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IVU News Ė March 2007
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Table of Contents


Dresden 2008 IVU World Vegetarian Congress Update

Printed invitation brochures for the 2008 IVU World Vegetarian Congress in Dresden, Germany are available now. If youíd like an invitation mailed to anyone, please contact Hildegund Scholvien (Hildi)

Recently there have been a few changes, above all for the hotel reservations. They are worth a look at the internet page:

And a reminder: the first deadline for early and cheaper booking is 30th July 2007.


More Videos from the 2006 IVU World Vegetarian Congress in Goa, India

The folks at Veg TV have recently uploaded more videos from the 2006 IVU World Vegetarian Congress in Goa, India, including an interview with the former IVU Regional Coordinator for Asia, Jashu Shah:


Meatout 2007

Meatout is an annual event held to encourage meat eaters to give vegetarianism a try for a day or more. On (or around) March 20 ó thousands of people in all 50 US states and around the world will hold informative and educational Meatout events. To find out more:


International Meatless Day

Another annual event celebrated in countries around the world is International Meatless Day, which is held every 25th of November. In 2006, millions of people signed a pledge to go meatless that day. Among the signers was Megawati Sukarnoputri, the immediate past president of Indonesia. To find out more:


Sitio Vegetariano (Brazil) Celebrates 8th Anniversary

Sitio Vegetariano, the website founded by the people who helped organize the 2004 IVU World Vegetarian Congress in Brazil, was a pioneer veg website in the Portuguese language and has been a leader in terms of visits since it was launched in 1999: It now receives a million clicks inside the site every month.

The veg-brasil discussion list, created at the same time and associated with Sitio, had about 90 member in 2000. Now, it has an average of 2000 members. veg-brasil was also the worldís first veg discussion list in Portuguese. These numbers show the great interest on vegetarianism in the world of the Portuguese language.

On January 28, 200y the new SŪtioVEG was launched.

------------------ Increasing Support for Vegetarian Groups Worldwide has launched "Supporting Vegetarianism at the Grassroots" Program. By yearís end, VegDining will be awarding support valued at up to US$75,000 to promote the work of up to 50 vegetarian groups around the world, as determined by visitors to

"Since we launched our site in September 1999, weíve been an active supporter of vegetarian groups around the world" says Dennis Bayomi, founder of "Our new program increases our support in a very significant way", adds Bayomi, himself a long-time vegetarian group activist.

From now until the end of October 2007 (World Vegetarian Month), visitors to with a paid-up VegDining Card or VegDining login account may nominate two vegetarian groups that they'd like VegDining to support. Up to fifty groups receiving the most nominations, in four different group-size categories, will receive VegDining support.

Groups will receive support in the form of paid advertising/sponsorships by VegDining via those groupsí publications/websites/events, merchandise including VegDining Cards, and cash donations.

In addition, VegDining will offer part of the proceeds on every VegDining Card and login account purchased until October 31 towards the International Vegetarian Union's (IVU) Regional Development fund, which assists new vegetarian groups around the world, many in poorer countries. A minimum of $500 US will be donated by VegDining to support this program.

For more information about VegDiningís program, visit their site at


Organizing Potlucks: An Interview with Garry Choo of the Toronto Vegetarian Association

Potlucks are one way for vegetarians to get together, enjoy each otherís company, show off their culinary skills and try new dishes. In the interview below, Garry Choo , of the Toronto Vegetarian Association (, shares his experiences organizing potlucks.

Q: Letís start with a little biographical info. What is your occupation? Have long have you been veg? Why did you go veg?

A: I was born and raised in Toronto, ON Canada. I am a manager in the IT department for a Canadian retailer. My primary job function is long term planning.

Iíve been veg since 2001. I became veg as a result of reading Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser. Three things about the book stuck in my mind:

  1. The wastefulness of raising animals for food. Especially the clearing of the Amazon rainforest to grow soybeans for feed;
  2. That animals were treated in such a manner and also that they did not come from Ďfarmsí, but from factories; and
  3. The treatment of people in the related slaughter and fast food industries.

After reading FFN, I began reading other publications to ensure the facts were, well, factual. I read Beyond Beef by Jeremy Rifkin, Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappe, Silent Spring by Rachel Carson and many others. These books cemented my resolve to stay vegetarian.

Q: How long have you been organizing potlucks?

A: Iíve been organizing monthly potlucks since January 2005. It started as a vegan and raw-food potluck. It is now only a raw-food potluck.

Q: What led you to start organizing potlucks?

A: I became vegan and then a raw foodist because of potlucks. I became vegetarian on my own, but I do not think I could have become vegan or raw on my own. There was a great sense of community at the potlucks, and the people in attendance also were a great support network.

In the fall of 2004, Anson DePezia, a raw foodist in Toronto who organized monthly potlucks in his home, was discontinuing them because he was moving away from the city for several months. I became a raw foodist as a result of Ansonís potlucks.

With him gone, there was a void that needed to be filled. The first potluck I organized was in January 2005, one month after Ansonís final potluck.

Q: How do you publicize the potlucks?

