February 28, 2006

2/28/06 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

1a. Using Earth Day 2006 to Promote Vegetarianism and Environmental Activism

1. Announcing a JVNA “Ask the Rabbi” Campaign/My Question

2. Roberta Kalechofsky’s New Book on Animal-Issues

3. Very Challenging Article re Potentially Catstrophic Consequences of Global Warming

5. Recent Reviews of “101 Reasons Why I'm a Vegetarian” by Pamela Rice

6. Former President Bush Speechwriter Blasts Factory Farming

7. Report From JVNA Advisor David Cantor on Activities of His Group “Responsible Policies for Animals” (RPA)

8. Update on Foie Gras Ban in Israel

9. Help Stop Seal Slaughter in Canada

10. Help End the Slaughter of Dolphins

11. Connection Between Bird Flu and Factory Farming

12. Worldwatch Institute Connects Factory Farming to Many Current Threats

13. Israeli Site Features Biblical Plants

14. Another Report Re the Increasing Potential of Catastrophic Global Warming Effects

15. How Animal-Based Diets Contribute to Water Shortages and Coming Food Shortages/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.


1a. Using Earth Day 2006 to Promote Vegetarianism and Environmental Activism

As indicated in the special JVNA newsletter sent out yesterday, I am spearheading campaigns to:

* Celebrate Earth Day 2006 (Saturday, April 22, 2006) as an “Environmental Shabbat” (and more broadly as an “Environmental Sabbath;”

* Get a shift toward vegetarianism onto the Earth Day 2006 agenda.

If you have any suggestions re these projects and/or would like to help, please let me know. Many thanks.

1. Announcing a JVNA “Ask the Rabbi” Campaign/My Question

There are many “Ask the Rabbi” links on the Internet, places where questions can be asked of a wide variety of rabbis. As I have indicated several times already, our efforts to get a respectful dialogue on vegetarianism onto the Jewish agenda has had little success. Perhaps we can change this with a widespread campaign to have many of us ask respectful questions on vegetarianism and related issues. A question that I sent to 5 or 6 rabbis is below. If you do an Internet search for “Ask the Rabbi,” you will see something like what I received below from a Google search. There are many additional pages with many “Ask the Rabbi” connections.

So, please do a search and please send a respectful letter to many rabbis. If you can find even one hour for this, it can have a major impact. Please forward any significant responses to me. Thanks.
Google Search Results

PreferencesWeb Results 1 - 10 of about 7,010,000 for Ask the Rabbi. (0.52 seconds) Sponsored Links
In Brooklyn by Samuel M. Katz
www.eBay.comSponsored Link
Ask the rabbi
www.AskMoses.comGet Answers to Jewish Questions Now Live Assistance Always Available.
Ask a Rabbi
A fun and useful web site whereby the user can ask questions and receive answers from Rabbis from around the world.
www.askarabbi.com/ - 14k - Cached - Similar pages
Message Board - Ask a Rabbi - Meet the Rabbis - Fun and Games
More results from www.askarabbi.com »
Ohr Somayach - Ask The Rabbi / Search
Ohr Somayach's ask a rabbi program. Their staff of rabbis and educators research and answer questions on Judaism.
ohr.edu/yhiy.php/explore_judaism/ask_the_rabbi/ - 18k - Cached - Similar pages
Ask the Rabbi at Aish.com - We'll give you answers
Questions about judaism? From torah and being jewish to spirituality, kabbalah and more - our rabbis will answer you.
www.aish.com/rabbi/ - 29k - Feb 23, 2006 - Cached - Similar pages
Ask the Rabbi Chabad.org
Chabad.org's Ask the Rabbi service. Staffed by Chabad Rabbis worldwide.
www.chabad.org/tools/asktherabbi.asp - 31k - Cached - Similar pages
Jewish Community Online: Ask A Rabbi
Users can specify from which denomination they want an answer and a rabbi will personally (and confidentially) answer questions via e-mail in a day or two.
www.jewish.com/askarabbi/ - 1k - Cached - Similar pages
Just Ask The Rabbi - The Place For All Your Questions
Ask the Rabbi - Just ask your question and a staff of scholars will quickly answer it. Service provided by Gateways.
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Arutz 7
Arutz Sheva’s weekly “Ask The Rabbi” column answers questions about Jewish values ... The "Ask The Rabbi" column is underwritten by a special grant from the ...
israelnationalnews.com/english/ newspaper/torah/ask-rabbi.htm - 19k - Cached - Similar pages
AskMoses.com - Judaism, Ask a Rabbi - Live
Ask a Rabbi - Chat Live with a Rabbi or Scholar - online twenty four hours-a-day, six days-a-week.
www.askmoses.com/ - 25k - Feb 23, 2006 - Cached - Similar pages
Ask the Rabbi
Wherever you are, however much you know - Ask the Rabbi ... Our "Ask-the-Rabbi" service can't replace direct personal contact with a real live Rabbi. ...
www.ohr.org.il/ask/page/askrabbi.htm - 52k - Cached - Similar pages
Union for Reform Judaism - Ask the Rabbi & FAQ
If you are looking for a rabbi for a life cycle event, please contact your congregational rabbi or the rabbi ... Up to top of page Back to Ask the Rabbi & FAQ.
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Here is my letter to the rabbis at the “Ask the Rabbi” sites:

Dear Rabbi,

In view of important Jewish mandates to preserve human health, attend to the welfare of animals, protect the environment, conserve resources, help feed hungry people, and pursue peace, and since animal-centered diets violate and contradict each of these responsibilities, shouldn’t Jews (and others) sharply reduce or eliminate their consumption of animal products.

