September 22, 2005

9/22/05 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

1. Campaign to Stop the Horse Racing Industry from Coming to Israel, and How You Can Help

2. Important COEJL-led Campaign to Save the Endangered Species Act

3. Israeli Chassidic Family Seeks Lodging and Chance to Promote Jewish-Holistic-Lifestyle Event While Visiting Crown Heights September 26 to November 2

4. Special Gathering Scheduled at the Israeli Jewish Vegetarian Society Centre To Inaugurate Lecture Series

5. Another Letter in Yosef Hakohen’s Series on Jewish Teachings About Animals

6. Is Global Warming Past the Point of No Return?

7. Improving Conditions for Veal Calves in Israel

8. Can Bird Flu Have Devastating Economic Consequences?

9. Private School Goes Completely Vegetarian

10. How Climate Change Stalls Efforts To Reduce Poverty

11. A Congressional Victory for America’s Horses

12. Buy Cruelty-free Feathers and Help Hurricane Katrina Victims

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. Campaign to Stop the Horse Racing Industry from Coming to Israel, and How You Can Help

Forwarded message from CHAI (Concern for Helping Animals in Israel):



Hakol Chai, Israeli sister charity of CHAI in the U.S. (Concern for Helping Animals in Israel), filed a petition in Israel’s Supreme Court to block the government’s plan to build two large race tracks, and to bring gambling on horse racing to Israel. The plan calls for initially importing 2,000 horses to begin racing.

Hakol Chai’s appeal is based on the fact that the government failed to consider the animal welfare implications - the horrendous cruelty to horses - before reaching its decision, as required by law.

The cruelties of the horse racing industry include:

1.Thousands of horses bred annually, a few fastest selected out to race, the rest sent to slaughter (up to around 1/3 of all born).

2.Horses trained too young (1or 2), before their bones have matured, making them susceptible to injury, including catastrophic injury, in training and on the race track. They are trained so young to be able to race in the races with the biggest prizes, which take place when they are 3.

3.Drugging – a recent front page New York Times article exposed the fact that this is a widespread problem in the industry. There are so many drugs and new ones all the time, that labs cannot detect them. Drugs are given, and then other drugs given on top, to conceal the presence of the first ones. Steroids are given so they can race even while injured (one race track vet said 70% of horses are on steroids while racing, which is dangerous), performance-enhancing drugs, drugs to control bleeding in the lungs and ulcers, morphine, and more.

4.Other health problems, such as bleeding from the lungs (happens to a high percent of race horses and can result in sudden death), chronic ulcers, and heart problems (which also can result in sudden death).

5.Though Thoroughbreds can live to 25, at around 6, when they are no longer fast enough or if they are injured, they are sent to slaughter or into a downward spiral of abuse, including former champions. Few are used for breeding.

6.Videotape shows even their first time out, they are whipped up to 30 times in one race.

The same number leave racing as enter it each year. The same abuses have been found in every country where the industry exists. In Macau, a newspaper exposed photos of them being lined up and shot in the head, one after the other.

Hakol Chai’s petition included expert written testimony by: Holly Cheever, DVM, Vice-President of AVAR and of the NY State Humane Association, author of a manual on cruelty investigations and prosecutions, and trainer of NY State law enforcement officials; Jennifer Hack, Director of Investigations for the U.S. Equine Rescue League; Eva Berriman, BVSc, former racing vet, professor of horse-related issues, and author of books, video tapes and curriculum materials on horse care used throughout Australia; and Tim O’Brien, PhD, former head of Research for Compassion in World Farming, former Director of The Genetics Forum, currently an independent animal welfare researcher for Animal Aid UK and other organizations.

a. What You Can Do to Help the Campaign

PLEASE WRITE (POLITE ONLY) LETTERS OF PROTEST TO (faxes and snail mail –80 cents/letter - are better than e-mail):
Mr. Ehud Olmert, Acting Minister of Finance
1 Kaplan St.
Jerusalem 91131, Israel
Fax: 972-2-5635769

Ms. Limor Livnat, Minister of Education, Culture, and Sport
34 Shivtei Israel St.
Jerusalem 91911, Israel
Fax: 972-2-6753726

Mr. Israel Katz, Minister of Agriculture
POB 30
Beit Dagan 50250, Israel
Fax: 972-2-6496170

Please sign the petition at:

For more information, see:

To donate to this campaign, go to:

Donations to CHAI in the U.S. are tax-deductible.

