June 29, 2005

6/30/05 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

This update/Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) Online Newsletter has the following items:

1. New Book by Author, Scholar, and JVNA advisor Rabbi David Sears

2. Article on Vegetarianism in Haaretz/My Letter to the Editor

3. Force Feeding of Geese Continuing in Israel Despite Supreme Court Ruling/Please Write

4. Two More Articles in Yosef Hakohen’s Series on People, Animals, and Nature

5. Flu Pandemic Could Threaten World

6. Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine Monthly Update

7. Learning Center Relates Modern Day Ecological Activism and Traditional Jewish Teachings

8. Vegan Kabbalat Shabbat (Greeting of the Sabbath) Ceremony Scheduled

9. Is the World Fiddling While the Planet Burns?

10. Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine Suing Major Food Companies For Misleading Ads

11. Items in Animal Rights Digest

12. Veggie Jews Schedule Lunch in San Francisco

13. Update on the Postville Slaughterhouse and Mr. Rabushkin

14. PETA Campaign to Remove Fish From Aquarium Menu

15. The Humane Society of the United States Calls on Trader Joe's To End 'Egg-Gregious' Animal Cruelty/Please Write

Some material has been deferred to a later update/newsletter to keep this one from being even longer.

[Materials in brackets like this [] within an article or forwarded message are my editorial notes/comments.]

Opinions expressed do not necessarily represent the views of the JVNA, unless otherwise indicated, but may be presented to increase awareness and/or to encourage respectful dialogue. Also, material re conferences, retreats, forums, trips, and other events does not necessarily imply endorsement by JVNA or endorsement of kashrut, Shabbat observances, or any other Jewish observance, but may be presented for informational purposes. Please use e-mail addresses, telephone numbers, and web sites to get further information about any event that you are interested in.

As always, your comments and suggestions are very welcome.


1. New Book by Author, Scholar, and JVNA advisor Rabbi David Sears

Forwarded message:

JVNA member and advisor Rabbi David Sears has just published a commentary on Rabbi Nachman of Breslov's Shir Na’im /Song of Delight. The publisher is Orot, which also published his previous work, The Vision of Eden: Animal Welfare and Vegetarianism in Jewish Law and Mysticism. The poem is a mystical work. However, Stanza 5, discussed in pp. 62-65 of the new book, touches upon animal issues, albeit from a spiritual rather than a pragmatic perspective.
The publisher states:

Rabbi Nachman of Breslov (1772-1810), great-grandson of Israel Ba’al Shem Tov, founder of the East-European Hasidic movement, is considered by many the “genius of Hasidism.” His mysteriously allusive lessons and stories have invited numerous studies, both by his followers, the Breslov Hasidim, and by academic scholars of various stripes. Needless to say, modern spiritual teachers such as the late Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan and the contemporary Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz have written commentaries to Rabbi Nachman’s stories. Somehow, until now, the one poem from the hand of Rabbi Nachman —Shir Na’im, translated as Song of Delight— has escaped notice.

David Sears’ working hypothesis is that this lone poem, Shir Na’im, believed composed at the end of the Master’s life, encapsulates all of the teachings of Breslov Hasidism, spread over the tomes of prose and fables. What emerges from Sears’ high-powered literary analysis, supported by outlines, diagrams and copious endnotes, is a book that promises to be rigorous and scholarly, as well as spiritual and uplifting.

David Sears is equal to the task he has set before him. While fiercely faithful to the living tradition of Breslov (the book comes with the encouragement and input of Rabbi Elazar Kenig, leader of the Breslov Hasidim of Tsefat), Rabbi Sears is a man with his finger on the pulse of contemporary society. His previous book, published by Orot, was The Vision of Eden: Animal Welfare and Vegetarianism in Jewish Law and Mysticism, a work that presaged the entire imbroglio concerning the kosher slaughter industry in this country.

For more information, visit www.orot.com

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2. Article on Vegetarianism in Haaretz/My Letter to the Editor

The vegetarians are indeed satisfied
By Orit Shohat
June 26, 2005

Every once in a while an article is published mocking vegetarians, claiming they are obsessive, boring and humorless, and love animals more than people. The evidence for these claims is usually at the level of an anecdote: "Eating in a meat-free restaurant the other day made me realize why I hate vegetarians. The food, unlike the tasteless, bland rubbish often served up in such places, was delicious .... What was unpalatable were the customers and waiting staff, all of whom seemed to believe that what they were eating made them superior. They all looked smug and self-satisfied," writes Julie Bindel in the Haaretz Hebrew edition, June 16 (originally published in The Guardian on June 13, "Why I hate vegetarians").

Then she goes on to talk about fanatic vegetarians who damage their children's health, citing the case of the deranged American couple who forced their children to eat only seeds. Her pseudo-scientific claim that the intellectual capacity of vegetarians is defective due to a lack of vitamin B-12 can be countered with scientific evidence that is no less demagogic: Albert Einstein and Leonardo da Vinci were vegetarians, and one cannot assume that they took vitamin supplements.

Vegetarians' defense arguments are grounded not just in emotion, but also in reality and logic. Eating meat is truly murder - not just murder, but premeditated murder. This is not an exaggeration. It is an axiom. Anyone who eats meat consumes about 4,000 animals during the course of his or her lifetime. Meat eaters also understand this, but they prefer to put this unpleasant part of the meal out of their mind. All education for eating meat is predicated on the child not realizing the connection between the schnitzel and the chicken. And no parent takes his or her child to the kibbutz petting zoo to explain where hamburger comes from. In general, the difficult questions start to be raised at age 9. This is also the average age when people become vegetarians.