In responding, please consider how the mass production and widespread consumption of meat not only contradicts many Jewish teachings but also harms people, communities, and the planet. Also, please consider the following re how high meat consumption and the ways in which meat is produced today conflict with Judaism in at least six important areas:

- While Judaism mandates that people should be very careful about preserving their health and their lives, numerous scientific studies have linked animal-based diets directly to heart disease, stroke, many forms of cancer, and other chronic degenerative diseases.

- While Judaism forbids tsa'ar ba'alei chayim, inflicting unnecessary pain on animals, most farm animals -- including those raised for kosher consumers -- are raised on "factory farms" where they live in cramped, confined spaces, and are often drugged, mutilated, and denied fresh air, sunlight, exercise, and any enjoyment of life, before they are slaughtered and eaten.

- While Judaism teaches that "the earth is the Lord’s" (Psalm 24:1) and that we are to be God's partners and co-workers in preserving the world, modern intensive livestock agriculture contributes substantially to soil erosion and depletion, air and water pollution, overuse of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, the destruction of tropical rain forests and other habitats, global warming, and other environmental damage.

- While Judaism mandates bal tashchit, that we are not to waste or unnecessarily destroy anything of value, and that we are not to use more than is needed to accomplish a purpose, animal agriculture requires the wasteful use of grain, land, water, energy, and other resources.

- While Judaism stresses that we are to assist the poor and share our bread with hungry people, over 70% of the grain grown in the United States is fed to animals destined for slaughter, while an estimated 20 million people worldwide die because of hunger and its effects each year.

- While Judaism stresses that we must seek and pursue peace and that violence results from unjust conditions, animal-centered diets, by wasting valuable resources, help to perpetuate the widespread hunger and poverty that eventually lead to instability and war.

One could say "dayenu" (it would be enough) after any of the arguments above, because each one constitutes by itself a serious conflict between Jewish values and current practice that should impel Jews to seriously consider a plant-based diet. Combined, they make an urgently compelling case for the Jewish community to address these issues.

Thank you very much for your consideration of these issues and my question, and I look forward to your response. I would be happy to send you a complimentary copy of my book “Judaism and Vegetarianism” and some related material, if you send me your mailing address.

Kol tuv v’shalom,

Richard (Schwartz)
President (Jewish Vegetarians of North America)

2. Roberta Kalechofsky’s New Book on Animal-Issues

Forwarded message:

[Roberta is a long-time JVNA advisor. She founded and now is president of Jews for Animal Rights (JAR) and Micah Publications (a major publisher of books on Jewish teachings on vegetarianism and animal issues, and other topics.]

[I am very backed-up on my reading, but I hope to later send out a special newsletter devoted to book reviews. If you would like to submit an objective review of a vegetarian-related book, please do so. Thanks.]

Below is a description of Roberta’s book:

Job Enters A Pain Clinic & Other Stories

Roberta Kalechofsky

Publishing Date: Dec. 26, 2005
5-1/2 X 8-1/2
214 pages

Roberta Kalechofsky’s seventh work of fiction is dedicated to Amos, a Yerkes laboratory chimpanzee. Kalechofsky has been an animal rights activist for over twenty years and her anti-vivisection stance is brilliantly articulated in this collection of twelve stories.Grim stories, such as “Meditation on an Animal,” which describes a primate who self-mutilates in protest against her painful experiments, are balanced by humorous stories, such “Mary, Mary,” inspired by the Nobel Prize Winners Semen Bank: Clara H (her name remains anonymous to protect the guilty) has a high I.Q., and accepts artificial insemination to protect her I.Q. lineage, but succumbs to ordinary female angst at motherhood and anger at men. In “Lady Death,” a“retired” ballerina conceives of a way to have art--and technology--make death seductive. Grim or humorous, bodily pain, medical technology and death, wittily conceived or with the pathos of the lyrical “Myra is Dying” are the prevalent themes.

Some stories are based on true events. Such is “My Poor Prisoner,” the story of the 1930s Berlin cabaret poet, Eric Muhsam, and his imprisonment in Oranienberg in 1934, where the Nazis tortured a chimpanzee in order to drive Muhsam to suicide. Or the story set in Ravensbruck, the women’s concentration camp in the Nazi regime, where women of all backgrounds were sent: Jews, Communists, women who had been in the French underground, prostitutes, women who had committed “race defilement.” Ms. Kalechofsky’s fictional genius creates Magda, the beautiful but passive Aryan; Fonya, the bitter, dark-souled Jewish communist; Katerina, the “Russian ice princess”; and Resi, the defiant prostitute, who are thrown together by their selection for the hypothermia experiments, and by the fate of a modernity shaped by technology.

The pain clinic Kalechofsky’s modern Job enters is modernity, its artificial atmosphere, and its omnipresent concern with disease and health. This modern Job suffers from an undiagnosable back problem and spends his days in a perpetual round of massages, jacuzzi treatments, acupuncture, and the pursuit of a pill to eliminate his pain. This is Job’s grand subject---as in the Bible and today. He runs a website, which gets thousands of hits a week from similar sufferers. The story, as Cynthia Ozick remarked, is Kafkaesque, a witty “nightmare vision.” Job’s wife is “Everywoman” married to an irascible sufferer.

3. Very Challenging Article re Potentially Catstrophic Consequences of Global Warming

[This article shows once again very powerfully why our efforts to get vegetarianism and increased environmental activism onto the Jewish and other agendas.]

