September 18, 2007

9/18/07 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

1. 1. Asking for Forgiveness Before Yom Kippur

2. Best Wishes For a Meaningful Yom Kippur and an Easy Fast

3. Relating Sukkot to Vegetarianism

4. Reduced Insurance Rates for Vegetarians

5. Follow Up Re Challenging Al Gore

6. JVNA President Honored at an AR Meeting in England

7. JVNA President Honored at an AR Meeting in England

8. New Vegetarian Book by JVNA Advisor Released

9. JVNA advisor to Present Challenging Analysis re Animal Treatment on Factory Farms

10. FAO Promotes Organic Agriculture

11. Canfei Nesharim Program Announcement Re Sukkot

12. Time To Avoid Global Warming Catastrophe Getting Short

13. Four Recent Items Re Kapparot/My Letters in Response to Two of the Items

14. Are Our Oceans Becoming Depleted of Fish?

15. Conference on Religious Perspectives on Climate Change Scheduled

16. Is the US Government Doing Enough to Combat Global Warming?

17. 2007 International Compassionate Living Festival "Becoming the Change" Scheduled

18. Your Vote Can Help Get Vegetarianism Discussed on CNN

19. Gorillas Among Many Animals Facing Extinction

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. Asking for Forgiveness Before Yom Kippur

A message from a High Holiday package of material:

“On Yom Kippur, God will pardon everyone who has sinned against Him. But He will not forgive a person who has sinned against another human being, unless that person has appeased the person who was wronged.”
Mishnah Yoma 8:9

“I hereby forgive whoever has hurt me,
whoever has done me any wrong,
whether deliberately or by accident,
whether by word or by deed.
May no one be punished on my account.”

“As I forgive and pardon fully
those who have done me wrong,
may those whom I have harmed
forgive and pardon me
whether I acted deliberately or by accident
whether by word or by deed,”

[Forgiveness of people who have done wrong does not imply acceptance of evil acts – we must continue to work diligently to eradicate evil and to strive for a better world.]
If I have offended anyone by anything I have written or done during the past year, it was unintentional, and I ask your forgiveness. I plan to try to continue to be sensitive to the wide variety of people receiving these newsletters, while promoting vegetarianism as a necessary part of a healthier, more just, humane, peaceful and environmentally sustainable world.


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2. Best Wishes For a Meaningful Yom Kippur and an Easy Fast

and may we be written and sealed in the Book of Life for a good year.

If you have the time and inclination, please see my article “Vegetarianism and Yom Kippur at the holiday section of
Suggestions always welcome.

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3. Relating Sukkot to Vegetarianism

Since Sukkot, starting the evening of Wednesday, September 26, follows quickly after Yom Kippur, I am including (below) a letter that I have sent to the Jewish media re Sukkot. Please consider using that letter and the material in my article on “Sukkot, Simchat Torah and Vegetarianism,” in the holiday section at, to compose your own letters and for talking points. Thanks.

Dear Editor:

On Sukkot, the Jewish festival devoted to our offering thanksgiving for the abundance of life, we are reminded that humans are only privileged caretakers of this precious, but imperiled, planet. Like the wilderness sukkot of our Israelite ancestors, this Earth is no more than our temporary dwelling, and it is our important responsibility to cherish and care for our planet and all its creatures, as co-workers with God. The fragile shelter of the sukkah should remind us that we can’t rely on technological advances to save us and we must find a way to live in harmony with nature.

As we decorate our sukkahs with pictures and replicas of fruits and vegetables on our harvest festival, we should consider how future harvests are endangered by global warming, widening water shortages and soil erosion and depletion. As our Israelite ancestors were sustained with manna, a vegetarian food “like coriander seed,” while they dwelt in sukkahs for 40 years in the wilderness, we should sustain ourselves with tofu, the modern-day manna, and a wide variety of other plant foods, to improve our health and to help move our endangered planet to a sustainable path.

