August 31, 2007

8/29/07 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

1. Relating Fall Jewish Holidays to Vegetarianism

2. Latest on Our Documentary A SACRED DUTY

3. Major NY Times Article on Campaigns to Connect Animal-Based Diets to Global Warming/My Letter/Please Write

4. Greening Our Diets/Great Summary Article

5. Israeli Company to Produce Fuel from Algae

6. New Book Relates Religion and Environment

7. Farm Seeks to Connect to Jewish Agricultural Roots and Traditions

8. Three Key Facts to Present to Meat-Eaters

9. 49 Reasons To Be a Vegetarian

10. U.S. and Israel Cooperating on Solar Power Plant

11. Flooding Due to Global Warming May Be Worse Than Previously Thought

12. Global Warming Documentary to Open Nationwide

13. My Judaism and Animal Rights Article in a New Zealand Magazine

14. Jews for Animal Rights is Promoting Bumper Stickers

15. Factoring Meat Into our Carbon Footprint

16. Is Michael Moore to “Sicko” What Al Gore is to “An Inconvenient Truth”?

17. Academic Conference Considers Link Between Animal Abuse and Human Violence

18. My Newsweek Letter Published

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 the kashrut, Shabbat observances, or any other Jewish observances, 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. Relating Fall Jewish Holidays to Vegetarianism

With Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot rapidly approaching, please take a look at my articles relating vegetarianism to these holidays in the holiday section at Please feel free to forward any of these articles, to build letters to editors from material in them and to use them for talking points. More to follow in the next JVNA newsletter.

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2. Latest on Our Documentary A SACRED DUTY

I recently sent you a special JVNA message outlining our plans for building an unprecedented campaign to awaken the establishment to the great dangers facing the world, the need for the Jewish community and others to actively respond and why it is imperative that there be a major shift toward plant-based diets as part of the necessary responses. Please stay tuned for further developments re the documentary and our campaign.

Meanwhile, if you have any suggestions or are willing to volunteer to help, please let me know. Thanks.

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3. Major NY Times Article on Campaigns to Connect Animal-Based Diets to Global Warming/My Letter/Please Write

August 29, 2007 The NY Times

Trying to Connect the Dinner Plate to Climate Change

EVER since “An Inconvenient Truth,” Al Gore has been the darling of environmentalists, but that movie hardly endeared him to the animal rights folks. According to them, the most inconvenient truth of all is that raising animals for meat contributes more to global warming than all the sport utility vehicles combined.

The biggest animal rights groups do not always overlap in their missions, but now they have coalesced around a message that eating meat is worse for the environment than driving. They and smaller groups have started advertising campaigns that try to equate vegetarianism with curbing greenhouse gases.

Some backlash against this position is inevitable, the groups acknowledge, but they do have scientific ammunition. In late November, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization issued a report stating that the livestock business generates more greenhouse gas emissions than all forms of transportation combined.

When that report came out, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and other groups expected their environmental counterparts to immediately hop on the “Go Veggie!” bandwagon, but that did not happen. “Environmentalists are still pointing their fingers at Hummers and S.U.V.'s when they should be pointing at the dinner plate,” said Matt A. Prescott, manager of vegan campaigns for PETA.

So the animal rights groups are mobilizing on their own. PETA is outfitting a Hummer with a driver in a chicken suit and a vinyl banner proclaiming meat as the top cause of global warming. It will send the vehicle to the start of the climate forum the White House is sponsoring in Washington on Sept. 27, “and to headquarters of environmental groups, if they don't start shaping up,” Mr. Prescott warned.

He said that PETA had written to more than 700 environmental groups, asking them to promote vegetarianism, and that it would soon distribute leaflets that highlight the impact of eating meat on global warming.

“You just cannot be a meat-eating environmentalist,” said Mr. Prescott, whose group also plans to send billboard-toting trucks to the Colorado Convention Center in Denver when Mr. Gore lectures there on Oct. 2. The billboards will feature a cartoon image of Mr. Gore eating a drumstick next to the tagline: “Too Chicken to Go Vegetarian? Meat Is the No. 1 Cause of Global Warming.”

The Humane Society of the United States has taken up the issue as well, running ads in environmental magazines that show a car key and a fork. “Which one of these contributes more to global warming?” the ads ask. They answer the question with “It's not the one that starts a car,” and go on to cite the United Nations report as proof.

On its Web page and in its literature, the Humane Society has also been highlighting other scientific studies - notably, one that recently came out of the University of Chicago - that, in essence, show that “switching to a plant-based diet does more to curb global warming than switching from an S.U.V. to a Camry,” said Paul Shapiro, senior director of the factory farming campaign for the Humane Society.

The society, Mr. Shapiro said, is not only concerned with what happens to domesticated animals, but also with preventing the carnage that global warming could cause to polar bears, seals and other wildlife. “Our mission is to protect animals, and global warming has become an animal welfare issue,” he said.

Even tiny pro-veggie operations are starting to squeeze dollars out of their shoestring budgets to advertise the eating meat/global warming connection. Vegan Outreach, a 14-year-old group in Tucson with just three full-time workers and a $5 million annual budget, is spending about $800 this month to run ads and links to its Web page on about 10 blogs. And, it will give more prominence to the global warming aspect of vegetarianism in the next batch of leaflets it orders.

“We know that vegetarian organizations have sometimes made exaggerated health and environmental claims, but that U.N. report is an impartial, unimpeachable source of statements we can quote,” said Matt Ball, executive director of Vegan Outreach.

Like Mr. Prescott, Mr. Ball is incensed that high-profile people like Al Gore - or environmental groups with deeper pockets than his - have not stepped up to the plate.

