July 12, 2006

7/12/06 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

1. JVNA Coordinator Noam Mohr Leads Protest Against KFC in Tel Aviv/My Letter to Editor of the Jerusalem Post

2. Commendation from Nina Natelson, JVNA Advisor and Founder and Director of Concern for Helping Animals in Israel (CHAI)

3. Israel’s Vote Helps Prevent Renewal of Slaughter of Whales

4. Campaign Against Foie Gras Production in New York State

5. Two Important New Recommended Books

6. Can We Help Rescue an Imperiled Planet?

7. Fast Food Nation Author Discusses His New Book and Movie to be Made of Fast Food Nation

8. PETA Letter Responds to Jewish Press Editorial

9. JVNA Member Publishes Book On Benefits and Uses of Nuts

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. JVNA Coordinator Noam Mohr Leads Protest Against KFC in Tel Aviv/My Letter to Editor of the Jerusalem Post

KFC diners remain unflappable in face of chicken cruelty protest
Jul. 3, 2006 Jerusalem Post Article

The typical passerby would not likely expect to see a chicken-clad woman in the heat of a July afternoon. However, that was the scene outside of Kentucky Fried Chicken on Rehov Shaul Hamelech in downtown Tel Aviv on Monday afternoon.

A group of animal rights activists gathered outside of the restaurant to protest KFC's reputed mistreatment of their chickens. According to the KFCCruelty Web site, chickens are scalded alive after being crammed by the tens of thousands into sheds that smell of ammonia.

The rally was organized by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and attracted nine participants. The protesters stood outside the KFC restaurant with signs reading: "KFC Tortures Animals," and attempted to hand out flyers detailing the issue to passersby. One woman dressed up as a chicken with a crutch, in order to provide a picture of the situation.

Noam Mohr, coordinator of the demonstration, outlined the objectives of the protest, saying: "By raising awareness, we will pressure KFC to have more compassionate treatment and take steps to eliminate their very worst abuses." "These are steps their own animal welfare advisers have recommended," said Mohr, Farm Animal Research Associate for PETA.
This is the first rally about this issue in Israel, as a part of an international campaign. "The people of Israel would not want to patronize KFC any more than anyone else would if they knew that animals were being scalded alive," said Mohr.

Among the protesters was a soldier who took the day off to participate. "The only way to fight this issue is if people boycott KFC, and KFC will stop producing," said the soldier, who wished to remain anonymous due to military rules against political activism by officers.

In response to the protest, KFC employment gave out free chicken wings and passed out advertisements. KFC Manager, Salim Salyeh viewed the protest as beneficial to the restaurant. "They are doing publicity for me. It's a good thing," said Salyeh.

Despite the protest outside, people continued to eat inside KFC. Yitzchak Mokitada, one such diner, was not bothered by the issue.

"There's nothing to do. This is life and it is all part of the food chain. I have to eat," said Mokitada.

It remains to be seen how effective the protest was, but as passerby Alla Simonitz said while "it is important to be informed of such issues, you don't think of the lives of food - when you are hungry, you eat."

© 1995 - 2006 The Jerusalem Post. All rights reserved.
My Letter to the Editor:

July 4, 2006

Editor, Jerusalem Post

Dear Editor:

Re: “KFC diners remain unflappable in face of chicken cruelty protest” (July 4 edition)

As president of the Jewish Vegetarians of North America, I want to express kudos to Noam Mohr and others who took part in the demonstration outside Kentucky Fried Chicken to help increase awareness of the mistreatment of animals raised for food.

Certainly we have a choice about our diets, but shouldn't we consider the very negative effects of animal-based diets on our health and on environmental sustainability and how the production and consumption of animal products violate Jewish teachings on preserving human health, treating animals compassionately, protecting the environment, conserving natural resources, and helping hungry people.

