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John Davis

John Davis

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John Davis was a pioneer of vegetarianism on the internet from the first days of the world wide web in 1994. He maintained the first websites for VSUK, VIVA and EVU as well being involved with many others in the mid-90s, and he built the first IVU website in November 1995. In 2006, after many years of working for IVU, he was designated as IVU Manager. The last few years have seen some major reorganisations to enable IVU to maintain its leading role in world vegetarianism into the 21st century, including improvements in financial and business links. He is particularly proud to have had the opportunity to support the first vegetarian congresses ever to be held in Africa, thanks to funds raised by IVU. Throughout this time he has also been researching the history of IVU, partly for presentations at the centenary congress in 2008, along with general vegetarian history, all supported by members of the ivu-history email group. The results of this now run to about 10,000 historical files on the IVU website. In September 2010 he was coopted as a Trustee (member of the board of directors) of the Vegetarian Society UK, with a particular brief on history, international affairs and the internet. Over the years with IVU John has attended congresses and other events in many countries, including Australia, Brazil, California, China, Dubai (UAE), Germany, India, Italy, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, Scotland, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland and Thailand. He lives in rural England.

Blog Entries by John Davis

The Invention of the Vegans

John Davis | August 1, 12 at 12:20 AM | International

[updated August 2012] The word 'vegan' was invented in November 1944 by Donald Watson in England. But the origins are not how many vegans today might imagine. We know there were definitely groups of people in both Britain and America, as...

A New Dawn for European Veg*ism?

John Davis | July 25, 12 at 12:50 AM | International

The European Vegetarian Union held its AGM last Sunday, and elected a new board which could bring in major changes on a scale never previously seen in the veg world. The key is the election of four professional CEOs/Directors of...

World Veganism - FREE e-book!

John Davis | July 18, 12 at 12:00 AM | International

[updated July 2012] I started writing these blogs in February 2010, and I’ve compiled some of those that have attracted the most interest, including all the historical items, into an e-book. If you want to go straight to the book, it’s at:  (6mb)...

from England to California

John Davis | July 11, 12 at 12:00 AM | International

A couple years ago Hazel and I went to Los Angeles and San Francisco. This is an update of the blog I wrote at time as it might provide some ideas for those heading for the IVU events in California...

Veg*ism in the Middle East

John Davis | July 4, 12 at 12:00 AM | International

[updated July 2012] Only a few of years ago the title of this blog would have seemed a contradiction, as we didn't know any veg*ns in the Middle East other than our friends in Israel. That has all changed now....

Going Dutch

John Davis | June 27, 12 at 12:02 AM | International

I spent a couple of days in Amsterdam last week, at a joint meeting between the Vegetarian Society UK and the Nederlandse Vegetariërsbond (NVB, founded 1894). They were two of the three founding members of the International Vegetarian Union in...

The Vegfest Phenomena

John Davis | June 20, 12 at 12:12 AM | International

[updated June 2012] Before the 1980s it was all more serious – vegetarians and vegans had congresses and conferences. Then it all began to change: 1981 – International Vegan Festival – started in Denmark. In the smaller European countries you...

Veg*ism in India

John Davis | June 13, 12 at 12:15 AM | International

[updated October 2012] India can reasonably claim to be the spiritual home of vegetarianism, with an unbroken line of countless generations over thousands of years. There are currently about 300 million lacto-vegetarians in India, equal to the entire population of the...

Veg*ism in Africa

John Davis | June 6, 12 at 12:15 AM | International

[updated June 2012] I was once asked "Why do Africans go vegetarian?" - it was an unexpected question but the reply was simple enough: "For the same reason as everyone else, health, animals, environment or religion, according to their personal...

Veg*ism in China

John Davis | May 29, 12 at 01:15 AM | International

[updated May 2012] Westerners often seem to be surprised to hear that there are millions of vegetarians, indeed vegans, in China, but this is nothing new. Way back in the 1880s the British and French Vegetarian Societies printed reports from...

National Veg Week - does your nation have one?

John Davis | May 23, 12 at 12:10 AM | International

This NVW blog began in May 2010 and has now been updated for 2012: We are now in the middle of National Vegetarian Week in the UK, so this is some background to it and what is happening elsewhere. The...

Fast Food? - it's just distorted jungle food

John Davis | May 16, 12 at 12:43 AM | International

Whether you subscribe to Eve and Adam or Evolution, it is clear that our distant ancestors lived entirely on fast-food. It was growing all around them in the jungle/garden – they just reached out, grabbed some fruit, nuts, berries, leaves,...

10 days that changed everything (for me) - Singapore, Indonesia and China

John Davis | May 9, 12 at 12:35 AM | International

I had been to Asia before, to Thailand and a couple of trips to India, so I didn’t expect this one to East Asia to be dramatically different, but it was. In November 2009, the Indonesian Vegetarian Society (IVS) hosted...

Why Vegans Need Total Vegetarians

John Davis | May 2, 12 at 12:23 AM | International

A few days ago I went to Amazon books, just searched for ‘vegan’, and got 4,503 results. That sounds great, except that after looking thru dozens of pages all I could see were American cookbooks, finding any mention of the...

Was Vitamin B12 a problem for 19th century 'vegans'?

John Davis | April 18, 12 at 12:29 AM | International

And other questions . . . B12 was discovered 1948, the word ‘vitamin’ having first appeared in the early 20th century. So if 19th century vegans had vitamin deficiencies they had no way of knowing it, and would have diagnosed...

The Veganizing of International Veg Events

John Davis | April 11, 12 at 12:03 AM | International

By the late 1970s the situation for vegans on opposite sides of the North Atlantic was very different. The 1975 IVU World Vegetarian Congress, held in Maine, USA, had been all plant-food, plus some small separate containers of milk and...

How the Vegans landed in America

John Davis | April 4, 12 at 12:01 AM | International

They could have come from the planet Vega for all most other Americans might have known. But they had been around for a long time, living quietly among the flesh-eaters, before more arrived in the big splash-down of 1975 ....

Vegan Goes Global - the first ten years, 1944-54

John Davis | March 28, 12 at 12:35 AM | International

The word ‘vegan’ and the first Vegan Society began in November 1944 in England, but it wasn’t long before the idea spread to other countries. These notes are mostly from The Vegan, the journal of the Vegan Society, all copies...

Hygiene cleans up - naturally of course

John Davis | March 21, 12 at 01:40 AM | International

In 1998 the American Natural Hygiene Society, after 50 years, changed its name to the National Health Association (NHA), on the basis that most people didn’t understand what ‘Natural Hygiene’ meant. Quite right too, for me ‘hygiene’ has always been...

The First Vegan Cookbook - New York 1874

John Davis | March 14, 12 at 02:04 AM | International

We know there were some journals, published in London in the 1850s, which included only recipes entirely from plant foods and water, and it is possible some were compiled into a book. But until we can find a copy of that...