Published on Wednesday, February 22, 2006 by
Hotter, Faster, Worser
by John Atcheson

Over the past several months, the normally restrained voice of science has taken on a distinct note of panic when it comes to global warming.

How did we go from debating the "uncertainty" behind climate science to near hysterical warnings from normally sober scientists about irrevocable and catastrophic consequences? Two reasons.

First, there hasn’t been any real uncertainty in the scientific community for more than a decade. An unholy alliance of key fossil fuel corporations and conservative politicians have waged a sophisticated and well-funded misinformation campaign to create doubt and controversy in the face of nearly universal scientific consensus. In this, they were aided and abetted by a press which loved controversy more than truth, and by the Bush administration, which has systematically tried to distort the science and silence and intimidate government scientists who sought to speak out on global warming.

But the second reason is that the scientific community failed to adequately anticipate and model several positive feedback loops that profoundly amplify the rate and extent of human-induced climate change. And in the case of global warming, positive feedback loops can have some very negative consequences. The plain fact is, we are fast approaching and perhaps well past several tipping points which would make global warming irreversible.

In an editorial in the Baltimore Sun on December 15th, 2004 this author outlined one such tipping point: a self-reinforcing feedback loop in which higher temperatures caused methane, a powerful heat-trapping greenhouse gas (GHG) to escape from ice-like structures called clathrates, which raised the temperature which caused more methane to be released and so on. Even though there was strong evidence that this mechanism had contributed to at least two extreme warming events in the geologic past, the scientific community hadn’t yet focused on methane ices in 2004. Even among the few pessimists who had, we believed or hoped that we had a decade or so before anything like it began happening again.

We were wrong.

In August of 2005 a team of scientists from Oxford and Tomsk University in Russia announced that a massive Siberian peat bog the size of Germany and France combined was melting, releasing billions of tons of methane as it did.

The last time it got warm enough to set off this feedback loop was 55 million years ago in a period known as the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum or PETM, when increased volcanic activity released enough GHGs to trigger a series of self-reinforcing methane burps. The resulting warming caused massive die-offs and it took more than a 100,000

years for the earth to recover.

It looks like we’re on the verge of triggering a far worse event. At a recent meeting of the American Academy for the Advancement of Sciences in St. Louis, James Zachos, foremost expert on the PETM reported that greenhouse gasses are accumulating in the atmosphere at thirty times the speed with which they did during the PETM.

We may have just witnessed the first salvo in what could prove to be an irreversible trip to hell on earth.

There are other positive feedback loops we’ve failed to anticipate. For example, the heat wave in Europe that killed 35,000 people in 2003 also damaged European woodlands, causing them to release more carbon dioxide, the main GHG, than they sequester, exactly the opposite of the
assumptions built into our models, which treat forests as sponges that sop up excess carbon.

The same thing is happening to a number of other ecosystems that our models and scientists have treated as carbon sinks. The Amazon rainforest, the boreal forests (one of the largest terrestrial carbon sinks in the planet), and soils in temperate areas are all releasing more carbon than they are absorbing, due to global warming-induced droughts, diseases, pest activty, and metabolic changes. In short, many of the things we treat as carbon sponges in our models aren’t sopping up excess carbon; they’re being wrung out and releasing extra carbon.

The polar ice cap is also melting far faster than models predict, setting off another feedback loop. Less ice means more open water, which absorbs more heat which means less ice, and so on.

Even worse, we’ve substantially underestimated the rate at which continental glaciers are melting.

Climate change models predicted that it would take more than 1,000 years for Greenland’s ice sheet to melt. But at the AAAS meeting in St. Louis, NASA’s Eric Rignot outlined the results of a study that shows Greenland’s ice cover is breaking apart and flowing into the sea at rates far in excess of anything scientists predicted, and it’s accelerating each year. If (or when) Greenland’s ice cover melts, it will raise sea levels by 21 feet, enough to inundate nearly every sea port in America.

In the Antarctic seas, another potentially devastating feedback loop is taking place. Populations of krill have plummeted by 80% in the last few years due to loss of sea ice. Krill are the single most important species in the marine food chain, and they also extract massive amounts of carbon out of the atmosphere. No one predicted their demise, but the ramifications for both global warming and the health of marine ecosystems are disastrous. This, too, will likely feed on itself, as less krill means more carbon stays in the atmosphere, which means warmer seas, which means less ice, which means less krill and so on in a massive negative spiral.

One of our preeminent planetary scientists, James Lovelock, believes that in the not too distant future humans will be restricted to a relatively few breeding pairs in Antarctica. It would be comfortable to dismiss Professor Lovelock as a doom and gloom crazy, but that would be a mistake. A little over a year ago at the conclusion of a global conference in Exeter England on Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change, scientists warned that if we allowed atmospheric concentrations of GHG to exceed 400 ppm, we could trigger serious and irreversible consequences. We passed that milestone in 2005 with little notice and no fanfare.

The scientific uncertainty in global warming isn’t about whether it’s occurring or whether it’s caused by human activity, or even if it will "cost" us too much to deal with it now. That’s all been settled. Scientists are now debating whether it’s too late to prevent planetary devastation, or whether we have yet a small window to forestall the worst effects of global warming.

Our children may forgive us the debts we’re passing on to them, they may forgive us if terrorism persists, they may forgive us for waging war instead of pursuing peace, they may even forgive us for squandering the opportunity to put the nuclear genie back in the bottle. But they will spit on our bones and curse our names if we pass on a world that is barely habitable when it was in our power to prevent it.