CHAI/Hakol Chai thank Animal Aid UK for their invaluable assistance with
this campaign.



b. Article about the Initiative in Globes:

Animal rights charity petitions against racetrack

Hakol Chai: "Israel can find other ways to develop tourism than by exploiting innocent animals".
Globes correspondent18 Sep 0515:33

Hakol Chai, the Israeli sister charity of CHAI, the US Concern for Helping Animals in Israel, represented by Adv. Doron Radai, Adv. Nitzan Gadot and Prof. and Adv. Alex Stein, today filed a petition with the High Court of Justice to block the building of two large race tracks in Israel - the government's first initiative toward bringing gambling to Israel.

Radai and Gadot, claimed in the petition that, "the ministers in favor of introducing horse racing only considered economic concerns - such as employment gains, and not wider animal welfare concerns - as required by law".

In addition Hakol Chai's attorneys pointed out that experience in every country where the horse racing industry was studied demonstrates that cruelty and abuse are commonplace.

Hakol Chai says typical cruelties that race horses are forced to endure include a harsh training regimen before their bones have hardened that places excessive weight on them, causing fractures; horses being drugged and forced to race even when injured; common conditions such as bleeding in the lungs, chronic gastric ulcers, and heart ailments; and, after only a few years, being sent either to slaughter or sold into increasingly worse conditions.

"Thousands more horses are bred to race than are chosen," says Hakol Chai director, Merav Barlev. "Those not fast enough - the majority - are born to be killed. Every aspect of a race horse's life involves cruelties. The government is thinking only of profits but at what cost in suffering?"

Hakol Chai stated today: "Israel can find other ways to develop tourism and bring in foreign investments than by exploiting innocent animals".

Hakol Chai, the Israeli sister charity of the US Concern for Helping Animals in Israel (CHAI) works to improve the condition and treatment of animals in Israel through legislation, education, a state of the art spay/neuter mobile clinic and direct help to animals. Hakol Chai is based in Tel Aviv. CHAI was established 20 years ago and has international headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on Sunday, September 18, 2005

c. Problems Related To Gambling

Judaism is against gambling, saying it causes one person to receive money to the detriment of another. The cost to society of gambling can also not be ignored. At least 60,000 people in England are gambling addicts, their families made to suffer from the loss of income, drugs, crime, and other problems that accompany addictions. In the U.S., approximately 5 million adults are considered problem or pathological gamblers. At greatest risk are young people.

Pathological and problem gamblers in the United States cost our society approximately $5 billion per year and an additional $40 billion in lifetime costs for productivity reductions, social services, and creditor losses.…these calculations are inadequate to capture the intrafamilial costs of divorce and family disruption associated with problem and pathological gambling. — A 1999 Report to the National Gambling Impact Study Commission by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago

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2. Important COEJL-led Campaign to Save the Endangered Species Act

Forwarded message from Adam Stern, Director of COEJL

I want to share with you an important Jewish effort to protect the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Tomorrow (Sep. 21), COEJL is releasing a statement signed by 40 prominent rabbis and 30 distinguished Jewish scientists urging Congress to preserve this vital conservation law. We are responding to legislation introduced this week by Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA) that would severely weaken the ESA. Rep. Pombo, who has tried for years -- along with development interests -- to undermine safeguards for imperiled plants and wildlife and their habitats, plans to hold a hearing on the bill tomorrow, a rushed House committee vote as early as Thursday, and a vote by the full House in early October.

Aware that such a bill was in the works, COEJL has been preparing for months with colleagues of other faiths to defend the Act. We have helped organize an innovative partnership called the Noah Alliance, which will be unveiled tomorrow with TV and radio ads on religious stations, a series of print ads in Congress Daily (the most widely read publication on Capitol Hill), and news articles in the Jewish, Christian, and mainstream press. For more information on the campaign, please visit the Noah Alliance web site ( I am attaching the print ad, Jewish statement, and list of signers to date. Thanks for your continued interest in our work.

Best, -Adam
Adam C. Stern Executive Director Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL)
work/cell (510) 681-4483 email address: web site:

The Entirety of Creation:
A Jewish Call to Protect the Endangered Species Act
September 2005

The passage of the Endangered Species Act thirty-two years ago marked a moment of great human nobility. To save from extinction species identified by scientists as gravely threatened by human activity, the American people provided resources for research, planning, and enforcement to preserve imperiled plants and wildlife and the places they call home. As a result, many of the frailest elements of the North American web of life were spared final destruction and given a chance at rebirth. Of more than 1,800 species under the Endangered Species Act’s protections during the past three decades, only nine have been declared extinct — a remarkable record of the Act’s positive impact. This represents stewardship in keeping with America’s great conservation heritage.