Very truly yours,

Steven Schuster
Richard H. Schwartz

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4. Reduced Insurance Rates for Vegetarians

(UK) Carrot for all veggies

Posted by: ""

BRITAIN'S soaring army of vegetarians are being offered lower
insurance premiums because they are less likely to suffer from major

Animal Friends Insurance, a not-for-profit insurance business, is
offering a six per cent discount for the UK's three million or so

Medical evidence suggests non meat-eaters are up to 40 per cent less
likely to likely to suffer some forms of cancer.
full story:,,2005300000-2007420157,00.html

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5. Follow Up Re Challenging Al Gore

The last JVNA newsletter had the following report:

“Al Gore is working on a new environmental book entitled The Path to Survival, a sequel to An Inconvenient Truth that offers a blueprint on what can be done to fight global warming. The book will be released on Earth Day, April 22, 2008.”

“Let us hope that he will finally relate animal-based diets to global warming.”

Author and JVNA advisor Dan Brook sent the following response (which I agree with):

Shalom. We shouldn't just hope; we need to act!

Please encourage readers to write Al Gore at,
to write Sierra Club Exec Director Carl Pope at,
to write other environmentalists, politicians, and scientists,
to write their local newspapers, to write the environmental and other orgs they belong to,
to call talk radio shows, to speak with their rabbis and other teachers.

While we may be approaching a tipping point for global warming to spin out of control, we might also be reaching a tipping point in collective consciousness and public opinion. We need to get there first!

Please read, share, forward, post, print, blog, link, and cite the following web site with a great collection of links on "meat eating and global warming":


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6. JVNA President Honored at an AR Meeting in England

Forwarded message:

Warmest thanks to you, Richard.

At our interfaith animal service on Sunday [September 16] I shall be lighting candles for three very special people, two American and one British: you and Gary Kowalski (Unitarian Universalist minister, animal welfare champion and author in Burlington, Vermont) and our very dear Professsor Andrew Linzey in Oxford, England. It's so good to recognise and honour human champions of our animal friends and pray for them as well as the animals!

As well as honouring three living animal welfare advocates I'll also be paying tribute to departed animal friends and among these will be your fellow American, Alex, the 31-year-old African grey parrot, the extremely intelligent and talkative star pupil of Dr Irene Pepperberg and a longtime resident of Brandeis University, which I believe is near Boston, Massachusetts? Dr Pepperberg and other friends of Alex are really feeling is loss. We feel for them as well as the recently departed Alex himself.

Shalom and warmest wishes as always,


Also, as the following message indicates, they will read a selection from my writings at the event:

Warmest thanks for sending this reading [at my request]. It's ideal and I am very grateful to you for sending it so promptly. It certainly captures the essence of Jewish religious wisdom and says such a lot in so few words. I am particularly pleased that I am able to feature your words in our interfaith service on 16 September and it's a good example not only of interfaith but also trans-Atlantic co-operation and understanding, isn't it?

I am so glad that we have made contact again and hope that we shall keep in touch. I very much admire your work and writings and shall do all I can to help publicise them among sympathetic contacts.


Warmest wishes and blessings,


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7. Eating Less Meat Can Help Slow Climate Change

Eating less meat may slow climate change

 Medical Writer
Wed Sep 12, 2007

Eating less meat could help slow global warming 
by reducing the number of livestock and thereby 
decreasing the amount of methane flatulence from 
the animals, scientists said on Thursday.

 In a special energy and health series of the 
medical journal The Lancet, experts said people 
should eat fewer steaks and hamburgers. Reducing 
global red meat consumption by 10 percent, they 
said, would cut the gases emitted by cows, sheep 
and goats that contribute to global warming.


We are at a significant tipping point," said 
Geri Brewster, a nutritionist at Northern 
Westchester Hospital in New York, who was not 
connected to the study.

" If people knew that they were threatening the 
environment by eating more meat, they might think 
twice before ordering a burger," Brewster said.

Other ways of reducing greenhouse gases from 
farming practices, like feeding animals 
higher-quality grains, would only have a limited 
impact on cutting emissions. Gases from animals 
destined for dinner plates account for nearly a 
quarter of all emissions worldwide. 