Vegetarians also know that meat tastes good - especially those who ate meat and gave it up for ethical reasons. They remember with longing the taste of roast beef burned on the outside and bleeding inside. So what? And what if it turns out that human flesh marinated in white wine and garlic is also a delicacy? After all, we do not even fry dogs in a pan, but instead pass laws to protect them against abuse. This is how it is in the enlightened and hypocritical Western world: The dog is declared to be man's best friend, and cows are designated as food. What scorn we feel toward dog-eaters in the Far East, as if eating cows were something more ethical.

The health-related arguments are the weakest of all. Vegetarians are not healthier than others (except when it comes to intestinal diseases) and they also generally eat too much. Vegetarians do not lack vitamin B-12 because it is abundantly available in milk products and eggs. B-12 deficiency is caused by problems in absorbing the vitamin, and a certain percentage of the population - not necessarily vegetarians - suffers from this. Today there is no argument in the medical world that the most healthful diet includes lots of fruits, vegetables and grains, and a very small amount of meat. If you take meat off the menu, it only improves its healthfulness, especially if you do not eat vegetarian junk food such as frozen tofu schnitzel.

A person has the same body structure as a monkey, and the structure of a human's jaws, teeth and digestive system are not of a predator, but rather of a banana eater. Eating meat is a cultural habit thousands of years old, but not everything man has done for thousands of years is impossible to correct and restrain. The reason that vegetarians seem so self-satisfied, as Bindel noted, is that they are truly satisfied with themselves. They succeeded in overcoming their urges and feel good about that. Especially when this is so easy. In the affluent part of the world, there is an abundance of vegetarian food and the number of vegetarian restaurants is on a constant rise.

So what do meat eaters have against vegetarians? Precisely the same thing that bullies have against sensitive individuals, that the corrupt have against the courts, that human rights abusers have against human rights defenders, that chauvinists have against feminists. In short: No one wants anyone around who reflects him in a negative light, ruins his happiness, emphasizes his shortcomings and takes pride in all this to boot. Those who purchase a fox coat to adorn themselves do not want the fox's advocate to upset their tranquillity. They have convinced themselves that the animal corpse casually draped around their neck is the epitome of good taste and that synthetic fur is in bad taste.

The economic argument that Bindel presents is the saddest of all. In Israel, you do not have to be rich to buy fruits and vegetables, but in many countries meat is indeed cheaper, and the meat industry is the victor at the supermarket because it has brought industrialization and efficiency in raising and slaughtering to a level that enables selling a hamburger in a bun for less than 50 cents. There are countries where a tomato costs this much. In order to reduce the price of the cow and chicken, the conditions of raising these animals have become unbearable. There are almost no cows for slaughter raised in a meadow, or chickens for slaughter that roam around the coop happily pecking like in children's books. Whoever has witnessed how chickens are raised in a modern chicken coop knows what this means, but most people do not want to know. If they were ignoring the rights of animals in order to spend their time defending the rights of humans, perhaps there would be some reason for this. But usually they do not take much interest in either.
Editor, Haaretz

Dear Editor:

As president of the Jewish Vegetarians of North America, I was very pleased to see Orit Shohat's thoughtful article, "The vegetarians are indeed satisfied," in the June 26, 2005 issue. In addition to the many valuable points in the article that should make people think more deeply about their diets, I think there are two additional very powerful arguments for vegetarianism: (1) The production and consumption of animal products violate basic Jewish mandates to guard our health, treat animals with compassion, preserve the environment, conserve natural resources, and help hungry people; (2) animal-based agriculture contributes significantly to global warming, widening water shortages, rapid species extinction, deforestation, desertification, and many additional environmental threats. Hence a shift toward plant-based diets is both a Jewish imperative and a societal imperative, necessary to help revitalize Judaism and to shift our imperiled planet to a more sustainable path.

Very truly yours,
Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D.

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3. Force Feeding of Geese Continuing in Israel Despite Supreme Court Ruling/Please Write

Animal rights activists find it hard to swallow that force-feeding continues despite court ruling
Haaretz 6/28/05
By Zafrir Rinat

Animal rights groups here have been fighting against the force-feeding of geese, used by the food industry to produce foie gras, for more than five years.

The animal activists have used their meager resources and limited funds to document the force-feeding process. They once persuaded the Knesset to withhold legislative approval of force-feeding based on the argument that the practice violates the Animal Welfare Act.

Four years ago, the High Court accepted a landmark appeal by a coalition of animal protection groups against regulations permitting the force-feeding of geese, including regulations supported by the Ministry of Agriculture. The ruling published two years ago overturned the regulations, and declared that force-feeding of geese violates the Animal Welfare Act.

Late last year in the Knesset Education Committee, which oversees the Animal Welfare Act, an effort to seek approval of alternate regulations to permit force-feeding also met with failure. In light of this failure, the High Court rejected past extensions that it had granted to goose growers and ordered a halt to force-feeding. The ban took effect two months ago.

But growers have continued to force-feed as usual, by pumping food down the throats of geese via a metal pipe, in a process that produces an abnormally enlarged liver. Growers announced that they had signed a declaration promising that they will take a series of steps aimed at reducing the suffering of geese and would institute feeding practices adhering to the High Court decision.

Support from the AG

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Agriculture behaves as if the only implication of the ruling is that growers must find an acceptable way to continue force-feeding. The ministry has ignored repeated requests by the non-profit Anonymous Animal Rights in Israel organization to order the closure of force-feeding operations, and has received support in this matter from the attorney general. Ministry officials, after they became convinced that persuading the High Court to adopt their own regulations would fail, decided to try different legislative tactics. Early this month, the ministry proposed a provisional order in the context of the Animal Welfare Act. The order, limited to a period of three years, was created to permit force-feeding of water fowl. It outlines conditions for supervision of force-feeding, but includes no new definition of force-feeding conditions, except for limitations based on the age and weight of the birds in question.

