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IVU Online News May 2009
To receive your own copy of this Enewsletter in plain text by email (better for printing) go to:

Table of Contents

  1. 2nd West Africa Vegetarian Congress – 29 Oct-1 Nov
  2. Japan Veg Soc President Publishes Article in Leading Nutrition Journal
  3. Interview with IVU International Council Member Saurabh Dalal
  4. Video Source from VegSource
  5. Welcome to New IVU Full and Associate Member Societies
  6. Animal Protection Petition in Bolivia
  7. Reasons to be Vegetarian – Health or Kindness?
  8. The Animal Activist’s Handbook
  9. Vegan Diets and Buddhist Nuns in Vietnam
  10. Global Warming Debate – The Risk Management View
  11. One-Minute Video on the Amazon Rainforest and Meat
  12. 'The Question Is Not, Can They Reason? Nor, Can They Talk? But, Can They Suffer?’
  13. Welcome to Organisations That Have Recently Registered with IVU
  14. Upcoming Events
  15. Other Online Sources of Veg News
  16. Please Write for IVU Online News

2nd West Africa Vegetarian Congress – 29 Oct-1 Nov
Emmanuel Eyoh, IVU Africa Regional Coordinator, has announced that the 2nd West Africa Vegetarian Congress will take place in Accra, Ghana, 29 Oct-1 Nov. Mr Korblah Wisdom an IVU Africa member from Ghana is coordinating the Congress in Ghana. Food and accommodation will be free for Congress participants. On 1 Nov, World Vegan Day, there will be a large Vegetarian Parade in Accra town. For more information:

Japan Veg Soc President Publishes Article in Leading Nutrition Journal
The president of the Japan Vegetarian Society - Prof/Dr Mitsuru Kakimoto's research paper, ‘Vegetarianism and Vegetarian Diets - History and Types’, has appeared in The Japanese Journal of Clinical Nutrition, No. 4 (2009), the most prestigious academic journal in this field in Japan. Below is a short summary.

Considering that nowadays almost all the international airlines that arrive at and depart from Japan's airports offer vegetarian options for the airline meals, one can say that vegetarian food is world food. This article covers the history of vegetarianism, from its origin in India and Greece, to the modern vegetarian movement in Britain in 19th Century, to the foundation of IVU in 1908 as a global network of vegetarian organizations. The author further discusses the various types of vegetarians and explains that IVU's definition of vegetarian includes vegans, lacto vegetarians and lacto-ovo vegetarians. Reasons for becoming a vegetarian and trends in the U.S. and Japan are also discussed, by pointing out that many health conscious people in the U.S. have turned to vegetarianism because of the American Dietetic Association's 1997 recognition of the preventative effects of vegetarian diets. People are also moving towards vegetarian for global reasons, such as environmental protection, assistance to developing countries and animal rights. The journal’s next issue will carry an article by another leader of the Japan Vegetarian Society on vegetarian diets in hospitals.

[Saurabh Dalal]Interview with IVU International Council Member Saurabh Dalal

Saurabh Dalal has served on the IVU International Council for many years. Currently, he is the Council’s Deputy Chair. Saurabh kindly agreed to be interviewed for ‘IVU Online News’.

What made you decide to become a vegetarian?

Becoming vegetarian was a decision that was made for me by my parents since birth. The decision to become vegan was my choice and that happened in Dec 1991. The latter helped me realize something of the difficult process in order to make such an immense lifestyle change.

What made you decide to become active in promoting vegetarianism?

Since my family has followed the Jain religion whose foremost principle is Ahinsa (non-violence), I had been raised with a strong respect for all living beings. I naturally grew up feeling that non-human animals never wanted to suffer, no different than what we humans would want. Since I felt so strongly from an early age that eating animals wasn’t right, that they suffered and were killed even when there were alternatives that did not require such large-scale injustice, I wanted others to “see” what my family saw. I felt that it was my duty and responsibility to do so which is l why I still do it today.

When and how did you first hear about IVU?

I first heard about IVU around 1991, after I became active in the local Vegetarian Society of DC (VSDC, Washington DC) through one of its most important figures, Madge Darneille. Madge had also been active as a founder of the Vegetarian Union of North America (VUNA) and the Assistant General Secretary for IVU. She recruited me to get involved in VUNA shortly thereafter and then also in IVU over the years. Meeting then Honorary General Secretary Maxwell Lee a couple of years later at a continental Jain convention sparked my interest further in IVU.

