October 28, 2005

10/28/05 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

1. Raising Chickens (Broilers) in Israel

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

3. Relevant Torah Message As We Start to Read the Torah From the Beginning Again

4. Commentary Article on Animal Rights

5. Historical Note Re Meat-Eating in the Jewish Community

6. New Book Updates Animal Rights Philosophy and Activities

7. Fighting Hunger Through Vegetarianism?

8. Lecture About Bird Flu Scheduled

9. World Go-Vegan Days Announced

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. Raising Chickens (Broilers) in Israel

Wed., October 26, 2005
Haaretz article

Please write to editor at letters@haaretz.co.il. Thanks. My letter to the editor is below the article.

Congratulations to Israeli attorney Yossi Wolfson, a JVNA Newsletter reader, for his fine work on this issue. We are scheduled to interview Yossi on November 16 in Jerusalem for our vegetarian videos.

Broiler chickens face some foul conditions
By Tamara Traubman

Fifty years ago, a broiler chicken reached its maximum weight in 80 days. Today, through genetic selection, its life cycle has been reduced to 42 days. The reason is economic: All broilers born in hatcheries in Israel belong to one of two varieties, developed through genetic selective breeding, to achieve the most profitable result - a chicken that will swell to the largest possible proportions in the shortest space of time. However, a consumer searching for chicken breasts at the supermarket has no way of knowing who bred the plastic-wrapped chicken, where, or under what conditions - unlike many other food products for which information is available.

Chickens raised for meat, called broilers, have become an industrial product, in an industry that produces some 170 million broilers per year. When they are one or two days old, the chicks are sent to the shed for fattening. Results of the genetic selection are apparent early in life: All the broilers develop exceptionally large breasts - bred this way intentionally because chicken breast receives the highest market price.

A report published in 2000 by the Scientific Veterinary Committee of the European Commission stated that the broilers' legs can hardly bear the excess weight of their bodies. The chickens may suffer from painful lameness, because of abnormal skeletal development or diseased bones.
A large number of immobile chickens is a problem for chicken farmers because of high rates of disease and mortality, which harm profits. In recent years, leg strength has been improved through genetic selection, and the problem has been reduced. Israel's Agriculture Ministry does not have precise data about its incidence. However, in visiting the chicken farms one still finds chickens that wobble and some that are unable to walk at all. The chickens are frightened. When they see humans walking outside the shed they retreat in flocks. The immobile ones remain on the ground and flap their wings, unable to escape.

According to the European Commission's report, the broiler's heart and lungs cannot supply the demands of the overgrown body. Insufficient development of the heart can cause sudden death syndrome among some 3 percent of the chickens, as well as ascites, a disease affecting lung and heart functions. Some 5 percent of the broilers die from these causes before reaching the slaughterhouse.

Genetic selection for a single parameter of quick growth has hampered the development of broilers' immune system, increasing their sensitivity to the environment. In conditions of factory farming, the health of every chicken cannot be monitored. In large farms, diagnosis of disease relies largely on changes in the death rate in the sheds. Workers collect the corpses every day and count them. If more than 10 have died, they know there has been an outbreak of disease. At a chicken farm in the center of the country, a farmer explains the causes of death: Some were not able to compete for food and water, others suffered a "heart attack," their bodies were too heavy for them.

Itzik Malka, head of the poultry department in the Agriculture Ministry's training division, thinks the death rate of chickens in Israel is "reasonable." What are the causes of death? "Normal mortality. Sometimes there is bronchitis or respiratory problems, like in any population. I don't think there's a special problem of lameness in the broilers. These breeds are in use everywhere in the world."

Distributors make good profits from the chicken industry, but a farmer's margin of profit is small, leaving him almost no leeway for improving breeding conditions. Meir Ben Shalom, a chicken farmer from Moshav Eshtaol, says chickens sold at a profit of NIS 0.10 per kilogram in September. At the same time last year they were sold at a loss. According to Malka, profits never exceed NIS 0.50 per kilo. The competitive broiler market dictates "efficiency" in the production process and forces farmers to cram thousands of chickens into the sheds to increase productivity and save on electricity for lighting and heat.

Arik Ben Moshe, chief nutritionist at the Amir-Dagan feed mill, said the source of protein in the chicken feed is grains, feathers, and sterilized meal mead from bodies of chicken, fish and meat. After the outbreak of mad cow disease, these meals were prohibited for use in cow feed, but are still permitted in chicken feed.