A: Anson provided me with his mailing list of raw-foodists. I used that as a start. I also had a large list of emails of vegetarians that I knew. The potlucks were also promoted on the website,, where there were several vegetarian groups (vegetarian, vegan, raw). It was also posted on the Toronto Vegetarian Associationís website,

At the point when started charging for their services, people migrated to Yahoo groups. Several groups were formed including:

Toronto Vegetarians;

TVA Singles:

I also discovered the Raw Food Toronto group, which I now moderate:

Also, in the fall of 2006, Sandra McKeown, another Toronto raw foodist, revived the raw food meetup group and that brought some new people to the potlucks.

Q: How did you begin? What was the first potluck like?

A: The first potluck was great. There was about 30 or 40 people in attendance. We get from 20-60 people at the potlucks.

Q: What venues do you use? What are some other possibilities?

A: I use the party room in my condo building. It is about 3000 square feet in size so it can hold over 100 people. In the summertime, we can expand it into a courtyard off of the party room. Iíve held it in my apartment (once), but it isnít that big and can only accommodate about 20 people comfortably.

Q: How do you deal with plates, forks, spoons, etc.?

A: We have a collection of reuseable plates (donated by the TVA), cups and utensils. People are encouraged to bring their own reuseable plates, cups and utensils. We also request that people bring their own napkins.

Q: Do people have to sign up ahead of time?

A: I donít have people sign up. I donít find it useful. I only let people know when the event is and they can show up if they like.

Q: Do you ask people to list the ingredients in their dishes? For example, what if some people donít take garlic or onion, or some are allergic to a particular food?

A: Yes, ingredients are always listed in case of allergies and for general information.

Q: How long do the events usually last?

A: People start showing up at 6pm, eating starts at 7pm and itís gone as late as 11pm.

Q: Other than eating, do you have any scheduled activities, such as ice breakers or screening a video?

A: In the past, we have had food preparation demonstrations, singers and speakers.

Q: Do you ever have special themes for the potlucks, such as Asian food?

A: We had a dessert theme once. It was very popular and the food didnít last very long from what I remember!

Garry on the right, with some friends at the IVU Congress in Goa, India, 2006

Regardless, the Ďthemeí is always raw food now.

Q: Do you ever have a problem with not having enough food?

A: Maybe during the dessert themed potluck! There always seems to be just the right amount of food. More often than not, we have food left over at the end of the evening.

Q: Can someone show up without food and offer to clean-up or do some other task?

A: I donít really care if people show up without food. Itís more about learning about raw food. Some people are nervous or do not know what raw food is. I always encourage people to show up, even if they are not bringing anything with them.

Q: Are there any legal issues involved, such as what happens if someone suffers food poisoning?

A: Iíve never really thought about it because itís an informal event. Iíve never known of anyone getting sick from one of the events. Iím not worried about any legal aspects. Vegetarians (Canadianís, at least) arenít very litigious.

Q: What are some problems that youíve encountered or might encounter, and how do you try to avoid them?

A: People that show up with animal-based products because they do not know what raw food is. There is some information on the respective web sites. People list the ingredients so itís Ďeater bewareí.


Bristol Vegan Fayre

June 9-10, 2007 are the dates of the Bristol Vegan Fayre to be held in Bristol, England. Among the speakers is Dr Stephen Walsh, author of Plant Based Nutrition and Health. For more information:


Livestockís Impact on the Environment

An important document for promoting vegetarianism was published by the United Nationís Food and Agricultural Organization. It describes the many ways that meat production is doing increasingly serious harm to the environment:†


Book on Bird Flu Available Free Online

Bird Flu has been grabbing headlines again. Fortunately, a new book by a prominent vegetarian author, provides important insights into the topic. Michael Greger, M.D., is Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at The Humane Society of the United States. An internationally recognized lecturer, he has presented at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, among countless other symposia and institutions, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial. Dr. Greger ( donates all proceeds he receives from his books and speaking engagements.

His latest book, Bird Flu: A Virus of Our Own Hatching, can be downloaded at no cost at or you can purchase a hard copy from on the right, with commission to IVU.

To read an interview with Michael, visit


New Book on the Emotions of Our Fellow Animals

Hereís a short review of a new book which shows once again that other animals are not mere objects but are instead thinking beings with emotions and personalities.

The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Empathy - and Why They Matter by Marc Bekoff with foreword by Jane Goodall.

Bekoff's latest book, complements other recent efforts, such as Balcombe's Pleasurable Kingdom and Masson and McCarthy's When Elephants Weep,† that have gone a long way toward establishing, in the popular mind,† the robustness of the emotional lives of animals other than humans.

".............Based on Marc Bekoff's years of experience studying the social communication patterns of a wide range of animals, this important book shows that animals have rich emotional lives. Not only can animal emotions teach us about love, empathy, and compassion, argues Bekoff ó they require us to radically rethink our current relationship of domination and abuse of animals. Award-winning scientist Bekoff skillfully blends extraordinary stories and anecdotes of animal grief, joy, embarrassment, anger, and love with the latest scientific research confirming the existence of emotions that commonsense experience has long implied. The author also explores the evolutionary purposes of emotions in a wide range of different species, showing how science is discovering brain structures that produce emotions, how we can track an evolutionary continuum based on shared brain structures among species, and how new information is being revealed by noninvasive neurological research techniques. Filled with Bekoff's light humor and touching stories, The Emotional Lives of Animals is a clarion call for reassessing both how we view animals and how we treat them."


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