4. In addition to your role with IVU, you are also active in promoting vegetarianism in the Washington, DC area and in North America generally. Please tell us about that?

I started volunteering with VSDC in early 1991 and immediately met some wonderful people that inspired me to go vegan. Over the years, I became more involved in VSDC because I felt strongly about change happening at the local level as part of grass roots awareness and community-building. I was also asked to get involved with VUNA because it needed people who were energized to do something beyond the local level to get groups to share ideas and strategies to become more effective. Working in numerous, different roles in VSDC has helped me become a better activist and also see the importance of a group like VUNA.

5. Is promoting vegetarianism a full-time job for you, or do you have another job too?

Promoting vegetarianism isn’t a “full-time job” for me but since it is such an important part of who I am, I feel I am always involved in promoting the idea. Currently, I work in the telecom industry in the area of fiber optic communication systems, allowing me to combine two fields I’m fascinated with: Physics and Mathematics. I’m fortunate to have been able to choose my jobs so that I’m not overwhelmed by work and can be involved in other non-profit activities. My job provides me with stability so I can volunteer my time in the areas that are most meaningful to me.

6. What is an obstacle that you face in remaining active in promoting vegetarianism? How do you overcome this obstacle?

The world desperately needs help in so many areas that I feel it's less a question of remaining active but more of where to focus. With great support from my family, I am really fortunate to be involved in many related activities but do find it hard to determine how to optimize my time and energy for greatest impact.

7. What is a recent veg-related event that you particularly enjoyed?

One of my favorite activities is outreach/tabling, i.e. grass roots dissemination of information directly to people. VSDC had such a table for the huge Earth Day celebration on the National Mall in Washington DC on Sunday 19 April 2009. It’s an adrenaline rush when you see first-hand the idea of being vegan register with many people you don’t know. It’s also a welcome challenge to find the right few words to say to make a person stop and think, even if only for a moment, and take information.

8. What is one thing about yourself that most or all of your IVU friends do not know?

I was very shy growing up and it has taken a lot for me to overcome that over the years, especially when speaking to larger groups. I’m motivated because we all can have an impact on those around us and the more each of us is ready to stand up for ideas that are important, the more the world can change.

Video Source from VegSource
VegSource, the organisation that hosts the IVU website, has started a new video feature. Twice a week, they add short video clips of notable vegans and vegetarians, who share personal stories and perspectives about being veg.

If you want to see these videos as they come out, you can subscribe to the VegSource Newsletter. Every time they post a new video, they'll send you a notice by email.

To subscribe to these alerts:

Recent clips include:

Welcome to New IVU Full Member Societies
Following the decision last year to offer free membership of IVU to all Full Member Societies of EVU (European Vegetarian Union), we have now updated the IVU database to include many new societies and we are delighted to welcome them to IVU. As a result of this agreement IVU now includes 63 European organisations in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Lithuania, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and Ukraine.

For details on these societies, go to and then:

  1. select any European country from the drop-down menu
  2. select the appropriate language at the bottom, many Euro groups only have a website in their own language and will not appear if you search in English
  3. select 'Vegetarian & Vegan organisations' on the right.

Member Societies will appear near the top with a * in front of the name.

Animal Protection Petition in Bolivia
IVU received the following petition.

Dear Friends, Friends of Friends and Animal Rights Defenders,

We are pushing to exceed the 5,000 signatures goal to demand a proper Animal Protection Law in Bolivia. Why is there a need for such a law? Basically, because there is none. In the name of the suffering voiceless,

You can read the petition in Spanish, Portuguese and English and sign it at

 Reasons to be Vegetarian – Health or Kindness?
Virginia Messina is a well-known vegan dietician. Here, from her blog - veggiedietitian/.../vegan-for-health-of-it.html - are some thoughts on reasons for our dietary choices:

I’ve been resisting the urge to write about last week’s big news story concerning meat and mortality. The study made a case against high intakes of meat and got lots of press. It reinforced the idea that red meat is bad for us, so that’s a good thing for anyone who promotes a plant-based diet.

Like all epidemiologic studies, it had its share of weaknesses, but the large number of subjects helps to counteract some of that. Furthermore, the results are supported to some extent by other research about the dangers associated with red meat consumption.

But the study also found that eating more white meat, like chicken, was linked to a lower risk of mortality. The take home message, according to many of the articles I read, was “Eat less red meat and more chicken and fish.” It’s the same message we’ve been hearing for decades, ever since people started talking about cholesterol and heart disease. And it’s a message that really sticks. Most health conscious people don’t eat less meat; they eat different meat. And even among those who have cut back on meat for health reasons, most haven’t cut it out.