“Al Gore calls global warming an existential risk to humanity, yet it hasn't prompted him to change his diet or even mention vegetarianism,” he complained. “And I guess the environmentalists recognize that it's a lot easier to ask people to put in a fluorescent light bulb than to learn to cook with tofu.”

Advertising specialists warn that this new attention to global warming may attract enemies as well as converts.

“Using global warming as a tactic for advancing the cause of vegetarianism feels a bit opportunistic,” said Hank Stewart, senior copywriter at Green Team Advertising, which specializes in environmentally themed ads.

He also questions the logistics. “You want to get the message as close to the meat-purchasing moment as possible,” he said, “but can you imagine a supermarket allowing 'Attention, Planet-Destroying Carnivores' on the in-store radio?”

Environmental groups, meanwhile, readily concede that mobilizing against meat eaters is not their highest priority.

“We try to be strategic about doing the things where each unit of effort has the most impact,” said Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club. Mr. Pope notes that his group has stopped short of castigating people for driving S.U.V.'s or building overly large homes, too.

“We'll encourage companies to make more efficient S.U.V.'s, and we'll encourage consumers to buy them,” he said, “but we do not find lecturing people about personal consumption choices to be effective.”

Environmental Defense is also “in agreement on the value of eating less meat,” said Melanie Janin, director of marketing communications. But, she added, her group would rather spend its time and money influencing public policy - specifically, getting Congress to regulate greenhouse gases.

Mr. Gore declined to make himself available for comment. Chris Song, his deputy press secretary, simply noted that a suggestion to “modify your diet to include less meat” appears on Page 317 of Mr. Gore's book version of “An Inconvenient Truth.”

He did not address Mr. Gore's personal food choices.

My letter to the Times: [Please also write. Thanks.]

August 29, 2007

Editor, NY Times

To the editor:

Re: "Trying to Connect the Dinner Plate to Climate Change" (August 29 issue)

The recent reports of widespread, severe floods, storms, droughts and wildfires, along with projections from a consensus of climate scientists of major temperature increases, are making it increasingly apparent that the world is rapidly heading toward an unprecedented catastrophe. And the UN Food and Agriculture Organization's conclusion in its November 2006 report "Livestock's Long Shadow" that livestock agriculture emits more greenhouse gases (in CO2 equivalents) than all the world's transportation sources combined (18 percent vs. 13.5 percent) makes it clear that a major shift away from animal-based diets is essential to reduce the effects of global warming and other environmental threats. However, the world seems to be going in just the opposite direction, as the FAO report also projects that the number of farmed animals is expected to double in the next 50 years. If this happens, the increased greenhouse emissions from livestock agriculture would negate decreases from other actions, thwarting efforts to move our imperiled planet to a sustainable path. So, the future of humanity depends on what we put on our forks. I hope we will choose wisely.

Very truly yours,

Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D.

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4. Greening Our Diets/Great Summary Article

How Green Is My Diet?

by Wendy Priesnitz

Q: A friend recently told me that she has stopped eating meat because it contributes to global warming. That seems a bit far-fetched to me so I'm wondering if you can set the record straight by connecting the dots between environment and diet.

A: Surprisingly, what we choose to eat has one of the biggest impacts on the environment, including the climate, of any human activity.

A 2006 Italian study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition evaluated the environmental impact of various dietary patterns combined with different food production systems. Researchers examining the impact of a typical week's eating showed that plant- based diets are better for the environment than those based on meat. An organic vegan diet had the smallest environmental impact and all non-vegetarian diets required significantly greater amounts of environmental resources, such as land and water. But the most damaging food was beef, with up to 100 calories of grain required to produce four calories of beef.

More recent Japanese research assessed the effects of beef production (including the effects of producing and transporting feed) on global warming, water acidification and eutrophication, and energy consumption - in other words, the total environmental load on a portion of beef. Published in Animal Science Journal in August, 2007, research by the National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science found that producing a kilogram of beef leads to the emission of greenhouse gases with a warming potential equivalent to 36.4 kilograms of carbon dioxide - more than driving for three hours while leaving all the lights on back home. They also found that a kilo of beef releases the equivalent of 340 grams of sulphur dioxide and 59 grams of phosphate, and consumes 169 megajoules of energy.

The calculations, which are based on standard industrial methods of meat production in Japan, did not include the impact of managing farm infrastructure and transporting the meat, so the total environmental load is even higher when they are factored in. Since global beef consumption is rising dramatically, meeting this demand will no doubt require that animals be reared more intensively and cheaply with factory farming, creating further pollution, water and land usage problems.

The environmental load is so high, in fact, that in a 2005 study, University of Chicago researchers suggested that going vegan would reduce one's environmental footprint by more than if they switched to a hybrid vehicle. Gidon Eshel and Pamela Martin told a meeting of the American Geophysical Union that they studied the amount of fossil fuel needed to cultivate and process various foods, including running agricultural machinery, providing food for livestock and irrigating crops. They found that the typical American diet, about 28 percent of which comes from animal sources, generates the equivalent of nearly 1.5 tonnes more carbon dioxide per person per year than a vegan diet with the same number of calories. By comparison, the difference in annual emissions between driving a regular car and a hybrid car is just over 1 tonne.

In fact, farmed animals produce more greenhouse gas emissions (18 percent) than the world's entire transportation system (13.5 percent,) according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO.) Most of the greenhouse gas emissions from cattle are in the form of methane released from the animals' digestive systems. According to a 2003 report issued by the EU's Environment and Agriculture Informal Ministerial Councils, along with nitrous oxide, methane is the real threat to global warming from agriculture. Methane has 23 times the global warming impact of carbon dioxide and a single cow can produce as much as 500 liters of methane per day.