The Agriculture Ministry says the use of preventive antibiotics is prohibited, and they may only be used to treat disease, with veterinary authorization.

However, at many feed mills small doses of antibiotic growth promoters (AGPs) are added to the meal. "AGPs are used at all feed mills, for all feeds," says Ben Moshe.

A week before slaughtering, the chickens receive a different, antibiotic-free feed, so that its residue will not be detected by tests, and won't reach the consumer.

When they are 42 days old, the chickens are crammed into small transport containers and taken to the slaughterhouse. An Agriculture Ministry-appointed committee recommended in 2001 that the transport process be regulated because this phase is "particularly traumatic." The committee recommended minimizing the waiting time for transport, giving the chickens access to food and water while waiting, and prohibiting seizing them by the head, neck, wing or tail. The ministry has not yet approved the regulations.

According to attorney Yossi Wolfson, an animal rights activist who chaired the committee, the ministry prepared a "soft" version of the regulations, which has been bouncing back and forth between the ministries of agriculture and justice to finalize the wording.

Ami Ettinger assisted in the preparation of the report.
My letter to Haaretz, in response to the above article is below:
October 27, 2005
Editor, Haaretz

Dear Editor:

As president of the Jewish Vegetarians of North America, I was distressed to read of the horrible treatment of “broilers” in Israel (“Broiler chickens face some foul conditions.” October 26 issue). This treatment seems inconsistent with the Jewish mandate that we should be rachmanim b’nei rachmanim (compassionate children of compassionate ancestors) and with Jewish teachings that “God’s compassion is over all of His creatures” (Psalms 145:9, recited three times daily in synagogue services) and that we are to avoid causing tsa’ar ba’alei chaim, any unnecessary pain to animals. What makes the situation even more upsetting is that the production and consumption of broilers has very negative effects on the environment and on human health.

Very truly yours,

Richard H. Schwartz

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

The Journey to Unity - 141
Our Gratitude to All Creations:

Dear Friends,

Our father, Jacob, was also called Israel. And the Torah records that Israel said to his son, Joseph:

"Your brothers are pasturing in Shechem...Go now, look into the shalom of your brothers and the shalom of the sheep, and bring me back word." (Genesis 37:13,14)

Israel asked Joseph to look into the "shalom" - peace and welfare - of his brothers, and to also look into the shalom of the sheep. Why did the sheep merit a special inquiry about their shalom? Was it simply an expression of concern for his property? According to our tradition, there was a deeper reason for his concern. The Midrash explains that Israel inquired about the shalom of the sheep because of a sense of gratitude to the sheep for all the benefits that he received from them. The Midrash states that we can therefore learn from Israel's words the following good trait: "A person should inquire about the shalom of anything that he benefited from" (Genesis Rabbah).

The Compassionate One created an interdependent world in which all forms of life depend on each other. As Rabbi Hirsch wrote:

"All the world's creations give and receive - one from the other and one to the other. All separation and detachment is for the sake of mutual influence. Truly, this is the essence of all life on earth; all are in need of one another - not only to receive, but to give. The tree requires the earth but the earth also requires the tree. Everything receives only to give, and everything given ascends and returns to the giver - to bring about a further outpouring of blessing." (Commentary of Rabbi S.R. Hirsch on Genesis 1:11-13)

When we become more aware of what we receive – directly or indirectly – from all forms of life, we will experience a greater sense of gratitude for all the benefits that we receive. In this spirit, we should be concerned about the shalom of all living things.

Yosef Ben Shlomo Hakohen

Related Teachings:

1. There is another verse which demonstrates the compassionate concern of our father for the shalom of the sheep: "And Jacob journeyed to Succos and built himself a house, and for his flocks, he made succos (booths of shelter); he therefore called the name of the place, Succos" (Genesis 33:17).

It seems strange that Jacob would name a place "Succos" just because he built there "succos" for his flocks. The Ohr HaChaim, a noted Sephardic kabbalist and biblical commentator, suggests that Jacob may have been the first person to build "succos" - booths of shelter - for his flocks, as a result of his compassion for the animals. Jacob therefore named the place "Succos" in order to commemorate this historic innovation.