"That leaves reducing demand for meat as the only 
real option," said Dr. John Powles, a public 
health expert at Cambridge University, one of the 
study's authors. 

The amount of meat eaten varies considerably 
worldwide. In developed countries, people 
typically eat about 224 grams per day. But in 
Africa, most people only get about 31 grams a day.

 With demand for meat increasing worldwide, 
experts worry that this increased livestock 
production will mean more gases like methane and 
nitrous oxide heating up the atmosphere. In 
China, for instance, people are eating double the 
amount of meat they used to a decade ago. 

Powles said that if the global average were 90 
grams per day, that would prevent the levels of 
gases from speeding up climate change.

Eating less red meat would also improve health in 
general. Powles and his co-authors estimate that 
reducing meat consumption would reduce the 
numbers of people with heart disease and cancer. 
One study has estimated that the risk of 
colorectal cancer drops by about a third for 
every 100 grams of red meat that is cut out of 
your diet.

 "As a society, we are overconsuming protein," 
Brewster said. "If we ate less red meat, it would 
also help stop the obesity epidemic."

Experts said that it would probably take decades 
to wane the public off of its meat-eating 
tendency. "We need to better understand the 
implications of our diet," said Dr. Maria Neira, 
director of director of the World Health 
Organization's department of public health and 
the environment.

"It is an interesting theory that needs to be 
further examined," she said. "But eating less 
meat could definitely be one way to reduce gas 
emissions and climate change."

Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press.

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8. New Vegetarian Book by JVNA Advisor Released

Forwarded message:
"The most compelling evidence in favor of a vegetarian diet I have ever read." 
Tim Riesenberger, MD West Sound Emergency Physicians

1. Get the most up to date information on how a vegetarian diet
 can improve your health and the world you live in.
2. Prevent or improve high blood pressure, stroke, obesity, diabetes,
 osteoporosis and arthritis.
3. Plant based diet yields more food and requires 
fewer natural resources.
4. Discover the nutritional benefits for toddlers through teens. 
athletes and seniors.
5. Reduce global warming and global hunger
6. "I highly recommend The Vegetarian Solution to all those wanting to maintain or 
regain their health." Neal Barnard M.D. Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine 

Author Stewart Rose [JVNA advisor] is vice president of the Vegetarians of Washington, the largest regional vegetarian organization in the country.
$12.95 /978-1-57067-205-7 /198 pages/ 6x9 paper
Available at your regular book distributor
Or contact Thomas Hupp 
Book Publishing Company
888 260 8458

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9. JVNA advisor to Present Challenging Analysis re Animal Treatment on Factory Farms

Forwarded message from JVNA advisor David Cantor, Director of Responsible Policies for Animals:

[Cross-Post Freely]

Mark your calendar!
Responsible Policies for Animals presentation November 8th!


Inhumane treatment of animals is a root cause of racism, sexism, and other harmful discrimination; pollution, climate change, and other ecological destruction; influenza pandemics, the AIDS scourge, and other biomedical disasters; pervasive chronic disease and soaring medical & insurance costs; widespread poverty and hunger; and wars linked to rapidly diminishing fresh water, oil and other resources. I’ll explain the connections at a free presentation on November 8th in Glenside, Pennsylvania. Read on for details …

Nonhuman animals must have fundamental legal rights on which meaningful secondary rights and enforcement can be based, because they’re sentient – they experience their lives – they feel pain, fear, hunger, pleasure and have much else in common with the animals who already have basic rights: the humans who decide the fate of Earth’s other beings.

Animals’ sentience is reason enough in terms of right & wrong, but powerful interests keep animal rights off of the public agenda. That's why it is crucial to show people that their interests lie with an end to animal use and destruction.

I believe a key reason the American Revolution has stalled, so many people today see themselves as consumers rather than citizens, and so many are depressed, anxious, bored, apathetic, or frantic is that they are constantly urged to be a small part of small change when they know big change is needed. They know war without end is not necessary, we needn't keep driving species extinct, our bodies needn't be used mainly as dumping grounds for inhumane and non-natural foods or for pharmaceuticals-industry profits.