Cattle manure contains other problematic pollutants like nitrous oxide (which is considered to be almost 300 times as damaging to the climate as carbon dioxide) and ammonia (which contributes to acid rain.) In a 2006 report Livestock's Long Shadow - Environmental Issues and Options, the FAO pointed out that farming animals also generates greenhouse gas emissions through the manufacture of fertilizers to grow feed crops, industrial feed production and the transportation of both live animals and their carcasses across the globe.


Rearing animals for food causes a variety of other environmental issues besides contributing to global warming. Much of the world is running out of fresh water. In an alert issued last March, the FAO estimated that by 2025 there will be 1.8 billion people living with absolute water scarcity and two thirds of the world's population could be living under water-stressed conditions.

Scientists agree that farming accounts for around 70 percent of all fresh water withdrawn from lakes, waterways and aquifers and that meat production, especially the feeding of cattle, is a particularly water-intensive process. The FAO says that livestock production accounts for over eight percent of global human water consumption. Depending on a variety of factors, a kilogram of beef is estimated to require upwards of 13,000 liters of water, compared to the 1,000 to 2,000 liters required to produce a kilo of wheat.

Livestock production also contributes to water pollution, with manure, antibiotics and hormones entering the water cycle alongside chemicals from tanneries, fertilizers and the pesticides used to spray feed crops. In a 2005 report entitled Facts About Pollution from Livestock Farms, the Natural Resources Defense Council noted that in the Gulf of Mexico, pollutants in animal waste have contributed to a “dead zone” where there is not enough oxygen to support aquatic life. During the summer of 2004, this dead zone extended over 5,800 square miles.

Land Use

According to the Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment at the University of Wisconsin, 40 percent of the earth's entire land surface is used for agriculture, and 70 percent of all agricultural land is used for farming animals. Much of this is grazing land that would otherwise host a natural habitat such as rainforest. Livestock production is reportedly responsible for 70 percent of the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest. Aside from contributing to the loss of biodiversity, deforestation increases greenhouse gas emissions by releasing carbon previously stored in the trees.

Farmland that could grow grain and other human food crops is also a casualty of the livestock industry. According to the FAO, one third of the land suitable for growing crops globally is used to produce animal feed.

Feeding cattle takes up so much land because they are inefficient converters of feed to meat. Thomas White, a professor in the Department of Economics and Global Studies at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts, described just how inefficient in his paper “Diet and the Distribution of Environmental Impact” published in 2000 in Ecological Economics. He says that cattle require approximately seven kilos of grain in order to generate one kilo of beef and pigs require four kilos of grain for one kilo of pork.

When cattle are allowed to overgraze, the result is soil erosion, desertification and deforestation. The FAO says that 20 percent of the world's grazing land has been designated as degraded due to the rearing of animals for meat.


Many people who give up meat end up eating more fish, which is a healthy source of essential fatty acids. [There are several health problems associated with eating fish.] However, eating fish isn't without its environmental problems. Over-fishing is threatening the existence of many fish species, a trend that we've been tracking for many years in Natural Life. Fishing practices like bottom trawling cause untold damage to non-target species and destroy the fragile ecosystem of the seabed. It's been called “underwater strip mining.”

The aquaculture industry has experienced huge growth. However, fish farming can pollute rivers and streams, while harming wild fish. Plus, feeding farmed fish can be problematic, intensifying pressure on the ocean stocks. The Worldwatch Institute says, for example, that it takes five tonnes of wild-caught fish to feed each tonne of farmed salmon.

Then there is the need to fuel the fishing fleets. A paper entitled “Fuelling Global Fishing Fleets” published in the journal Ambio calculates that fisheries account for about 1.2 percent of global oil consumption and directly emit over 130 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

What About Organics?

Generally, small, mixed farms and those operated in a sustainable manner, such as organically or biodynamically, are more environmentally friendly than large-scale factory farms. But the research as to whether or not organically-raised meat generates lower levels of greenhouse gas emissions is uneven. A 2003 Swedish study that was recently cited in the New Scientist, apparently suggested that organic beef, raised on grass rather than concentrated feed, emits 40 percent less greenhouse gases and consumes 85 percent less energy than non-organic beef. But a 2000 Swedish study from the Department of Applied Environmental Sciences at Goteborg University compared organic and conventional dairy production and found a much less dramatic difference. Life Cycle Assessment of Milk Production concluded that the organic system generated slightly fewer greenhouse gas emissions than the conventional. Carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide levels were lower, largely due to the absence of energy intensive nitrate fertilizers, but methane emissions were higher in the organic system due to the cattle's higher intake of roughage fodder.

A French study published in Ecosystems and Environment in 2005 compared organic and conventional pork production. It found that per kilogram of pig, climate change emissions were highest for the organic system, but on a per-hectare basis, the lowest emissions were found in the organic system.

There is also a large body of literature focusing on other farming techniques that either require lower energy inputs or that lead to fewer emissions of greenhouse gas emissions. They include harnessing the methane and other animal wastes for biomass energy. One report cited in the New Scientist in 2003 described research from Belgium that indicated switching animals from regular feed to a diet laced with fish oil could cut the amount of methane they emit by nearly half. But then there is the fishery problem….

One prominent ecologist, who says that raising cattle is the most damaging aspect of agriculture, believes that eating lower on the food chain is becoming increasingly important. Dr. Robert Goodland, who was the Environmental Advisor to the World Bank for 25 years and now advises the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development, has concluded that diet does, indeed, matter because a diet containing meat requires up to three times as many resources as a vegetarian diet. He has advocated a food conversion efficiency tax. The least efficient converters (pork, beef) would be highly taxed; more efficient converters (poultry, eggs, dairy) would be moderately taxed. Most efficient converters (ocean fish) would be taxed lowest and grain for human consumption would not be taxed at all.