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

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2. Commendation from Nina Natelson, JVNA Advisor and Founder and Director of Concern for Helping Animals in Israel (CHAI)

In a message dated 7/5/06 3:25:11 PM, chai_us@cox.net writes:

Hi Richard,

I just wanted to express deep appreciation to you for all the enormous and amazing groundbreaking work you have done over the years, on which so much of what others do, including CHAI, is based. I am pulling together some sample lesson plans for Monday's meeting and everything I know, I learned from your writings. Your name will be on these materials along with Lynne's and Rae's (they wrote modern stories to accompany the Biblical ones, and activities for kids, and arranged things in a good order for teachers, etc.) and the illustrator, of course. You will be credited with the fundamental research and writing that made this project possible, unless you object. It made the project so much easier. It just wouldn't be right to issue these materials without crediting the source.


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3. Israel’s Vote Helps Prevent Renewal of Slaughter of Whales

Re-Paying Jonah’s Debt to the Whale
Commentary by Captain Paul Watson

Israel arrived like the proverbial cavalry onto the beaches of St. Kitts and Nevis this year.

Thousands of years after a whale saved Jonah, Israel has returned the favor by helping to save the whales.

After years of economic bullying, bribery, cajoling and arrogant posturing, the Japanese whaling interests had thought they had the votes to form a majority bloc at this year’s meeting of the International Whaling Commission.

The Japanese delegation arrived in the Caribbean, booked into the best hotels and began to wine and dine their bought and paid for puppet delegates from Mongolia, Senegal, Mali, Togo, and assorted other small nations that recently joined the IWC at the behest of Japan.

The Japanese had counted the heads and were confident of the votes to finally seize majority control of the world’s only whaling regulatory body.

But victory was snatched from their hands with the arrival of Israel and the defection of Belize.

Israel did not come to the table because of bribes, they came to save the whales and their enlistment as the 70th member of the IWC stopped the Japanese takeover bid in its tracks.

One of the defeated Japanese resolutions would have allowed commercial hunting of 150 Piked and 150 Byrde whales in the territorial waters of Japan, Iceland and Norway. It was defeated 31-30.

It was the Israeli vote that carried the day for the whales.

Another motion would have removed the prohibition on hunting dolphins and porpoises. The Israeli vote made the crucial difference.

The votes were cast by Esther Efrat, the head of the treaty division at the Foreign Ministry.

"The Israeli position on whaling is clear. Whaling is illegal in Israel and off of Israel's coast. We were bringing our position to the international forum," explained Mark Regev, spokesperson for the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

"Israel has a very strong commitment to environmental matters. We've got a ministry for environmental affairs whose full-time job it is to make sure the environment is looked after. Whaling is illegal in Israel and when we go to the international forum, we are making those opinions known. That's why on the whaling issue we lined up with those who believe whales should be protected," he said.

Israel joined at the last minute after an alert was sent by the US government representatives to Israel's Foreign Ministry urging Israel to join the US against theplans by Japan to take over the IWC.

Israel was not bribed but reacted to support an ally on an issue that the Israeli citizens firmly supported. Most of the nations supporting Japan are doing so in defiance of the polls that demonstrate that their citizens are opposed to whaling.

It also made a difference that Belize decided to switch allegiance to the whales and decided to vote against Japan after influential members of the Belize tourist industry pressured their government to vote for the whales. (See earlier posting on the Power of One)

Israel has never had a whaling industry. In fact the Old Testament [states] that whale and dolphin meat is prohibited by God.

By joining the IWC Israel has also assumed a position of leadership as a marine conservation nation for the Mediterranean Sea.

Israel’s own non profit NGO IMMRAC is devoted to protecting whales, dolphins and porpoises.

Mia Elasar, a committee member at IMMRAC said that hat she hopes Israel's participation in the IWC will mean the country will put its heart into local issues, such as those addressed by ACCOBAMS (Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Contiguous Atlantic Area).

