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.

Return to Top

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.



Return to Top

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

Return to Top

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.)

Return to Top

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

Return to Top

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

Return to Top

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.

Return to Top

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.

Return to Top

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

Return to Top

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

Return to Top

** Fair Use Notice **

The material on this site is provided for educational and informational purposes. It may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. It is being made available in an effort to advance the understanding of vegetarian, environmental, nutritional, health, economic, social justice and human rights issues etc. It is believed that this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have an interest in using the included information for educational or research purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. The information on this site does not constitute legal, technical or medical advice.