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IVU Online News April 2010
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Table of Contents

Interview with Coordinator of V-Label Scheme for Veg Food
Do You Want Lots and Lots of Veg News?
Interview with President of Vegetarian Union of Paraguay 
How I Became a Vegetarian – Thanks to a Fish
Welcome to New IVU Members
Study Compares Bone Fracture Rates According to Diets
IVU Manager Blogs on VegSource Site
Starter Kits 
Upcoming Events
Welcome to Organisations That Have Recently Registered with IVU
Other Online Sources of Veg News
Please Send News to IVU Online News


Interview with Coordinator of V-Label Scheme for Veg Food  See full size image
In the following interview, reprinted with permission from EVANA, Renato Pichler, founder and coordinator of the European Vegetarian Union’s (EVU) V-Label Scheme, talks about how EVU is expanding the scheme. Here’s an excerpt. The entire interview is at Also, Vegetarian Society UK also has a labelling scheme for veg food:

Question: What makes the system interesting enough for producers and restaurants to join it?

Answer: It is the only label which is recognized all over Europe by all vegetarian organizations. It is important to mention that also the European Vegetarian Union (EVU), the umbrella organization for European vegetarian organizations, supports and promotes it. Contrary to company-owned labels, the European V-label enjoys full confidence of the target consumer groups. Moreover the scheme offers licensees access to vegetarian organizations interested in promoting their products and services.

So we have a win-win situation for all involved:
- For the promotion of their goods all participating companies get easy access to the vegetarian community.
- Vegetarians (and all those wanting to eat meatless from time to time) enjoy a label system they can fully trust.
- The participating vegetarian organizations can use their know-how for controls and establish contacts to the food industry.


Do You Want Lots and Lots of Veg News?
For those of you not satisfied with monthly or weekly newsletter, please try IVU-Veg-News E-Mail List: It is basically a news wire dedicated exclusively to veg news.


Interview with President of Vegetarian Union of Paraguay 
Ana Laura Rivarola Oneto is president of the Vegetarian Union of Paraguay - UVPy (South America). She kindly agreed to be interviewed for IVU Online News. 

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


My biggest influence for becoming vegetarian was my older sister, Maria, who has been a vegan for almost 20 years now. I was a teenager, and at that time she was already a vegetarian, living in England. She used to send me magazines and books about vegetarianism, and she was the first person that introduced me to the concept that animals are not on earth to be our food and that a plant based diet is also better for our health and that of the planet.

Even though my first motivation was animal compassion, I slowly began to realize that everything was linked: personal health, environment and global sustainability.

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


We began to gather in Asuncion (the capital of Paraguay) as an informal group of veggie friends that met through Orkut (an internet network) in March 2008. Our Vegetarian Union started officially on July 5th, 2008, and in October 2009 we held the first Annual General Meeting when we elected the committee members and approved the rules and regulations for our organization. My term as a president is for two years.

  1. What made you decide to become active in promoting vegetarianism?

I’ve always been a very active person in my community, and when I became vegetarian almost 15 years ago, I started trying to raise awareness among those closest to me, such as my family and friends, about the benefits of such a lifestyle and the big problems that the animal industry causes to the planet.
I like to keep updated on global vegetarian issues through constant research and just by simple actions such as e-mailing thought-provoking articles and making myself available to answer people’s questions whenever they ask. I hope some of them will start thinking differently and consider a change in their diets.

  1. What is it that sustains your desire to be active?


I have no doubt that as vegetarians we can have a positive impact on the health of our planet. Every little action counts, even if we cannot see the results straight away.
My motivation to remain active is having in mind that this whole struggle is not only for the non-human animals whose voices are not heard, but also for our very own species. We are harming our own bodies and our only planet by not considering that our personal food choices have detrimental, long lasting and global consequences.

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


As the first vegetarian organisation in Paraguay, we often find it difficult to be taken seriously regarding the lifestyle options we advocate. To understand the Paraguayan context, one has to understand that our country not only has a strong tradition of consuming animal products but also an economy based primarily on raising non-human animals for human use. Additionally, Paraguay is a landlocked country with a culturally homogeneous population and a political reality that for decades kept us isolated from the rest of the world and that prevented us from having any significant contact and exchange with other ways of thinking and living.

