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IVU Online News September 2009
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Table of Contents

  1. Interview with a Vegetarian Leader from Austria
  2. Update on Meatless Thursdays in Belgium
  3. Report from the International Vegan Festival
  4. Book News: Book on Veganism Published in Spanish
  5. And, A Blog in Spanish on Veganism
  6. DC VegFest: An Example of How to Celebrate - Educate - Inspire
  7. Book on Judaism and Vegetarianism Now Online At No Charge
  8. A Taste of Meat Eater Logic
  9. The Mainstream Media Has Stolen Our Materials
  10. Upcoming Events
  11. Welcome to Organisations That Have Recently Registered with IVU
  12. Other Online Sources of Veg News
  13. Please Send News to IVU Online News

Interview with a Vegetarian Leader from Austria 
Mag. Felix Hnat is president of Vegan Society Austria
He kindly agreed to be interviewed for IVU Online News.

What made you decide to become a vegetarian? When did that happen? How old were you at the time?

I became vegetarian in 2001, when I was 19 years old. My brother and I made the switch together, when we saw pictures of the slaughtering and burning of cows at the time of the BSE (Mad Cow Disease) crisis. We decided that we did not want to support the meat industry any more. I became vegan one year after that, after my uncle (an organic farmer) told me about the connection between the milk and the meat industries.

You are a leader of a member society of IVU. How long have you been a leader of this organisation?

Five years.

What made you decide to become active in promoting vegetarianism?

I got involved in activism at the age of 19 and learned that it is possible to achieve something. That gave me motivation.

What is it that sustains your desire to be active?

From time to time, I reflect on our achievements, and I feel proud to be part of a very large and vital movement here in Austria. Plus, I stay in touch with other organizations who are working towards similar goals.

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

In Austria recently, there has been enormous police repression against animal welfare, animal rights and veganism. In 2007, a police task force was founded to counter our activities. In 2008, along with other activists, I was jailed for almost 4 months as a suspected member of a criminal organisation. Our organisation and others were threatened with bankruptcy. See more at and

What is one of your organisation’s accomplishments that makes you especially proud?

The publication of the biggest vegetarian/vegan magazine in the German-speaking countries (VEGAN.AT) with 15,000 copies per issue and running a website with 2,000 visits per day.

How do you try to maintain good relations and enthusiasm amongst your organisation’s members?

The two employees of our group earn almost nothing (€150 or less per month). About 100 activists engage voluntarily. There is no elite!

How does your organisation cooperate with other veg organisations?

Exchanging information, participating at meetings, being a member of EVU and IVU and supporting the V-Label project:

Do you have any fundraising tips for other organisations?

Focus on big donors. We have motivated companies to buy advertisements in print publications and to support events via sponsorships in terms of money and products. Also, we are on the streets and use lotteries to collect addresses.

What is one thing that other veg organisations might be able to learn from your organisation?

Our Veganmania-Summerfestivals are the biggest vegan festivals in Europe (outside of the UK): We have lots of volunteers, and we have good cooperation with animal protectionist groups.

Update on Meatless Thursdays in Belgium 
Ghent, Belgium has the distinction of being the world's first city to have a Meatless Day. We asked Tobias Leenaert of the Belgian organisation EVA (Ethical Vegetarian Alternative) for more on what’s happening there.

Please tell us the history of how Meatless Thursday came to be. What was your society's role in making this happen?

EVA started its "Thursday Veggie Day" campaign at the end of 2007. Last year, we managed to convince IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) chairperson, Dr Rajendra K. Pachauri, to come to Ghent and give a talk about meat and global warming:

Tom Balthazar, the Ghent councilman responsible for the environment, was there, and, after that, he became more and more convinced of the importance of meat reduction. We made contact with two of his staff who were also enthusiastic, and we suggested that they ask Balthazar if he would be prepared to officially proclaim Thursdays to be veggie days in Ghent. Apparently, he didn't need much convincing, and he managed to get his colleagues on the executive council of the city to go along with him.

How does the city government support the Meatless Thursdays? Is it just lip service?