Today, however, the Endangered Species Act is itself endangered by impatience, ideology, and shortsighted, even deceptive, policymaking. Some organizations and members of Congress have been seeking to weaken its habitat protections, hamper the processes of identifying and listing fragile species, politicize what is supposed to be scientific decision-making, and otherwise alter the law in ways that would violate its beneficent vision and set back its accomplishments.

Distinguished voices from diverse communities are forging unique partnerships to prevent such action. Religious leaders and scientists, who may have different visions of how and why the Earth originated, are together affirming a universal moral imperative to protect all life on Earth. And in religious life itself, across traditional and often challenging denominational and ideological boundaries, people of faith are discerning a mandate for stewardship of creation deeply embedded in biblical scripture and commentary.

In this spirit, therefore, and in full agreement with a recent statement by the Academy of Evangelical Scientists and Ethicists, which calls upon religious communities to emulate “the biblical example of Noah as a model for being faithful to God’s call to protect endangered species from extinction,” we seek here to affirm the Jewish community’s longstanding commitment to protect biological diversity. We also affirm our conviction that the Endangered Species Act is one of our generation’s richest fulfillments of our biblical destiny as b'tselem elohim, created in the image of God (Genesis 1: 26), with the unique power and responsibility to shape, preserve, and renew creation through the work of our hands, our hearts, and our minds.

Jewish texts clearly state that all species deserve our wonder and protection. “Of all that the Holy One created in the world, not a single thing is useless,” teaches the Talmud (B. Shabbat 77b), while the Midrash elaborates, “Even those creatures that you may look upon as superfluous in the world . . . they too are part of the entirety of creation. The Holy One effects purpose through all creatures, even through a snake, a scorpion, a gnat, a frog” (Genesis Rabbah 10: 7). Every species of plant or animal is thus understood by Jewish tradition to occupy an ecological niche in our interdependent, living world.

Furthermore, Jewish tradition puts preservation of the environment squarely on our shoulders. “Do not spoil My world, for if you do, there is nobody to fix it after you” (Kohelet Rabbah 7: 13).

Today, in a time of marvelous innovation and discovery, science has given the ancient environmental wisdom of Judaism new strength and meaning. Genetics, ecology, taxonomy, medicine, and other sciences all indicate that life is an interconnected web whose diversity of species is an irreplaceable boon to human health and well-being. Gene research and genome mappings have shown how every creature and plant carries within it a life-urge that is eons older than any scripture. The ongoing discovery of new species, and those rare instances when we learn that species we thought extinct cling to survival, point to the strength of the life-urge and its capacity for renewal — if we humans will only seek to transcend our baser natures and rise to our religious, ethical, and legal responsibilities of stewardship, both individually and collectively. But, as noted by the Ecological Society of America, a professional society representing more than 8,000 scientists around the world, “The loss of biological diversity that we are currently observing is unprecedented.”

Two great disciplines, religion and science, have pointed us in the direction of universal values and wise policy. Science points the way with trail markers of objectivity and understanding. Religion then offers tools with which to discipline ourselves to put aside greed, self-deceit, and narrow self-interest, and to embrace, instead, the profound responsibilities assigned to us as the guardians of creation. Rabbi Elijah Gaon, the 18th century sage of Vilna, taught that: “Torah and science are intertwined.” The Jewish people have a long, proud history of fulfilling his teaching — as innovators in the scientific community and as believers in science as a pathway to human dignity.

We are particularly disturbed, therefore, by criticisms of the Endangered Species Act that undermine the role of science in environmental decision-making. Recent legislative initiatives and policy reports have distorted statistics, used unrealistic timetables, questioned the integrity of scientists, and couched themselves in pseudo-scientific language in ways that amount to what the Jewish tradition calls g’neivat da’at, stealing the mind. We urge instead that discussion of the Endangered Species Act’s ongoing relationship to species recovery, land use, economic development, political ideology, and other concerns be conducted as “controversy for the sake of heaven,” which the Jewish tradition describes as having “lasting value” (Pirke Avot 5: 19). Surely the goals of the Endangered Species Act are goals “for the sake of heaven,” with value that stretches deep into our past and holds profound promise for our future. In July 2004, more than 400 members of the scientific community wrote members of Congress, expressing “serious unease with proposals in Congress that may undermine the integrity of science and thus further distort or hamper endangered species conservation decisions.”