Although things are changing, it is still a bit difficult to find support or understanding outside our vegetarian community. We know this is part of the process of growing as an organisation; so, we are slowly trying to be known, for example, through positive exchanges with the mass media.

One of our main goals is to show Paraguayan society how good a vegetarian lifestyle can be for our health and the environment, rather than solely pointing at the problems that meat consumption causes or discussing issues such as ethics and compassion for our fellow animals. We believe that this approach is the most suitable for our cultural situation and hope it will open up more minds to the concept of vegetarianism.

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


In a short period of time, we have managed to organise a number of different activities and to establish the UVPy as a reference group that is growing very quickly, even though we are people coming from different backgrounds, without knowing each other previously or having anything else in common apart from being vegetarians.

We consider that one of our biggest strengths as an organisation is the fact that we remain independent but at the same time inclusive of the various trends and approaches to vegetarianism. 

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


We do not have many members yet (around 130 so far); so, it is still relatively easy to keep in touch with most of them through the mailing list and the activities we have every month.

This year, we are organising cooking classes, family lunches, vegetarian movie sessions, veggie fairs and the most important activity that is a real challenge for us: a sub-regional seminar about “Vegetarianism and Health” in July. We also had a Vegetarian Camp in February of this year open to non-vegetarians in which we cooked veggie meals and enjoyed outdoor activities for a whole weekend camping next to a lake.

The UVPy has a newsletter that comes out every 3 months with general information about health, environment and ethical topics, plus simple recipes and organisation news. We e-mail it to our members and encourage them to forward it to their contacts. We also print some copies to distribute at universities, health and cultural centres, etc.

Our database of vegetarian/veggie-friendly restaurants and shops is growing and many of them offer special discounts to UVPy’s members that are up to date with their monthly membership fees.

  1. How does your organisation reach out to people who are trying to become veg or who are newly veg?


We are still looking for effective ways to reach people, but so far some things that have been working well for us are the newsletters and our activities open to everyone including non-vegetarians. We consider that the best way to promote vegetarianism is by being in good health ourselves and well informed regarding the key facts about nutrition, health and vegetarianism.

Thank you very much to IVU for this opportunity to share my experience, and my UVPy colleagues and I look forward to more exchanges with our fellow vegetarian activists! 


How I Became a Vegetarian – Thanks to a Fish
The following story, translated from Spanish, was found on the website of the Vegetarian Union of Paraguay (in South America). The author is Pedro Poyen Lin, the organisation’s General Secretary. The original is at
I have been a vegetarian since birth, due to an experience my mother had more than a year before I was born. Here is the story. One day, my mother went to the market and bought a live fish to cook for dinner the following evening. Upon reaching home, my mother put the fish in some water. The next day, she went out to work, not thinking much about the fish.
After work, as she was about to enter her apartment, my mother heard loud noises from within. Quickly, she opened the apartment door and looked around, but saw no one; everything appeared to be in order. Then, she looked down and saw the fish thrashing about on the floor. The noise my mother had heard must have been the fish knocking against the apartment door, perhaps hoping to escape.
Shocked by the fish’s act, that very evening, my mother thoroughly cleaned all the kitchen utensils, pots and pan. Then, she looked up to the heavens and firmly declared, “Never again will I cook the flesh of a sentient being!” That was 27 years ago. 
And, I was one of the tools that my mother used to influence others, because through me, she was able to demonstrate that a healthy baby could be raised on a vegetarian diet. With this example, my grandmother and great-grandmother became vegetarians too.

Welcome to New IVU Members 




Study Compares Bone Fracture Rates According to Diets 
Paul Appleby is not only a veg activist in Oxford - - he’s also a researcher in a major study of the links between food and health: EPIC (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition) -

Here’s a summary of a recent report on which Paul served as first author.

One of the health concerns relating to lactose intolerance appears to be the fear that persons who, for whatever reason, avoid dairy products (a major source of dietary calcium) will be at greater risk of bone loss and fracture.

Our study of fracture risk by diet group showed that "among subjects consuming at least 525 mg/day calcium" (an amount equal to the Estimated Average Requirement in the UK - considered sufficient for 97.5% of the population) there was no difference in self-reported fracture incident rates between meat eaters and vegans. However, it did also emphasize the fact that "an adequate calcium intake is essential for bone health, irrespective of dietary preferences".