Dr. David Fraser of the University of British Columbia's Animal Welfare Program agrees that economics may be the answer: Higher prices for meat products might allow for better treatment of animals and the environment. Nevertheless, it does appear to be a good practice for the health of people and the ecosystem to feed grain and vegetables directly to people, rather than to livestock. But even vegetarians can decrease their impact on global warming by eating organic, seasonal, locally-grown produce wherever possible.

Learn More

Eating to Save the Earth by Linda Riebel and Ken Jacobsen (Celestial Arts, 2002)

Six Arguments for a Greener Diet by Michael Jacobson (CSPI, 2006)

The Vegan Sourcebook by Joanne Stepaniak (McGraw-Hill, 2000)

Vegetarian Society - UK

University of Surrey's Centre for Environmental Strategy Food Climate Research Network

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

Marine Conservation Society

Wendy Priesnitz is the Editor of Natural Life Magazine and a journalist with 30 years of experience. She has also authored nine books. Read her blog.

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5. Israeli Company to Produce Fuel from Algae

Thanks to author and JVNA advisor Rabbi Dovid sears for forwarding the following:

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6. New Book Relates Religion and Environment

Ecospirit: Religions and Philosophies for the Earth
Edited by Laurel Kearns and Catherine Keller

"Deconstructive postmodernism does not appear to encourage intense attention to the natural world, and for the most part we have expected little leadership in ecological matters from those who follow it. Perhaps the greatest importance of this book is that in signals a change. The joining of deconstructive analysis of our heritage and the love of our fellow creatures contributes richly to this collection. Those of us who believe that of all the crises we humans face, the ecological one is the most fundamental, can only rejoice at the infusion of new insight and energy into the call for a fundamental re-orientation of our psyches and our societies."
-John B. Cobb, Jr., Professor Emeritus, Claremont School of Theology

"A wide ranging study of the environmental crisis from the perspective of some of the most widely respected scholars of religion and the environment. . .a central resource for myriad readers."-Laura Hobgood-Oster, Southwestern University

"A remarkable volume, given the current debate and eco-crisis."-Larry Rasmussen, Union Theological Seminary

"This wide-ranging set of essay on “ecospirit” is a timely gift to all of us. As the crisis of climate change is finally being acknowledged, we must ready ourselves for major revisionary theological thought and action. This volume provides help for the task, with its many and profound insights on how we can and must re-think “spirit and the earth” for the unprecedented planetary agenda that faces us. "-Sallie McFague, Vancouver School of Theology

"Leading figures from multiple disciplines, cutting-edge essays on now-classic concerns, stimulating reflection on emerging issues, creative struggle to integrate Continental trajectories and ecological consciousness: Ecospirit: Religions and Philosophies for the Earth advances this critical conversation. Timely and important."-William Greenway, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary

"Challenging, inspiring, and subversive."-David Barnhill, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh

"Ecospirit inspires new converstaions and opens fresh avenues of insight contributing to Creation's healing."-Norman Wirzba, Georgetown College

"This book is a rare combination of intelligence and vision. Its essays deserve to be read-and reread-by scholars of religion, environmentalists, students, and anyone who values the sacredness of the earth."-Roger S. Gottlieb, author of A Greener Faith: Religious Environmentalism and our Planet's Future and A Spirituality of Resistance; Worcester Polytechnic Institute

"Ecospirit probes the possibility of a green shift radical enough to affect the destructiveness of our material world."-Publishers Weekly

The Contributors: Karen Baker-Fletcher, Whitney A. Bauman, Sharon Betcher, Richard R. Bohannon II, Anne Daniell, Heather Elkins, Antonia Gorman, Marion Grau, John Grim, Fletcher Harper, Luke Higgins, Laurel Kearns, Catherine Keller, Seung Gap Lee, Glen Mazis, Barbara Muraca, Jay McDaniel, Jane Ellen Nickell, Kevin J. O'Brien, Anna L. Peterson, Anne Primavesi, Kate Rigby, Nicole A. Roskos, Rosemary Radford Ruether, Daniel T. Spencer, Lawrence Troster, Mary Evelyn Tucker, Mark I. Wallace, David Wood.

544 Pages
978-0-8232-2745-7, Cloth, $85.00
978-0-8232-2746-4, Paper, $32.00

Rabbi Lawrence Troster
Director, GreenFaith Fellowship Program
201- 833-5166

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7. Farm Seeks to Connect to Jewish Agricultural Roots and Traditions

Thanks to David Hildebrand for sending the following:,0,5007233.story

Cultivating knowledge of Jewish culture
Farm in Reisterstown seeks to make connection with faith's agricultural roots and traditions
By Liz F. Kay
Sun reporter
August 22, 2007
In a Reisterstown field, a circular garden connects nature with the months of the Jewish calendar and ties agriculture to Jewish heritage.

The Gan Luach Zman, or calendar garden, is one example of how a Jewish retreat center in Baltimore County is marrying sustainable farming principles with the traditional practices described in Jewish texts to teach children and adults about Jewish culture and the environment.

The Kayam farm at the Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center in Reisterstown strives to reunite Jews with their agrarian roots while drawing connections between people and the planet, social justice and stewardship. Kayam means "firmly established," or "rooted."

"We felt like we had such a wonderful opportunity in this setting to try to recapture some of those links and try to illustrate [them] to all the different kinds of groups that come here," says Carol Pristoop, Pearlstone's executive director.

In recent years, a growing number of Jewish groups are focusing attention not just on whether meals are fit for consumption under the traditional dietary laws, but also expanding the definition to include the sustainability of the food source, a concept some are calling "eco-kosher."


