March 18, 2007

3/18/07 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

1. Passover and Vegetarianism

2. How JVNA Material is Being Used (a) in a Class and (b) in a Talk

3. JVNA Press Release on Getting Greater Jewish Responses to Environmental Threats/Suggestions Welcome

4. Dietary/Global Warming Connections Entering Mainstream Media

7. Relating Passover Preparations to Helping Hungry People

11. Very Creative Approach to Promoting Vegetarianism

12. Challenging Progressives Who Still Eat Meat

13. An Example of Factory Farming Cruelty

14. More Re PETA’s Campaign To Expose Animal Abuses at a Monastery

17. Challenging Al Gore Re His Becoming a Vegetarian

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. Also, JVNA does not necessarily agree with all positions of groups whose views are included or whose events are announced in this newsletter.

As always, your comments and suggestions are very welcome.


1. Passover and Vegetarianism

With Passover about 2 weeks away, please consider reading my article “Passover and Vegetarianism” and other Passover-related material in the holiday articles at Please also consider using that material for letters to editors, calls to radio call-in shows and for general talking points. And, please also feel free to forward any of may articles to individuals and groups that might find them of interest.

You can find kosher-for-Passover vegetarian recipes at Thanks.

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2. How JVNA Material is Being Used (a) in a Class and (b) in a Talk

[Please consider taking similar actions, and always please feel free to use material at the JVNA web site and my over 130 items at]

a. Forwarded message from Cantor Mark Perham:


Just wanted you to know that I used a part of what you sent me in a presentation to our 5th-7th grade religious school kids on compassion for animals as a Jewish value. We talked about the factory farm issue and what kosher is really supposed to mean and many of the kids were interested in exploring this further as part of their "mitzvah projects." Thanks again for all the info. It was/is an excellent resource and will be used again.

Mark Perman
Kol Emeth, Marietta, GA

b. Report from Judy Lipson:

Shalom Richard:

The following is a report on my recent talks on VEGETARIANISM and JUDAISM.

There were about 125 Holocaust Survivors at the meeting. I started out by asking if anyone knew who the very first vegetarians were. And since no one answered, I told them that it was Adam and Eve, since the Bible tells us that God said "Behold, I have given you every herb-yielding seed which is upon the face of the earth, and every tree
that has seed-yielding fruit - to you it shall be for food" (Genesis 1:29.) And as you stated on Page 1 GOD'S INITIAL INTENTION WAS THAT PEOPLE BE VEGETARIANS.

I also did mention the world scientists' concern and warning about

Global Warming and Al Gore's picture AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH and how we can turn the tide by changing to a PLANT BASED DIET. Al Gore's picture was playing in our condo for five days, free of charge and when I asked who saw the picture, I think 2 hands went up.

As far as the animals are concerned, I am sorry to report, they did not seem to be interested. Of course, I never mentioned the comparison to the Holocaust, since that would have been totally unacceptable.

I only had thirty minutes to speak, and when I asked for questions, they all pertained to health.


At the sisterhood study group, there were about 35 members, and the reaction was similar. However, immediately after I spoke, Rabbi Crain came in to speak on THE RED SEA SCROLLS. Although he was not present at my talk, as soon as he walked in the room, he said "I understand

that the speaker before me spoke on Vegetarianism. ....... I AM A VEGETARIAN........ which was gratifying since I spoke about RABBIS and VEGETARIANISM. Rabbi Crain has been on a Macrobiotic Diet for a long time, which he believes reversed his cancer. He has mentioned it many times during his sermons and talks.

I showed your books, books by Roberta and many of the books by Drs. Neal Barnard, John McDougall,. T. Colin Campbell, etc. One thing more - I always stress that no matter what branch of Judaism - Orthodox, Conservative, Reform or Reconstructionist, more and more Rabbis are stressing God's initial instructions regarding a vegetarian diet as the IDEAL DIET for all humankind.

I really wanted to title my talk THE SECOND INCONVENIENT TRUTH – The Truth That Al Gore Neglected to Mention....

I am trying to alert as many people as I can...... You have certainly been one of the ones who have inspired me to do so.



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3. JVNA Press Release on Getting Greater Jewish Responses to Environmental Threats/Suggestions Welcome

March 18, 2007
For Immediate Release
Contact Person: Richard H. Schwartz, President, Jewish Vegetarians of North America or (718) 761-5876


Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) announced today a major campaign to try to increase environmental awareness and activism in the Jewish community as part of two major national environmental initiatives in April.

JVNA urges the Jewish community to plan events around a scheduled “National Day of Climate Action” on April 14, which will involve rallies and events across the country responding to global climate change, and the annual Earth Day on April 22. JVNA recommends that the Jewish community consider April 13-14 as a “Global Warming Response Shabbat” and/or April 20-21 as an “Environmental Shabbat,” and that synagogues, Jewish schools and other Jewish institutions and organizations hold environmentally-related events during the period April 13-22. JVNA is stressing the importance of applying Jewish environmental teachings at a time when several groups of experts are predicting catastrophic results from global climate change and other environmental threats unless major changes soon occur.

"Creation is endangered as perhaps never before by global climate change and many other environmental problems," said JVNA President Richard Schwartz, "and it is essential that Jews play our role as co-workers with God in addressing these threats. We should use this period between the National Day of Climate Action and Earth Day as a time to make tikkun olam, the repair and healing of the planet, a central focus in Jewish life today, thereby helping to move our imperiled planet to a sustainable path.”

Among the activities suggested by JVNA for this period are sermons, divrei Torah, talks, panel discussions and debates on Jewish responses to global warming and other environmental threats, environmentally-friendly meals and kiddushes, showings of relevant videos, classes devoted to the issues, considerations of methods of greening synagogues and reducing individuals' impacts on the environment through such approaches as using more efficient light bulbs, reducing driving through walking, biking and carpooling, etc., letter writing campaigns, picture exhibits and nature walks and explorations.

JVNA will contact Jewish environmental groups, rabbis and Jewish institutions to inform them about this initiative and to suggest ways that they can get involved.

Based on a 390-page report issued by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), indicating that animal-based agriculture contributes more to greenhouse gas emissions that all forms of transportation, JVNA urges a consideration of shifts toward plant-based diets as an essential component of Jewish responses to current environmental threats.

Much valuable background material on environmental issues and Jewish teachings on conservation and environmental stewardship may be found at the following web sites:

More information about JVNA and dietary connections to environmental issues can be found at the JVNA web site ( and the following web sites:


The Vegetarian Mitzvah

JVNA also endorses activities consistent with Shabbat laws and vegetarianism related to the message below from the Shalom Center:


Dear Chevra,

You could lead your own and other congregations , seminaries, etc., to take a uniquely Jewish part in the National Day of Climate Action on Saturday April 14, 2007 -- part of the national Step It Up campaign initiated by Bill McKibben, which says to Congress: Cut Carbon Emissions by 80% by 2050!

