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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 vegan school that invented vegetarians

John Davis | March 6, 12 at 11:23 PM | International

We now know that the people closely connected with the Alcott House Academy, near London, were the first to call themselves ‘vegetarian’. This is how the school began. James Pierrepont Greaves was born in 1777, and for his first 40...

Sylvester Graham - the original American Vegan Baker

John Davis | February 29, 12 at 12:19 AM | International

In 1850 a British vegetarian, living in India, wrote to a journal in England mentioning that his diet included ‘Graham bread’. Such was the worldwide fame that the American Sylvester Graham had achieved in his promotion of whole-wheat brown flour,...

Prof. Francis W. Newman and the attempted 'vegan' revolution of 1871

John Davis | February 22, 12 at 12:35 AM | International

Francis Newman was President of the Vegetarian Society (the original one in England) for about 12 years in the 1870s and 80s, and almost brought a dramatic change to the course of its history – if he had succeeded, the...

Gustav Schlickeysen - 1875 German vegan, raw-foodist, fruitarian

John Davis | February 8, 12 at 12:32 AM | International

In 1875 Gustav Schlickeysen published a book called Obst und Brod - Eine Wissenschaftliche Diätetik – which was translated and re-published in New York, 1877, by M.L. Holbrook M.D. as: Fruit and Bread – a scientific diet. The front cover...

Medieval Mindsets - 'vegans' in the middle ages

John Davis | February 1, 12 at 02:06 AM | International

There were people who didn’t eat meat in Medieval Europe, and in Asia, but mostly for very different reasons to what we associate with veganism today. In the western world the time after the fall of the Roman Empire -...

John Frank Newton - and the 'vegan' commune of 1813

John Davis | January 25, 12 at 12:52 AM | International

John Frank Newton was a pivotal character in an extraordinary group of people who challenged almost every social convention of the rigid-minded early 19th century England. He was born about 1770 and was educated at Harrow, one of two leading...

Henry Salt - the father of animal rights

John Davis | January 11, 12 at 12:34 AM | International

Henry Salt died in 1939, age 88, five years before the invention of the word ‘vegan’, but for his last 55 years he clearly and consistently promoted animals’ rights, and what we now call ethical veganism. He wrote almost forty...

Were there Vegans in the Ancient World?

John Davis | January 4, 12 at 01:46 AM | International

We seem to be getting an increase in those silly lists of ‘famous historical vegans’, nearly all just nonsense and wishful thinking.  I’ve seen some recently claiming Pythagoras, Plato, and many others from ancient Greece and Rome were vegans, blindly...

The Year of the Veg

John Davis | December 27, 11 at 11:47 PM | International

2011 was the Year of the Rabbit in the Chinese calendar - but for IVU it was the year of the first ever veg congress in China. A brief look back at some international veg events of the year: The...

Lewis Gompertz - Jewish 'vegan' and co-founder of the RSPCA in 1824

John Davis | December 20, 11 at 11:09 PM | International

Lewis Gompertz (1783/4–1861) appears on the scene in 1824, at the age of 40, as the author of a significant book promoting an early prototype of what we now call animal rights and veganism; and in the same year he...

Why some restaurants don't do vegan food - and why they should

John Davis | December 14, 11 at 12:28 AM | International

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned encouraging more restaurants to offer vegan meals, and was asked for some ideas about doing that. So here are just a few thoughts. The excuses: 1 – We’ve had no demand for it...

Latin America leads the Veg World

John Davis | December 7, 11 at 12:36 AM | International

For the first time in its 103 year history, the International Vegetarian Union has a Latin American Chairperson - or chairman, chairwoman, or just chair, as you prefer: Marly Winckler from Brazil. In Portuguese these all translate as ‘Presidente’, though IVU...

Will there ever be more veg*ns?

John Davis | November 30, 11 at 12:44 AM | International

For those who have been active in the veg movement for any length of time the above title must seem almost heretical - but it is actually an interesting question… Back in January 1995 I started the first website for...

Cruelty Free Christmas - an idea for Christians?

John Davis | November 23, 11 at 01:41 AM | International

We’re getting near the season of peace on earth and goodwill to all sentient beings. Well it would be nice to think that was what Christmas could be about . . . and even better if we could have that...

The China Congress - with pictures

John Davis | November 16, 11 at 01:36 AM | International

Below are some of my photos from the three days of my second visit to China, the first two at the first ever veg congress in that amazing country, in Hangzhou, then a brief visit to Beijing. There are a...

The First Ever Veg Congress in China

John Davis | November 8, 11 at 01:44 PM | International

I'm writing this from the 5th Asian Veg Union Congress in Hangzhou, China.  Just a text summary for now, photos will follow next week as there are too many to sort through and no time here. The story so far...

The Big Veg Weekend

John Davis | November 2, 11 at 01:02 AM | International

World Vegan Day was on a Tuesday this year, so a lot of groups held their big events the previous weekend – and the last weekend of October is now becoming a worldwide vegan party. Some that we know about,...

London Vegetarian Association, 1850s - the world's first 'vegan society'

John Davis | October 26, 11 at 01:16 AM | International

There are always two main problems in researching vegan history in the 19th century – the word ‘vegan’ did not exist, and most of the records were published by ovo-lacto-vegetarians who avoided the contentious issue of eggs/dairy. So we have...

The Beatles and IVU

John Davis | October 12, 11 at 12:42 AM | Celebrities, International

A story of convergence between a pop group and the International Vegetarian Union . . . 1957 July 6 - the centre of Woolton village has changed little since the day when John Lennon, 16 going on 17, and Paul...

The Curious Affair of The Vegetarian Advocate (1848-50)

John Davis | October 5, 11 at 12:09 AM | International

In September 1848 the pro-‘vegan’journal previously known as The Truth Tester was renamed as The Vegetarian Advocate. The editor and publisher, William Horsell in London, was also the first Secretary of the one-year-old Vegetarian Society, but this was a privately...