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8. Three Key Facts to Present to Meat-Eaters

1. Animal-based agriculture contributes more greenhouse gases (in CO2 equivalents) than all of the cars, trucks and other forms of transportation worldwide, and the world is heading toward an unprecedented catastrophe from global warming and other environmental threats.
2. Animal-based diets are contributing to an epidemic of diseases in the Jewish and other communities.
3. The production and consumption of animal products violate basic Jewish teachings re preserving human health, treating animals with compassion, protecting the environment, conserving natural resources and helping hungry people.

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9. 49 Reasons To Be a Vegetarian

From heeb'n'vegan blog, initially connected to the 49 days of counter the omer between Passover and Shavuot this year.

I hope that can be a reference point about the myriad different reasons to go vegetarian, for people counting the omer and under other circumstances. Please visit for more information about these 49 reasons to go vegetarian:

1. Animals raised for food are killed before they even get a chance to live.
2. Farmed animals are confined to tiny spaces.
3. Eating meat sends an invitation to salmonella and other forms of bacterial contamination.
4. Vegetarians smell better.
5. Being vegetarian makes it easier to keep kosher.
6. Working in a slaughterhouse is a dirty, dangerous job, and so long as people keep eating meat, someone's gotta do it.
7. By and large, laws do not protect farmed animals from hideous abuses.
8. Farmed animals are subjected to various bodily mutilations, all without the use of any painkillers.
9. Thanks to the wide variety of mock meats on the market, you can give up meat without giving up the taste of meat.
10. Animal agriculture is a major contributor to global warming.
11. Unlike natural carnivores, humans physiologically aren't built to handle meat well.
12. A vegan diet is a great defense against cholesterol problems.
13. It's no more morally acceptable to pay other people to commit acts of cruelty to farmed animals than for you than to do them yourself.
14. If you wouldn't inflict acts of cruelty on dogs or cats, it's no more morally acceptable to do the same thing to chickens or other animals.
15. Animals are "subjects-of-a-life" and are, therefore, entitled to rights and equal consideration.
16. Eating meat is not a question of whether it's acceptable to kill one animal for food but a question of supporting a system that kills more than 10,000,000,000 animals.
17. Most chickens in the U.S. consume feed laced with roxarsone, an arsenic-based additive.
18. Thanks to the myraid vegetarian celebrities and historical vegetarians, going vegetarian means you're in good company.
19. Eating meat supports industries that greatly pollute our planet's water.
20. Vegetarianism is thriving in the Jewish homeland.
21. There are many great Buddhist [and Jewish] reasons to go vegetarian.
22. Cured meats can cause lung damage.
23. Vegetarianism is the way of the future.
24. On average, adult vegans are 10 to 20 pounds lighter than adult meat-eaters.
25. Although humans are given dominion over animals, in the words of Rav Kook, "it does not mean the domination of a harsh ruler, who afflicts his people and servants merely to fulfill his personal whim and desire, according to the crookedness of his heart."
26. G-d's original, uncompromised diet for humans was vegetarianism.
27. When G-d first granted humans permission to eat animals' flesh, it was a concession in the wake of less than ideal circumstances.
28. Once the Jews left Egypt and G-d had a chance to start over, he gave them manna, which was vegetarian, and the meat that He later conceded to give them caused a "very severe plague."
29. G-d's eventual permission to eat meat has been called a "barely tolerated dispensation"; it is anything but a commandment to eat meat.
30. Transport conditions for farmed animals headed to slaughter are atrocious.
31. Going vegetarian is a great way to impress a girl (or a boy).
32. Slaughter conditions for animals are inhumane.
33. Drawing from a Lag B'Omer story, Richard Schwartz and Daniel Brook note, "[A] vegetarian diet ... is enough to sustain a person as well as a people."
34. Eating meat is linked to various types of cancer.
35. Huge amounts of land are needed to grow food for farmed animals and for cattle to graze.
36. It's not quite ideal to feed grains to farmed animals and then consume those grains in the animals' flesh.
37. A vegetarian diet is so healthy that it's the chosen diet of quite a few health-conscious athletes.
38. Farmed animals are genetically engineered to weigh more than they would naturally, so much so that they often collapse because they are unable to support their own weight.
39. The smell of factory farms is beyond people's worst nightmares.
40. The animal welfare, health, and environmental reasons to go vegetarian correspond to the Jewish principles of tsa'ar ba'alei chayim, pikuach nefesh, and bal tashchit.
41. The meat industry ignores the universal "honor thy mother" commandment.
42. Because animals can suffer, they deserve to have their interests taken into consideration in any utilitarian equation weighing the pluses and minuses of various ethical issues.
43. Many vegetarians take the opportunity of adopting a new diet to embrace new foods and cuisines and find that their dietary options are far wider now that their meals don't always revolve around a cow, a chicken, or a few other types of animals.
44. It's not economical to let factory-farmed animals mate naturally, so in many cases, semen is taken from the males and forcefully inserted into the females.
45. Animals in factory farms can't enjoy any of the things that are natural and important to them.
46. Going vegetarian is easier now than ever before.
47. Many farmed animals are given hormones in their food (to induce growth) as well as antibiotics (to keep them alive through conditions that would otherwise kill them).
48. Mad cow disease and bird flu pose serious threats to human health.
49. Crops can go a long way to feed the hungry, but they are largely wasted by feeding billions of farmed animals.

posted by heebnvegan @ 5/21/2007 08:49:00 PM

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10. U.S. and Israel Cooperating on Solar Power Plant

Thanks to our multi-award-winning movie producer Lionel Friedberg for forwarding the following article to us:

World's Largest Solar Power Plant to Be Built In California: US-Israel Eco-Technology Development Program Creates a State of Israel and State of California Private Sector Partnership

LOS ANGELES/TEL AVIV (August 22, 2007) -- Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) announced recently that it has entered into a landmark renewable energy agreement with Solel-MSP-1 to purchase renewable energy from the Mojave Solar Park, which will be constructed in California's Mojave Desert. The project will deliver 553 megawatts of solar power, the equivalent of powering 400,000 homes, to PG&E's customers in Northern and Central California. The Mojave Solar Park project is now the world's largest single solar commitment. The plant utilizes Solel's patented and commercially-proven solar thermal parabolic trough technology. Over the past 20 years, the technology has powered nine operating solar power plants in the Mojave Desert and is currently generating 354 MW of annual electricity. When fully operational in 2011, the Mojave Solar Park plant will cover up to 6,000 acres, or nine square miles in the Mojave Desert. The project will rely on 1.2 million mirrors and 317 miles of vacuum tubing to capture the desert sun's heat.