The attempt to pass provisional orders, within the context of the law, is part of a series of steps taken by the Ministry of Agriculture to keep the force-feeding industry legal. A year and a half ago, the ministry established a committee, staffed by experts and ministry officials, whose mission was to examine force-feeding options based on practices that would considerably reduce harm to geese.

The committee's report, published a year ago, states that most members of the committee believe it is not possible to create regulations that simultaneously permit gavage feeding of geese and adhere to the spirit of the High Court ruling. The committee examined an alternative method of fattening geese, suggested by one of its members, Dr. Pinhas Malis of the Ministry of Agriculture. According to the proposed system, the force-feeding process would be divided into three stages, and the geese would be subject to pressure only during the last and shortest phase of the operation.

The committee believed that research would be required to support Malis' proposed method. In deliberations of the Education Committee six months ago, one of its members, Dr. Gad Gvaryahu, expressed doubt that Malis' proposed method would permit force-feeding in accordance with the High Court ruling.

Sheltered by its intentions to pass new legislation and conduct new research, the Ministry of Agriculture has avoided closing force-feeding operations. Last week, the ministry's legal adviser, Hannah Frankel, explained that the court did not ban all force-feeding of geese, but only current force-feeding practices according to Agriculture Ministry regulations.

"The question is not whether there is a legal basis for the activity of force-feeding operations, but whether the High Court ruling provides a legal basis for closing such operations," Frankel notes. "Without addressing this question, may we remind you that this branch of agriculture has been active for 40 years, and that about 600 families rely on this for their livelihood."

The Ministry of Agriculture says that it is searching for alternative sources of employment for geese growers, but that these efforts only represent a contingency plan in the event that alternative methods of fattening geese are not found. The ministry recently distributed questionnaires to geese growers to facilitate planning for their professional retraining.

According to the ministry, the goal of the provisional order is to provide time for an empirical investigation of alternatives that would permit the continued existence of this agricultural branch in keeping with the Animal Welfare Act. Such investigation would rely on research pertaining to growing conditions that reduce the burden on geese. The continuation of such research depends on the provisional order of the Knesset.

The ministry's legal adviser adds that the ministry is unaware of the existence of any nation where geese have been force-fed to produce foie gras that has decided to close this branch of the food industry. According to Frankel, the only exception is the state of California, and, even there, a grace period of eight years was granted to provide growers with time to seek alternative sources of income.

The responses of the attorney general and the Ministry of Agriculture raise questions regarding the legal basis of current force-feeding operations. The original appeal, brought by animal protection groups, demanded that the ministry author force-feeding regulations that adhere to the Animal Welfare Act. The ministry's regulations were rejected by the court, and there are no legal alternatives to these regulations, as long as there is no approval of a provisional order.

Since there is no cessation of force-feeding in the wake of the High Court ruling, an absurd situation exists in which the geese are actually suffering from worsening conditions. The ruling failed to give rise to a practical legal ban on force-feeding, but now there are also no regulations that would relieve the suffering of geese. Growers are now permitted to fatten geese in any way they see fit, as long as they are supervised by the Ministry of Agriculture. But how will the ministry decide whether or not they are in violation of the law, if there are no regulations?

A test case

According to Anonymous Animal Rights in Israel spokeswoman Reut Horan, the Ministry of Agriculture is trying to conceal the fact that the High Court clearly ordered raising geese for foie gras continue only if regulations are in place. According to Horan, the absence of such regulations indicates that this branch of agriculture is now forbidden. "The Ministry of Agriculture intentionally failed to find employment solutions for geese growers," charges Horan. "The ministry staff appointed to deal with this matter held its first meeting a year and a half after the High Court ruling, and the ministry only recently bothered to distribute questionnaires to geese growers pertaining to their future employment."

As far as a legal ban of force-feeding in other nations is concerned, Horan cites the example of Poland, which banned its former foie gras industry. According to her, the ministry is aware of this case. "California called for a transitional period because of political compromise rather than financial considerations pertaining to the professional adaptation of workers in the industry.

"Research proposed by the Agriculture Ministry is a smoke screen created to buy time," says Horan. "The purpose of fattening geese is to create a sick and swollen liver, and a major portion of the suffering of these birds is derived directly from this pathology of the liver. It is not possible to stuff a goose with an amount of feed far exceeding its needs without the use of force." Horan believes that, at the end of the period called for in the provisional order, the research will prove to be a failure, and the Ministry of Agriculture will request another extension to give growers time to prepare for the closing of this branch.

The Anonymous organization decided to put the matter of the High Court ruling to a legal test. A few weeks ago, the organization requested that the Ramle Magistrate's Court issue an order demanding that Yitzhak Bishi stop force-feeding geese on his farm at Moshav Mishmar Ayalon. Anonymous claimed that the continuing force-feeding is in violation of the High Court ruling. This farm was chosen as a test case, and not because there are extraordinary conditions there.

Bishi's attorneys, who demanded that he be permitted to continue force-feeding his geese, relied mainly on claims by the Ministry of Agriculture maintaining that force-feeding is legal. They included a statement by Hai Benyamini, one of the leaders of the goose-growing branch, claiming that an agreement was reached with the ministry regarding the supervision of growers, which is based on the declaration they signed.

Anonymous rejects the claim that the growers' declaration improves the situation of geese. According to its analysis, based on consultations with animal welfare experts, the declaration contains no real difference from the regulations rejected by the High Court, and there are even a few instances of worsening conditions for geese in the declaration.