2. The Midrash states: "When Moshe Rebbeinu - Moses, our Teacher - was tending the flock of Jethro in the wilderness, a little kid ran away from him. He ran after the kid until it reached the oasis, Hasuah. Upon reaching Hasuah, it came upon a pool of water, and the kid stopped to drink. When Moshe reached it, he said: 'I did not know that you were running because you were thirsty. You must be tired.' He placed the kid on his shoulder and began to walk. The Holy One, Blessed Be He, said: 'You are compassionate in leading flocks belonging to mortals; I swear you will similarly shepherd My flock, Israel.' " (Exodus Rabbah 2:2).

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

3. Relevant Torah Message As We Start to Read the Torah

Thanks to Charles Stahler, a long time JVNA activists and co-founder of the Vegetarian Resource Group, for forwarding the following message, which discusses our obligations to animals.

*/Parashat B’reishit /**Genesis 1:1-6:8*

/B’reishit/, our first /parashah/ in the Torah cycle, begins with the creation of the world. God creates the world in seven days, concluding with the first Shabbat. The /parashah/ provides a second version of the creation story, in which Adam is created from the dust of the earth rather than as a result of a divine breath. Adam and Eve are expelled from the Garden of Eden for eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and have two sons, Cain and Abel. Cain kills Abel out of jealousy and anger, and God sends Cain off to wander. Adam and Eve have another on named Seth, from whom Noah descends. Although God expresses disappointment with human corruption, God finds favor in Noah’s character.

This week’s selection, taken from the first /aliyah/, is God’s assessment which follows the creation of the sixth day:

/God then surveyed all that God had made, and look – it was very good!
And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. /(1:31)

On other days, God observes that the creation is good or at least acknowledges that creation indeed occurred. On the sixth day of creation, God pronounces that it is “exceedingly good” (Fox translation, /Schocken Bible/, 17). One possible interpretation is that the creation of human beings that occurred on the sixth day is unique when compared with the rest of creation. Humans are set apart from all of God’s other creations, made /b’zelem Elohim/ “in the image of God” (1:27). People are commanded not only to reproduce, but to “tame” or “master” the
earth, “holding sway” over all the animals (1:28). Humans hold a unique position in that they have been granted a special relationship with God. In the Psalms we read, /The heavens belong to God, but the earth God gave to humanity/ (Psalms 115:16).

We might be led to believe that our mastery gives warrant for us to mold the world as we wish and to see the rest of creation’s value as less significant than our own. Our egos, unique also to humanity out of all creation, may lead us to think that God’s judgment of /very good/ refers to us. Alternatively, imagine God as an artist, measuring decisions along the way, ultimately stepping back and positively viewing the final work. In this interpretation, God is not satisfied solely with human beings, but with the completeness and complementarity of Creation.

Commenting on Genesis 2:1: /Completed now were heaven and earth *and all their host*/, the Midrash teaches, “Even those creatures that you may look upon as superfluous in the world, such as flies, fleas or gnats—they too are part of the entirety of creation. The Holy One effects God’s purpose through all creatures, even through a frog or a flea” (/B’reishit Rabbah/ 10:7). Every element of creation serves God, not just people. Each one of God’s creations is one building block in the total structure of the world, and without one piece, the structure would collapse. Lest we think that we are the only creatures on earth that can accomplish what God wants, we are to remember that even the seemingly insignificant fly and gnat also each have their own purpose.

Humans are indeed set apart. In one respect, humans are the pinnacle of creation, for the entire story to follow is of human-centered orientation! However, our blessing to master over the earth is to be understood as a statement of our responsibility as sentry over everything that has unique purpose. Among all God’s creatures, we are the only ones capable of appreciating the moral value of the creation process. We do so every morning when we say the prayer that recognizes creation, the /Yotzer/. We praise God who “forms light and creates darkness, makes peace and creates all,” lessening the shock value of the verse from Isaiah 45:7, /I form light and create darkness, I make peace and create evil. /The preeminence that humans have in creation is the unique ability to care for the rest of creation, to appreciate the scope, depth and sanctity of God’s work, and ultimately to accept the responsibility of becoming co-creators of this world.

*Table talk*

1. God’s role in the story of creation is not only to create, but also to appreciate each aspect of creation and approve of it. Why is it important to recognize good work, even your own? How do you do this?
2. There are no creatures that do not have a function in creation. Choose one towards which you have negative feelings, and learn about it so that you can explain the important role it plays.
3. In our comment, we discussed several ways that humans are distinct from the rest of creation. In what other ways are we unique? What characteristics do we share with other creations?