We call upon U.S. policymakers to emulate the forethought, self-restraint, and prodigious effort modeled by the biblical Noah — “a righteous man . . . blameless in his age” (Genesis 6: 9). While the Bible says little about the actual labors that Noah and his family endured to save Earth’s countless species from the floods of extinction, the 16th century Midrash Tanhuma portrays him as a man of foresight who planted and cultivated cedar trees over the course of a century — all the while planning the construction of his cedarwood ark and withstanding the mockery of his neighbors.
To us, the Endangered Species Act is the legislative equivalent of Noah’s cedar grove. We are determined, with our allies in other faith communities, to see it maintained and strengthened as a resource for building our environmental future.

Signers of Jewish Statement to Protect the Endangered Species Act
(affiliations are for identification purposes only)

Rabbi Rebecca T. Alpert, Associate Professor of Religion and Women’s Studies, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, Dean of Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, University of Judaism, Los Angeles, CA
Rabbi Annie Belford, Congregation Shaare Emeth, St. Louis, Missouri
Rabbi Saul Berman, Director, Edah, New York, NY
Rabbi Edward C. Bernstein, Shaarey Tikvah Congregation, Beachwood, OH
Rabbi Tsvi Blanchard, Director of Organizational Development, National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, New York, NY
Rabbi Rachel Cowan, Director, Institute for Jewish Spirituality, Northampton, MA
Rabbi Harry K. Danziger, President, Central Conference of American Rabbis, Germantown, TN
Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb, Adat Shalom, Reconstructionist Congregation, Bethesda, MD
Rabbi Elliot Dorff, Professor of Philosophy, University of Judaism, Los Angeles, CA
Rabbi Dan Ehrenkrantz, President, Reconstructionist Rabbincal College, Wyncote, PA
Rabbi David Ellenson, President, Hebrew Union College/Jewish Institute of Religion, New York, NY
Rabbi Marla J. Feldman, Commission on Social Action for Reform Judaism, New York, NY
Rabbi Dov Gartenberg, Panim Hadashot: New Faces of Judaism, Seattle, WA
Rabbi Arthur Green, Rector, Rabbinical School at Hebrew College, Newton Centre, MA
Rabbi Steve Gutow, Executive Director, Jewish Council for Public Affairs, New York, NY
Rabbi Jill Hammer, Ma'yan: The Jewish Women's Project, New York, NY
Rabbi Richard Hirsh, President, Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, Wyncote, PA
Rabbi Nancy Fuchs Kreimer, Associate Professor and Director of Religious Studies, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Wyncote, PA
Rabbi Allan Lehmann, Jewish Chaplain and Rabbinic Hillel Director, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA
Rabbi Michele Lenke, Co-President, Women’s Rabbinic Network, Boston, MA
Rabbi Amy Levin, Temple Torat Yisrael, Cranston, RI
Rabbi Patricia Karlin-Neumann, Senior Associate Dean for Religious Life, Stanford University, Stanford, CA
Rabbi Stephen Pearce, Congregation Emanu-El, San Francisco, CA
Rabbi David Saperstein, Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Washington, DC
Rabbi Ismar Schorsch, Chancellor, Jewish Theological Seminary, New York, NY
Rabbi Amy Schwartzman, Temple Rodef Shalom, New York, NY
Rabbi Judy Shanks, Co-President, Women’s Rabbinical Network, Lafayette, CA
Rabbi Arnold I. Sher, Interim Executive Vice President, Central Conference of American Rabbis, New York, NY
Rabbi Jonathan P. Slater, Institute for Jewish Spirituality, New York, NY
Rabbi Warren G. Stone, Temple Emanuel, Kensington, MD
Rabbi Tziona Szajman, Congregation Rodeph Shalom, Bridgeport, CT
Rabbi David A. Teutsch, Professor of Contemporary Jewish Civilization, Reconstructionist Rabbincal College, Wyncote, PA
Rabbi Lawrence Troster, Rabbinic Fellow, Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, Teaneck, NJ
Rabbi Gordon Tucker, Temple Israel Center, White Plains, NJ
Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg, Institute for Jewish Spirituality, New York, NY

[We should contact these rabbis, ad see if they would support us on vegetarianism and related issues.]


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3. Israeli Chassidic Family Seeks Lodging and Chance to Promote Jewish-Holistic-Lifestyle Event While Visiting Crown Heights September 26 to November 2.