The Magistrate's Court has so far invited both sides to additional deliberations in a few months. Until then, the Ministry of Agriculture may get authorization of the provisional order in the Knesset, and the battle waged by Anonymous and other animal rights groups will return to its starting point.

|© Copyright 2005 Haaretz. All rights reserved

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4. More Articles in Yosef Hakohen’s Series on People, Animals, and Nature

The Journey to Unity - 119b
The Song of the Trees: Part 2

Dear Friends,

As we have discussed previously, the world was not created for the sake of the human being's selfish gratification, but for the sake of his spiritual mission: to serve, elevate, and safeguard everything. When the human being fulfills this spiritual mission, then the earth will flourish like the Garden of Eden. If, however, the human being neglects his mission by acting unjustly to the earth and its creatures, then he can create severe damage which he will not be able to repair on his own. An allusion to this danger appears in the following verse: "Consider the deeds of the Just One – else how can one repair what he had made crooked?" (Ecclesiastes 7:13) The commentary of the Metzudas David explains that there is severe damage caused by the human being which only the Creator will be able to repair. As the Midrash on the above verse states:

In the hour when the Holy One, blessed be He, created the first human being, He took him and let him pass before all the trees of the Garden of Eden and said to him: "See my works, how fine and excellent they are! Now all that I have created, for you have I created it. Think upon this and do not destroy and desolate My World, for if you corrupt it, there is no one to set it right after you." (Ecclesiastes Rabbah 7:28)

Human beings will not be able to find anyone in their midst who can fully repair the beautiful world that they have corrupted and destroyed. In the messianic age, however, the Compassionate Creator of all life will intervene to repair the world, and "all the trees of the forest will sing with joy" (I Chronicles 16:33).

Although the Compassionate One will intervene to repair the severe damage that we are unable to repair, we are not to remain passive; in fact, we can merit this Divine intervention through a process of "teshuva" – spiritual return and renewal. According to the Torah, we can find our way back to the Garden when we fulfill the original mandate which was given to us in the Garden: "to serve it and to protect it" (Genesis 2:15). Our sages say that the Divine mandate to serve the Garden is a prototype for all the mitzvos of the Torah which enable us to improve and elevate the world – including ourselves; moreover, the Divine mandate to protect the Garden is a prototype for all the mitzvos of the Torah which prevent us from damaging and degrading the world - including ourselves (Tikunei Zohar 55). We can therefore fulfill the original Divine mandate which was given to us in the Garden through all the mitzvos of the Torah.

We are to find the way back to the Garden through fulfilling all the mitzvos of the Torah in the Land of Israel - the Land of the Torah:

"If you will follow My statutes and guard My mitzvos, and you will perform them; then I will provide your rains in their season, and the land will give its produce and the tree of the field will give its fruit." (Leviticus 26:3,4)

According to Midrash Toras Kohanim (Sifra), the above passage alludes to the tradition that when we study and fulfill the precepts of the Torah in the Land of Israel, the produce and fruits of our land will be similar in quality and quantity to the produce and fruits in the Garden of Eden. For example, all trees will once again bear fruit. Regarding this renewal, Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch writes, "This will constitute a beginning and a means to what will ultimately be restored to all humankind" (Commentary to Leviticus 23:6).

When we welcome the arrival of Shabbos, we remember the above Divine promise when we chant the following words from the Book of Psalms:

"The heavens will be glad and the earth will rejoice; the sea and its fullness will roar. The field and all creatures within it will exult; then all the trees of the forest will sing with joy - before the Compassionate One, for He will have arrived, He will have arrived to judge the earth." (Psalm 96:11,12)

Have a Good and Sweet Shabbos,
Yosef Ben Shlomo Hakohen (See below)

Related Teachings:

The Prophet Micah describes, how after the coming of the Messiah, "Torah will go forth from Zion and the word of the Compassionate One from Jerusalem" (Micah 4:2). Micah then describes how this spiritual renewal will lead to an era of world peace and renewal, and he adds: "They will sit, each person under his vine and under his fig tree, and none will make them afraid, for the mouth of the Compassionate One, God of the hosts of Creation, has spoken" (Micah 4:3,4). The classical biblical commentators, Radak and Ibn Ezra, explain that the peaceful and pastoral vision of "each person under his vine and under his fig tree" includes all humankind.

Hazon - Our Universal Vision: www.shemayisrael.co.il/publicat/hazon/
The Journey to Unity – 120

The "Torah" of the Creatures:

Dear Friends,

Torah is the Divine wisdom which contains life-giving teachings. The term "Torah" in its broadest sense refers to all of our Sacred Scriptures and all of the sacred teachings which are derived from these verses. "Perek Shirah" – Chapter of Song – is an ancient anthology of Torah verses and teachings which are "sung" respectively by various creatures within creation. Each creature is therefore expressing an aspect of Torah.

The question can be asked: How did the wise author or authors of Perek Shirah discover the "Torah" expressed by each creature? The beginning of an answer can be found in the tradition that the Torah preceded the creation of the world and served as its blueprint. As the Zohar states:

"Fortunate are those who strive and occupy themselves with the Torah, for when the Holy One, Blessed be He, created the world, He looked into the Torah and created the world." (Zohar, Terumah, p. 161a)

A biblical source for this teaching can be found in the Book of Proverbs where Torah states, "I am wisdom" (8:12), and Torah adds:

"The Compassionate One made me as the beginning of His way, before His deeds of yore. I have reigned for eternity – from the beginning, from before there was the earth…Then I was with Him as an artisan" (8:22,23,30)

The Compassionate One looked into the Torah and created a harmonious world with its peaceful and beautiful Garden of Eden; thus, all the creatures within this ideal world are expressions of Torah.