As a way of joining in this campaign and at the same time celebrating Shabbat -- itself a model for eco-friendly practice -- The Shalom Center urges rabbis and synagogues and havurot to make Shabbat Sh'mini into Eco-Kosher Shabbat.

On that Shabbat we read the rules of kosher food, how to have a sacred relationship with the life-forms that we might or might not, may or may not eat. Let us also explore how to make a sacred relationship with our planet as a whole, by learning to "eat" energy, coal, oil, plastics, in a sacred way that does not bring on the climate crisis that is already beginning to scorch the earth.

Let us invite congregants to discuss how to shift our own behavior and put public policy change into high gear to prevent global climate disaster.


To celebrate ECO-KOSHER SHABBAT, The Shalom Center is making available the two-volume TORAH OF THE EARTH published by Jewish Lights, covering 4,000 years of ecological thought in Judaism -- biblical, rabbinic, kabbalistic/hassidic, Zionist, and contemporary Eco-Jewish -- at just $21.95 including postage, for the two-volume set --an extraordinary value. (Usual price is $39.90 plus postage). You can use this book as the core of a teen/ adult study course. Send a check to The Shalom Center, 6711 Lincoln Drive, Philadelphia PA 19119. Earmark the check “Torah /Earth”

We especially invite congregations to use that Shabbat to discuss joining in the Green Menorah Covenant. See for the description.

In summary, it sets targets for the congregation's use of energy in its own buildings; for its focusing observance of some festivals (especially Hanukkah) and life-cycle events (especially bar/bat mitzvah) on conserving oil; for carrying on social change efforts to affect public policy; and for encouraging congregants to change their habits in their own households and transportation behavior.

NATIONWIDE ECO-KOSHER SHABBAT would be a good Shabbat to use autos as little as possible. Come to synagogue by train... Come by bicycle... Come on foot... Come by car-pool.

Depending on the personal approaches to spiritual and religious Shabbat observance of our readers, The Shalom Center also encourages checking out public actions on that day. Check for the hundreds of Step It Up events near you.

Rabbi Arthur Waskow

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4. Dietary/Global Warming Connections Entering Mainstream Media

Subject: DawnWatch: Glenn Beck and Atlantic Monthly cover meat and global warming 3/8/07
Date: March 11, 2007 8:45:43 PM EDT

Late last year the UN released a report about the contribution of livestock to global warming. Whereas Al Gore's film, An Inconvenient Truth, didn't even acknowledge the impact of livestock, most press that does acknowledge it doesn't dare suggest that changing our eating habits would be a good way to affect global warning. The coverage in the March 2007 issue of the Atlantic Monthly magazine is fairy typical. The article reports:

"The Bovine Menace

"Forget SUVs and tractor-trailers—the world’s livestock play a larger role in global warming than all of our planes, trains, and automobiles combined, according to a report from the Livestock, Environment and Development Initiative (LEAD), an organization that promotes “ecologically sustainable livestock production systems.” Between the deforestation that’s necessary to create grazing lands, the fossil fuels required to manufacture fertilizer for the crops that feed the world’s growing livestock population, and the gases released by animal manure (and yes, animal flatulence as well), livestock are responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse-gas emissions worldwide. The good news: There are ways to reduce these emissions, including more efficient feed production, improved soil conservation, and a better diet for all those gassy cows. Given that the global production of meat and milk is on track to double by 2050, livestock’s current environmental impact would need to be cut in half just to stay within the present level of damage to the global ecosystem.

—“Livestock’s Long Shadow,” Livestock, Environment and Development Initiative, H. Steinfeld et al."

The article is on line at and the Atlantic Monthly takes letters at

Always be sure not to use any comments or phrases from me or from any other alerts in your letters. Editors are looking for original responses from their readers.

On Thursday night, March 8, host Glenn Beck covered the issue on his show on CNN Headline News for his segment, "The Real Story." You can read his summary of the issue on his website at

[Please see item #17 below for further information on this and a link to a video of the Glenn Beck segment challenging Al Gore’s diet. Thanks.]

Beck makes it clear that he is not a PETA person, but that he doesn't like hypocrisy so is publicizing this issue. In his opening comments on the issue, reprinted on his website, he says:

"In a letter to Al Gore yesterday, PETA nicely explained to him that the single best way for an individual to fight global warming is to become a vegetarian. In fact, according to the United Nations -- an organization that Al Gore is usually quite fond of citing: raising animals for food generates more greenhouse gases thann all the cars and trucks in the world -- combined. That's not from PETA, that's from the U.N.! But it's not just them; university researchers have also determined that switching to a vegan diet has more of an impact on global warming than switching your car from a Camry to a Prius!

"Now, Al, I understand that you can't change your carbon footprint easily -- I mean, you have to travel around in a jet to all those panic speeches you give, but what about your meat footprint? If youu honestly -- and that's really the key word here, 'honestly' -- believe that global warming is THE most important issue the world faces, bigger than terrorism or AIDS or hunger, then why haven't you started eating veggie burgers and drinking soy milk?"

On that page you can read further comments, and you can click on a link to read PETA's letter to Gore. You can also view a short video titled "An Inconvenient Meal," which has footage of global warming affected disasters, interspersed with shots of those politicians who champion the cause, chowing down on burgers.

You can also read the transcript of Thursday night's show on which PETA's Matt Prescott was interviewed. There is a glitch with that link -- it points to Wednesday's show. The correct URL is

If Glenn Beck gets loads of positive feedback he is more likely to have animal friendly and veg-friendly guests on in the future. Please send a quick note of appreciation. Feedback matters.

Glenn Beck take comments at and says that he reads all of them, though he cannot reply to each.

My thanks to Jackie Raven for letting us know about The Atlantic article and to Jane Velez Mitchell for calling our attention to Glenn Beck's coverage.

Yours and the animals',

Karen Dawn

(DawnWatch is an animal advocacy media watch that looks at animal issues in the media and facilitates one-click responses to the relevant media outlets. You can learn more about it, and sign up for alerts at You may forward or reprint DawnWatch alerts if you do so unedited -- leave DawnWatch in the title and include this parenthesized tag line. If somebody forwards DawnWatch alerts to you, which yyou enjoy, please help the list grow by signing up. It is free.)