The city supports the campaign in several ways: we receive financial support; several city employees have already spent many days on the campaign; we have developed and distributed campaign materials together; we organized the launch event together; and from October, 2009 onwards, city funded schools will have vegetarian dishes by default on Thursday. The latter was decided by the councilman for the environment. So no, it’s definitely not just lip service.

What is the public reaction? What percentage of people would you estimate are reducing their meat consumption?

We haven't done any research yet; we plan to that in October. But so far we have heard many, many positive comments, and many people tell us they are participating.

Are other Belgian cities or towns thinking of following Ghent's example?

The town of Hasselt has already declared that it will start in October. There have also been some other towns expressing an interest, and we will start working on the bigger cities, like Antwerp and Brussels. Internationally, Sao Paulo, Brazil is already convinced, and they're working on it in France, UK, Austria, Israel, etc.

Has your organisation grown as a result of the success of Veggie Day?

We have certainly received a lot of attention and inquiries, and we have attracted new advertisers and interested potential partners. We recently also received a national sustainability award. I can feel that the whole campaign has brought us a lot of recognition and that the road is wide open for further growth. We have also received a lot of international inquiries from sister organisations all over, and it's particularly rewarding to see that our campaign has inspired other people.

What is being planned to broaden and deepen Veggie Day?

We are now trying to organize something on the European level, and are checking if we can collaborate with the Meatless Monday campaign by Paul McCartney. We are also getting the support again of Dr. Pachauri, who will urge other cities to follow Ghent's example. . . article&id=792 Furthermore, we want to make sure Ghent succeeds as a pilot city and serves as an example for other cities to follow.

Any advice for organisations hoping to do something similar?

My main advice would be to take this from the environmental and health angle, not from an animal rights angle. The meat reduction angle is also much more successful than the all-or-nothing vegetarian angle. Obviously, it's good to present the benefits for the city or the city official involved. Make them concrete (CO2 saved, health benefits…). In general, I think it is fruitful to work at a city level rather than a national level.

Some material can be found at People are also welcome to write me at for more info.

Report from the International Vegan Festival

For those who weren’t able to attend the 12th World Vegan Festival held this past July in Brazil, here’s a report from one of the participants: . . =100032&lang=pt

Book News: Book on Veganism Published in Spanish tapalibro

A reader sent the following.

Veganism: The Practice of Justice and Equality’ was written by Ana Maria Aboglio. This path-breaking book is two hundred fifty pages long, divided into two parts, consisting of a total of sixteen chapters. Aboglio brings together theory and practice, to produce a book which appeals both to those who are already exploring the relationship between humans and our fellow animals, as well as to those who are new to the topic. ‘Veganism: The Practice of Justice and Equality’ sounds a call to reflection and change. Vegetarian activists who are fortunate enough to be able to read Spanish will want a copy of this book for themselves and to share with others.

And, A Blog in Spanish for Children on Veganism
The August, 2008 issue of ‘IVU Online News’ carried an interview with the president of the Chilean Vegetarian/Vegan Society andcreator of Homo Vegetus - Alejandro Steve Ayala Polanco: . . /alejandro.html

Recently, Alejandro has launched a new project: a Spanish-language blog for the vegan children, which includes vegan tales, vegan guides, animation and a Super Vegan Hero. Here’s the address:  ‘semillas’ is Spanish for ‘seeds’.  Alejandro hopes to have an English version soon.

DC VegFest: An Example of How to Celebrate - Educate – Inspire

Washington, DC’s DC VegFest ( will be an exciting outdoor festival in the US capital city to celebrate and learn about the enormous benefits of a vegan diet and lifestyle. Co-organized by the Vegetarian Society of DC (VSDC, and Compassion Over Killing (COK,, the DC VegFest will be held on Sat, 12 September from 12-6 pm. The event will feature food preparation demos and food sampling, speakers, commercial and non-profit exhibitors, and other fun activities.