Copyright © 2005, Union for Reform Judaism

4. Commentary Article on Animal Rights

[Judaism teaches that human beings are uniquely created in God’s image, but that Judaism has very powerful teachings on compassion to animals. I believe that it is essential that we keep both these teachings in mind as we try to work effectively in the Jewish community. With this in mind, I am including the article below as food for thought as we wrestle with the issues. Comments/suggestions welcome.]
The current, October 8, issue of New Scientist, includes a commentary piece on animal rights by Professor Gary Francione. (Pg 24.) The first few paragraphs are available on line at http://www.newscientist.com/channel/opinion/mg18825205.100 (the website is worth checking out) and I will paste the full piece below.

If your views align with Francione's, please send an appreciative letter to the editor. The magazine takes letters at:

Here's the article:
One right for all; We treat animals how we used to treat human slaves. What possible justification is there for that, asks Gary Francione
Do animals have moral rights? What kind of legal status should we afford them? This debate has become hugely confused. Some animal rights campaigners maintain that we should allow animals the same rights enjoyed by humans. That is, of course, absurd. There are many human rights that simply have no application to non-humans.

I would like to propose something a little different: that a sensible and coherent theory of animal rights should focus on just one right for animals. That is the right not to be treated as the property of humans.

Let me explain why this makes sense. At present, animals are commodities that we own in the same way that we own automobiles or furniture. Like these inanimate forms of property, animals have only the value that we choose to give them. Any moral or other interest an animal has represents an economic cost that we can choose to ignore.

We have laws that supposedly regulate our treatment of our animal property, and prohibit the infliction of "unnecessary" suffering. These laws require that we balance the interests of humans and animals in order to ensure that animals are treated "humanely". It is, however, a fallacy to suppose that we can balance human interests, which are protected by claims of right in general and of a right to own property in particular, against the interests of animals which, as property, exist only as a means to the ends of humans. The animal in question is always a "pet" or a "laboratory animal" or a "game animal" or a "food animal" or a "circus animal" or some other form of animal property that exists solely for our use. We prohibit animal suffering only when it has no economic benefit. The balance is unbalanced from the outset.

There are parallels here with the institution of human slavery. While we tolerate varying degrees of human exploitation, we no longer regard it as legitimate to treat anyone, irrespective of their particular characteristics, as the property of others. In a world deeply divided on many moral issues, one of the few norms steadfastly endorsed by the international community is the prohibition of human slavery. Some forms of slavery are worse than others, yet we prohibit all of them – however "humane" – because they more or less allow the fundamental interests of slaves to be ignored if it provides a benefit to slave owners. We recognize all humans as having a basic right not to be treated as the property of others.

Is there a morally sound reason not to extend this single right – the right not to be treated as property – to animals? Or to ask the question another way, why do we deem it acceptable to eat animals, hunt them, confine and display them in circuses and zoos, use them in experiments or rodeos, or otherwise treat them in ways in which we would never think it appropriate to treat any human irrespective of how "humane" we were being?

The response that animals lack some special characteristic that is possessed solely by humans not only flies in the face of the theory of evolution, but is completely irrelevant to whether it is morally permissible to treat non-humans as commodities – just as differences among humans would not serve to justify treating some as slaves. Also of no use is the response that it is acceptable for humans to exploit non-humans because it is "traditional" or "natural" to do so. This merely states a conclusion and does not constitute an argument.

The bottom line is that we cannot justify human domination of non-humans except by appeal to religious superstition focused on the supposed spiritual superiority of humans. [Such statements have the potential to divide groups of people and they are, I believe, very counterproductive in terms of promoting vegetarianism and better conditions for animals. I believe in seeking common ground and not making divisive statements. The reality is that Judaism has many very powerful teachings on compassion to animals. If these teachings were followed, there would be far less mistreatment of animal. Since people are created in God’s image, we should imitate God’s positive traits of compassion, justice, and sharing. That people were given dominion means that we should be responsible stewards. Only human beings can make choices re our diets and we have the capacity to make changes that can be very positive or negative for the future of humanity.] Our "conflicts" with animals are mostly of our own doing. We bring billions of sentient animals into the world in order to kill them for reasons that are often trivial. We then seek to understand the nature of our moral obligations to these animals. But by bringing these animals into existence for reasons that we would never consider appropriate for humans, we have already decided that animals are outside the scope of our moral community altogether.