People are naturally altruistic, just, compassionate, and generous, but they’re asked to do and give little. Except to sacrifice their souls, hearts, and minds to do what “everyone” is doing.

I believe people can be inspired by humane treatment of animals / animal rights as the big change that is needed, even though reaching the goal requires long and difficult struggle and is not a sure thing like typical “improvements” for animals with no rights.

Especially if you live or work within a reasonable distance, join me at 7:00 P.M. on November 8th when I’ll give a presentation titled Food and Peace at the Won Institute of Graduate Studies, 137 S. Easton Road, Glenside, PA 19038. (Read on for details about Won….) I’ll emphasize how shutting down the flesh, milk & egg industries will bring peace to humans, relate that to other human interests, and explain the basic-rights connection and why anything less will not get the job done for humans or others.

Mark your calendar! I’ll send reminders and directions between now and November 8th. If you are among our many friends far from southeastern Pennsylvania and will not be traveling to the area in early November, tell friends in the area about this unique event - they won't regret attending!

Friendly and welcoming toward everyone, the Won Institute of Graduate Studies is a unique center for the study and experience of culture, health care, spirituality, and the arts. Its reputation has grown rapidly in the few years since it was established in 2005. The Institute offers a variety of programs and services to the public – such as an acupuncture clinic, meditation instruction, and free movies - in addition to its advanced degrees in applied meditation, Buddhism and acupuncture. Learn about the Institute’s wide selection of activities and services – and directions – at

Thank you for your support of Responsible Policies for Animals and your other contributions toward a humane future!

Best wishes,

David Cantor
Executive Director
Responsible Policies for Animals, Inc.
P.O. Box 891
Glenside, PA 19038

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10. FAO Promotes Organic Agriculture

ISIS Press Release 10/09/07

A fully referenced version of this article is posted on ISIS members’ website. Details here

An electronic version of this report, or any other ISIS report, with full references, can be sent to you via e-mail for a donation of £3.50. Please e-mail the title of the report to:

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11. Canfei Nesharim Program Announcement Re Sukkot

Dear friend,

I hope that you had a meaningful and fulfilling chag. As we move toward Sukkos, I am writing to remind you of Canfei Nesharim's great new resources for Sukkos and Shemini Atzeres.

"He who has not seen the rejoicing at the place of the water-drawing has never seen rejoicing in his life." (B.T. Sukkah 51a)

This Sukkos, help your family and community appreciate the gift of water with:

Ø New, bigger Sukkah decorations!
Ø New eco-reminder children's stickers
Ø Shiurim and source sheets for Torah learning
Ø Program ideas for children, adults and families
Ø Tips for saving water
Ø Coupons for Sukkos paper goods
Ø Mail-order lulavim and etrogim

Families: Make sure that your Sukkah has a decoration that shares your Torah commitment to protect the environment with your family and guests!

Deadline for all orders is Wednesday, September 19th. For all our great Sukkos resources, visit Canfei Nesharim's website.
We look forward to sharing more Torah and mitzvos with you in the coming year, with Hashem's help.

With best wishes,
~Evonne Marzouk

P.S. Don't forget to subscribe to Eitz Chayim Hee: A Weekly Torah Commentary for Environmental Learning and Action, a series of teachings about the environment based on each weekly portion of the Jewish Torah, which will be distributed via email beginning on Tuesday, October 2. Subscribe today!

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12. Time To Avoid Global Warming Catastrophe Getting Short

Forwarded message:

Window to Prevent Catastrophic Climate Change Closing; EU Should Press for Immediate U.S. Action

The warming climate is undermining biodiversity by accelerating habitat loss, according to Vital Signs 2007–2008.

Consumption of energy and many other critical resources is consistently breaking records, disrupting the climate and undermining life on the planet, according to the latest Worldwatch Institute report, Vital Signs 2007–2008.

The 44 trends tracked in Vital Signs illustrate the urgent need to check consumption of energy and other resources that are contributing to the climate crisis, starting with the largest polluter, the United States, which accounted for over 21 percent of global carbon emissions from fossil fuel burning in 2005. Europe, already feeling the effects of climate change, should pressure the U.S. to join international climate negotiations, according to Erik Assadourian, Vital Signs Project Director.