It is written, "The Compassionate One gives wisdom" (Proverbs 2:6), and it is also written, "He gives wisdom to the wise" (Daniel 2:21). Fortunate are the wise who occupy themselves with the wisdom of Torah, for the Compassionate One will reveal to them the hidden "Torah" of each creature within the creation.

Yosef Ben Shlomo Hakohen (See below)

Related Teachings:
1. The teaching of the Zohar also appears in the Midrash (Genesis Rabbah 1:1), where it states, "The Holy One, Blessed be He, looked into the Torah and created the world." (I wish to thank Hazon participant, Yiftach Paltrowitz, for giving me the text of the quote from the Zohar.)

2. The Hebrew word "olam" refers to the world, and it is related to the word "ne'elam" – hidden. For hidden within the world is Torah, the life-giving Divine wisdom.

3. After human beings abandoned the mission which the Compassionate and Just One had given them, the world became damaged and corrupted. In the messianic age, however, the world will begin to return to its ideal state. This transformation is discussed by the Ramban in his commentary on Leviticus 26:6, and with the help of Hashem, we shall elaborate on these ideas during a later stage of this series.

Hazon - Our Universal Vision: www.shemayisrael.co.il/publicat/hazon/

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5. Flu Pandemic Could Threaten World

Thanks to scholar, author, and JVNA advisor Lewis Regenstein for forwarding the following article (and many additional valuable articles):

Subject: [ERT] Pandemic could create serious and sustained food shortages, expert warns


Wednesday » June 22 » 2005

Helen Branswell
Canadian Press
Monday, June 20, 2005

(CP) - An influenza pandemic would dramatically disrupt the processing and distribution of food supplies across the world, emptying grocery store shelves and creating crippling shortages for months, an expert warned Thursday.

Dr. Michael Osterholm suggested policy makers must start intensive planning to figure out how to ensure food supplies for their populations during a time when international travel may be grounded or severely cut back, when workers are too sick to process or deliver food and when people will be too fearful of disease to gather in restaurants.

Food and other essential goods like drugs and surgical masks will be available at best in limited supplies, Osterholm cautioned in the July/August issue of Foreign Affairs, which devoted a number of articles to the threat of pandemic influenza.

He saved his most flatly worded warning, however, for a news conference organized by the Council on Foreign Relations, which publishes the respected journal. In an interview from Washington following the briefing, he repeated his blunt message of how dire

things would be if a pandemic starts in the short term.

"We're pretty much screwed right now if it happens tonight," said Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research

and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

Osterholm said the "just-in-time" delivery model by which modern corporations operate means food distribution networks don't have warehouses brimming with months worth of inventory.


Copyright © 2005 CanWest Interactive, a division of CanWest Global
Communications Corp. All rights reserved.

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6. Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine Monthly Update

Thanks to JVNA advisor John Diamond for forwarding the following:

PCRM Online, a monthly update for PCRM members and friends
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
June 2005


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

* New Spoof of Milk Mustache Ad Spotlights Lactose Intolerance
About three-quarters of the world's population is lactose intolerant. For many, dairy products can cause serious digestive problems. But that doesn't stop the industry from trying to convince everyone to drink milk. A new PCRM campaign addresses this serious issue, and a lawsuit is in the works.
Read more: http://www.pcrm.org/newsletter/jun05/milk_ad.html

* Momentum Grows for Non-Animal Product Testing
The supermarkets are filled with "cruelty-free" shampoos, but some companies are still killing rabbits to test new chemicals. PCRM scientist Sherry Ward, Ph.D., is pushing for replacements.
Read more: http://www.pcrm.org/newsletter/jun05/product_testing.html

* New Study Shows Low-Fat Diet Improves Breast Cancer Survival
Low-fat diets may be an important tool against breast cancer recurrence, says a new study funded by the National Cancer Institute. Breast cancer patients who reduced their fat consumption lowered their risk of tumor recurrence by 24 to 42 percent.
Find out more: http://www.pcrm.org/newsletter/jun05/breast_cancer.html

* British Think Tank Calls for More Alternatives to Animal Tests
The scientific community has a "moral imperative" to develop alternatives to animal tests, says a new report by a British think tank.
Read more about it: http://www.pcrm.org/newsletter/jun05/british_think_tank.html
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

* Oncologist Ron Allison, M.D., on breast cancer and diet

* Ethologist Jonathan Balcombe, Ph.D., on stun gun research in pigs

* Archive of past issues
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

* Food for Life Cooking Classes (now offered in more than 30 locations)

* Nutrition for Kids Conference in Columbus features PCRM senior nutrition scientist Amy Joy Lanou, Ph.D.

* Taste of Health winter cruise features PCRM president Neal Barnard, M.D.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
5100 Wisconsin Ave., N.W., Ste. 400, Washington, DC 20016-4131
Phone: 202-686-2210 | E-mail: pcrm@pcrm.org

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7. Learning Center Relates Modern Day Ecological Activism and Traditional Jewish Teachings

Forwarded message from Canfei Nesharim Newsletter

Eco-Activist Beit Midrash:
The "Eco-Activist Beit Midrash," a project of Sukkat Shaleym Inc., will be the first learning center focused on truly integrating modern day ecological activism and traditional Jewish teachings concerning the environment. This program will begin in the Fall of 2005 in Jerusalem. If you or anyone you know might be interested, or if you have any questions please feel free to contact us at: shulim26@actcom.co.il by phone: 02-622-1456 or check out our website www.shlomoyeshiva.org/eco

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8. Vegan Kabbalat Shabbat (Greeting of the Sabbath) Ceremony Scheduled

Forwarded message from the Tree of Life Institute

Join Rebbe Gabriel Cousens , M.D. for Kabbalat Shabbat

COTATI, SONOMA COUNTY. In welcoming Rebbe Gabriel Cousens, Congregation Ner Shalom is excited to host a spiritual teacher and extraordinary integrator of spirit, nutrition, healing, and what he calls the Six Foundations for spiritual life. Kabbalat Shabbat, the traditional welcoming of the Sabbath before sundown on Friday evening, is an intimate gathering that invites the presence of the manifest feminine aspect of the Divine into our lives. Gabriel shares Kabbalat Shabbat with Sonoma County, joined by local musican and spiritual performer Kenny Rosaler, who will lead ecstatic chanting.