“We are thrilled to bring 553 MW of clean energy to California,” said Avi Brenmiller, Chief Executive Officer of Solel Solar Systems. “Our proven solar technology means Solel can economically turn the energy of the warm California sun into clean power for the state's homes and businesses.” Solel recently completed the upgrading of more than 100 MW of solar facilities in California. Solel is part of The Coalition on the Environment and Jewish of Southern California's (CoejlSC) US-Israel Eco-Technology Development Program. The program provides environmental technology business development services to Israeli and US environmental technology companies. The Consul General of Israel Ehud Danoch said “It is vital to both our economic future and our national security that we develop clean, sustainable energy alternatives. Our goal is mutual energy independence. Israel and California should continue to work together to make this possible, and I commend CoejlSC's efforts to develop such partnerships.” Through the US-Israel Eco- Technology Development Program, CoejlSC analyzes industry position and maintains best practice knowledge of client markets, associated markets, political climate, and regulatory issues; spearheads technical studies that quantitatively and qualitatively analyze the short-term and long-term issues facing the business; secures venture capital and other sources of funding; and guides business improvement via application of best practices. The program generates widespread support for Israeli environmental technology companies' business goals by (1) leveraging relationships with business leaders, investors, interest groups, governmental agencies, and elected officials; (2) leading economic development missions to Israel for US government officials, venture capitalists, investors, religious leaders, and community leaders; and (3) co-hosting the semi-annual California-Israel Eco-Technology Forum, which fosters discussion of emerging technologies, potential partnerships, and funding opportunities among Israeli environmental companies and the business community. This week's announcement highlights the emerging opportunities across California's environmental technology sector for companies who take advantage of cutting edge advances. Lee


For more information, visit

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11. Flooding Due to Global Warming May Be Worse Than Previously Thought

Thanks to Lionel Friedberg for also forwarding this item:

** Climate flooding risk 'misjudged' **
Climate change may carry a higher risk of flooding than was previously thought, the journal Nature reports.
< >

Climate flooding risk 'misjudged'

The flooding risk may have been underestimated, says the report
Climate change may carry a higher risk of flooding than was previously thought, the journal Nature reports.

Researchers say efforts to calculate flooding risk from climate change do not take into account the effect carbon dioxide (CO2) has on vegetation.

Higher atmospheric levels of this greenhouse gas reduce the ability of plants to suck water out of the ground and "breathe" out the excess.

Plants expel excess water through tiny pores, or stomata, in their leaves.

Their reduced ability to release water back into the atmosphere will result in the ground becoming saturated.

Areas with higher predicted rainfall have a greater risk of flooding. But this effect also reduces the severity of droughts.

The findings suggest computer models of future climate change may need to be revised in order to plan for coming decades.


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12. Global Warming Documentary to Open Nationwide

Forwarded message:

* The 11th Hour, a documentary, at a theater near you

Leonardo DiCaprio's "The 11th Hour" is a feature length documentary concerning the environmental crises caused by human actions and their impact on the planet. This new film documents the cumulative impact of these actions upon the planet's life systems and calls for restorative action through a reshaping of human activity.

The 11th Hour opens nationwide on August 31st. USW International President Leo Gerard is among the leaders interviewed in the film. You are encouraged to see it and bring it to the attention of your friends and

To spread the word, a custom trailer for the film was developed, with links to various environmental organizations. Please preview it at: - United Steelworkers

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13. My Judaism and Animal Rights Article in a New Zealand Magazine

Thanks to author and JVNA advisor Dan Brook for calling this to my attention:

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14. Jews for Animal Rights is Promoting Bumper Stickers

Forwarded message from author, editor, publisher, speaker, activist and JVNA advisor Roberta Kalechofsky:


$3.00 with cost of mailing.

Can be ordered from Micah Publications, 255 Humphrey Street, Marblehead, MA 01945


Buy both bumper sticker for $5.00.

Buy four bumper stickers for $10.00 and have one each for each car---or
for friends.

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15. Factoring Meat Into our Carbon Footprint

By Brian Sherman - posted Monday, 30 July 2007

The debate about climate change has been raging for a few years now and it is certainly beginning to heat up. The sceptics are slowly being muffled by the overwhelming scientific evidence. In Australia, television shows such as Eco House Challenge and Carbon Cops have hit the screens and public protests with many thousands of people have hit the streets. Politicians are clamouring to be seen as having a solution to the climate change problem. Business and legal communities are discussing carbon trading and the effects that climate change is going to have on their bottom lines.

In order to combat the dire predictions of climate change, we are being told by the media, the government and NGO's alike that we must all change our lifestyles. We are told to drive less, use less water, turn off the lights, compost, buy new light bulbs, buy locally grown food, plant trees, offset our carbon emissions, and the list goes on.

However, there is one simple thing which isn't being mentioned in the global warming debate. Our diets.

Australia's National Greenhouse Gas Inventory identified agriculture as responsible for almost 20 per cent of net national greenhouse emissions in 2001. On average Australians eat over 70 kilograms of meat per person each year. Cut out beef from your diet and you'll save 1.45 tonnes of greenhouse gas a year.