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7. Relating Passover Preparations to Helping Hungry People

Forwarded message from Shaya (Steve) Kelter:

If you live in Israel this you may wish to get your synagogue involved in this effort to help non-Jews in need of food. If you live outside Israel you may wish to do something similar in your synagogue.


Hametz Initiative

Table to Table is inviting synagogues to participate in our Hametz Initiative, an effort to help non-Jews in need of food. Several days prior to Pesach, Table to Table will collect hametz that members of participating shuls have donated. All the hametz will be distributed to organizations serving non-Jews in need. If you would like more information or your synagogue would like to participate in Table to Table's Hametz Initiative please contact Daniel Schwartz at or 052-420-1384. If you are not connected to a synagogue or your synagogue is not participating in the Hametz Initiative you can bring your hametz to our office or warehouse until Sunday, March 31. For directions, please call our office (09-744-1757). Thank you

Shaya Steven Kelter, M.S.W., Insurance Agent

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11. Very Creative Approach to Promoting Vegetarianism

In a message dated 3/14/2007 6:50:22 PM Central Standard Time, ISPCA writes:

March 14, 2007
Indiana is going to become the state of vegetarianism

The Indiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA) delivered this afternoon a basket with faux vegetables and fruits, and a PETA Vegetarian Starter Kit to Gov. Mitchell Daniels.

ISPCA, a registered lobby organization, seeks Daniel’s support of the most important piece of vegetarianism law in the United States.

ISPCA wants health insurance companies to charge four times more for meat-eaters and even to deny coverage for some forms of cancer, diabetes, and heart treatment for anyone who has eaten any meat during the past three years. This law could start in 2012.
“It is not fair that I have to pay an expensive premium because most people have bad eating habits”, says Walfredo de Freitas, director of ISPCA. According to Freitas, the American Heart Association reports that vegetarians “have a lower risk of obesity, coronary heart disease (which causes heart attacks), high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, and some forms of cancer.”

“If our man Mitchell Daniels is talking seriously about healthy Hoosiers, which I believe he does, he has to support our project.”

Added Freitas, “Everyone has the right to eat what she/he wants, but everyone has to pay for her/his own choices.”

MEDIA CONTACT : 317- 4591604
P.O.BOX: 441405- 46244-1405 • INDIANAPOLIS - IN
Phone/fax (888)735-1110
speak up for our animals

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12. Challenging Progressives Who Still Eat Meat

You Call Yourself a Progressive -- But You Still Eat Meat?
By Kathy Freston, AlterNet
Posted on March 14, 2007, Printed on March 15, 2007

The report released this week by the world's leading climate scientists made no bones about it: Global warming is happening in a big way and it is very likely manmade. The U.N. report that came out soon after made a critical point: "The livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global." And yet, so many environmentalists continue to eat meat. Why?

Being part of the solution can be a whole lot simpler -- and cheaper -- than going out and buying a new hybrid. We can make a huge difference in the environment simply by eating a plant-based diet instead of an animal-based one. Factory farming pollutes our air and water, reduces the rainforests, and goes a long way to create global warming. Yet for some environmentalists, the idea of giving up those chicken nuggets is still hard to swallow.

So, I thought I might discuss a few of the key concerns that my meat-eating friends offer in defense of their continued meat consumption. Here we go:

Some were worried about thriving, physically, on a vegetarian diet.

Now this just does not make sense. Half of all Americans die of heart disease or cancer and two-thirds of us are overweight. The American Dietetic Association says that vegetarians have "lower rates of death from ischemic heart disease; ... lower blood cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and lower rates of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and prostate and colon cancer." Vegetarians, on average, are about one-third as likely to be overweight as meat eaters.

And I've just learned from the brilliant Dr. Andrew Weil that there is something called arachidonic acid, or AA, in animal flesh that causes inflammation. AA is a pro-inflammatory fatty acid. He explains that "heart disease and Alzheimer's -- among many other diseases -- begin as inflammatory processes. The same hormonal imbalance that increases inflammation increases cell proliferation and the risk of malignant transformation." They are finding out that inflammation is key in so many of the diseases that plague us. So when you eat meat, you ingest AA, which causes inflammation, which fires up the disease process. It doesn't matter if the chicken is free range or the beef is grass-fed because the fatty acid is natural and inherent in the meat.

As for having strength and energy on a vegetarian diet, some of the world's top athletes are vegetarian. A few examples: Carl Lewis (perhaps the greatest Olympian of all time), Robert Parish (one of the "50 Greatest Players in NBA History"), Desmond Howard (Heisman Trophy winner and Super Bowl MVP), Bill Pearl (professional bodybuilder and four-time Mr. Universe), Jack La Lanne (Mr. Fitness himself) and Chris Evert (tennis champion). Vegetarian athletes have the advantage of getting all the plant protein, complex carbohydrates and fiber they need without all the artery-clogging cholesterol and saturated animal fats found in meat that would slow them down. In fact, Carl Lewis says that "my best year of track competition was the first year I ate a vegan diet."

One person pointed out that the rain forest is being cut down to grow soy, not meat.

Actually, much of the rain forest is being chopped down for grazing, but also yes, the rain forest is being chopped down to grow soy -- but not for human consumption. Americans and Europeans can't raise all the feed domestically that is needed to sustain their meat addictions, so agribusiness has started cutting down the rain forest. Ask Greenpeace or any other environmental group, and they'll tell you that the overwhelming majority of soy (or corn or wheat, for that matter) is used to feed animals in factory farms. In fact, Greenpeace recently unveiled a massive banner over an Amazon soy field that read, "KFC-Amazon Criminal," to accentuate the point that large chicken and other meat companies like KFC are responsible for the destruction of the Amazon. It takes many pounds of soy or other plant foods to produce just one pound of animal flesh -- so if you're worried about the rain forests being chopped down for grazing or to grow soy, your best move is to stop eating chickens, pigs and other animals. If more people went vegetarian, we would need far less land to feed people, and we wouldn't have to destroy the few natural places that this world has left.

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13. An Example of Factory Farming Cruelty

Pig Out
Published: March 14, 2007 NY Times

WITH some fanfare, the world’s largest pork producer, Smithfield Foods, recently announced that it intended to phase out certain cages for its breeding females. Called gestation crates, the cages virtually immobilize pigs during their pregnancies in metal stalls so narrow they are unable to turn around.

Numerous studies have documented crated sows exhibiting behavior characteristic of humans with severe depression and mental illness. Getting rid of gestation crates (already on their way out in the European Union) is welcome and long overdue, but more action is needed to end inhumane conditions at America’s hog farms.