Forwarded message from Orit Amnon:

"We" are the Levav family from Israel: Orit, Amnon, Meitar bat 8 (8 year old daughter) and Tuv bat 1.5 (1.5 year old daughter). We combine a Hassidic life-style with raw-food and healthy life-style teachings. We've built with Hashem’s grace (G-d’s help) a web site the first "earth-ship" in Israel and operate a small homely organic kosher educational restaurant here, in the town of Maalot, in the upper Gallile, above the kziv river nature reservation and near Meiron and RashBi. Amnon is a holistic web consultant and strategiest and works from home, managing eco-health related websites like Ecopolitan, and creating eco-social trends about natural lifestyle (like The new version of the ecopolitan site, soon to be on the air, contains information about the Minneapolis raw restaurant, about America's first eco-hostel, about emf pollution remediation, and so much more. The living spirit behind ecopolitan is Dr. Adiel Tel-Oren, Israelian, M.D, scientist and Musician with ten other degrees.

Our dream is to have "tishrei" [spend the Hebrew month of Tishrei] at "770" [770 Eastern Parkway, the headquarters of Lubavitch Chassidim]. We'll be at NY from September 26 to November 2. We're still looking for a Chabad family in Crown-Heights to host us. People that we can be friends with, make healthy food with, share knowledge with and be inspired together. We strongly believe that there must be a unique family for us, which can enjoy the teachings we give, as well. Can you connect us to likeminded people to host us?


We want to meet you in NY to discuss various collaboration opportunities.

Also, would you like to be "shliach" [helper, roughly] to help us share our knowledge with other people and create some sort of Jewish-holistic-lifestyle event? Subects may include:
* Kosher Chassidic raw food workshop
* The story of levav's house, the first earshship in Israel
Separate event for women including holy songs

Amnon would love to share his insight and lecture about holistic
web strategy and effective positive social trends creation.

hope so to see you in NY, although it's likely that we have moshiach in a short time and get together sooner...

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4. Special Gathering Scheduled at the Israeli Jewish Vegetarian Society Centre To Inaugurate Lecture Series

Forwarded Message from Elihu Mezin, a Leader at the Israeli Jewish Vegetarian Society Centre:

We are pleased to invite you to a special gathering celebrating the beginning of our new lecture season, which will take place in the garden of the society, 8 Balfour Street, Jerusalem.

Thursday, September 29, 2005, at 7:30 PM.

Program for the evening:

* Opening remarks by Dan Arbel - Chairman of the International Jewish Vegetarian Society, Jerusalem

* A talk by Gloria Menzin Taubes, board member

* Musical performance by Vladimir Silva and Oleg Tchaikovsky of the
IBA symphony orchestra

Light refreshments will be served.

Please note: the event will be outside; please dress accordingly.

Admission: Members - NIS 20 Nonmembers - NIS 25

Space is limited, so please call 02-561-1114 or e-mail the Vegetarian
Society for reservations

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5. Another Letter in Yosef Hakohen’s Series on Jewish Teachings About Animals

The Journey to Unity – 140
Respecting the Nature of Each Species:

"You shall not plow with an ox and the donkey together." (Deut. 22:10)

Dear Friends,

The classical commentator, Rashi, writes that the ox and donkey mentioned in the above verse are to serve as examples, for "the same is true for any two species in the world." This mitzvah therefore prohibits us from forcing two different species to work together in any way.

The Sefer Ha-Chinuch is a classical work on the Torah's 613 mitzvos. The author of this work suggests that one of the reasons for this particular mitzvah is to avoid the suffering which is caused to animals when they are forced to work together with members of another species. He writes:

"It is known that the various species of animals and fowl have great anxiety in dwelling with others not of their kind, and all the more certainly to do work with them…Every bird will dwell with its own kind, and so all animals and other species will always cling to their own kind as well." (Mitzvah 550).

The author of the Sefer Ha-Chinuch adds that each wise-hearted person can learn from this mitzvah the following insight: One should not appoint two human beings to work together if they would experience a clash, due to their being radically different in nature and/or differing in their conduct. If we are to have understanding and respect for the different nature of animals, we should surely have understanding and respect for the differing nature of human beings!

Yosef Ben Shlomo Hakohen(See below)

Related Teachings:

1. Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch mentions the following related laws in Horeb (chapter 57):
"You must not allow one task to be done together by animals of two species. You may not allow them to carry the smallest thing together, even if it be only the seed. Therefore you may not even use the voice in order to drive forward animals of differing species that are yoked together. You may not sit in a wagon which is drawn by animals of differing species. (Yorah Deah 297b)

2. The Sefer Ha-Chinuch explains that the ban against forcing animals of different species to work together is an example of the Torah's general prohibition against causing suffering to animals. With the help of Hashem, we shall discuss this general prohibition at a later stage of this series, and we shall cite some specific examples which are mentioned in the Torah. We shall also discuss the exceptions where the Torah does permit us to cause some suffering to animals; however, even in these special cases, we are obligated to ensure that the suffering is kept to the minimum that is needed. For example, we are allowed to plow with an ox, but we are obligated to treat it in a humane way. And we are forbidden to cause the ox extra discomfort by forcing it to plough together with a donkey or a member of any other species.