The same goes for dairy. Whole milk may be taboo on many menus, but it’s simply been replaced with nonfat yogurt.

We have piles of good data about the benefits of eating more whole plant foods and a largely plant-based diet. What we don’t have (yet) are studies showing that vegans have significantly better health than those who eat mostly plant foods but still include some small amounts of animal foods in their diets.

That’s just one of the reasons I’ve never been a big fan of the “health argument” for vegan diet. If we are going to rely on the scientific data in a way that is smart and responsible—as all good vegan health professionals should—then the argument falls short of convincing.

The best advocacy is based on arguments that are rooted in solid fact—the ones that focus on the suffering of farm animals. When it comes to health, I’m not convinced that a few bites of chicken would hurt me. But I know beyond a doubt that those few bites would contribute to animal suffering.

The Animal Activist’s Handbook

Here’s a new book by two people active in promoting animal welfare:
The Animal Activist’s Handbook: Maximizing Our Positive Impact in Today’s World by Matt Ball (of Vegan Outreach) and Bruce Friedrich (of PETA).

Here is a review from Compassion Over Killing:

Vegan Diets and Buddhist Nuns in Vietnam  See full size image
The following research abstract was sent by Dr Michael Gregor

Osteoporos Int. 2009 Apr 7. [Epub ahead of print]

Title: Veganism, bone mineral density, and body composition: a study in
Buddhist nuns.

Authors: Ho-Pham LT, Nguyen PL, Le TT, Doan TA, Tran NT, Le TA, Nguyen TV.
Pham Ngoc Thach University of Medicine, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam.

This cross-sectional study showed that, although vegans had lower dietary calcium and protein intakes than omnivores, veganism did not have adverse effect on bone mineral density and did not alter body composition.

Introduction: Whether a lifelong vegetarian diet has any negative effect on bone health is a contentious issue. We undertook this study to examine the association between lifelong vegetarian diet and bone mineral density and body composition in a group of postmenopausal women.

Methods: One hundred and five Mahayana Buddhist nuns and 105 omnivorous women (average age = 62, range = 50-85) were randomly sampled from monasteries in Ho Chi Minh City and invited to participate in the study. By religious rule, the nuns do not eat meat or seafood (i.e., vegans). Bone mineral density (BMD) at the lumbar spine (LS), femoral neck (FN), and whole body (WB) was measured by DXA (Hologic QDR 4500). Lean mass, fat mass, and percent fat mass were also obtained from the DXA whole body scan. Dietary calcium and protein intakes were estimated from a validated food frequency questionnaire.

Results: There was no significant difference between vegans and omnivores in LSBMD (0.74 +/- 0.14 vs. 0.77 +/- 0.14 g/ cm(2); mean +/- SD; P = 0.18), FNBMD (0.62 +/- 0.11 vs. 0.63 +/- 0.11 g/cm(2); P = 0.35), WBBMD (0.88 +/- 0.11 vs. 0.90 +/- 0.12 g/cm(2); P = 0.31), lean mass (32 +/- 5 vs. 33 +/- 4 kg; P = 0.47), and fat mass (19 +/- 5 vs. 19 +/- 5 kg; P = 0.77) either before or after adjusting
for age. The prevalence of osteoporosis (T scores </= -2.5) at the femoral neck in vegans and omnivores was 17.1% and 14.3% (P = 0.57), respectively. The median intake of dietary calcium was lower in vegans compared to omnivores (330 +/- 205 vs. 682 +/- 417 mg/day, P < 0.001); however, there was no significant correlation between dietary calcium and BMD. Further analysis suggested that whole body BMD, but not lumbar spine or femoral neck BMD, was positively correlated with the
ratio of animal protein to vegetable protein.

Conclusion: These results suggest that, although vegans have much lower intakes of dietary calcium and protein than omnivores, veganism does not have adverse effect on bone mineral density and does not alter body composition.

Global Warming Debate – The Risk Management View  
Meat production is strongly implicated in Global Warming, but some people maintain that we still don’t know for sure whether global warming will indeed happen. A reader sent the following link to a video that says we shouldn’t take the risk and that we need to act now:

The video is about nine mins long and uses a few tricks to keep us entertained while pushing us to think more about this important issue.