Of the 60 million pigs in the United States, over 95 percent are continuously confined in metal buildings, including the almost five million sows in crates. In such setups, feed is automatically delivered to animals who are forced to urinate and defecate where they eat and sleep. Their waste festers in large pits a few feet below their hooves. Intense ammonia and hydrogen sulfide fumes from these pits fill pigs’ lungs and sensitive nostrils. No straw is provided to the animals because that would gum up the works (as it would if you tossed straw into your toilet).

In my work as an environmental lawyer, I’ve toured a dozen hog confinement operations and seen hundreds from the outside. My task was to evaluate their polluting potential, which was considerable. But what haunted me was the miserable creatures inside.

They were crowded into pens and cages, never allowed outdoors, and never even provided a soft place to lie down. Their tails had been cut off without anesthetic. Regardless of how well the operations are managed, the pigs subsist in inherently hostile settings. (Disclosure: my husband founded a network of farms that raise pigs using traditional, non-confinement methods.)

The stress, crowding and contamination inside confinement buildings foster disease, especially respiratory illnesses. In addition to toxic fumes, bacteria, yeast and molds have been recorded in swine buildings at a level more than 1,000 times higher than in normal air. To prevent disease outbreaks (and to stimulate faster growth), the hog industry adds more than 10 million pounds of antibiotics to its feed, the Union of Concerned Scientists estimates. This mountain of drugs — a staggering three times more than all antibiotics used to treat human illnesses — is a grim yardstick of the wretchedness of these facilities.

There are other reasons that merely phasing out gestation crates does not go nearly far enough. Keeping animals in such barren environments is a serious deprivation. Pigs in nature are active, curious creatures that typically spend 10 hours a day foraging, rooting and roaming.

Veterinarians consider pigs as smart as dogs. Imagine keeping a dog in a tight cage or crowded pen day after day with absolutely nothing to chew on, play with or otherwise occupy its mind. Americans would universally denounce that as inhumane. Extreme boredom is considered the main reason pigs in confinement are prone to biting one another’s tails and engaging in other aggressive behavior.

Finally, even if the gestation crate is abandoned, pork producers will still keep a sow in a narrow metal cage once she gives birth to her piglets. This slightly larger cage, called a farrowing crate, severely restricts a sow’s movements and makes normal interactions between mother and piglets impossible.

Because confinement buildings are far from cities and lack windows, all of this is shielded from public view. But such treatment of pigs contrasts sharply with what people say they want for farm animals. Surveys consistently find that Americans believe all animals, including those raised for food, deserve humane treatment. A 2004 survey by Ohio State University found that 81 percent of respondents felt that the well-being of livestock is as important as that of pets.

Such sentiment was behind the widely supported Humane Slaughter Act of 1958, which sought to improve treatment of cattle and hogs at slaughterhouses. But it’s clear that Americans expect more — they want animals to be humanely treated throughout their lives, not just at slaughter. To ensure this, Congress should ban gestation crates altogether and mandate that animal anti-cruelty laws be applied to farm animals.

As a cattle rancher, I am comfortable raising animals for human consumption, but they should not be made to suffer. Because we ask the ultimate sacrifice of these creatures, it is incumbent on us to ensure that they have decent lives. Let us view the elimination of gestation crates as just a small first step in the right direction.

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14. More Re PETA’s Campaign To Expose Animal Abuses at a Monastery

The Thursday, March 15, Los Angeles Times, includes terrific coverage of PETA's campaign calling attention to the treatment of hens raised by a Trappist Monastery in South Carolina. The story, by Stephanie Simon, is headed, "PETA calls for monks' repentance" (Pg A9.) The accompanying photo says it all. The indoor shot of a huge shed full of endless rows of battery cages, each stuffed with hens, has the caption:

"'God's Precious Creatures': Mepkin Abbey's hens are caged according to U.S. industry egg standards."

Indeed, they are caged according to the US egg industry's appalling standards.

Simon opens:

"Quoting the pope and Roman Catholic teachings, the nation's largest animal-rights group has accused a Trappist monastery in South Carolina of raising hens for its egg business in an inhumane manner.

"People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA -- which secretly videotaped the hens -- demanded Wednesday that the state attorney general and agricultural officials investigate Mepkin Abbey in Moncks Corner, S.C.

"The group criticizes the monks for keeping their hens tightly caged, and accuses them of misleading consumers with the text on their egg cartons, which hails the abbey's agricultural operation as part of a 'centuries-old tradition' that exemplifies 'caring cultivation of the earth and its creatures.'"

We read:

"'The way that these monks treat God's creatures is a sacrilege,' said PETA Vice President Bruce Friedrich, who believes the religious order has a moral obligation to set a high standard.

Note: PETA's Bruce Friedrich is a proud Catholic who would not want his stand for compassionate treatment of animals to be mistaken for an attack on the monks or their religion. Also, the article tells us that before he was elevated to pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI publicly condemned farms with hens living "so packed together that they become just caricatures of birds."

We read that the monks say they follow industry standards and their website says that they treat their 21,000 hens as "God's precious creatures." And we read, " Their methods of farming -- including confining the hens to wire cages -- are so common in this age of industrial agriculture that more than 95% of the eggs sold in this country are produced virtually the same way."

The article tells us more about standard industry practices:

"In the facilities that produce laying hens, most male chicks are killed shortly after birth. (They're not raised for meat because they haven't been bred to produce the large breasts demanded by the broiler industry.) Most females have the tips of their beaks cut off when they are a few days old. Industry scientists say the procedure causes pain and stress, but deem it necessary to prevent the birds from pecking at one another during a lifetime of confinement.

"Egg industry guidelines call for each hen to have at least 67 square inches of space, less than a sheet of paper. They must be able to stand upright, but generally cannot spread their wings, build nests, peck dirt or take dust baths, all natural behaviors in the wild. Because they cannot exercise, their bones often weaken and become subject to fracture when they're transported to slaughter at about 2 years of age.

We read:

"In letters to Charleston's Post and Courier and the abbey, several local residents expressed outrage that PETA's investigator had taken advantage of the order's hospitality." The monks, however, have "agreed to consider changing the system." I hope people will respond to this Los Angeles Times story with letters expressing outrage at the standard treatment of hens being raised for eggs.

You'll find the story on line and can send a letter to the editor at

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17. Challenging Al Gore Re His Becoming a Vegetarian

Please see the challenge to Al Gore re becoming a vegetarian followed by an interview of a PETA representative in this video.

[A discussion of the material in the video is in item #4 above.]