And they will be right to do so.

John Atcheson's writing has appeared in the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun, the San Jose Mercury News, the Memphis Commercial Appeal, as well as in several wonk ournals. Email to: atchman@comcast.net

5. Recent Reviews of “101 Reasons Why I'm a Vegetarian” by Pamela Rice

Reviews by:

* William Harris, M.D., The Island Vegetarian, the newsletter of the Vegetarian Society of Hawaii: "Pamela writes cogently and with an underlying passion for her subject, and while she admits it's a negative one, her personal attitude is positive with a hope that things will get better."

* Lisa Giddens-White (Amazon.com post): "Be prepared, this is no ordinary book on vegetarianism. It is truly a gift to society. Unapologetic and direct, yet still light and conversational. A treasured resource to be referred to again and again."

Complete reviews follow:
The following review appeared in The Island Vegetarian, the newsletter of the Vegetarian Society of Hawaii, Quarter One, 2006

101 Reasons Why I'm a Vegetarian
by Pamela Rice
Paperback: 253 pages
Publisher: Lantern Books
SBN: 1590560752

Pam Rice is the chief cook and bottle washer for the VivaVegie Society (New York City), which has an actual physical office where veggies can comfortably hang out by appointment. The mailing address is P.O. Box 294 Prince Street Station, New York, NY 10012-0005 and the phone number is 212-242-0011, just in case you're going there anytime soon.

Pam founded the group in 1991. By day she's a writer, but her true avocation is the assembly of an accurate and exhaustive list of references supporting vegetarianism, for which she gets paid-guess what-nothing. The 101 Reasons, plus a lot more, is accessible for free at her VivaVegie website, but this book puts it all in a portable format. The book gives solid documentation with 28 pages of references, about 50 to a page, so something like 1400 in all. Mostly the articles are from reliable media sources like AP, The New York Times, and Guardian with a sprinkling of EPA, The Meating Place, and USDA documents thrown in. Some of the citations are accompanied by URLs, but not all, and for the benefit of readers too lazy to dig in a library, of which your humble correspondent is a splendid example, more would have been welcome.

Not that the book itself is a dry read. Pamela writes cogently and with an underlying passion for her subject, and while she admits it's a negative one, her personal attitude is positive with a hope that things will get better. She has always been good at tracking the spoor of the USDA and its financial bailouts for the meat and dairy industries, and in Chapter 44 she details 10 separate and flagrant categories, wryly suggesting we need "a separation of meat and state." "It is high time that those who choose meat pay the true cost of their predilection" (i.e., cut out the subsidies, already).

6. Former President Bush Speechwriter Blasts Factory Farming

Forwarded message from Dawnwatch:

Matthew Scully has a beautiful op-ed in the Sunday, February 19, Arizona Republic. It is written specifically in support of a ballot measure that would ban sow gestation and veal crates in that state, but it reads as a strong indictment of factory farming. It is on line at and I will paste the article below, encouraging people to read the whole piece and forward it widely. Supportive letters, particularly needed from those in Arizona, should be submitted here.

Here is Scully's piece:

A sunless hell
Confronting the cruel facts of factory-farmed meat

Matthew Scully
Special for the Republic

Arizona voters will be asked this fall to weigh in on a ballot measure called the Humane Treatment of Farm Animals Act, which is now in the signature-gathering stage but, by November, is certain to be one of our livelier election-year debates.

The initiative, modeled on a reform passed by Florida voters, would prohibit the factory-farming practice of confining pigs and veal calves in crates so small that the animals cannot even turn around or extend their limbs.

Factory farming, in general, is no one's favorite subject, and the details here are particularly unpleasant to think about: masses of creatures enduring lives of unrelieved confinement and deprivation. But if you're in need of reasons to sign the petitions and vote for the initiative, they are easy to find, and our discomfort with the subject is a good place to start.

Known in the trade as "intensive confinement" or "mass confinement," it sounds pretty rough. And as we're seeing already, pork producers and the PR firms in their hire do not take well to criticism of what they regard as "standard practice."

Just this month, the industry's allies in the Arizona Legislature proposed a constitutional amendment to bar the public from passing any laws promoting the humane treatment of farm animals, effective Jan. 1, 2006. Nice to have a fallback position: Even if the humane-farming initiative passes by vote of the people, as industry lobbyists apparently fear it will, they plan to nullify the law retroactively.

Basically, pork producers figured out some years ago that if they packed the maximum number of pigs into the minimum amount of space, if they pinned the creatures down into fit-to-size iron crates above slatted floors and carved out giant "lagoons" to contain the manure - if they turned the "farm," in short, into a sunless hell of metal and concrete - it made everything so much more efficient. An obvious cost-saver, and from the industry's standpoint, that should settle the matter.

Veal, by definition, is the product of a sick, anemic, deliberately malnourished calf, a newborn dragged away from his mother in the first hours of life. Veal calves are dealt the harshest of punishments for the least essential of meats. And if you think people can get too sentimental about animals, try listening sometime to chefs and gourmands going on about the "velvety smooth succulence" of their favorite fare.

"Cost-saver" in industrial livestock agriculture may usually be taken to mean "moral shortcut." For all of its "science-based" pretensions, factory farming is really just an elaborate, endless series of evasions from the most elementary duties of honest animal husbandry. Man, the rationalizing creature, can justify just about anything when there is money in sight. It's only easier when your victims are so completely out of sight and unable to speak for themselves.