"The recent vote against whaling is expected to put Israel on the local map. It shows us that there is a place to really vote for preserving Mediterranean marine mammals,” said Elasar, who hopes Israel will take the reigns and lead awareness to marine conservation.

"There [at ACCOBAMS] we can really make an impact. This authority will affect seals and dolphins, which are a threatened species in the Mediterranean more because of fishing and less of hunting."

"There are whales in the Mediterranean," Elasar confirms. "There are six species to be found off the Israeli coast. The main problem with conservation of marine mammals is that their reproductive rates are slow. What we are doing now we will only get back in 10 or 20 years. The animals will disappear if we don't watch it."

The Mediterranean is home to the world's second highest percentage of endemic species, including the Posidonia sea grass and the critically endangered Mediterranean monk seal. Species also include 28 cetaceans, the loggerhead turtle, and the blue-fin tuna and swordfish. But currently, less than 1% of the Mediterranean is protected.

Captain Paul Watson
Founder and President of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (1977-
Co-Founder - The Greenpeace Foundation (1972)
Co-Founder - Greenpeace International (1979)
Director of the Sierra Club USA (2003-2006)
Director - The Farley Mowat Institute
Director - www.harpseals.org
Director - Ocean Outfall Group of California
Advisory Board Member - Telluride Mountain Film Festival
Advisory Board Member - The Animals Voice Magazine

Whom when I asked from what place he came,
And how he hight, himselfe he did ycleepe,
The Shepheard of the Ocean by Name,
And said he came far from
the main-sea deepe.
- Edmund Spenser
A.C.E. 1590

Tel: 360-370-5650
Fax: 360-370-5651

Address: P.O. Box 2616
Friday Harbor, Wa 98250 USA

Please consider emailing a message of thanks to directors of the Israeli Foreign Ministry below. Thanks.

E-mail addresses:
Foreign Minister's office - sar@mfa.gov.il

Director General's office - mankal@mfa.gov.il
Spokesman's office - dover@mfa.gov.il
Public Relations - pniot@mfa.gov.il
Ministry Address:
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
9 Yitzhak Rabin Blvd.
Kiryat Ben-Gurion
Jerusalem 91035
Tel. 972-2-5303111
Fax 972-2-5303367


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4. Campaign Against Foie Gras Production in New York State

Kelley Wind of the Animal Welfare Trust has contacted me re the group’s campaign to stop expansion of foie gras production in New York State. NY State has voted to provide the Hudson Valley Foie Gras Company with $400,000 to build manure processing facilities and to expand its operations. If you would like to help with this campaign or have suggestions, please contact Kelley at kelley@animalwelfaretrust.org. Thanks. There are many Orthodox Jewish camps and summer bungalows owned primarily by Orthodox Jews in the area.

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5. Two Important New Recommended Books

I don’t have much chance to read many books recently, but I read two very important ones this past Shabbat. The first is “An Inconvenient Truth” by Al Gore. It is a very fitting companion tio the movie of the same name. It is chock full of wonderful pictures, graphs, charts and explanations that provide an excellent scientific but very readable primer on all aspects of global warming including causes, threats and what people can do about it. Unlike the movie, the book does mention reducing meat consumption as something that people should do in responding to globl warming. I very strongly recommend that everyone read this book. It provides perhaps our best argument for vegetarianism in that major changes are needed to combat global warming and a shift toward global warming is an essential part of the solution.

The second book that I also strongly recommend is “Happier Meals: Rethinking the Global Meat Industry” by Danielle Nierenberg (Worldwatch Paper #171). Wile the author does not promote vegetarianism, she thoroughly documents how horribly animals are treated on factory farms and the environmental and health problems of animal-based diets and agriculture. While short (only about 67 pages of text), the volume is full of graphs, charts, and facts that can be very helpful in promoting vegetarianism. More information about the book and other Worldwatch books and other educational material can be found at www.worldwatch.org. The Worldwatch Institute is a leading group in increasing awareness of current global threats and potential responses. The group was founded by Lester Brown, whose writings are in the next item in this newsletter.