Then please reinforce that message by emailing

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March 4, 2007

3/4/07 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

1. Best wishes for a Joyous and Meaningful Purim

2. Time to Start Thinking About Passover

3. JTA Coverage of Israeli Chief Rabbi’s Decision on Fur/Suggestions on JVNA Message to the Chief Rabbi Welcome

4. Time For a New Media Strategy?

5. Interview With Israeli Animal Rights Activist and JVNA Advisor Rabbi Adam Frank

8. Events Scheduled To Show Links Between Human Violence and Animal Abuse

9. Worldwatch Institute Focuses on Two Negative Effects of “Livestock” Agriculture

13. Homes for Vegetarian Exchange Students Sought

15. Ethical-Eating Message From JVNA Advisor Syd Baumel

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. Also, JVNA does not necessarily agree with all positions of groups whose views are included or whose events are announced in this newsletter.

As always, your comments and suggestions are very welcome.


1. Best wishes for a Joyous and Meaningful Purim

Purim is today. Enjoy! Remember that Queen Esther was a vegetarian, at least while living in the palace of King Ahashveros, so that she could remain kosher without revealing that she was Jewish. So, here is another example of vegetarianism helping to save many lives.

If interested in my article, “Purim and Vegetarianism,” please go to the holiday section of my articles at

It is a little late (sorry that I slipped up this year in getting Purim material out to you soon enough), but if you are looking for last minute vegetarian Purim recipes, please go to

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2. Time to Start Thinking About Passover

With Purim here, Passover is only about 4 weeks away. I think it is important to use every available and proper opportunity to promote vegetarianism and to increase awareness that it is both a societal imperative and a Jewish imperative (to at least carefully consider vegetarianism, after learning about the realities of animal-based diets and agriculture). So, I plan to send my article “Passover and Vegetarianism” and related material to the Jewish media soon. Please take a look at the article in the holidays section of my articles at, and please let me know if you have any suggestions for improvements. Also, please see the section below re new strategies for reaching the media and let me know what suggestions you have. Thanks.

I think the article below is very timely. Please use the material in my articles and the article below for letters, calls to radio programs and talking points with family, friends, neighbors and co-workers.

Passover and Veganism - A Great Complement
by Jennye Laws-Woolf, IDA

Thanks to JVNA advisor John Diamond for forwarding the following wonderful article:

Ah, Passover- the hardest time of the year to be vegan, and yet the most appropriate. Passover is the holiday of liberation, the time of year when we recall the throwing off of the shackles of slavery, when we take the time (often hours and hours of time the 1st two nights especially) to really examine the concepts of slavery and oppression.

When, then, is it more appropriate to be a vegan? When we recall our liberation from Egypt, step back into the past to revisit the slavery of the Jewish people and remember the millennia of persecution since, it becomes even easier to truly empathize with those beings that still suffer under slavery and oppression.

I remember my first vegan Pesach. I had been a lacto-ovo vegetarian for years and had never had a problem cooking at Passover. Eggs are so ubiquitous in Passover cooking that being a lacto-ovo vegetarian didn't mean much change at all from the usual Passover diet - minus the brisket of course. But try to remove the eggs and the cooking ideas seem to hit a brick wall. Every baked good, every casserole, every kugel is replete with eggs. And, to make it worse, the usual egg substitutes aren't kosher for Passover! I could only remember truly dreading the sheer amount of potatoes I would have to eat. (It turned out to be easier than I thought, by the way.)

But, no matter the difficulty, I couldn't help but see the eggs on sale at the grocery store for $0.25 a dozen and recall the cruelty that enables them to sell those eggs so cheaply. I also couldn't help but see the irony of celebrating my freedom on the shackles of another being's slavery. Millions of other beings.

It's all about slavery and oppression, isn't it? The powerful enslaving the powerless and then going on about their "right" to do so. The Egyptians had a "right" to enslave the Hebrews, the Nazis made it their "right" to kill Jews and gypsies and homosexuals. But just because it was their "right" didn't, and doesn't, make it right. We can cram way too many hens into a way too small wire cage and then stack those cages into the sky. We can take thousands of male chicks a day and stuff them into trash bags and dumpsters because they are "waste" products. We can do all manner of evil things. The question is - should we?

And that's where Passover comes in. Passover reminds us of what it feels like to be the oppressed, to be the enslaved. We are required to laboriously retell the story and recount it to our children, to remove all leavened products from our homes and our diets every single year. And it isn't because we might forget the story or because 8 days worth of matzo is good for us. No, it is so that we never forget what it is to know slavery and to remind us to fight slavery and oppression whenever and wherever we find it.

So, while Passover may very well be the toughest time of the year to be vegan, it is also the easiest. Because when our eyes and our hearts are opened to the message of liberation, we cannot help but to want to share that freedom with all who remain oppressed.


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3. JTA Coverage of Israeli Chief Rabbi’s Decision on Fur/Suggestions on JVNA Message to the Chief Rabbi Welcome

Chief rabbi issues fur ban
JTA Breaking News

Israel's Ashkenazi chief rabbi issued an edict forbidding Jews to wear fur skinned from a live animal.

Yona Metzger made the ruling last week after seeing a video of animals being skinned alive at fur farms in China. [Note the power of videos.]

PETA, which made the video, sent Metzger a letter of thanks this week.

“All Jews are obliged to prevent the horrible phenomenon of cruelty to animals and be a ‘light unto the nations’ by refusing to use products that originate from acts which cause such suffering,” Metzger said, according to Reuters.

JVNA Message to Rabbi Metzger/Suggestions Welcome

Please Contact Rabbi Metzger to Commend Him and Ask Him to Go Further. Thanks

Please use the material above in this section as the basis of messages to Rabbi Metzger asking him to apply this same principle to cruel treatment of animals on factory farms.
Rabbi Yona Metzger
Office of The Chief Rabbi of Israel
Beit Yahav
80 Yirmiyahu Street
Phone number: 02-5313-191
Fax number: 02-5377-872
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4. Time For a New Media Strategy?

For many years I have been arguing that while those who gain from the dietary status quo have vast financial and organizational assets and gain from the general apathy and ignorance of a public that generally accepts the conventional wisdom, we have truth, morality and justice on our side, and thus we will eventually prevail. However, to speed up that process, we must be better at getting our message to the media.

For some time, I have sent my articles relating vegetarianism to the Jewish holidays to the media a month or so before the holiday. I let the publications know that I do not expect a fee and that they may edit the articles to meet their needs, as long as the basic points are not changed.

By now, the Jewish weeklies are familiar with my articles and, while a few publish them from time to time, I think we need to change that strategy. Please consider reviewing my over 130 articles and other items at, and consider writing new articles based on the material in my articles.