Over the years, one miserly deprivation led to another, ever harsher methods were applied to force costs lower and lower, and so on until the animals ceased to be understood as living creatures at all. Pigs, for example, aren't even "raised" anymore, a term that once conveyed some human attention and care. These days, in America's 395,000-kills-per-day pork industry, pigs are "grown," crowded together by the hundreds in the automated, scientifically based intensive-confinement facilities formerly known as barns.

Unlike the old ways

To the factory farmer, in contrast to the traditional farmer with his sense of honor and obligation, the animals are "production units," and accorded all the sympathy that term suggests. As conservative commentator Fred Barnes put it in the Wall Street Journal, "On the old family farms, pigs and cattle and chickens were raised for food, but they were free for a time; they mated, raised piglets, calves and chicks and were protected by the farmers . . . . They had a life. On industrial farms, they don't."


The complete article can be found here.
(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 http://www.dawnwatch.com/cgi-bin/dada/dawnwatch_unsubscribe.cgi If you forward or reprint DawnWatch alerts please leave DawnWatch in the title and include this tag line.)

7. Report From JVNA Advisor David Cantor on Activities of His Group “Responsible Policies for Animals” (RPA)

Dear Responsible Policies for Animals Members & Friends,

I hope 2006 has started well for you and continues to bring good health, rewarding efforts for nonhuman animals, ecosystems and the humans who will benefit as well, and stamina to keep up the fight.

A few brief items of interest:
1. I will enjoy seeing you on Sunday, March 19th, if you can come to Philadelphia’s Singapore restaurant for an excellent plants-only Chinese meal and a screening of the video Earthlings. If you are among Responsible Policies for Animals’ (RPA’s) many members who live too far away for attending to be practical, please let your Philadelphia-area acquaintances know of the event.

Earthlings, a 95-minute documentary narrated by actor Joaquin Phoenix, uses hidden cameras to reveal daily activities of large animal-exploiting industries and discusses interconnections among humans, ecosystems, nonhuman animals, and the human economy. It is likely to add to the knowledge we use to educate about nonhuman animals’ need of legal rights – the goal of the animal rights movement and RPA’s work. RPA will have an exhibit and give out free literature. I will speak briefly, as will other activists, after the screening.
- Time: 1:00 P.M.
- Place: 1029 Race Street
- To sign up: Send $12 per person to Hugs for Puppies, P.O. Box 23819, Philadelphia, PA 19143. Please bring friends, family members, anyone who may be interested. (This is a Great American Meatout event – a portion of the proceeds will go to the Farm Animal Reform Movement.)

2. For an animal rights presentation on nutrition & the mind that I will give on Thursday, March 15th, to an “alternative” health organization, please let me know of any relevant research findings you might have discovered in your reading. In addition to what has long been known about links between flesh, milk & egg consumption & stroke and between “beef” & spongiform encephalopathies resembling “mad cow disease” in humans, much has been published in recent years on possible flesh, milk & egg connections to Alzheimer’s disease and other conditions directly affecting the brain.

Information and theories also exist on attitudes, energy levels, behavior, and other mind-related aspects of diet. And of special interest: widely held misconceptions about human evolution, anatomy & physiology, a “food chain,” a “Great Chain of Being,” and other mental habits that perpetuate animal exploitation. In other words, we’ll explore effects on the mind and brain from inside and from outside.

3. RPA recently began the phase of its (your) 10,000 Years Is Enough campaign in which we inform our land-grant universities’ (LGUs’) boards of trustees / regents about the four mailings we’ve sent to the presidents of the 50 states’ main LGUs and urge the boards to address the “animal science” problem.

Having contacted the U.S. House and Senate agriculture committee chairmen & ranking members about the “animal science” problem, we are also proceeding with state legislatures’ agriculture committees. The 10,000 Years Is Enough campaign to eliminate “animal science” from these large & influential institutions will take long-term perseverance. If you would like to participate in this historic program – at your own pace, with RPA’s information and guidance – just let me know.The animals need people in every state (especially a state of determination!) to help end unconscionable, false teachings that harm billions and perpetuate needless slaughter and other atrocities.

The flesh, milk & egg industries and other powerful and well-funded agribusiness agencies & organizations of course oppose the 10,000 Years Is Enough campaign – they obtain billions of dollars’ worth of training, research, promotions, and other services from our LGUs’ “animal science” programs. The industries should be paying all costs themselves. Because our LGUs serve the industries, even dedicated vegans pay for cruelly produced pseudo-foods they think they are boycotting. Just one of many unjustifiable private-interest subsidies – but it’s the very worst one, IMHO!

Thanks for your work and support! Keep well!
Best wishes,
David Cantor
Executive Director
Responsible Policies for Animals, Inc.
P.O. Box 891
Glenside, PA 19038

Responsible Policies for Animals, Inc., a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit organization, shows influential people how to establish responsible policies for animals that are also responsible policies for people and ecosystems. RPA also shows animal rights advocates how to avoid the “welfare” trap and how to promote animal rights without resorting to antisocial behavior. RPA’s 10,000 Years Is Enough campaign aims to end our land-grant universities’ support of the flesh, milk, and egg industries. Its This Land Is Their Land campaign aims to protect wildlife by ending intentional killing and destructive land-use practices. RPA does not identify its supporters without express permission. Donations to RPA are tax deductible as allowed by law and may be made at the above address or website.