3. The Sefer Ha-Chinuch also cites the opinion of Maimonides (the Rambam). According to Maimonides, the ban against forcing animals of different species to work together is related to the ban against mating animals of different species, for it is the way of farmers to bring the working pair into one stall, and the farmers may therefore decide to mate them. (Guide to the Perplexed 3:49)

Hazon - Our Universal Vision:

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6. Is Global Warming Past the Point of No Return


Sea ice floats on the surface of the Arctic Ocean and its neighbouring seas and normally covers an area of some 2.4 million square miles during September - about the size of Australia. However, in September 2002, this dwindled to about 2 million square miles - 16 per cent below average. Sea ice data for August closely mirrors that for September 2002 and last month's record low - 18.2 per cent below the monthly average - strongly suggests that this September will see the smallest coverage of Arctic sea ice ever recorded.


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7. Improving Conditions for Veal Calves in Israel

Forwarded article from Haaretz:

New rules ban farmers from denying water to veal calves
By Amiram Cohen

Animal rights groups notched up another success recently when the Agriculture Ministry banned farmers from denying water to veal calves as part of the method by which they are raised for slaughter. Some two years ago, the animal rights groups won a High Court of Justice ruling that bans the force-feeding of geese.

Withholding water from veal calves constitutes a central part of the manner in which the animals are raised for slaughter, with the objective being to keep their meat tender and "white." Aside from withholding water, raising veal calves also involves imprisoning them in a veal crate and feeding them a milk substitute intentionally lacking in iron and other essential nutrients.

The animals suffer terribly because they are unable to move freely in the wooden restraining device and cannot turn around or even lie down and stretch. Designed to prevent movement, the crate does its job of atrophying the calves' muscles, thus producing tender veal.

The iron-deficient diet keeps the animals anemic and creates the pale pink or white color desired in the finished product. And because they are denied water, the calves are always thirsty, and are driven to drink a large quantity of the high-fat liquid feed.

Due to the harsh physical conditions and constant thirst, the calves are susceptible to a long list of diseases, including chronic pneumonia or constant diarrhea. Consequently, they must be given massive doses of antibiotics and other drugs just to keep them alive. The calves often suffer also from wounds caused by the constant rubbing against the crates.

Anonymous for Animal Rights initiated the fight against this method of raising veal calves - banned already among EU states - some four years ago. Since then, the Agriculture Ministry has tried to formulate new regulations for the feeding and raising of veal calves, but the regulations have been rejected time and again by the Knesset Education Committee, which has deemed them insufficient to prevent the animals from suffering.

Recently, however, the Agriculture Ministry, the Education Committee and Anonymous consented to the temporary publication of two regulations that all the parties agree to and that do not require financial investment on the part of the farmers. The first regulation imposes a sweeping ban on withholding water from the calves. The second regulation requires farmers to provide calves that are at least four weeks old with solid food.

© Copyright 2005 Haaretz. All rights reserved

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8. Can Bird Flu Have Devastating Economic Consequences?

Forwarded article:

Bird flu could cause global economic catastrophe
By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor
Independent (UK)
Published: 18 September 2005

Bird flu threatens to cause a "catastrophic" economic crash in Britain and around the world, unprecedented in modern times, according to new research.

Two studies from Nottingham University and the Bank of Montreal in Canada show that a flu pandemic – described by the World Health Organisation last week as inevitable - would slash at least £95bn from British GDP, extinguish at least 900,000 jobs and create a global depression to rival that of the 1930s.


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9. Private School Goes Completely Vegetarian

For the first time in more than a decade, Rockland Country Day has changed lunch vendors from a commercial organization to a local restaurant. After a year of committee meetings, taste tests and student and parent comment, the school signed a one-year contract with Main Essentials, a Haverstraw vegetarian restaurant that caters to vegans - vegetarians who also don't eat dairy or other animal products.

"We know there's an obesity crisis and a crisis of disease in this country, and a lot of it stems from the kind of foods and the fast foods that people ingest," said Martha Roth, a parent and member of the committee that selected Main Essentials as the school's food vendor. "If you start early, if you teach children to eat well at an early age, it won't be an issue when they get older."

Local public schools usually offer a meatless option for students and have tried to cut down on sugar and salt in other foods, but none has done what Rockland Country Day has - hired a vegetarian restaurant to provide school lunches.