This celebration will take place July 29th, starting at 7:30 sharp for the kindling of the flame. Bring a sitting cushion. Dress is casual/optionally white or cream.

Cousens is the author of Spiritual Nutrition, Sevenfold Peace, Depression-Free for Life, and Conscious Eating. He provides a support structure and mapping to spiritual liberation that celebrates the diversity of cultures, which he calls the Culture of Liberation. In Kabbalat Shabbat, we set and hold the intention of returning ourselves and nature to Divine purity. Cousens transmits the awareness he has experienced through a lifetime of spiritual exploration, healing, Kabbalistic meditation, and Indigenous practice. He received rabbinical initiation, or smicha l'shefa, from Rabbi Gershon Winkler. Gabriel is a contemporary and has been a physician to Jewish spiritual leaders such as Shlomo Carlebach, Hanan Sills, Yehudit and Reuven Goldfarb of the Aquarian Minyan, and Reb. Zalman Shachter-Shalomi, who esteems Gabriel's teachings about spiritualizing the physical body and the world as "a new-age Kosher for the Spiritual Aspirant."

Cousens previously lived in Petaluma and practiced as a wholistic physican and spiritual teacher for twenty years prior to moving to Patagonia, AZ, to found and direct of the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center, a 182-acre mountain oasis in Patagonia, Arizona, where he and his wife, Shanti, facilitate the Spiritual Fasting Retreat, the Zero Point Process Course, the Conscious Eating Intensive, Sacred Relationships, the Living Essene Way, the Essene Order of Light, Detox Programs, Reiki Training, Whole Person Healing, and thorough education in Live-Food Nutrition and Organic Nature Farming - www.treeoflife.nu. Gabriel is also an M.D., Diplomate in Ayurveda, Licensed Homeopathic and Holistic Physician, Psychiatrist, and Reiki Master. He is a frequent teacher of week-long spiritual intensives in Israel as well as at the Tree of Life, and is the founder of the Peace Every Day initiative.

Kabbalat Shabbat with Rebbe Gabriel Cousens
Friday, July 29 @ 7:30 p.m.
Congregation Ner Shalom (Light of Peace) - www.nershalom.org
85 La Plaza
Cotati, CA 94931
Call for more information: 707.664.8622

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9. Is the World Fiddling While the Planet Burns?

Forwarded message from iNSnetWeb (www.insnet.org)

Climate change: fiddling as planet burns

There is nothing left to debate about climate change; it is happening and each of us must act.

LONDON: The great lie in the climate debate is that there is still a debate worth having. Opponents of change insist that the human factors in global warming are not proven and that we must wait until we have hard evidence before taking drastic action, which is as about as silly as saying there are two equally valid views on the issue of whether pedophilia damages children.

What is so destructive about this stance is that it claims equal weight and equal airtime. The `balance' in newspaper reports, especially in the United States, is, in fact, a bias against the truth and weakens the case for immediate action against emissions of CO2. And while we hum and haw, trying to persuade reluctant sceptics, the permafrost of the Arctic melts, sea levels inch up and the pH levels of oceans gradually drop because of the carbon that is absorbed from the atmosphere.

The following quote comes from an article in the London Daily Telegraph editorial pages last month (MAY). It captures perfectly the knuckle-headed entrenchment of the last century: "Climate change is an important, perhaps vital, debate, but it remains just that. Warning of disaster has become a global industry, and the livelihoods of thousands of scientists depend on our being sufficiently spooked to keep funding their research. The worry is that many of these researchers have stopped being scientists and become campaigners instead." The author pretends to even-handedness, but his real message is that climate change is a scam to keep scientists in work.

Yet it is not scientists who are distorting the evidence, but the U.S. oil lobby and a co-operative White House. Last week, Philip Cooney, a White House staffer, was exposed by the New York Times for revising reports on global warming so that they cast doubt on the link between greenhouse gases and rising temperatures. Mr. Cooney, who has no scientific training whatsoever, resigned and took a job with Exxon Mobil, which is, incidentally, the company that produces twice the CO2 emissions of Norway and is currently facing a consumer boycott in Europe. Mr. Cooney no doubt contributed to the White House's successful efforts to sandbag Tony Blair's plan of action to tackle climate change at the G8 summit next month. You have to hand it to the U.K. Prime Minister that he accepts the advice of his scientific advisers and has done all he can in Britain's presidency of the G8 to focus world leaders' attention on the problem.

But his chum Mr. Bush remains a delinquent simpleton in such matters. In the second draft of the G8 communique, the phrase "our world is warming" has been placed in square brackets, which means that the statement is disputed by the U.S. and is likely to be excluded from the final document. American officials also pressed negotiators to delete sections which tie global warming to human activity and emphasise the risk to economies.