8. Update on Foie Gras Ban in Israel

Forwarded message:

Forced feeding of geese must end by mid-April
All 57,000 force fed geese must be slaughtered.
Shmuel Dekalo and Gadi Golan
22 Feb 0614:47

The High Court of Justice today ruled that the forced feeding of geese must end by mid-April, and that all 57,000 geese force fed to produce foie gras must be slaughtered. In their ruling, Judges Ayala Procaccia, Edna Arbel and Salim Joubran criticized the authorities for not carrying out a March 2005 High Court of Justice judgement on the matter.

Today’s ruling states that the state failed in its law enforcement duty to fulfill final court rulings, by issuing regulations banning the forced feeding of geese only seven months after the stipulated deadline. Procaccia therefore ordered Attorney General Menachem (Meni) Mazuz, the minister of agriculture, Israel Police, Ministry of Agriculture department of veterinary services and animal health, and the director for the prevention of cruelty to animals to pay NIS 30,000 court costs.

Geese Growers Association secretary Hai Benyamini slammed today’s ruling. He directed his anger and resentment towards the authorities, which hastily and cynically rendered 16 families unemployed by driving them into starvation and bankruptcy.

The High Court of Justice today ruled on two appeals, one by Let the Animals Live and Anonymous for Animal Rights, and a second by 75 farmers and others. The appeals were filed after the High Court of Justice ruled on August 11, 2003 that the forced feeding of geese was illegal because of the suffering it caused the animals.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes.co.il - on February 22, 2006

9. Help Stop Seal Slaughter in Canada

Forwarded message from the Humane Society of the U.S.:

Hi Richard,

In just a few weeks, the largest commercial slaughter of marine mammals is set to begin on the ice off Canada's East Coast. By the end of the hunt, it's predicted that more than 300,000 seals will be clubbed or shot to death by Canadian fishermen seeking to pick up a few extra dollars by selling their fur.

Almost all of these seals will be babies - some as young as 12 days old. Take action!

Last year, The Humane Society of the United States documented the carnage firsthand and what they saw was shocking: Most of these baby seals were cut open while they were conscious and still struggling.

While most Canadians surveyed are against the hunt, the Canadian government and fishing industry refuse to end it.

But this year, there is new hope on the ice. Canada recently elected a new prime minister. With enough public support, there's a good chance they may end this terrible hunt forever.

Tell Canada's new Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, that you do not support the annual slaughter of seals for their fur. Join The Humane Society of the United States in fighting to end the seal hunt now and forever by signing the petition!

It's time to stop this horrific cruelty against Canada's seals...Are you with me?

10. Help End the Slaughter of Dolphins

In a message dated 2/26/06 12:57:42 AM, hello@ipsodixit.com writes:

Hello and kind regards to you. Dear friends can you help me?
After discovering The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's call for help, i Am preparing a global challenge to put an END to the annual mass murder of Dolphins and small Whales by fishermen from the town of Taiji, Wakayama, Japan.

Absolutely Need all the help we can get. Intend to contact every group
And concerned person we can find. Also need to circulate as many copies of the Petition demanding that the Japanese government stop this slaughter.

The aim of the challenge is to bring as much media pressure to bear on The Japanese government as we can possibly muster.

Can you help in any way? Advice and suggestions will be well received.
Thank you.
Kind regards

And KAtsina
Manchester, England

11. Connection Between Bird Flu and Factory Farming

Article forwarded by JVNA advisor Dab Brook:

Factory Farms Blamed for Spread of Bird Flu
Published on Sunday, February 26, 2006 by the lndependent/UK
by Geoffrey Lean

Factory farming and the international poultry trade are largely responsible
for the spread of bird flu, and wild birds are being unfairly blamed for the
disease, a new report says.

The report says the deadly H5N1 virus developed inside intensive poultry units in Asia and has proliferated through exports of live birds and the use of chicken droppings as fertiliser. Its publication by Grain, an agricultural pressure group, follows an announcement that the virus has been found in a turkey farm in eastern France. Though the farm was close to where two infected wild ducks were found, all its 11,000 turkeys were kept indoors with no contact with wild birds.

Dissident scientists accept that the flu began in wild birds, but say it developed in the cramped conditions of Asian factory farms. Research published in the official journal of the US National Academy of Sciences blames the poultry trade for the virus spreading from China to Vietnam. BirdLife , a charity, says the virus's spread across Russia last summer - widely attributed to migrating birds - took place when birds were moulting and unable to fly. It adds that an outbreak in Nigeria took place on a factory farm far from migratory routes.

C 2006 Independent News and Media Limited

Other Resources:




12. Worldwatch Institute Connects Factory Farming to Many Current Threats

Forwarded message from JVNA advisors and authors Pamela Rice and Lewis Regenstein Pamela Rice

Worldwatch slams meat factory concept

Pradipta Mukherjee / Kolkata
February 22, 2006
Business Standard (India)

Since the latest outbreak of avian flu in Southeast Asia in 2003, public health officials, farmers, veterinarians, government officials and the media have referred to the threat as a 'natural' disaster.

However, avian flu, mad cow disease, and other emerging diseases that affect humans from animals are symptoms of a larger change taking place in agriculture - the spread of factory farming.

An article in the latest release from the Worldwatch Institute, titled 'Happier meals: Rethinking the global meat industry', research associate Danielle Nierenberg describes how factory farms are breaking the cycle between small farmers, their animals, and the environment, with collateral damage to human health and local communities.

Over the last half century, the human appetite for meat, milk and eggs, has soared in both industrial countries as well as developing countries. Globalised trade and media, lower meat prices, and urbanization have helped make diets that are high in animal protein a near-universal aspiration.