Two years ago, parents and students approached James Handlin, the headmaster of Rockland Country Day, about the school's food. Research showed that many children nationwide were eating high-sugar, high-fat foods that contributed to health problems such as asthma and diabetes. There had been concern among organic-foods activists for years about chemical fertilizers, genetically engineered foodstuffs and commercial feed lots.

"We did two things: We took a hard look at all of the snack foods we were offering in all our machines and decided to get rid of what wasn't healthy, mainly those with corn sweeteners. We put in a lot more juices and so-called natural sodas," Handlin said.

"We're really concerned about the obesity and lack of nutritional awareness that so many families seem to have. Because we're a school that goes from 3-year-olds to 12th-graders, we would have kids on these sort of sugar highs. We took a long look at what we were going to put into those machines."

Beginning in the spring, granola, pretzels and soy-based cookies replaced candy bars, chips and Pop-Tarts in the snack machines. Water, juice and seltzer-based sodas ousted Coke and Pepsi products. The food, provided by Kristo Beverage, costs 75 cents to $1.50.

The change was not made effortlessly. Students and staff complained they didn't like the options in the snack and soda machines. Handlin said the complainers agreed to live with healthy snacks for the rest of the school year, and no one has complained about the machine offerings since school started last week.

Handlin said the organic chips were selling better than regular chips used to and the school wasn't selling as much soda.

As for student behavior - it's too soon to tell, he said. But the younger children now have access to the machines, which they weren't permitted with the former snack offerings.

With that project completed, the school launched its second initiative. Earlier in the summer, parents and students fenced in a 100-foot-by-100-foot lot and began an organic garden. Roth and local greenhouse owner Ron Breland plotted a simple vegetable garden as a start and asked students and parents to help. Eventually, the garden will be used with the curriculum and for some of the school's mandated community-service projects.

Adam Darer, 15, of Chestnut Ridge, a 10th-grader at the school, was drafted by his mother to come help, but it wasn't a hardship, he said. His grandmother got him hooked on growing things, and he already had had a garden at home for four years.

"I came to a meeting one day and it sounded interesting," he said.
"It's been a lot of fun coming here in the summer. It seems weird to
come here in the summer, but when you have a lot of students working
toward a goal, it's really nice."

While the garden project was getting started, the same committee began looking at food vendors for the cafeteria. Because the school receives little public money, students now pay about $4.50 for lunch each day, compared with about $1.75 for an average public-school hot lunch.

Richard LaCossade, 27, is the executive chef in charge of Rockland Country Day School's cafeteria. He worked in the kitchen of the Manhattan Woods Golf Course and a Marriott Inn before joining Main Essentials. He takes standard cafeteria fare and makes it meatless.

"I just try to keep it healthy. This is a school," he said. "But we'll use soy cheese for the quesadillas, and soy-based products for the ham and cheese omelets. The kids that still eat ham will still taste the difference, but the rest don't seem to notice."

Unlike at Main Essentials, the school cafeteria has a meat option: turkey hot dogs. LaCossade will use real cheese in his sandwiches, he said, although soy-based cheeses are available.

The vegetables and fruits are from local farmers markets, and once the school garden starts producing in bulk, that food will be part of the menu. Scraps from the lunchroom will go to the school compost heap.

Eliza Martin Simpson, 15, of Wesley Hills, a 10th-grader, said she just appreciated the ability to eat a school lunch.

"It's really made it a lot easier for me to be a vegetarian, and the food is really interesting," she said. "I really like to eat, so it's been a highlight of the year coming here."

Nonvegetarians such as ninth-graders Norma Kuhling, 14, of Valley Cottage; Hailey Fyfe, also 14, of Piermont; and 10th-grader Katie Crispi, 15, of New City said they found the school lunches infinitely better than last year.

"You just sort of feel good," Fyfe said, "after eating a healthy meal."

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10. How Climate Change Stalls Efforts To Reduce Poverty

Forwarded messages from Inset (

a. *Climate change stalling poverty fight*
The effects climate change are jeopardising the fight against poverty and potential success of the Millennium Development Goals, UK Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett has claimed.

b. "Future climate change threatens to undermine our efforts to tackle Africa's poverty and sustai * ..continue...*

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11. A Congressional Victory for America’s Horses

Forwarded message from The Humane Society of the United States


We did it! The U.S. Senate passed an amendment today by a stunning 68-29 vote that prohibits the use of any federal taxpayer funds to slaughter horses for food exports.

