written/translated by: Shabari Monica Saha
This year’s EVU talks, between Thursday 1st May and Sunday 4th May, was held at a vegetarian guesthouse (Sonnenhof) in the mountainous region of Preda in Switzerland.
It was a fairly intimate gathering with people from different countries including Switzerland, Germany, Austria, England, Northern Ireland, and Canada. Thursday evening gave us all the opportunity to socialise and get to know each other, and watch a presentation about the venue by Renato Pichler.
The meeting on Friday started off with an introduction given by Renato Pichler of this year’s topic of the EVU talks, which was on the animal protection organisations and their relationship with vegetarianism. At the end of the session we agreed if anyone or if any organisation cares about animals then it would be good to co-operate with them.
In the afternoon, after lunch, Prof. Klaus Petrus (a vegan professor of philosophy from the University of Berne) gave a talk on abolitionism, animal welfarism and vegetarianism. Abolitionism is the total abolition of animal exploitation. After a debate about some of the issues that were raised, it was discussed that we should promote vegetarianism first, as it is easier and more realistic to educate people to go vegetarian and then eventually lead them to veganism, the moral basis of abolitionism.
In the evening, we were shown a short movie from India about ECO-Dharma/Bishnois, a vegetarian community in India that protects all their animals and trees.
On Saturday morning, Erwin Lengauer from the Austrian Vegetarian Union (ÖVU), a philosophy and animal law lecturer at the University of Vienna, gave a talk on the synergy of animal-rights and vegan campaigning in Vienna/Austria. Vegane Gesellschaft Österreich (VGO), which is a vegan campaigning organisation, and Verein Gegen Tierfabriken (VGT), which is an animal welfare organisation, are the two organisations that work together and have an excellent synergy which can be learnt from and followed in their example.
In the evening, Hildegund Scholvien gave us all an update regarding the 38th IVU World Vegetarian Congress in Dresden, Germany.
The meeting concluded with a brainstorming and resume session. It was proposed that the EVU talks for next year could be held in Croatia, since the vegetarian organisation there is not as strong and the movement is very small, therefore the EVU can support them. At the end of the evening we were shown The Sacred Duty by the Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA).
It was a wonderful event and a great opportunity for all of us to meet and spend time with people that care about animals and the world we live in, and who are not afraid to change the world for the better. For those that missed the event, we hope to see you in Dresden this year or the EVU talks next year.
Having contacts with younger activists, since they continue to persist with animal rights activities relentlessly
Joining animal welfare organisations themselves, and influencing them from within
Creating links with other groups, such as religious groups
Having specific goals, for example lobbying so that no slaughterhouse products are used in medicines (both a human rights and an animal rights issue)
Doing something that is simple, for example getting vegan options in the European parliament that would suit all religious groups
Getting animal welfare organisations to serve only vegan meals at their meetings, etc
Organising open meetings and talks where members of the public can attend at a central location in a big city
Getting board members and activists of other groups in the world together to discuss ideas
Creating a working group
Going to a country where the vegetarian organisation there is not as strong and the movement is very small, so that the EVU can support them
The complete report about the EVU-Talks 2008 is published in the EVU magazine.