Another way that I have tried to get media coverage is through press releases and articles tied to breaking news, such as the video expose at the Postville, Iowa glatt kosher slaughterhouse, reports about mad cow disease, reports on the potentially catastrophic effects of global warming, etc.

Please let me know what ideas you have for trying to get better press coverage and for getting our message out to more people. Also, if you have personal media contacts who might be helpful, also please let me know. Thanks.

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5. Interview With Israeli Animal Rights Activist and JVNA Advisor Rabbi Adam Frank

Rabbi Adam Frank – The Interview.
By Claudette Vaughan

Rabbi Adam Frank lives and works in Jerusalem with his family. He wrote an excellent article titled “What’s Jewish about a Vegan Diet?” posted at

We wanted to catch up with the Rabbi and ask him a few of our own questions. Here’s that interview.

Abolitionist: Is God a militant in an age where so many religious people refuse to speak favorably in terms of animal rights? Would God create his own Creation to then turn around and allow them to be eaten?

Rabbi Adam Frank: We start with the premise that God created the world, God created both humans and the non-human animal kingdom, God created lions and God created lambs. Lions eat lambs so yes, God is capable of creating that which God knows will consume something else that is living. Is God a militant? Certainly not in any negative sense. I think it’s important to say why God is so critical, at least in my perspective of the world. I believe how we define what is good and bad, what is moral and immoral, what is ethical or unethical must originate from something outside of human opinion. Different communities of people may come up with different definitions of what is moral and what is immoral and for this reason it is critical for me to turn to a source which is external of humans to be the foundation of what is good and what is bad. Judaism turns to God and believes that God gifted to humanity the Five Books of Moses as the foundation of defining what it means to live an appropriate life. In Judaism there are numerous verses and sources that guard against the unnecessary and cruel treatment of animals. These sources speak of human potential in its ideal form. Unfortunately, human influence – the human touch -- corrupts. While Judaism certainly has many teachings instructing that humans be sensitive and sensitized to other parts of God’s creation, I believe there has been a corruption, and sometimes even a willful ignoring, of certain percepts which allow us, all humans, to live more comfortable personal lives at the expense of others.

Abolitionist: Why are you vegan, Rabbi?

Rabbi Adam Frank: I am vegan because both Jewish law and my own use of logic and reasoning tell me that there is something terribly wrong with the animal food industry which places the animals in the conditions that is modern factory farming. I want to be clear, too, as this gets to your question of how do we lead a revolution of thinking to get people to stop eating meat and to make them more sensitive to their consumptions. I think the message has to be non-radical for human ears. The concept that people have no right to eat animals or that people have no right to infringe on the individual autonomy of an animal is so foreign to human thinking that it will be ignored. Judaism teaches that animals can be seen to exist in order to serve human needs but in the same breath Judaism obligates us to act as proper stewards and to act compassionately toward all that God created. Part of Judaism is to imitate/imbue the compassion of God. As God is compassionate towards humankind, so too must humankind be compassionate towards animals. I am vegan because farming methods are abusive and cruel to animals. I don’t want my food choices to condone the suffering that occurs in the animal food industry.

Judaism takes seriously the idea of personal responsibility. Communal change for the better and improved societal ethical behavior starts with the individual -- I cannot expect or hope for others to be concerned about animal suffering if my own actions reflect disregard for the wellbeing of animals.

Abolitionist: None of the holy books declare anywhere that humans have to eat meat. Do you think that factory farming itself is an abomination against God?

Rabbi Adam Frank: You’re right. I can’t speak for other holy books. I can only speak for Jewish sources. At the biblical level, Jewish sources do not require us to eat meat, though animal sacrifice was required in the times of the ancients. Built into the Jewish religion is the concept that we would use and even kill animals for some purpose. In Hebrew, the word for sacrifice – korvan – literally means to draw closer or to “draw near”. Whether pagans or Jews, why would people sacrifice animals? Sacrifices were a vehicle to give up something of great value as a way of service to something greater.

Abolitionist: Couldn’t sacrifice also mean to sacrifice the human condition as now stands to submit to God?

Rabbi Adam Frank: The ideal in certain Christian beliefs is abstinence. Judaism embraces moderation, not abstinence. In Judaism, the ideal is to have a sexual relationship that occurs in the realm of the holy partnership of monogamous commitment. No action should go unchecked. The idea that we humans make sacrifices in our own personal lives for the greater good is certainly part of Jewish practice. In fact, that which distinguishes humans from other animals is our ability to make choices based on our reason, knowledge, sensitivities, and beliefs.

Abolitionist: In ‘Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals and the Call to Mercy” Matthew Scully is troubled about, “Kosher meats require the anaesthetized killing and blood-draining, with the kill pace exceeding hundreds of animals per hour, in plants mostly unsupervised by non-Jews”. We asked Australian Jewish groups also about ‘kosher’ and they said it wasn’t happening. That they had done their own inspections and it just wasn’t happening due to stress and other things on the kill floor and they reported it was a dreadful way to be killed. By your education you have been impacted by the thought that the treatment of animals to fulfill human food desires is an appalling violation of Jewish law prohibiting the unnecessary infliction of pain on an animal. Can you further outline your thoughts here please?

Rabbi Adam Frank: Are you talking about AgriProcessors at the plant in Iowa? In late 2004, there was a video expose filming the operations in a kosher slaughterhouse in North America. In Australia, secular law requires that the animal remains upright during the killing process. The abuse that occurs in kosher slaughter has to do with the animal handling systems but not the actual killing method. E.g., how do you position the animal prior to the kill and how soon after the cut is the animal moved. As I said earlier, anything that humans touch is going to be corrupt, and for various reasons the system of shackling and hoisting an animal – of raising it upside down off the killing floor while still conscious – became a practice in kosher and non-kosher slaughter in the early 1900’s in America as a result of secular federal sanitary laws. In order to process the amount of kosher meat that is currently in demand there are animal handling systems similar to those described above in use that fulfill the letter of Jewish slaughter laws but transgress the Jewish laws of animal welfare. Also, like any industry the bottom line is profits and this influences the systems by which meat is produced. So the idea is to produce the product as inexpensively as possible and that means an individual animal’s welfare is surrendered. This mentality occurs in kosher slaughter as it occurs in secular slaughter as it occurs in any industry where humans have contact with animals. I think it’s upon Jewish leadership to make a change.

Abolitionist: The late Henry Spira was an effective and gracious animal activist who was also Jewish. He said the animals live in “a universe of pain and suffering”. As we wake up every morning, day in and day out, how should we as vegans relieve some of that pain and suffering for animals day in and day out?