By way of comparison, if you were to switch from a normal sedan car to a hybrid car you would reduce your annual emissions by only just over 1 tonne. If you reduced your dairy intake by just 2 cups of milk a week, you would save 250kg of greenhouse pollution in a year.

These statistics show that reducing your meat and dairy consumption or, even better, committing to a vegetarian or vegan diet, is the easiest thing every one of us can do to address global warming. The time has come to factor meat into our carbon footprint.

A few years ago, I went to visit a factory farm for pigs and it was one of the saddest experiences of my life. Factory farms are beyond description. I'm not particularly religious but these factory farms seem to me “ungodly”. It's the only word I can use to describe the deprivation enforced by man on these poor beings.

Farming in Australia, and across the world, has changed dramatically. Long gone are the days of the Old McDonalds farm with cows, chickens and pigs grazing happily on green grass in front of a picturesque barn. In factory farms today, billions of animals are suffering in ways that many of us find too horrible to imagine or confront. Voiceless's primary aim is to “lift the veil of secrecy” about what goes on in Australia's factory farms.

More than half a billion animals, mainly pigs, cows and chickens, in Australia each year are raised in conditions in which many cannot exercise their most basic instincts. Approximately 335,000 female pigs are continually impregnated and confined inside sheds. Sixty-two per cent live in “sow crates” in which they can barely take a step forward or a step back, for part of their reproductive cycle.

Their feathered cousins, about 10 million “battery” hens, fare little better, They spend their lives in barren wire cages, with less than an A4 size piece of paper each in which to move. These birds, who are often debeaked without pain relief, spend their life standing on steel bars as if they were mere egg-laying machines.

Are factory farms the way of the future? With the increasing income of many nations today, there is a growing and unprecedented demand for animal products. A United Nations report states that “the global livestock sector is growing faster than any other agricultural sub-sector”. Global meat production is projected to double over the next 40 years. Demand for milk and eggs is also set to increase.

Greater demand leads to further intensification of processes to get the animal from the factory to the plate in the most economical way. The lower the cost to the consumer, the higher the cost to the animal. Ultimately the animal pays the price.

The intensification of farming processes has also resulted in large multinational companies dominating the global meat and dairy trade. Currently, 50 per cent of global pork production and more than 70 per cent of global chicken production comes from industrial systems - from factory farms. Small Australian farmers are being forced out of business, consumed by multi-national agribusinesses with whom they cannot compete on the scales of efficiency.

In terms of environmental impact, it would be of no use to move all the animals in factory farms outdoors to graze. Australia's delicate soil is not able to cope with the pressure of millions of non-native hard-hoofed animals like pigs, sheep and cattle. Grazing animals cause a multitude of problems to the Australian eco-system such as compacted soil, topsoil loss, water pollution to name a few.

In Australia, 58 per cent of the land mass is used for agriculture and principally for grazing animals and the production of crops used in animal feed. This is more than half our country used for the livestock industry.

However, factory farming creates an equivalent environmental disaster. Animals in factory farms are fed on cereals and soya. Some 670 million tonnes of cereals were fed to livestock in 2002. This is projected to increase to 1 billion tonnes of feed in the next 20 years.

Cereals and soya are grown on land which has been converted from natural habitats, forests and grasslands, into croplands and paddocks for grazing. Since the 1960's about 200 million hectares of the world's tropical forest has been destroyed, mostly for cattle grazing and growing crops for animal feed. We need to consider the energy which is consumed by the production and transport of these huge amounts of feed.

While the figures above are sufficient to motivate many people to change their diet, the most important reason to consider our meat-eating habits is the lifetime of suffering inflicted upon the masses of animals rushed down the assembly line of factory farm production every year. The magnitude and extent of their suffering is greater than many of us are prepared to acknowledge.

This is why we need to keep in mind that while environmental arguments can be useful in bringing the issue to people's attention, they can also distract and embroil us in a frustrating debate. Agribusiness is now grinding their PR wheels and trying to convince us that by re-using their waste to generate energy and power towns they are in fact, turning their factory farms ethical and “green”.

I think it is disgraceful. I challenge anyone to argue that a “green” factory farm will not inflict just as much pain and suffering on an animal. At the end of the day, if we are serious about addressing climate change, we need to broaden our focus and consider how our food choices impact upon all beings with whom we share this planet.

Extracted from Brian Sherman's speech delivered at 2nd Annual Vegan Expo, Cool the Planet - Bite by Bite on Sunday July 22, 2007.

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16. Is Michael Moore to “Sicko” What Al Gore is to “An Inconvenient Truth”?

Forwarded article:

Health Care and Michael Moore: Who's the real “SICKO?”

Tuesday, 07 August 2007

Michael Moore's movie, "Sicko," is his attempt at placing blame for the American health care crisis on the shoulders of the pharmaceutical companies and the government. Clearly, governmental agencies that are supposedly looking out for the welfare of the citizens are far from innocent, and pharmaceutical companies are anything but good Samaritans, but Michael couldn't be more wrong on this one and need not look too much further than his own mirror to see the real problem. His denial is problem #2.

The fact is, Michael Moore is just another cog in the big, dysfunctional machine that Americans currently call "health care." It is actually "disease care," and therein lies problem #3. Are you beginning to see a pattern here?

Michael Moore, even just at a cursory glance, is flamboyantly committing at least two of the "seven deadly sins" - gluttony and sloth. And he wants health? Michael Moore wants to engage in a problematic way of life and then make those problems that he's created someone else's problem. That's problem # 4. Where does personal responsibility fit in to Michael Moore's paradigm? Perhaps, it's just one of those annoying little details he's overlooked. Where does self-control fit in to his lifestyle? Another annoying, trivial detail, I suppose.

