.

The newly appointed regional secretary is Ms Sigrid de Leo of Switzerland. She is German and has lived in Italy and Switzerland as well. She speaks German, Italian and English fluently. Her address is Bluetschwitzerweg 5, CH-9443 WIDNAU SG, Switzerland. Her telephone number is +41 (0)71 726445, email:

Vegetarianism on the move in Africa

In Africa new vegetarian societies are beginning to be formed where none existed before. If you can send vegetarian magazines and other literature, preferably in English, to them, contact the Hon. General Secretary who can put you in touch with the appropriate people.

Hong Kong

It might be a good time to visit Hong Kong if you have not been there since the whole system will change in 1997 when the area reverts to China. In the meantime, there is a newly active vegetarian society so, if you visit, you might be able to join in their activities. Certainly they could advise on where to eat. Contact: Vegetarian Society of Hong Kong, BLK 48, 15th floor, Bagulo Villa, 550, Victoria Road, Pokfulam. Telephone/Fax 2551 5561

Vegetarian Society (Reverence for Life) Bombay, India

The society decided to award a vegetarian of the year award and held a major event in April for this purpose attended by some 800 guests. The national award was give to Smt. Maneka Gandhi and the international was given to Dr Bhiku Jethalal of Canada. Both gave lectures, Dr.Jethalal on medical and scientific aspects of vegetarianism and Smt.Gandhi on moral, economic and environmental aspects. Mr Jashu Shah, regional secretary for India and the East of IVU, was the main organiser of the event. The interest and enthusiasm for promoting vegetarianism is much alive in India. A good thing in view of the Government's desire to encourage more meat consumption.

How Many Vegetarians?

Well you might ask! It is a question frequently asked but accurate figures are difficult, if not impossible, to come by. The Vegetarian Society of the United Kingdom has collated information provided by various vegetarian societies and the information is presented here. However, unless polls are carried out reasonably frequently then it is not possible to be certain how accurate these figures are. What is certain, is the interest in vegetarianism and vegetarian food is growing and that there are apparently more vegetarians in Western countries as time goes by.

CountryVegetariansTotal Population %
Netherlands700,00016m 4.4
Poland 75,000 38m 0.2
Sweden60,000 8m 0.75
United Kingdom 3,500,000 57m 6.1

Studies in the United States in 1992 found almost 7% of the population vegetarian which is some 12.4 million people. However, a subsequent survey suggested that some of those who claimed to be vegetarian sometimes eat meat.

In 1994 the Vegetarian Resource Group found only between 0.3% and 1% of the United States' population were fully vegetarian when their eating habits were examined. Another 1994 study in Canada by the Beef Information Centre suggested that just under 1% of Canadians are vegetarian.

Of course, there is always the problem over how strict people are and whether they always keep to a vegetarian diet. Is diet enough to be able to claim to be vegetarian? Many now extend their approach to avoiding slaughterhouse by-products such as soap and cosmetics as well as leather. Of course, vegans would not accept any animal products in many cases although some use clothing which includes wool.

What do you think? How strict are your members? Do you have any better statistical information? If you send information in, we can publish it in the next newsletter.

Contributions to IVU News are welcomed. Material published does not necessarily reflect the views of the editor or the policy of the International Vegetarian Union.