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6. Can We Help Rescue an Imperiled Planet?

Rescuing a Planet Under Stress
By Lester R. Brown
Energy Bulletin
Monday 03 July 2006

Our global economy is outgrowing the capacity of the earth to support it, pushing our early twenty-first century civilization ever closer to decline and possible collapse. In our preoccupation with quarterly earnings reports and year-to-year economic growth, we have lost sight of how large the human enterprise has become relative to the earth's resources.

A century ago, annual growth in the world economy was measured in billions of dollars. Today it is measured in trillions. As a result, we are consuming renewable resources faster than they can regenerate.

Forests are shrinking, grasslands are deteriorating, water tables are falling, fisheries are collapsing, and soils are eroding. We are using up oil at a pace that leaves little time to plan beyond peak oil, or the period during which demand for oil far exceeds all available supply. And we are discharging greenhouse gases into the atmosphere faster than nature can absorb them, setting the stage for a rise in the earth's temperature well above any since agriculture began.

Fortunately, there is a consensus emerging among scientists on the broad outlines of the changes needed. If economic progress is to be sustained, we need to replace the fossil-fuel-based, automobile-centered, throwaway economy with a new economic model. Instead of being based on fossil fuels, the new economy will be powered by abundant sources of renewable energy: wind, solar, geothermal, hydropower, and biofuels.

The throwaway economy will be replaced by a comprehensive reuse/recycle economy. Consumer products from cars to computers will be designed so that they can be disassembled into their component parts and completely recycled. Throwaway products such as single-use beverage containers will be phased out.

We can already see glimpses here and there of what this new economy looks like. We have the technologies to build it - including, for example, gas-electric hybrid cars, advanced design wind turbines, highly efficient refrigerators, and water-efficient irrigation systems.

With each wind farm, rooftop solar panel, paper-recycling facility, bicycle path, and reforestation program, we move closer to an economy that can sustain economic progress. But there is still a long way to go and a very short time to get there. Our success will depend on learning from the changing world around us and implementing those lessons we have already learned.

Lester R. Brown is president of the Earth Policy Institute, 1350 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC, 20036. Their web site is www.earth-policy.org. This article draws from his latest book, Plan B 2.0: Rescuing a Planet Under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble (updated and expanded), published by W.W. Norton (2006), which may be ordered online from www.wfs.org/bkshelf.htm.

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7. Fast Food Nation Author Discusses His New Book and Movie to be Made of Fast Food Nation

Five Minutes With: Eric Schlosser
By Timothy Fernholz and Ben Adler
Campus Progress
Wednesday 14 June 2006

The author of Fast Food Nation discusses his new book, the ongoing dangers of fast food and how the more things change, the more they stay the same under the Golden Arches.

Is obesity the next big American political issue? With one Republican presidential hopeful, Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, gaining national recognition for his personal weight loss and collaboration with former President Clinton to keep sweets out of school, it's possible. One person responsible for raising public awareness of the issue is Eric Schlosser, an award-winning journalist and modern-day Upton Sinclair who penned Fast Food Nation in 2001, a blistering expose of the dark side of the fast food industry: health risks, horrific working conditions and industry efforts to market directly to children.

Now, Schlosser is back with a fast food follow-up, Chew on This, a similar expose written with Charles Wilson; it focuses particularly on the dangers of fast food for children. But Schlosser is now set to reach an even larger audience: In the coming months we'll see a film based on Fast Food Nation, directed by Richard Linklater and featuring big name stars like Patricia Arquette, released across the country. Since we couldn't convince him to sit down with us over a burger, Campus Progress chatted with Schlosser over the phone.

Campus Progress: Fast Food Nation was a dramatic wake-up call for a lot of young people about foods we had all grown up eating. What inspired you to write that book?