"The world is running out of time to head off catastrophic climate change, and it is essential that Europe and the rest of the international community bring pressure to bear on U.S. policymakers to address the climate crisis," said Assadourian, who spoke at the Barcelona launch of Vital Signs. "The United States must be held accountable for its emissions, double the per capita level in Europe, and should follow the EU lead by committing to reducing its total greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050."

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13. Four Recent Items Re Kapparot/My Letters in Response to Two of the Items

a. Shas spiritual leader calls for caution with kapparot ceremony

By Yair Ettinger

Haaretz September 17, 2007

Shas movement spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef is worried about unsupervised slaughter of chickens as part of the kapparot ritual ahead of Yom Kippur.

The ancient ceremony involves swinging a live chicken overhead in a ritual transferance of the person's sins in preparation for the day of atonement. It may be performed anytime between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Speaking Saturday at his Jerusalem synagogue, Hayazdim, Yosef warned that overworked ritual slaughterers wind up using flawed blades that are not deemed "perfectly sharp."

"If it is not perfectly sharp, it is not only non-kosher but nevela," he said, using the term for the carcass of a kosher animal not killed in accordance with Jewish law and therefore forbidden for consumption.

Despite the modern custom of using money in place of chicken and then giving it to charity, many ultra-Orthodox Jews continue to use chickens and slaughter them before giving the kosher meat to charity.

American rabbis also have expressed reservations about the proper slaughter of these animals, prompted by a complaint to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. A report by PETA about cruelty toward chickens before Yom Kippur led a group of Hasidic rabbis to discuss reducing the animals' suffering. The U.S. edition of the Orthodox publication Hamodia ran an editorial calling for greater supervision of the slaughter.

Yosef said that Rabbi Joseph Caro "is against this thing," citing the author of the Shulhan Arukh, or Code of Jewish Law, who considered kapparot a pagan ritual. However, Yosef refrained from banning the custom. He made do with calling on those who wish to perform the ceremony to do so early to prevent overloading the ritual slaughterers, and "also to go to God-fearing slaughterers who are kosher."

My letter in response to the above article:

As president of Jewish vegetarians of North America, I was glad to read about Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef’s statement urging Jews to be careful in carrying out the kapparot ritual with chickens to make sure that everything done was consistent with Jewish law (“Shas spiritual leader calls for caution with kapparot ceremony;” September 17 issue). Since Jews are to be rachmanim b’nei rachmanim (compassionate children of compassionate ancestors) and the Rosh Hashanah/Yom Kippur period is one in which we ask for mercy from God, I believe that Jews should use the halachically acceptable substitution of money, rather than chickens for the ceremony. Also, since there are far more abuses of chickens and other animals on modern factory farms than during the kapparot ritual, I hope that Rabbi Yosef and other Jewish leaders will address this issue and the many other moral issues related to animal-based diets, including the negative effects on human health and the environment.

Very truly yours,

Richard H. Schwartz

b. Article in New York magazine
Coq au Sin

• By Dan Levin

(Photo: Ziv Koren/Polaris)

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has a new target: Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn who swing live chickens in the air to symbolically transfer their sins to the birds. The practice, called Kapparot, takes place during the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Thousands of chickens are deployed in Brooklyn alone, then slaughtered and fed to the poor. This summer, PETA sent video of the practice, shot in 2005 and 2006, to the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The footage showed teenagers ripping off birds’ heads and suffocating others in garbage bags as well as children handling blood-and-feces-covered chickens without gloves. Not very kosher, in any sense of the word. The agency, which claimed no jurisdiction over cruelty, referred the matter to the state’s Kosher Law Enforcement Division.

The negative publicity spurred the Orthodox world to action. A group of rabbis met in August about cruelty claims, and last week, it issued guidelines for authorized Kapparot facilities and tightened supervision over the handling and slaughtering of the chickens. The state says it will monitor whether these rules are followed.