The article admits one benefit: the world price of beef per 100 kg has fallen by roughly 25 per cent of its value 30 years ago.

From the early 1970s to the mid-1990s, meat consumption in developing countries grew by 70 million tons, nearly triple the rise in ndustrial countries.

Industrial systems today generate 74 per cent of the world's poultry products, 50 per cent of all pork, 43 per cent of beef, and 68 per cent of eggs.

While industrial countries dominate productions, it is in developing nations where livestock producers are rapidly expanding and intensifying their production systems.

Today, confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), or factory farms, account for more than 40 per cent of world's meat production, up from 30 per cent in 1990.

The greatest rise in industrial animal operations is occurring near urban areas of Asia, Africa, and Latin America, where high population densities and weak public health, occupational and environmental standards are exacerbating the impacts of these farms.

The number of four-footed livestock on Earth at any given moment has increased 38 per cent since 1961, from 3.1 billion to more than 4.3 billion, while the global fowl population has quadrupled since 1961, from 4.2 billion to 17.8 billion birds.

Although India is thought of as a predominantly vegetarian country, especially because of Hindu beliefs in the sacredness of cows, production of non-beef animal products is growing rapidly. For example, India now ranks fifth in the world in both broiler and egg production.

Much of this production is occurring in large factory farms near densely populated cities, exacerbating concerns about health and environmental risks.

Addressing the ill-effects of factory farming will require a different approach to the way animals are raised.

Positive initiative include educating consumers about the benefits of organic and grass-fed livestock and of vegan and vegetarian diets, supporting small-scale livestock productions, encouraging producers to adopt alternative production methods, and improving occupational and welfare standards for both animals and industry workers.

In response to intensifying consumer demands and other factors, several food companies and international policymaking and funding institutions are exploring new approaches to the business of food.

In the United States, two major food companies have introduced more comprehensive animal welfare standards in the past decade.

In 2001, the World Bank reversed its previous commitment to fund large-scale livestock projects in developing nations, acknowledging that there was a significant danger of crowding out smaller farmers, eroding the environment, and threatening food safety and security.

In June 2005, the 167 member countries of the World Organisation for Animal Health unanimously adopted voluntary standards for the humane transportation and slaughter of animals.

13. Israeli Site Features Biblical Plants

Forwarded Message from Naot Kedumim (an Israeli group that runs a natural area that has many trails along which one can observe many trees and plants that are discussed in the Bible):

Dear Friends,

The current issue of Neot Kedumim News is now available on our website. I'm sure you will find it enjoyable and informative. Please note the information about the upcoming Benefit Concert. We have many supporters who have donated to the concert, even though they will not be able to attend. Some have taken out ads or greetings ($100 for a quarter page--2 free tickets; $150 for a half page--4 free tickets; $200 for a full page--4 free tickets. Some have asked to have their names listed in the concert program book at $50--no free tickets). Those who cannot attend have asked that their tickets be donated by AFNK to people who could use them. We are using these donated tickets to bring a group of local seniors to the concert.

If you have any questions about the Benefit Concert, how to construct your ad or greeting, or how to donate, please email me at ptobenfeld@hotmail.com.

To access the newsletter, simply go to our website at www.n-k.org.il and follow the publications link.


Paula Tobenfeld, President, American Friends of Neot Kedumim

14. Another Report Re the Increasing Potential of Catastrophic Global Warming Effects

Forwarded message from Insnet News Serviceinfo@insnet.org

2006-02-27 - New Zealand
Climate change forecast getting worse

For the past 12 months, merchants of doom have enjoyed a permanent rush hour. At every turn, it seems, another eminent scientist is warning of looming disaster. Professor James Lovelock, originator of the Gaia theory, says rising seas will one day engulf London. Not only that, but the Arctic circle will be premium real estate for those wretched bands of humans who survive the coming floods and lethally hot weather.

His advice? It's too late for timid measures. We need to quickly build nuclear power plants to avoid putting more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Lovelock's views are provocative. The cynics would also add that such views won't hurt sales of his book, The Revenge of Gaia.

But in recent months, a cascade of new scientific evidence on climate change has made even mainstream scientists increasingly concerned about what lies ahead.

One is Dr David Wratt, leader of the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research's national climate centre.

"Over the past few months in particular, knowledgeable scientists have got more concerned that there might not be just a gradual bit of warming, but there could be some more substantial and worrying things happen," he says.

So what are they worrying about, and should we be worried too?

Among the public, many believe the main scientific debate is whether climate change is for real.

After all, American President George Bush is reluctant to address climate change, so perhaps there is something to what the skeptics say.

But for scientists, the caravan moved on some time ago. Now the most urgent question is not whether climate change is real, but how serious and rapid it will be, and whether it will soon be too late to do anything to stop it.

To get a sense of mainstream scientific opinion, most governments look to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which distills the views of 1300 of the world's top experts.

Each country, including the United States, sends its best and brightest to contribute. Wratt is a star contributor. He sits on the inner circle of the IPCC as one of eight members of the working group that pulls together the report on the current scientific knowledge on climate change.

The last IPCC report, in 2001, concluded humans were indeed changing the climate. And it laid out a series of best estimates on what those changes might be.

Under these forecasts, the outlook for New Zealand a century from now doesn't look unbearable. The sea level is due to rise anywhere between 9cm and 88cm, but our location in the middle of the ocean is expected to take some of the edge off temperature rises. Our temperature is expected to rise around 2C.