Eric Schlosser: Well, I didn't come to it out of any great hatred for fast food, I used to eat it all the time. I did a big investigative piece at The Atlantic Monthly. It was about illegal immigration, it was about farm labor, migrant farm workers, and I told a very complicated story through something simple and concrete: a strawberry. We love strawberries and we eat lots of strawberries, and we eat lots of strawberries without ever thinking that each one of those strawberries has to be picked by hand. So, you want a lot of strawberries, you need a lot of hands. And that article was read at Rolling Stone magazine, and they invited me in to do the same thing for fast food.

Basically, they wanted me to go behind the counter and show all the complex systems that bring you this heavily processed food. I didn't jump at the opportunity because I eat fast food, and I didn't want to write something condescending and elitist putting down the industry, but the more I learned, the more amazed I was, and what was incredible to me was that I would be eating this food all the time without thinking about it, without having any idea where it came from or how it was being made.

Campus Progress: As a writer, I have to tell you the lead to that book is just incredible. You start out in a military base ...

E.S.: ...Cheyenne Mountain. One of our most top secret military bases, which is inside a hollowed-out mountain in Colorado.

Campus Progress: How do you come up with something like that?

E.S.: You know, it's not always premeditated. A lot of it comes out of the reporting. I was looking for a place to set Fast Food Nation, and Colorado sounded really interesting to me. It felt like, with the whole conservative religious fundamentalist culture, it was at the cutting edge of change in America. Little did I know how much that culture would take over America.

I decided to set it in Colorado Springs. There are these big military bases, so I applied to visit the base. And while I was there I started talking to them about what they eat there and it just blew my mind that, at that point, and I'm sure its no longer true post 9/11, the Domino's Pizza delivery guy would come right up to the gate at one of the most top-secret, important military installations in the United States. [If] you can get Domino's delivered to the Cheyenne Mountain air station, fast food has really infiltrated every part of American life.

Campus Progress: Tell us a little bit about your new film based on Fast Food Nation and whether you and Morgan Spurlock have a rivalry.

E.S.: Firstly, Morgan Spurlock: He made a totally disgusting film, but a really funny film. There's no rivalry whatsoever. As a matter of fact, we have a standing agreement that I will testify in his behalf when he gets sued by the industry, and he has promised to testify in mine.

The film that's based on Fast Food Nation is totally different from Super Size Me, and I love Super Size Me. This film is a fictional film, it's an independent film made by a wonderful director, Richard Linklater, who did Slacker and Dazed and Confused. It takes the title of my book and some of the themes but pretty much puts aside the book. There's nobody in the book who's literally in the film. The film is about the lives of some intersecting characters in a small town in Colorado, a lot of the film is in Spanish, some of the crucial characters are illegal immigrants, and in some ways it's an updating of [Upton Sinclair's] The Jungle on the hundredth anniversary of the publishing of that book.

Campus Progress: Why did you write your new book, Chew on This?

E.S.: Chew on This is aimed at kids, and it's aimed at the people who the fast food industry is heavily targeting with its mass marketing. When I finished Fast Food Nation and the manuscript was all done, I hired a fact-checker from The New Yorker, Charles Wilson, and his job was to make sure that every fact was right.... He came to me with the idea of doing a children's book based on Fast Food Nation, arguing that these kids are being targeted by the fast food industry, they need the same sort of information in Fast Food Nation, and they need an alternate view of the world than the one they're getting from all these ads. So it sounded like a good idea, and I recruited him to help me with it.

Campus Progress: What do you think of the recent announcement of several major soda companies, including Coke and Pepsi, to stop selling their products in elementary and high schools come this fall, and why they might be motivated to do that?