Accepting that animals have this one right does not entail letting cows, chickens, pigs and dogs run free in the streets. We have brought these animals into existence and they depend on us for their survival. We should care for those currently in existence, but we should stop causing more to come into being to serve as our resources. We would thereby eliminate any supposed conflicts we have with animals. We may still have conflicts with wild animals, and we would have to address hard questions about how to apply equal consideration to humans and animals in those circumstances.

Recognizing animal rights really means accepting that we have a duty not to treat sentient non-humans as resources. The interesting question is not whether the cow should be able to sue the farmer for cruel treatment, but why the cow is there in the first place.

Gary Francione is professor of law and Nicholas deB. Katzenbach Distinguished Scholar of Law and Philosophy at Rutgers University School of Law, New Jersey

5. Historical Note Re Meat-Eating in the Jewish Community

MEAT IN THE STETL -- a historical reference
By Rabbi Yonnassan Gershom

Here's a useful reference for something we all "know" but may sometimes need to footnote for the carnivorous skeptics:
This material comes from a book of artwork entitled "Memories of My Life in a Polish Village" by Toby Knobel Fluek, a Holocaust survivor who grew up on a farm in Poland. (Which is why I bought the book -- about a Jewish stetl farmer! Published by Alfred A. Knopf, 1990.)

The book consists of 94 paintings and drawings of her life before and during the Holocaust, arranged in chronological order. With each painting she provides an explanation. On page 14 for the still-life painting "Red Potatoes," she writes: "Potatoes were the main source of nourishment. We grew them in our fields. They were used in countless main dishes. We boiled, baked, and mashed potatoes... There was a song we used to sing: "Sunday Potatoes, Monday Potatoes, Tuesday and Wednesday Potatoes, Thursday Potatoes, Friday Potatoes, Shabbos in cholent (Sabbath stew) also Potatoes!"

[Author’s note: I remember this song in Yiddish: "Sontag bulbes, Montag bulbes..." only our version had a "bulbeleh kicheleh" (potato kugel) for Shabbos.]

Fluek's family had other veggies as well and yes, meat was eaten, but not for everyday meals. On page 22 for the drawing "Koshering the Meat" she writes: "Chicken and flanken (beef) we ate only for Sabbath meals. A midweek meat meal we had once in a while when Father slaughtered an animal. He sold most of the meat, and then we would have a treat, dinner made from the lungs, heart, pancreas, liver and cheeks. Drelis, a chilled stew from calves' feet, was a Sabbath delicacy, and the small intestines would make another meal."

As unappetizing as that might sound to a vegetarian, it does prove this important point: Meat was NOT eaten every day by traditional Jews even as recently as 50 years ago. This was a Jewish farm family who raised their own animals and, we can assume, took good care of them. When they did slaughter, a relatively rare occurrence, nothing was wasted. Every possible part of the animal was eaten or otherwise used. Hence the above recipes for the organs and feet – parts that are discarded as "animal by-products" today. We should also note that stetl Jews used to trayber (remove the sciatic nerve, which is forbidden to eat) from the flank of the animal. Today this is rarely done, because it is too time-consuming for the high-speed assembly line. Instead, the hindquarters are sold to the non-kosher market. Which means that a LOT of the meat from a kosher slaughtered animal is never even eaten by Jews.

We should also note that this book is about an observant, Orthodox family -- Ms. Fluek's painting of her father in his Sabbath finery (page 24) shows him wearing a Hasidic streimel (traditional fur hat). I mention this because the modern Hasidic diet is very meat-oriented, but this is a relatively new phenomenon. When we read stories about Hasidic masters "raising holy sparks" by eating meat, it is important to keep in mind that the meat was almost ALWAYS being eaten on the Sabbath or a holy day, in an atmosphere of worship, song, storytelling and community. This is in sharp contrast to wolfing down a corned beef sandwich on the subway or
nibbling on sausage slices while sitting in gridlock traffic. (I am currently working on a longer article to address this issue of "holy sparks" more fully.)

[I expect to include that article in a JVNA newsletter once it is completed.]

You can read my full review of this book on Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0394586174/yonassangershoms
posted at: http://discussions.pbs.org/viewtopic.pbs?t=27759

I went to a meeting recently of representatives from local religious communities who want to fight hunger locally and throughout the world.