One-Minute Video on the Amazon Rainforest and Meat
Here's a 1-minute Greenpeace video making the clear connection between cattle ranching/meat eating and Amazon Rainforest destruction/global warming:

‘The Question Is Not, Can They Reason? Nor, Can They Talk? But, Can They Suffer?’

Here’s a piece by a New York Times columnist about the ascendance of the idea that the welfare of our fellow animals deserves consideration.

Welcome to Organisations That Have Recently Registered with IVU

Gusto Superior -

Ceres Journey - veg travel in Ecuador and China -


Azienda Agricola TERRA LIBERA / Natural Cure Center (Portugese/English) -

Alvorecer - Centro de Cura Natural (Natural Cure Center), (Portuguese/English) -

Encantos Ecotours -

Jinga Shoe Retailers -
MuLondon - Natural Organic Skincare -
The Best Vegetarian Recipes -
Wessex Tales Vegetarian Vegan Restaurant, Bournemouth -

Central Jersey Vegetarian Group (CJVG) - | Animal Defense Team -
National Institute of Ayurvedic Medicine -
New Jersey Vegetarian Resources -
Shop Vegan Raw -
Vegetarian Society of South Jersey -

To view a listing of international upcoming events online, visit

1.Veggie Pride events – 16 May, 2009 – Lyon, Milan and Prague; 17 May 2009 – New York

2. 4th National Vegetarian Congress, organized by the Vegetarian Union of Spain -
Santander (Spain), 26-28 June

3. NAVS (North American Vegetarian Society) Summerfest – 8-12 Jul, 2009 - Johnstown, Pennsylvania, USA

4. Minding Animals Conference 13-18 July, 2009, Newcastle, Australia

5 . FARM Animal Rights Conference – 16-20 Jul, 2009 - Los Angeles

7. 12th International Vegan Festival - PUC University, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 22-25 Jul, 2009

The world longs for peace, respect and dignity. The Environment is being mercilessly destroyed and gives back its answer. Natural resources are being exhausted by the unsustainable exploitation imposed by a wasteful mode of life. We lose species diversity without even knowing it. Diseases, obesity, suffering and hunger abound.
After so many years of ideals of 'peace and love', 'gender and ethnic equality', ‘freedom of speech' and 'respect for nature' we still crawl on, delegating to others the task of bringing about lasting, real changes. By changing our life style we can play a vital role in the construction of the better world we all want, where the white dove of peace can rest her tired feet.

8. 2009 Healthy Lifestyle Expo – 16-18 October, 2009, Burbank, California

9. 2nd West African Vegetarian Congress - 29 Oct-1 Nov, 2009, Accra, Ghana

10. 4th Asian Vegetarian Congress – 6-10 Nov, 2009

The 4th Asian Vegetarian Congress, organised by the Asian Vegetarian Union and the Indonesia Vegetarian Society, will be held on Batam Island, Indonesia, near Singapore from 6-10 Nov. People from everyone in the world are warmly welcome to enjoy delicious Indonesian vegetarian food.
Among those who have agreed to speak are 2007 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, R.K. Pachauri, well-known vegetarian crusader Maneka Gandhi, and IVU Regional Coordinators for India and for Asia-Pacific, Shankar Narayan and Susianto Tseng.

11. China Xiamen International Vegetarian Food Fair, 12-15 Nov, 2009

Where: Xiamen International Conference & Exhibition Center, China
Who: Xiamen Municipal Government, Xiamen General Chamber of Commerce, Xiamen International Chamber of Commerce, Xiamen Jinhongxin Exhibition Co., Ltd.
With: Vegetarian materials, vegetarian food, organic food, natural food, healthy food, vegetarian snacks: fruits, vegetarian books, vegetarian restaurants, and other vegetarian products - Plus: International Vegetarian Forum, a million signatures for vegetarianism, food tasting, cooking competition.

12. IVU World Vegetarian Congress – 1-7 Oct, 2010, Jakarta and Bali

The 39th IVU World Vegetarian Congress will be held in Indonesia in two places, Jakarta, the capital (and the economic centre of the country) and Bali, the country’s most famous tourist destination. The Congress starts in Jakarta and then moves to Bali. An outline of the programme is available.

Other Online Sources of Veg 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. Dawn Watch
2. European Vegetarian Union
3. Farmed Animal Net
4. Vegan Outreach
5. VegE-News
6. doesn't have a newsletter, but they post stories daily at

Please Write for IVU Online News 

Dear Veg Activist

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

Thx. -–george jacobs –

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