To share thoughts with other organizers of similar events in the future, here are some areas that VSDC strongly believes contribute to a successful event:

  • making clear the desired outcomes of the event with quantifiable metrics to the greatest extent possible.
  • planning the event (and budget) to make it free and open to the public, encouraging as many people as possible to attend.
  • establishing the venue at a central, outdoor space with strong public transportation access. We were able to find a supportive university with an on-campus animal rights group that helped us reserve the space at a discounted rate.
  • attracting one or two speakers who have name recognition outside of the veg circles. We are fortunate to have Rory Freedman (author of the best seller Skinny Bitch and other books) and Wendy Rieger (a TV news anchor), asking both to help promote the event too.
  • utilizing online social networking and getting volunteers to promote it widely.
  • spending advertising money on low-cost, high volume postcards and getting volunteers to leaflet at strategic locations to reach people near / around the venue.
  • working personal contacts early in the process and being forthright to ask them to donate / sponsor the event or to ask specific people to help in whatever way needed.
  • always ensuring the organizing team feels and projects positive, determined energy to instill confidence in others.

For more information, see our dedicated website, Please feel free to share ideas about other possibilities to help make such an event a greater success by contacting VSDC President Saurabh Dalal at

Book on Judaism and Vegetarianism Now Online At No Charge  
People of many different faiths are inspired to be vegetarian at least in part by their religious beliefs. This book, Judaism and Vegetarianism, by Richard Schwartz, a retired professor of Mathematics, is one example. Published in hard copy in 2001, it is now available free online at . . .pdf

Here is an excerpt from an endorsement of the book by Rabbi David Rosen, former Chief Rabbi of Ireland:

Those who seek to live in accordance with the most sublime values of Judaism will find Richard Schwartz’s book an inspiration and guide for an authentic modern Jewish life that fulfils the injunction to “turn from evil and do that which is good, seek peace and pursue it.”

A Taste of Meat Eater Logic         
This article is written by someone from Ireland who keeps pigs as both pets and as a food source. The first sentence says it all: “The best thing about keeping pigs is, of course, the pork, but the companionship runs the meat a pretty close second”. You can read the rest of the sentences here: . . /The-joy-of-pigs.html
A lively debate among readers can be found below the article.

The Mainstream Media Has Stolen Our Materials
Check out this article from Time magazine. Sounds like they plagiarized parts from some vegetarian society’s flyer. Unfortunately, not all the article is that good.,8599,1917458,00.html

To view a listing of international upcoming events online, visit

1. London Vegan Festival – 6 Sep, 2009, London

2. World Dance Festival – 10-13 Sep, 2009 India

Surya Brasil - - a Brazil based vegan cosmetics company, is organising World Dance Festival 2009 - - at Hotel Leela Kempinski Delhi. This is an event where the food served will be entirely vegan. IVU and Indian Vegan Society - - will be represented and will distribute literature.

3. 2009 Healthy Lifestyle Expo – 16-18 Oct, 2009, Burbank, California

4. West African Vegetarian Congress - 29 Oct-1 Nov, 2009, Accra, Ghana

5. Opening of Sthitaprajna-Vegan Life Centre – 1 Nov, 2009, Byndoor, Udupi Dist., Karnataka, India.

Here, away from the hustle and bustle of city life, one can learn how to live happy and healthy in harmony with nature without hurting or harming others. A vegan event is planned for the occasion with many important people planning to attend and endorse the vegan lifestyle. Be part of this historic moment! For more information, please write to Vn.Shankar Narayan, President-Indian Vegan Society and Councillor and Regional Coordinator for India, South and West Asia-International Vegetarian Union at or visit

6. Asian Vegetarian Congress – 6-10 Nov, 2009. Batam, Indonesia

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 everywhere 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.

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

8. 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.

Welcome to Organisations That Have Recently Registered with IVU

Fuente Vegana -

Veganes Leben -

Himalayan Nature Society -

IRAN (Vegetarianism in Iran) -

Donegal Veg Group -
Vegetarian Kilkenny -

Casa del Sole - rural hospitality in Valgraveglia - Liguria -

Revive Vegetarian Cafe (2 Auckland Locations) -

Integral Transformation Group, Inc. (Vedic Perspective) -

Valley Forge Native Wildlife Refuge (Scotland) -
Vegans 4 U (online dating) -

Book Publishing Company - healthful, sustainable living -
NYC VegFest - Oct 11, 2009 -

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

Please Send News to 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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