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10. Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine Suing Major Food Companies For Misleading Ads

Physicians Announce Lawsuits against Major Food Companies and Dairy Groups Over False Weight-Loss Claims
Suits Seek Immediate Stop to National Advertising Campaign

Tuesday, June 28, 10 a.m., Eastern Daylight Time

WASHINGTON-The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) will announce two major lawsuits aimed at stopping a multimillion-dollar national advertising campaign claiming that milk and other dairy products facilitate weight loss. The defendants, who will be named at a news conference on Tuesday morning, include several industry trade groups and five corporations, including several of the nation's largest food companies. PCRM will also unveil a new counter-dairy advertising campaign that morning.


T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D.: Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University and nationally recognized director of the China Diet and Health Study.

Amy Joy Lanou, Ph.D.: Senior Nutrition Scientist, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

Dan Kinburn, Esq.: Associate General Counsel, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

Catherine Holmes: Plaintiff.

Mindy Kursban, Esq.: Executive Director and General Counsel, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

WHEN: Tuesday, June 28, 10 a.m.

WHERE: National Press Club, 529 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC/First Amendment Room.

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, especially good nutrition. PCRM also conducts clinical research studies, opposes unethical human experimentation, and promotes alternatives to animal research.

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
5100 Wisconsin Ave., N.W., Ste. 400, Washington, DC 20016
Phone: 202-686-2210 | Email: pcrm@pcrm.org

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11. Items in Animal Rights Digest

a. Subject: (US) Humane Society Wants Ban on Slaughtering Downer Animals To Slow Spread of Mad Cow Disease

The U.S. Agriculture Department is under increasing pressure to better meet the threat of "mad cow" disease. The Humane Society of the United States says USDA must permanently ban the slaughter of downed cattle to protect the food supply.

The call comes in the wake of news that a second cow has tested positive for mad cow disease. Of the cattle that have tested positive for the disease, the group says every one of them has been a "downer" - an animal too sick or injured to walk on its own.

full story:

b. Subject: (US) USDA criticized for mad cow delay

Last Friday, when U.S. officials revealed that a second animal in the United States had mad cow disease, they made it seem like a new discovery.

"We now have the test results from the lab in Weybridge, England," said Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns.

But when Dr. Michael Hansen, a mad cow expert at Consumer's Union, read the details posted on the USDA Web site, he realized there had been a positive test seven months earlier that had not been made public.
full story:

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12. Veggie Jews Schedule Lunch in San Francisco

Forwarded message from Michelle B

Subject: Veggie Jews' 7/17/05 lunch in San Francisco

Please join Veggie Jews for lunch on Sunday, July 17, 2005, at 1 p.m. when we will meet at:
Herbivore Restaurant
983 Valencia Street (near 21st Street)
San Francisco.

Herbivore is a popular Mission District vegan eatery with an eclectic menu of international lunch and dinner favorites, incredibly rich deserts and, many folks say, the best vegan breakfasts in the City. It's within easy walking distance from BART and MUNI, and there is a City parking lot on 21st Street between Mission and Valencia.

If you will attend, please reply to veggiejews@cyberonic.com no later than Friday evening, July 15, at 5 p.m. This is a popular restaurant and walk-ins without reservations will only be accommodated on a space-available basis, so reservations are strongly recommended.

For information on Herbivore, call (415) 826-5657.
For local San Francisco public transportation information: www.sfmuni.com or call MUNI at (415) 673-6864.
For Bay Area public transportation information, go to www.BART.gov or call BART at (510) 465-2278.

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13. Update on the Postville Slaughterhouse and Mr. Rabushkin

Material forwarded from http://www.FailedMessiah.com/

a. Court throws out wastewater discharge permit for Postville [slaughterhouse] company

by Roger King, KOEL, Oelwein

A wasterwater discharge permit issued to a Postville business has been thrown out in court. A Polk County District Court judge has reversed the permit issued to AgriProcessors of Postville by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. The judge says the D-N-R violated state law in granting two variances from water quality regulations. The judge ruled the D-N-R did not make a finding of necessity before issuing the variances. A local group, Northeast Iowa Citizens for Clean Water, had challenged the permits. The group was formed to protect a nearby creek and river affected by the discharges. The group has also filed a lawsuit challenging new state standards for discharges, saying they're more lax than federal standards.

b. Supervisors reject proposed chicken operation in Winneshiek County

By SARAH STRANDBERG, Courier Correspondent

DECORAH --- Winneshiek County supervisors are once again recommending the state deny a construction permit for a chicken confinement facility.

Cottonballs Poultry Barns resubmitted a revised application for the site north of Castalia earlier this month. The company, owned by Sholom Rubashkin of Postville, withdrew the application for the project in Bloomfield Township in May after the Iowa Department of Natural Resources rejected a similar operation in Frankville Township.


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14. PETA Campaign to Remove Fish From Aquarium Menu

Forwarded message from Karen Dawn, Director of DawnWatch http://www.DawnWatch.com.

One of PETA's latest campaigns, its request to the Long Beach aquarium to take fish off the menu in its restaurant, is getting superb coverage.

A note on the campaign: It is unlikely that PETA expects the aquarium to immediately stop serving fish lunches in response to the request. But that sort of unusual request gets coverage, and gives PETA the opportunity to use the media to raise awareness. For some reason many people who care about the treatment of other animals draw the line at fish -- some people even call themselves vegetarian though they eat fish! Perhaps it is because fish seem so foreign to us, and are scaly rather than cuddly. Or perhaps it is because most of us were raised on scientific misinformation that told us that fish aren't sentient, or that they have memories of just a few seconds. It is only in the last few years that scientific tests have demonstrated that fish feel pain, and are as intelligent as many land animals with which we commonly interact. (See www.fishinghurts.com for more on those studies). The aquarium campaign is helping PETA publicize those studies and also to draw attention to our disconnect -- that we admire with wonder and even care about animals of other species, then cut off all feeling for them when they appear on our plates.