The amendment, introduced by Senators John Ensign (R-NV) and Robert C. Byrd (D-WV), mirrors an amendment that passed the U.S. House of Representatives in June, which was led by Reps. John Sweeney (R-NY), John Spratt (D-SC), Nick Rahall (D-WV), and Ed Whitfield (R-KY). Together, these measures will effectively stop America's horses from being killed in three slaughterhouses in the U.S. that slaughter horses -- two in Texas and one in Illinois. The amendment also stops horses from being shipped to slaughterhouses in Canada or Mexico so that their meat can be exported to foreign countries.

This tremendous victory would not have been possible without your support and action. We received outstanding support for our major lobbying campaign to end horse slaughter and were able to mobilize our grassroots network. Every single Senate office heard from us, and because of your calls and emails they took notice. Click here to find our how your U.S. Senators voted:

"The time has come to put an end to the practice of slaughtering horses in America," said Sen. Ensign. "Horses have an important role in the history of our country, particularly the West, and they deserve our protection. As a senator and a veterinarian I am committed to doing what I can for these magnificent animals. Many of the horses sent to slaughter are perfectly healthy, and turning them over to slaughterhouses is inhumane and unnecessary."

"The market for horsemeat is not an American market," said Sen. Byrd. "Many Americans would be shocked to learn that our animals suffer such a fate, all in order to satisfy the tastes of those living in Europe and Asia."

In another welcome move, the Senate also approved two additional animal welfare amendments introduced by Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI). One amendment would ensure that "downed livestock" -- animals too sick or injured to walk -- are not allowed into the human food supply. The second amendment would prohibit tax dollars from being used for research facilities that purchase animals from "Class B dealers" who traffic in family pets for research.

We are so grateful that you stood with us and helped achieve this incredible victory for animals, even as so many of our resources -- and so much of our attention -- has been turned towards helping the animal victims of Hurricane Katrina. Thank you for all you do on behalf of animals.

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

Report from DawnWatch

The Wednesday September 21 Wall Street Journal has a front page story headed, "Why Belgians Shoot Horses in Texas For Dining in Europe" while the Thoroughbred Times announces "Slaughter amendment passes U.S. Senate."

The Thoroughbred Times piece explains, "The United States Senate on Tuesday joined the U.S. House of Representatives by overwhelmingly passing an amendment to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Appropriations Bill that will remove federal funding for mandated meat inspectors at the three remaining, foreign-owned horse slaughterhouses in the United States. If signed into law by President George Bush, it effectively would shut them down when the 2006 fiscal year begins October 1....The bill to end horse slaughter permanently in the United States, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (H.R. 503), was re-introduced into the House of Representatives last February and is before the House Energy and Commerce Committee."

For more information on that bill, and you can help, go to

The Wall Street Journal front page story points out that the three horse slaughter plants in the US are foreign owned and sell their meat overseas. It says, "Federal law doesn't ban eating horse in the U.S., but the meat is now no longer sold for human consumption domestically....The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which inspects the horses headed for foreign tables, says 58,736 horses were slaughtered in the U.S. last year for human consumption, yielding 13.6 million pounds of meat for export to the European Union, Japan, Mexico and Switzerland. A decade ago, there were around a dozen U.S. facilities slaughtering horses for export. Today, with demand declining, that's down to just two in Texas and one in Illinois."

It discusses the attempts to ban horse slaughter in the USA and tell us, "While the debate goes on, an American Airlines flight takes off every day from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, headed for Paris's Charles DeGaulle airport with a load of horse carcasses in its cargo belly. ...So far, economic arguments have prevailed over the emotional appeals of the antislaughter forces. Mr. Bradshaw, the slaughterhouse lobbyist, tells lawmakers the Texas plants spend $6 million a year shipping horse meat with American Airlines and other U.S. carriers."

The passage, yesterday, of the Ensign-Byrd horse slaughter amendment suggests the tide is turning.

Wall Street Journal subscribes can read the whole article on line.

The front page story presents a great opportunity for letters to the editor in support of a permanent horse slaughter ban. Those who are horrified by the treatment of animals that America considers it acceptable to eat (see can use this as a jump-off point for letters on that issue.

The Wall Street Journal takes letters at: 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 To unsubscribe, go to 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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12. Buy Cruelty-free Feathers and Help Hurricane Katrina Victims

Forwarded message from Rabbi Yonassan GershomL

Richard --

Just in case you or anybody you know is interested, I'm selling some cruelty-free goose and chicken feathers on ebay as a fundraiser to help animal rescue efforts for vicitims of Hurricane Katrina. My "About Me" page on ebay has the listings at:

Feel free to pass this message around.

Kol tuv,
Rabbi Gershom

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