I want to see our religious communities--and all of us who strive to be moral beings--consider the moral arguments about what we eat. If we come together to address the problem of hunger, it seems fair to raise the point that a much more efficient use of natural resources will mean fewer hungry people. The limited amount of natural resources--earth's surface, aquifer water and petroleum--available for planting, watering and fertilizing crop can feed more people when we eat the grains and other plants directly rather than process them through the bodies of animals such as cows, pigs, various kinds of birds, etc.

If we want to feed more people and we are coming up against limits on natural resources involved in food production, then we must be interested in finding the more efficient sources of nutrition.

In the large group that I saw that night, no one said that they knew a moral argument related to what we eat. I think this question of whether we use our precious life-sustaining resources efficiently, (so fewer or no people are hungry, and wildlife and biodiversity are not needlessly distroyed), is a moral question. We should choose a more environmentally friendly diet-style over a less environmentally friendly diet-style. Our times demand it. We need to respond intelligently and morally to the reality of our situation.

Another moral argument related to what we eat would be that we treat beings as things when we mechanize animal agriculture and intensify confinement systems: more crowding, more abuse, more fetid, miserable conditions, more pollution. Treating a being as a thing is tantamount to slavery. It is wrong.

Do we want a culture of tolerance and non-violence? We can bring ourselves closer to achieving this goal by developing a deeper respect for one another's person and psyche. To say that we must recognize others as individuals who are not objects but who are subjects of their own lives would be to state the obvious.

We sometimes come to know members of other species as individuals. We see their unique personalities. We feel a concern for their interests and well-being. But at the same time, we prefer not to consider the fact that creatures held captive on our behalf in conditions that we do not want to know about are themselves unique individuals, subjects of their own lives--not objects to be used by us as means to our ends.

Where is the sense of outrage?

John Champagne
A truly democratic society:

8. Lecture About Bird Flu Scheduled

Forwarded message:

Join Healthy Planet for fun, friends and a completely plant-based finger foods
Hear Dr. Michael Greger speak about
"The scary truth about bird flu"
Saturday, October 29th, 2005

Sweet Hollow Hall in Melville
in West Hills County Park
Doors Open: 6:15 p.m. Lecture: 7:30 p.m.
Attend any or all portions of the event!

=> Bring healthful finger foods to share all night
=> Bring the whole family for fun, dancing, prizes


HealthyPlanet is an all new, fast growing, mostly volunteer group whose mission is to promote food choices and lifestyles that respect our bodies and our shared environment.They educate people about the deep connection among all life on Earth, and the powerful effect our everyday choices can have on creating a cleaner, healthier and more compassionate world.

9. World Go-Vegan Days Announced

World Go-Vegan Days Mission Statement

The purpose of IDA's [IDA stands for “In Defense of Animals.”] World Go Vegan Days is to spread information and educate people about the vegan lifestyle, which is a compassionate way of eating and living. Veganism is a healthy choice that shows love and respect for animals, the environment and your own life. As a vehicle to promote veganism each year through outreach events and the media, we hope that World Go Vegan Days will help make the word "vegan" a household term that is universally recognized as meaning love and compassion for all living beings.

"World Go Vegan Days" is also about celebrating what it means to be vegan. Veganism enables people to live in balance with all of Earth's creatures and promote freedom for animals from exploitation as part of their everyday lives. Modern animal agriculture is cruel and violent toward the chickens, cows, pigs and other creatures used to make meat, milk and eggs. During World Go Vegan Days, we encourage people to become conscious of what - and who - they are eating, the effect it has on the world, and that a non-violent alternative exists.

For the health of people, the environment, and farmed animals, veganism is the best choice. World Go Vegan Days embodies this idea. As an international campaign, it encourages people around the world to experience the benefits and joys of a more compassionate way of life.

Find out more:

Celebrating the power and compassion of veganism.
October 30th - November 1st

Help celebrate World Go Vegan Days:

* Share a delicious vegan meal with family and friends by hosting a vegan potluck dinner or restaurant outing. Visit www.happycow.net for reviews of vegetarian restaurants in Tennessee and around the country.
* Enter cooking competitions using vegan recipes. Label them "vegan" so people know that your delicious dishes don't contain any animal ingredients.
* Teachers: talk with your class about veganism and the importance of respect for animals.
* Students: write a paper on veganism, hand out vegan literature at a college campus or help get vegan meals into your school's cafeteria. Visit www.idausa.org/campaigns/choice to learn how.
* Ask your local newspaper to feature a story about the benefits of a vegan diet or the cruelties of factory farming, or write a letter to the editor on the subject.

For more great ideas visit Action Center

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