International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
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TEVA The Esperantist Vegetarian Movement celebrates its 90th year TEVA Logo

from EVU News, Issue 1 /1998

The year 1908 saw three important events in the history of the vegetarian and Esperanto movements. In Geneva, Switzerland the ‘Universala Esperanto-Asocio’ (Universal Esperanto Association) was established; in Dresden, Germany, the International Vegetarian Union (IVU) and the “Internacia Unuigo de Esperantistaj Vegetaranoj” (IUEV) were founded. IUEV changed its name to Vegetara Ligo Esperantista (VLE), and later to the Tutmonda Esperantista Vegetarana Asocio (TEVA).

TEVA speaker
Vice-President William Simcock at World Vegetarian Congress Holland ‘94
At its beginning the official organ of the movement was, VEGETARANO. Between 1927 and 1932 VEGETARANO was the official organ both of VLE and of the non-esperantist IVU. It contained information about the worldwide vegetarian activity in Esperanto, English, French and German. Its editor was Oscar Bünemann of Hamburg, Germany. Active was the collaboration between the two organisations. On the occasion of the International Congress of Vegetarians in Britain in 1926, the secretary of the London Vegetarian Society, Frank Wyatt, responded to the greetings of the then VLE:

"I heartily thank you for your kind greetings to members and friends of the London Vegetarian Society who were gathered at Bexhill-on-Sea. Your greeting was read to those present and the proposal for a reciprocal greeting warmly acclaimed. We wish success to the Vegetarian Esperantist League in all its efforts to spread Esperanto and Vegetarianism. Each of our two movements, in its own way, is helping to spread the same great principles. I trust that the next International Vegetarian Congress will show to all interested people that, in their aims Esperantists and Vegetarians are essentially united”

Sincerely yours, Frank Wyatt

TEVA president
President Christopher Fettes (left) with Honorary President Ernesto Váña
Mr. Christopher Fettes, currently Hon. President of TEVA, was (before the foundation of EVU), the Hon. Regional Secretary for Europe of the IVU and Mr. William Parrott, currently the Hon. Treasurer of TEVA, was for several years the Hon. Treasurer of the International Vegetarian Union.

The question often arises as to whether the creator of Esperanto, Dr Lejzer Zamenhof (Bialystok 1859 – Warszawa 1917) was himself a vegetarian. This is not known for certain; it is known that he was sympathetic to vegetarianism, and from the earliest times up until today at congresses a special provision is made for vegetarians. Zamenhof proclaimed that he belongs equally to all, and desires to be and always remain a simple fighter in the movement. Lev N. Tolstoj was the Hon. President at this time. Renè de Ladevèze was the Hon. Director.

At present TEVA has representatives in 37 countries. Its AGM takes place in the programmes of international congresses. Its aim is to ‘spread Esperanto amongst vegetarians and vegetarianism amongst esperantists and to promote respect for Nature and for all living creatures’.

TEVA is neutral as regards politics and religion.

Its sole working language is Esperanto. Its official organ is ‘ESPERANTISTA VEGETARANO’ and the ‘Letero de E/V’. Subscriptions to the association are voluntary.

TEVA’s symbol is the green bud – the universal symbol of vegetarianism designed by Professor Bruno Nascimben – together with the green five-pointed star symbol of the Esperanto Novement, which TEVA uses to promote its ideas world-wide.

Why learn the international language?

Lev. N. Tolstoj said: ‘The demands Esperanto make on its learners are so small, and the results are so great that one should not refuse to have a try’. Today millions use the language and numerous are the organisations for special-interest groups, such as the youth section, Scouts, teachers, chess players, musicians, ecologists, non-smokers, Quakers, Buddhists, Catholics, atheists, vegetarians, etc. Over a hundred magazines and journals are published regularly.

The literary tradition is flourishing and the translations countless. Esperantists may travel easily abroad confident that the guest service ‘Pasporta Servo’ will offer facilities in every country as ‘samideanoj’* will act as hosts. Esperantists have no national barriers because the language is neutral and it belongs to no nation but to every person who wants to use it; they don’t feel national and cultural differences, but a natural affinity for one another and for all living creatures; this applies to the ‘ internal idea’ of the creator of the language, L. Zamenhof, which is the same as vegetarianism.

General Secretary Lilia Fabretto
The present programme of TEVA is to make learning the language easy and use it constantly with the purpose of perfecting it and make it a better means for spreading the ideas of the association. But words are not enough. The real motor of a movement is the living example of the ideas in which one believes. TEVA has an Esperanto course in 7 lessons in Italian, English Russian and Slovene, for those who wish to learn the basis of the language.

* ‘Samideano’ is a person who has the same ideas.

For further information please contact the Hon. Secretary, Lilia Fabretto,
TEVA – C.P.5050 – I-00153 ROMA, Italy
Fax:+39 5 8202232

Happy Birthday TEVA!