For those who care to deal in reality, until people take responsibility for their own lives and their own health, there will not be health. Nor can the government fix the problem. It is patently impossible to live a disease-producing lifestyle and then expect someone, or something, else to be able to fix it. The health care system is not about health at all, rather it is all about financing disease. And people such as Michael Moore create disease. What we have in this country is disease care, and I suggest Michael Moore be its poster child.

The truth is, our diet is directly responsible for well over 80 percent of the diseases from which we suffer. Heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, gout, cancer, high cholesterol, acid reflux, constipation, obesity, to name a few, are directly attributable to what we put in our mouths, and it is quite obvious that Michael Moore puts a whole lot into his mouth.

The governmental issue of health care exists simply and totally because of people like Michael Moore, and the "war" being waged against disease is folly. If people began eating the right foods, we wouldn't need to wage a war, we would quite literally eradicate the need for the war. So, what's the real solution?

People who follow the healthiest diet in the world, a vegan diet, don't suffer from many cancers, heart disease, hypertension, obesity, etc., etc., etc. So why don't doctors tell their patients about the enormous benefits of a vegan diet? Not only would diseases vanish, but so, too, would the doctors' incomes. Also, perhaps, many patients simply wouldn't follow the advice, so the doctors simply don't bother. And disease marches on.

And so do most environmental problems, which also stem from a meat and dairy-based diet. To be clear, a meat and dairy-based diet is problematic to our health, our environment, our society and even our spirituality, wheras a vegan diet cures all problems. I suppose Michael Moore would scoff at such a suggestion, and then blame the United States government for the cost of the heart bypass operation (for starters) he's going to need.

Any man who truly wishes to improve his life must stop blaming everyone else for the problems he creates. Otherwise, and by any real definition, he is a Sicko. Michael, put down the burger and listen up.

Jeff Popick, also known as "The Vegan Sage," is a keen visionary and a leading expert on the diverse effects our diet has on our health, environment & even our spirituality. Jeff has worn many hats over the years, from Hollywood stunt man, to radio host ("Vegetarian Lifestyles," KIEV 870AM) to millionaire businessman to passionate author & speaker. His latest book is, The Real Forbidden Fruit: How Meat Destroys Paradise and How Veganism Can Get It Back

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17. Academic Conference Considers Link Between Animal Abuse and Human Violence

Thanks to Sam Calvert for forwarding the following release:



A groundbreaking international conference, aimed at exploring the link between cruelty to animals and person-to-person violence, will attract leading academics to Oxford University's Keble College on 18 September.

The conference, the Relationship between Animal Abuse and Human Violence, will analyse this link and its potentially far-reaching implications for social and legal policy around the world. Eminent speakers at this, the UK's first major international conference on the subject, will present discussion papers for those working in crime prevention, law enforcement, social work, animal welfare, child protection, humane education, veterinary services and spousal and elderly care.

The inaugural event of the newly-founded Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics (OCAE), the conference has a bold aim: to identify links between violence meted out to animals and to people in order to develop social and legal mechanisms to better safeguard the well-being of both.

The Revd Professor Andrew Linzey, director and founder of the OCAE, believes that people concerned for animals have missed something important, saying 'It isn't just that cruelty to animals is unjust to animals -- there is now increasingly solid evidence that animal cruelty harms human beings'.

'Since 1987 the psychiatric profession has acknowledged animal abuse as a significant symptom of current and, potentially, future antisocial behaviour,' explains keynote speaker Frank Ascione, Utah State University's renowned Professor of Psychology. 'It is also clear that animal abuse may occur in families where children are maltreated or women are abused by their intimate partners. The Oxford conference will be a landmark in assessing our current knowledge about these issues and will create an agenda for critical research in the years ahead.'

Another eminent speaker, Eleonora Gullone, Associate Professor of Psychology at Australia's Monash University, points to the increasing recognition of the significance of animal abuse as an indicator of aggressive, violent or abusive behaviour towards humans. `Incorporating this knowledge into policies and procedures is therefore likely to significantly contribute to early intervention efforts aimed at preventing violence from escalating within the family and within society,' she says.

Other speakers include Conor Gearty, Professor of Human Rights and Director of the Centre for the Study of Human Rights at the London School of Economics; Jack Levin, Professor of Sociology and Criminology at Northeastern University; Martin Wasik, Professor of Criminal Justice at Keele University, crown court judge and chair of the UK's Sentencing Advisory Panel and Alan C. Brantley, FBI Supervisory Special Agent (retired) with the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime, USA.

The conference, which draws speakers and delegates from Europe, America, Australasia and Africa, will be opened by Erin Pizzey, the award winning humanitarian and founder of refuges for battered women and children.

- ENDS -

Note to editors:

Full programme and online registration available at

For media information contact: Julio Romo, Press Office, OCAE - Tel: 020 7089 5210 or email:

For booking information contact: OCAE Conference Helpdesk - tel: 020 7089 5216 or email:
Conference attendance fees from £265. Charity rates and group discounts are available.

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18. My Newsweek Letter Published

Kudos to Sharon Begley for her superb, well-researched and -written, comprehensive, much-needed debunking of those who claim that "Global Warming Is a Hoax." I hope it will provide the breakthrough we need to start effectively responding to global climate change. There is another issue that bears out the quip that denial is not just a river in Egypt: the failure to address the major impact that animal-based agriculture has on global warming. According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization's November 2006 report "Livestock's Long Shadow," livestock agriculture emits more greenhouse gases (in CO2 equivalents) than all the world's transportation sources combined, and the report projects that the number of farmed animals will double in the next 50 years. So among the many steps essential to avoid the potential unprecedented catastrophe from global warming, a major shift toward plant-based diets is essential.
Richard H. Schwartz Professor Emeritus, College of Staten Island
Staten Island, N.Y.

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