Rabbi Adam Frank: We need to get people to the stage where they recognize that there is terrible cruelty occurring and it’s unnecessary and that the industry norm is one which provides for that cruelty. I find the following example helpful: While children, we believed the police were all good but as adults we realize that police can be corrupt and that the citizens best interests are not always at hand. We also have to realize with regard to the food industry that just because governments have anti-animal-cruelty laws, the laws and their lack of enforcement allow for an industry norm that is nothing short of torturous for animals. Every time we sit down to eat we have a choice. Judaism teaches that the one who gives charity is transformed more than the person who receives that charity – similarly, the decision I make to eat a non-dairy sherbet instead of ice cream is as much as about me as it is any animal that I’m trying to not cause pain to.

Abolitionist: As a Jewish Rabbi I would value your views on comparing the Holocaust to factory farming? Is this a shameful comparison to you and/or should this comparison best be left to the Jewish people to discuss?

Rabbi Adam Frank: I, as much as any other Jewish leader I know, have a sensitivity and a commitment to the well-being of animals. I am very offended by the comparison and there are several reasons why. I think humans should make a distinction between human life and animal life. The offensive part of the comparison is not that it elevates the value of an animal life but that it reduces the horror of what happened during the Holocaust. The Holocaust was the attempted genocide of a people, a way of life, of a value system whose massacre had no benefit other than the extinction of the Jewish ‘other.’ The comparison discounts the psychological torture of daughters raped in front of parents, of newborns beheaded while in the hands of their mothers, of parents murdered in the presence of their children; it discounts the torment of losing all worldly possessions, security of being and the loss of faith in humankind.

The truth is I don’t think it helps the cause. It draws a picture that animal rights people and animal welfare people are equating human life and animal life – a message so radical and foreign to normative human thinking that it allows the audience to dismiss the message which is the non-radical message of compassion to animals.

Abolitionist: There’s also a movement happening in the world that denies the Holocaust, that wants to make the Holocaust an entertainment and what’s, through time and memory loss, to water down it’s significance in the 20th century up until now – so there’s that danger as well.

Rabbi Adam Frank: I think the term “genocide” should be applied to humans and not animals. Of the people who kill animals in the billions, the goal is not to extinguish the animals – to wipe them off the face of the earth – it’s not to deanimalise an animal as was the goal during the Holocaust to dehumanize the Jewish people. The goal is to provide meat and “comfort” to humans. The goal in genocide, specifically during the Holocaust during WWII was the elimination of Judaism and anybody connected to Judaism. The goal was to seek to get humanity to see Jews as animals, as vermin. Once the Nazis convinced people to think it was okay to treat Jews like animals then there was no reason not to put them into the conditions which the pictures from out of the Holocaust show. I don’t think the word ‘genocide’ is an appropriate word regarding animals unless it’s the genocide of trying to exterminate or extinguish one of the species.

Abolitionist: Three and a half years ago you attended your first animal rights conference and you have said this event was a wake-up call to you. What happened?

Rabbi Adam Frank: I learned the reality of the animal food industry of which I was previously unaware, and I interacted with people who were sensitive, caring, thoughtful humans who weren’t anti-establishment folks but who, like me, had simply seen the evidence and thought to themselves “we have got to try and stop this”. I could hear the message better at this animal rights conference because it wasn’t coming to me from out of anger or militism but from a sense of there are atrocities occurring here and let’s do something to repair it. I identified with the messenger which allowed me to hear the message which I might add was a non-radical message.

Abolitionist: How will the movement turn this thing around?

Rabbi Adam Frank: This is how we will do it. We’ll appeal to people’s reasoning. When I teach here in Jerusalem I start by saying “There are 6 million people here in Israel. Let’s say everyone here in Israel eats half a chicken a week. That’s 3 million chickens a week. That’s 150-160 million chickens a year. I ask is it possible to raise, to give veterinary care, to transport, to slaughter this sheer number of animals in any way we can ensure that we are being compassionate and appropriate?” This appeals to peoples’ reasoning. In America, 25 million animals are being killed each day – is logical to believe that the well-being of the animals are being cared for in an honest way? I teach: “If you take a knife and stick it in the side of a cow, the cow is going to move away from the knife. The cow is going to yell, to bleed and to run away. If you cut into a cow’s leg or if you cut a tendon she’ll do the very same thing as what a human would do. Empirical evidence shows us that a cow can suffer. So we keep building the argument based on logic.

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8. Events Scheduled To Show Links Between Human Violence and Animal Abuse

Dear Richard,

The Animals and Society Institute is pleased to announce several new programs and events aimed at emphasizing the link between human violence and animal abuse. Our representatives are fully engaged across the country at workshops and speaking engagements that advance the cause of animal protection on many levels.

We hope that you will help us implement these programs by passing this information along to friends and colleagues in related professional fields, and support our work financially so that we can reach even more people as the year progresses.

Project Second Chance

The ASI is proud to announce a fifth addition to our professional training series, "Workshops for Counseling Professions: Intervening in the Cycle of Violence."

This new workshop, Project Second Chance, offers criminal justice professionals, social workers and case managers in group homes an opportunity to learn about an effective program that improves empathy, reduces anger, and assists youth in gaining self-respect and respect for other living beings.

Using basic elements of our existing AniCare treatment approach, Project Second Chance helps troubled youths become more responsible and compassionate through training shelter dogs with behavioral problems: a win-win situation.

For information about Project Second Chance and our other workshops, please contact Ken Shapiro at

ASI trainers will be conducting AniCare Child workshops in several cities this spring. These one-day workshops incorporate lectures, role-playing and the use of our specialized AniCare Child Manual to help professionals on the front lines of domestic violence and animal abuse assess and treat juvenile offenders so that the violence link can be broken.

Please pass this information along to social service agencies in your area, and to practitioners in the workshop areas to encourage their attendance. For more information about each workshop, please e-mail the contact person listed for each event.

March 30, 2007: University of New Hampshire (Manchester, NH); contact Lynn Kegley at
April 26, 2007: Penn State University (State College, PA); contact Ken Shapiro at
June 23, 2007: Arizona State University (Tempe, AZ); contact Christina Risley-Curtiss at

To learn how to schedule a workshop in your area, please contact Ken Shapiro at

ASI Leaders Attend Legal Conference

Both of the ASI's co-executive directors will attend the Animal Legal Defense Fund's "The Future of Animal Law" conference at Harvard Law School in Massachusetts on March 30-April 1.

Ken Shapiro will be on a panel discussing the psychological aspects of animal hoarding. Kim W. Stallwood will be a conference participant. Information pertaining to related ASI programs will be covered in a future newsletter; stay tuned!