The west of the country is expected to get wetter, the east will get drier and more drought-prone. We will be hit by more extreme weather, more storm damage, more erosion, more floods and stronger westerly winds.

We will have new warm weather pests and weeds to contend with.

But on the upside, warmer temperatures and more frost-free days should lift agricultural production in many parts of the country.

So far, so manageable. New Zealand certainly isn't expected to suffer the spreading deserts problems facing Australia under the same IPCC forecasts.

But where New Zealand scientists are watching the international debate closely is the risk of a more dangerous and rapid climate change.

One of Australia's respected senior climate scientists, retired Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation scientist Dr Barrie Pittock, was worried scientists had not been frank enough about the fact the outlook on climate change now included the possibility of calamitous change.

"My concern is there's a range of uncertainty in most aspects of climate change. The skeptics tend to look at the low end of the range and say maybe nothing's going to happen, or only very little things.

"But if you're taking a risk management approach then you've got to also look at the danger of something at the high end happening.

"That's the basic problem, and the one most scientists have shied away from because they don't want to sound alarmist," said Pittock, author of Climate Change: Turning Up the Heat.

Stirring up that debate internationally is Nasa climate scientist James Hansen, who was famously gagged by the Bush administration over his views on climate change. Press staff at Nasa tried to prevent reporters speaking to Hansen after a December lecture in which he said time was running out to prevent runaway climate change.

"I think sea-level rise is going to be the big issue soon, more even than warming itself," he said.

Hansen said the world was nearing a tipping point that would lead to sea level rises of 25m over coming centuries, the result of melting of most of the ice from Greenland and West Antarctica, as well as a portion of East Antarctica.


15. How Animal-Based Diets Contribute to Water Shortages and Coming Food Shortages/Please Write

Forwarded message from JVNA advisor and author Pam Rice:

Dear Richard: Here is an article from The Economist that accounts for something environmental vegetarians have been warning people about since the 1980s. It's really quite terrifying what it's saying about something in our own national back yard, and it's essentially all because of our nation's meat-based diet. As per typical, the article blames the livestock "operations," which are the immediate cause of the problem, not the meat eating behind those operation, and so leaves your average meat eater off the hook. in the popular mind, car driving is linked to global warming, yet meat eating is not associated with water shortages. The media need to hear from the vegetarian community on this. Time to send letters to the editor - in general, yes, to The Economist, at letters@economist.com .
- Pamela R.

[EXCERPT: ... a boom in cattle and pig operations has stretched [the
water] supply to the limits. ... cheap subsidised water has spurred
people (and farmers in particular) to overuse it.]


also posted at:

The Great Plains: Turning off the taps
Feb 9th 2006
From The Economist print edition

Amid all the other problems a growing need for new pipelines

THERE was a time when clean, sweet water bubbled up from wells in Hull. But like other Iowan towns, Hull's shallow aquifers left its water supply vulnerable to contamination. Pesticides and fertiliser leaked from local farms, raising sulphate levels in the well water and wreaking havoc on newcomers' digestive systems. Ten years ago, Hull capped its wells and turned to its neighbours for clean water. Now a boom in cattle and pig operations has stretched that supply to the limits. Without a new source of clean water, the town's future prosperity is doubtful.

Hull may be a harbinger of a drier future on the northern Plains. The town is one of many in the area whose groundwater has been contaminated by farm chemicals. Hull is one of 15 towns and five rural water systems, including South Dakota's biggest city, Sioux Falls, that have hitched their futures to the Lewis and Clark Rural Water System (LCRWS), a big new pipeline, which in theory will pump 45m gallons a day from the Missouri river to about 200,000 people thinly spread out across South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa.

Dennis Healy, the boss of the Lincoln-Pipestone Rural Water System in south-western Minnesota, calls the LCRWS, which is due to open in 2018, "our only viable option for a future water source". The towns and water systems that will benefit from the LCRWS have agreed to bear 10% of the project's estimated $420m price tag, and Sioux Falls has agreed to pay even more. But much of the rest is supposed to come from the federal government. Getting the cash is a priority for the region's senators.

For most of the last century the federal government was eager to help farmers turn the semi-arid northern plains into arable farmland. But that support has waned, along with the rural population. Minnesota, Iowa, North and South Dakota already receive almost $3 billion in agricultural subsidies. Last year, Congress rather grumpily agreed to hand over half the $35m the LCRWS's backers wanted. This year, George Bush's budget offers $21m-$6m more than the project got last year but well below the requested $53m.

Without full funding, completion will be delayed several years, leaving many towns high and dry. Last year, Sioux Falls nearly tripled its requested stake in the project, from 10m gallons a day to 27m gallons. The city grew by 20% between 1990 and 2000. But city officials say water shortages may crimp growth as soon as 2012.

The story is much the same in the northern Plains states. North Dakota is revisiting a huge, 40-year-old project called the Garrison Diversion to deal with water shortages in the Red River Valley. The LCRWS is one of 13 water projects proposed or under development in the northern plains that seek federal money to redistribute water.

But is the answer really to lay new pipes? Natural-resource experts point out that cheap subsidized water has spurred people (and farmers in particular) to overuse it. Tom Power, an economist at the University of Montana, says projects like the LCRWS are "nuts. The last thing you want is federal subsidies for the consumption of resources, especially given the [water] scarcity we face across the West."

From this perspective, the long-term future is not more federal money, but less, to force farmers to start trading water with the towns. Those creaking pipes may yet be the beginning of a water revolution.

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