European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2007) 61, 1400–1406

Comparative fracture risk in vegetarians and nonvegetarians in EPIC-Oxford

P Appleby, A Roddam, N Allen and T Key

Objective: To compare fracture rates in four diet groups (meat eaters, fish eaters, vegetarians and vegans) in the Oxford cohort of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC-Oxford).
Design: Prospective cohort study of self-reported fracture risk at follow-up.
Setting: The United Kingdom.

Subjects: A total of 7947 men and 26 749 women aged 20–89 years, including 19 249 meat eaters, 4901 fish eaters, 9420 vegetarians and 1126 vegans, recruited by postal methods and through general practice surgeries.
Methods: Cox regression.

Results: Over an average of 5.2 years of follow-up, 343 men and 1555 women reported one or more fractures. Compared with meat eaters, fracture incidence rate ratios in men and women combined adjusted for sex, age and non-dietary factors were 1.01 (95% CI 0.88–1.17) for fish eaters, 1.00 (0.89–1.13) for vegetarians and
1.30 (1.02–1.66) for vegans. After further adjustment for dietary energy and calcium intake the incidence rate ratio among vegans compared with meat eaters was 1.15 (0.89–1.49).

Among subjects consuming at least 525 mg/day calcium the corresponding incidence rate ratios were 1.05 (0.90–1.21) for fish eaters, 1.02 (0.90–1.15) for vegetarians and 1.00 (0.69–1.44) for vegans.

Conclusions: In this population, fracture risk was similar for meat eaters, fish eaters and vegetarians. The higher fracture risk in the vegans appeared to be a consequence of their considerably lower mean calcium intake. An adequate calcium intake is essential for bone health, irrespective of dietary preferences.



IVU Manager Blogs on VegSource Site  Vegsource - your source for all things vegetarian John Davis
IVU Manager, webmaster, historian, etc., John Davis, now blogs regularly on the VegSource website: The topics that John has blogged on include the development of vegetarianism in Africa:

VegSource also hosts the entire IVU website. Thanks.

Starter Kits 
Many organisations publish starter kits for those who want to dip their toes or even their entire bodies into veg waters. Below are urls for some existing starter kits. Vegetarian Society (Singapore) just came up with its own:

Along similar lines, the Physicians’ Committee for Responsible Medicine offers a video version of a 21-day programme for getting started with a vegan diet:


To view a listing of international upcoming events online, visit


1. IVU World Vegetarian Congress – 1-9 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. An outline of the programme is available at the congress website.

2. IVU India, South & West Asia Vegetarian Congress, Bangalore, India – 30 Oct to 2 Nov, 2010.

Indian Vegan Society will be organising the IVU India, South & West Asia Vegetarian Congress - ISWAveg- (a vegan event) from 30 Oct to 2 Nov at E-Inn - - a vegetarian, non-alcoholic, non-smoking, business class hotel in Bangalore, India.

Among the confirmed speakers are Dr. B.M. Hegde -  - a renowned cardiologist and a votary of vegetarianism and Mr. John Davis (UK), a historian of vegetarianism. PETA founder, Ingrid Newkirk, has agreed to send a representative on her behalf. Vegan Mohan Santanam will present a carnatic vocal music concert on 30 Oct evening. For further information, contact Shankar Narayan at

3. East Africa Vegetarian Congress – 3-5 Dec, 2010, Nairobi, Kenya. Contact the IVU Regional Coordinator for Africa, Emmanuel Eyoh -

4. Middle East Vegetarian Congress, 8-9 Dec - Dubai, UAE. Contact IVU International Council member, Sandya Prakash - The Congress will take place during the 8th Middle East Natural & Organic Foods Expo 2010, 7-9 Dec - – which will include 16 booths dedicated to vegetarianism.

5. 2nd Latin American Vegetarian Congress in Bolivia – January 2011 – exact place and date to be announced -

6. 13th International Vegan Festival – 2011 (exact dates to be announced) - Turin, Italy

7. 5th Asian Vegetarian Congress – Oct, 2011, Hangzhou, China


Welcome to Organisations That Have Recently Registered with IVU




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
3. Farmed Animal Net
4. Vegan Outreach
5. VegE-News
6. VegNews
7. VegSource
8. doesn't have a newsletter, but they post stories daily at


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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