Please Support Our Efforts to Stop the Cycle of Violence

The ASI's AniCare workshop program is an important part of our efforts to stop the cycle of violence involving both human and animal abuse. This program and our related materials are on the forefront of a national movement that involves social service, medical and legal professionals united for positive change.

We greatly value and appreciate your assistance, and thank you on behalf of everyone you will be helping.

For the animals,
Ken Shapiro and Kim W. Stallwood

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9. Worldwatch Institute Focuses on Two Negative Effects of “Livestock” Agriculture

New Meat Byproducts: Avian Flu and Global Climate Change
Worldwatch Institute – February 19, 2007 – 9:15am

San Francisco—The growth of factory farms, their proximity to congested cities in the developing world, and the globalized poultry trade are all culprits behind the spread of avian flu, while livestock wastes damage the climate at a rate that surpasses emissions from cars and SUVs. These preliminary findings on avian flu and meat production, from the upcoming Worldwatch Institute report Vital Signs 2007–2008, were released today by research associate Danielle Nierenberg at the annual conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in San Francisco.

At least 15 nations have restricted or banned free-range and backyard production of birds in an attempt to deal with avian flu on the ground, a move that may ultimately do more harm than good, according to Nierenberg. “Many of the world’s estimated 800 million urban farmers, who raise crops and animals for food, transportation, and income in back yards and on rooftops, have been targeted unfairly by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization,” she told participants at the AAAS event. “The socioeconomic importance of livestock to the world’s poor cannot be overstated.”

In 2006, global meat production increased 2.5 percent to an estimated 276 million tons. Sixty percent of this production occurred in the developing world, where half of all meat is now consumed thanks to rising incomes and exploding urbanization.

Rising demand for meat has helped drive livestock production away from rural, mixed-farming systems, where farmers raise a few different species on a grass diet, toward intensive periurban and urban production of pigs and chickens. Because of unregulated zoning and subsidies that encourage livestock production, chicken and pig “confined animal feedlot operations” (CAFOs), or factory farms, are moving closer to major urban areas in China, Bangladesh, India, and many countries in Africa.

Locating large chicken farms near cities might make economic sense, but the close concentration of the birds to densely populated areas can help foster and spread disease, Nierenberg says. In Laos, 42 of the 45 outbreaks of avian flu in the spring of 2004 occurred on factory farms, and 38 were in the capital, Vientiane (the few small farms in the city where outbreaks occurred were located close to commercial operations). In Nigeria, the first cases of avian flu were found in an industrial broiler operation; it spread from that 46,000-bird farm to 30 other factory farms, then quickly to neighboring backyard flocks, forcing already-poor farmers to kill their chickens.

Due mainly to the spread of avian flu and the culling of birds, global poultry output rose only slightly in 2006 to approximately 83 million tons, roughly a 1-percent decrease from the preceding year. Pig meat production, however, grew by 3 percent to 108 million tons, an increase likely due to shifting consumption in Asia from chicken to pork due to concerns about avian flu.

Avian flu has existed among backyard flocks for centuries, but has never been found to evolve there into highly pathogenic forms such as the deadly H5N1 virus. In CAFOs, in contrast, where animals are concentrated by the thousands, diseases erupt and spread quickly. Trade in poultry from these operations is a culprit in spreading the disease to smallholder farmers.

Experts suggest that rather than culling smaller, backyard flocks, the FAO, WHO, and other international agencies should focus the bulk of their avian flu prevention efforts on large poultry producers and on stopping disease outbreaks before they occur. The industrial food system not only threatens the livelihoods of small farmers, it potentially puts the world at risk for a potential flu pandemic. “While H5N1…may have been a product of the world’s factory farms, it’s small producers who have the most to lose,” says Nierenberg.

Intensive animal farming is not only deleterious to human health and economies; it is also responsible for a great deal of ecological destruction. The growing numbers of livestock are responsible for 18 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions (as measured in carbon dioxide equivalent). They account for 37 percent of emissions of methane, which has more than 20 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide, and 65 percent of emissions of nitrous oxide, another powerful greenhouse gas, most of which comes from manure.

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13. Homes for Vegetarian Exchange Students Sought

Dear Friend,

SHARE! is a global international exchange student program looking for caring vegetarian families and we need your help. Our program will be welcoming 9 vegetarian students this coming August. We are in need of vegetarian host families who can provide a caring environment for them during their stay. We would appreciate it if you could print the following paragraph in your next newsletter or post it to your website.

Thank you in advance for your help. If you have any questions or would like more information, please feel free to contact me at 1-800-941-3738 or

Best Regards,
Yvette Coffman
SHARE! Southwest Regional Director

SHARE! Your Vegetarian Lifestyle With a Vegetarian Foreign Exchange Student

VEGETARIAN HOST FAMILIES-with or without children-are needed to host 9 international high school exchange students who are VEGETARIAN. The students are coming from many different countries and hope to be here for the 2007/2008 academic year or fall semester and hope to arrive in early August. They are in need of caring families to provide a home, an extra meal at the table, and share with them their vegetarian lifestyle. The students are between the ages of 15 and 18. They speak English, are covered by medical insurance and have spending money for their personal expenses.

The SHARE! High School Exchange Program is sponsored by Educational Resource Development Trust (ERDT). Families are able to review student applications and select the student they feel will best match their own interests. For more information, call Yvette Coffman at1-800-941-3738 or visit SHARE! at

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15. Ethical-Eating Message From JVNA Advisor Syd Baumel

[While our ultimate goal is to promote veganism as the idea, since some people may not be ready to adopt that diet right away, the following message from Syd Baumel is worth considering. I must point out that Syd’s editorial skills have been very valuable to me as he has often contributed very valuable suggestions.]

This is an ethical eating message I recommend for any individual or institution - including vegans, who aren't necessarily eating as sustainably (local, organic...) and fairly (fair trade certified) as they/we could.

I suggest a common ground position that should broadly advocate the ethical importance of making socially responsible dietary choices (humane, sustainable, fairly traded...) and that a "three Rs" approach, as advocated by the HSUS, is a very practical device to help people go as far along this route as they're willing and able:

Reduce: e.g. minimize one's intake of socially irresponsibly produced/traded foods, such as factory farmed animal foods and animal foods in general (because commercial humane farming always involves the violent killing of healthy animals)
Replace: e.g. eat more beans, grains, nuts and seeds instead of meat
Refine: e.g. eat free-range eggs instead of battery-cage eggs; drink fair-trade coffee instead of ordinary coffee; buy more local/organic food instead of the nonorganic/long-distance alternatives


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