The campaign got coverage in the Tuesday, June 28, Los Angeles Times, and on three local Los Angeles news broadcasts the same evening, and in the Wednesday, June 29 New York Times. But perhaps most exciting is that it got terrific coverage on BBC's "The World" which broadcasts all over the world, including in every US market. The World did a five minute piece on the issue, interviewing Karin Robertson who heads up PETA's Fish Empathy Project. Karin got to mention the studies that demonstrate fish intelligence and sentience, and to talk about the suffering of fish as a result of trawling and also fish farms, where fish are crammed so tight they can hardly move and many are eaten alive by parasites.

One of the highlights of the report was the anchor's point to the aquarium's president:

"But imagine some child going around your aquarium and sort of admiring Nemo and his friends in a tank somewhere and then popping out for lunch with Mum and Dad and finding that actually he is eating Nemo for lunch."

You can listen to the report on line.

The PETA aquarium segment starts at 19:04.

After the report 'The World' shared two letters it had received on the issue, both from America, panning the campaign. It would be wonderful if The World received plenty more letters in support. And the show deserves some thank-yous for its balanced coverage of the issue.
Please send comments by going to:

Here is the Wednesday, June 29 New York Times short piece on the issue (Pg A18):

"PETA Asks Aquarium To Stop Serving Fish

"People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has called on the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach to stop serving fish to visitors. PETA likened the practice to grilling 'poodle burgers at a dog show.' Karin Robertson, manager of the Fish Empathy Project for the organization, wrote to the aquarium, 'It's easy to think of fish as swimming vegetables, but of all the places in the country where fish should get a fair shake, it's an aquarium.' The president of the aquarium, Jerry Schubel, said in a statement that it served only what it called sustainable and environmentally friendly fish.

And the Los Angeles Times article, which I sent yesterday to the Angelenos on my list, is on line at:

The New York Times takes letters at letters@nytimes.com
The Los Angeles Times takes letters at: letters@latimes.com

Always include your full name, address, and daytime phone number when sending a letter to the editor. Shorter letters are more likely to be published.

Yours and the animals',
Karen Dawn

(DawnWatch is an animal advocacy media watch that looks at animal issues in the media and facilitates one-click responses to the relevant media outlets. You can learn more about it, and sign up for alerts at http://www.DawnWatch.com. To unsubscribe, go to www.DawnWatch.com/unsubscribe.php. If you forward or reprint DawnWatch alerts, please do so unedited -- leave DawnWatch in the title and include this tag line.)

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15. The Humane Society of the United States Calls on Trader Joe's To End 'Egg-Gregious' Animal Cruelty

WASHINGTON, June 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, The Humane Society of theUnited States (HSUS) is calling on Trader Joe's, the second largest company in the natural retail industry with 215 stores and $2.5 billion in annual sales, to do what its two top competitors have recently done: stop selling eggs from caged birds.

Both Whole Foods Market and Wild Oats Markets have recently announcedthat they are no longer selling eggs from caged birds due to theinherent cruelty involved in cage egg production. Yet Trader Joe's refuses to make the same commitment to animal welfare, and continuesto sell cruel battery cage eggs.

"Battery cage egg production is simply too abusive for any socially responsible company to support," says HSUS Factory Farming Campaignmanager Paul Shapiro. "Trader Joe's has taken animal welfare seriously in the past, and it should continue with that tradition and end its sales of eggs from caged birds."

full story:

The Humane Society of the United States

I'm writing to you today with good news affecting farm animals--and a request for help.

First, the good news! Two of the nation's largest natural foods retailers, Whole Foods Market and Wild Oats Natural Marketplaces, have discontinued sales of eggs from battery-caged hens--hens confined in tiny wire coops--sparing countless birds lives of misery.

While we applaud these decisions, we still have work to do: Trader Joe's, a national grocery chain that competes with Whole Foods and Wild Oats in the natural foods marketplace, has so far refused to enact a similar policy and continues to sell eggs from battery-caged hens. This is why we need your help. We're relying on you to convince Trader Joe's to change its mind. Please click here to urge Trader Joe's to discontinue selling eggs from hens housed in inhumane battery cages.

1. Take Action
The conditions for caged hens are simply too cruel for any humane person to support, or for any socially responsible company to condone. Send your personal message to Trader Joe's urging the company to follow the lead of Whole Foods and Wild Oats and stop selling eggs from battery-caged hens. Trader Joe's already sells some cage-free eggs and has a history of doing the right thing when it comes to issues of animal welfare. Now is the time for them to commit to selling only cage-free eggs. Send your message today. Click here.

2. Tell Your Friends
We believe Trader Joe's will respond favorably to public requests to improve the welfare of laying hens-but we need as many people as possible to send the grocery chain a polite but strong message. Click here to ask your friends to contact Trader Joe's and urge the company to stop selling battery-caged eggs.

Egg-laying hens in battery cages are the most intensively confined animal in the United States, each cage providing space smaller than a sheet of paper per bird. The cages are so restrictive that the birds cannot even stretch their wings, let alone engage in other natural behaviors such as nesting, foraging, perching, and dust bathing. Chickens are social, intelligent birds, yet when confined in battery cages, these animals suffer needlessly and immensely. You can stop it. Click here.

Thank you for taking action today and for all you do on behalf of animals.

Wayne Pacelle
President & CEO
The Humane Society of the United States

Copyright (c) 2005
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).
All Rights Reserved.

mailto:info@hsus.org | 202-452-1100 | www.hsus.org
The Humane Society of the United States
2100 L Street, NW
Washington, DC 20037

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