I'd like to think that they were motivated solely by concern for the health of American children. But, whatever their motivations are, I think it's a good thing. The deal was brokered by former President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, and the current governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee, a conservative Republican. I think it's a terrific step because it shows bipartisan support for ensuring that kids are eating healthy food in schools. I don't think it's an ideal agreement; it's going to be phased in over a number of years [and] it's a voluntary agreement. But to me it's a sign of the times, a sign that attitudes are really changing and there's a real feeling growing that we can't afford to have these companies marketing unhealthy food to kids in schools. I applaud the move by the soda companies to make voluntary changes, but I also support moves at the state and federal level to put tough restrictions on what kind of food can be sold in schools.


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8. PETA Letter Responds to Jewish Press Editorial

Forwarded message from Bruce Friedrich. PETA Vegan Director
Sent: Friday, July 07, 2006 1:16 PM
[Since a recent JVNA newsletter had a Jewish Press editorial attacking PETA, their response is included below.]

To: 'letters@jewishpress.com'
Subject: Letter to the Editor:

Dear Editor,

Re: “Here we Go,” 7/5/06: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) investigates both kosher and non-kosher slaughterhouses and notifies authorities whenever we witness gross mistreatment of animals and violations of the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act.

Our most popular vegetarian video by far, titled “Meet Your Meat,” documents exclusively non-kosher plants (see www.Meat.org), and our late-2004 investigation of Agriprocessors was our very first kosher investigation, in our 24 year history. Had Agriprocessors agreed, when we asked them in 2003, to allow Dr. Grandin to come in, we would never have investigated. Mr. Nathan Lewin’s condescending letter (available at www.goveg.com/feat/agriprocessors/) left us no choice but to investigate the whistleblower reports of cruelty in the plant.

We blew the whistle on AgriProcessors, not because of concerns about the principles of shechitah, but because employees were shocking animals in the face with electric prods, ripping out their tracheas while they were still fully conscious, and dumping them in their own blood to die slow and painful deaths – some animals even struggled to their feet in agony over three minutes after they were dismembered. Dr. Temple Grandin, now recognized by Agriprocessors as an authority, called what we found “The worst thing [she] had ever seen,” declaring that AgriProcessors “is doing everything wrong they can do wrong.”

It is a black eye for kosher certification that the Orthodox Union continues to declare that the kosher status at AgriProcessors was never in question. As long as that remains the OU’s stance, the kosher public will not be able to feel secure that the OU hechsher has anything at all to do with the strong Jewish tradition of kindness toward G-d’s other animals.

Jewish law mandates that animals should be treated with compassion and respect. It is this principle that we need to defend, not those companies who so cruelly abuse animals.

Bruce G. Friedrich
Vice President for International Grassroots Campaigns
501 Front St.
Norfolk, VA 23510

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9. JVNA Member Publishes Book On Benefits and Uses of Nuts

JVNA member Zel Allen has published a book that covers all aspects of nuts: “The Nut Gourmet: Nourishing Nuts for Every Occasion. The book how nuts can be an essential part of a balanced diet. It shows how nuts can be used as the focal point in a variety of dishes and it provides 150 “tasty, gourmet, plant-based recipes.” The book also provides extensive information about the health benefits of nuts.

The book is endorsed by several leading vegetarian health professionals, including Neal Barnard, M.D., President of Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine,” William Harris, author of :The Scientific Basis of Vegetarianism,” and Jay Gordon, M.D., author of “Good Food Today, Great Kids Tomorrow.” Brenda Davis, R.D., author of “Becoming Vegetarian,: states: “The book is a treasure. It is beautifully written, comprehensive and entertaining. It provides accurate, detailed information about the value of nuts in the diet, numerous practical tips, charts and tables, and dozens of mouth-watering recipes. It is a delightful cookbook and a tremendous nutrition resource.”

I have had the pleasure of working with Zel and her husband Reuben for many years and I strongly commend Zel for this important contribution. I hope the book is very successful. The book can be ordered on the internet through “Vegetarians in Paradise,” an internet magazine that Zel and Reuben have edited for over 7 years
(www.vegparadise.com), or through Amazon and other online book vendors.

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