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interview of a Tornoto vegetarian, Mr. Choo

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  • sunny_outdoors
    Read the interview near the middle of this post from International Vegetarian Union At the end, it tells you how to join this free email list. Get active with
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 1, 2007
      Read the interview near the middle of this post from International
      Vegetarian Union

      At the end, it tells you how to join this free email list.

      Get active with your community !

      -----Original Message-----
      From: george@... [mailto:george@...]
      Sent: Thursday, March 01, 2007 9:33 AM
      To: Sunny Outdoors
      Subject: IVU ONLINE NEWS MARCH 2007


      the illustrated web version of this newsletter is at

      Table of Contents


      Dresden 2008 IVU World Vegetarian Congress Update
      More Videos from the 2006 IVU World Vegetarian Congress in Goa, India
      Meatout 2007
      International Meatless Day
      Bristol Vegan Fayre
      Livestock’s Impact on the Environment
      Organizing Potlucks: An Interview with Garry Choo of the Toronto Vegetarian
      Sitio Vegetariano (Brazil) Celebrates 8th Anniversary
      VegDining.com Increasing Support for Vegetarian Groups Worldwide
      New Book on the Emotions of Our Fellow Animals


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

      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.


      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 — the first
      day of spring in the northern hemisphere — thousands of people in all 50 US
      states and around the world will hold informative and educational Meatout
      events. To find out more:


      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:


      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:


      An important document for promoting vegetarianism was published by the
      United Nation’s Food and Agricultural Organization. It describes the many
      ways that meat production is doing increasingly serious harm to the
      environment: http://www.fao.org/ag/magazine/0612sp1.htm


      Potlucks are one way for vegetarians to get together, enjoy each other’s
      company, show off their culinary skills and try new dishes. In the interview
      below, Garry Choo (garrychoo@...), of the Toronto Vegetarian
      Association (http://www.veg.ca), shares his experiences organizing potlucks.

      Q: Let’s 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

      I’ve 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 ‘farms’, but from factories; and
      3. The treatment of people in the related slaughter and fast food

      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: I’ve 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
      Anson’s 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 Anson’s 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, meetup.com, where there were
      several vegetarian groups (vegetarian, vegan, raw). It was also posted on
      the Toronto Vegetarian Association’s website, http://www.veg.ca

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

      Toronto Vegetarians; http://ca.groups.yahoo.com/group/torontovegetarians
      TVA Singles: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/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

      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. I’ve held it in my apartment (once),
      but it isn’t 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 don’t have people sign up. I don’t 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 don’t 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

      Q: How long do the events usually last?

      A: People start showing up at 6pm, eating starts at 7pm and it’s 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

      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 didn’t last
      very long from what I remember! Regardless, the ‘theme’ is always raw food

      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

      A: I don’t really care if people show up without food. It’s 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: I’ve never really thought about it because it’s an informal event. I’ve
      never known of anyone getting sick from one of the events. I’m not worried
      about any legal aspects. Vegetarians (Canadian’s, at least) aren’t very

      Q: What are some problems that you’ve 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 it’s ‘eater beware’.


      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: http://www.vegetarianismo.com.br/sitio. 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 world’s 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 SítioVEG was launched.


      VegDining.com has launched "Supporting Vegetarianism at the Grassroots"
      Program. By year’s 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 VegDining.com.

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

      From now until the end of October 2007 (World Vegetarian Month), visitors to
      VegDining.com 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 groups’ 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 VegDining’s program, visit their site at


      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
      (http://www.veganmd.com) 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 http://birdflubook.com/g.php?id=5 or you can purchase a hard copy
      from http://www.hsus.org/press_and_publications/humane_society_press

      To read an interview with Michael, visit


      Here’s 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 — 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 tec!
      hniques. 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."



      Dear Veg Activist

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

      Thx. -–george jacobs – george@...


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