“PETA has a record of trying to trample on Jewish rituals and customs,” says Rabbi Moshe Weiner, who was part of the group that issued the guidelines. “Things may have gotten relaxed, and we’re trying to bring it up to standard because [Jewish law] demands that animals be treated decently.”

“Donating money to charity is also a religiously acceptable symbolic sacrifice,” says Bruce Friedrich, a PETA spokesperson. “We hope compassionate Jews choose this act, rather than abusing terrified, squawking birds to commemorate Yom Kippur.” The PETA folks will be out with their camcorders again this year.

c. Jewish Week Article/followed by my letter

Swinging No More Kaporos and the new eco-kosher movement.

Steve Lipman - Staff Writer

Growing up out of town, in a non-Orthodox household, I never knew from kaporos.

It’s a post-Talmudic, pre-Yom Kippur custom in some traditional circles that involves swinging a live chicken three times over your head, reciting some verses that symbolically transfer your sins to the fowl — a rooster for a man, a hen for a woman — then leaving it behind to be slaughtered, in a kosher manner of course, and given to a needy family.

Kaporos is Hebrew for “atonements.” The custom is supposed to teach sensitivity for God’s creatures and awareness of one’s own transgressions.

Orthodox, but a rationalist, I wasn’t interested.

Then Tami called.

“Do you want to do kaporos with me?” she asked.

A native of my hometown, the product of a chasidic home, she was living in my haredi Brooklyn neighborhood several years ago, wanted to see what kaporos was like and wanted some company a few days before Yom Kippur.

I don’t remember the details, where the shluging (the Yiddish word for the process means to beat) took place (in some warehouse in an industrial part of Brooklyn, I think) or how much the chicken cost me (probably about $20.) I remember hearing a roomful of chickens; following the lead of a man who showed me how to grip the bird’s legs with both hands and wave it without hurting it; repeating some words; and thinking I didn’t want to do it again.

I didn’t.

Apparently, I’m not alone.

In the Days of Repentance each year a movement grows to discourage kaporos, urging the pious to substitute money in the symbolic expiation ceremony, such tzedakah being a valid, halachic practice. A frightened chicken doesn’t fulfill the Tishrei imperative of introspection, the opponents of kaporos argue.

The chicken breasts or broth served pre- or post-fast may be kosher, these people argue, but the practice isn’t.

Opposition to kaporos, including a recent haredi panel in Brooklyn that examined the halachic efficacy of the procedure and issued a call to make it less offensive, is part of a wider trend in the Jewish world.

In recent years, the definition of kashrut — which literally means fit or proper, not just OK to eat — is widely expanding in some circles, here and in Israel. Other concerns, like the conditions in which the animals live and die, the treatment and payment of workers, and the wider environmental impact of the production chain are entering the discussion of what the Web site calls “Ethical Eating.

“This level of care is demanded of us by halacha [Jewish law],” states

Some people call this “eco-kosher.” Nigel Savage, executive director of Hazon (, a New York-based Jewish environmental organization, prefers “Jewish food movement.”

The movement is transdenominational, from Reform Jews to the Jewish Renewal Movement to Conservative Jewry, which is establishing a “hechsher tzedek” that will certify food on ethical grounds. “A growing number of Orthodox Jews,” who are primarily concerned about ritual standards of kashrut, “are starting to care about the issue,” Savage says. He can cite traditional texts and Orthodox scholars who share his views.

Hazon’s has become an on-line clearinghouse for movement members who, while not returning to the farm, are taking food-buying decisions into their own activist hands. The Torah and Talmud reflect people who lived on and cared for the land. As modernists, “we’ve been cut off from that,” says Savage.

We think meat’s natural state is plastic-wrapped in a grocer’s freezer. We don’t think about the animals who give their lives for our meals.

That’s why Savage likes to talk about the azazel, the biblical scapegoat that is the theme of the Yom Kippur Torah reading. The reference should make us aware, he says.

And that’s why Savage will have a goat slaughtered at Hazon’s second food conference at the upstate Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in December. The shechting will force the conference participants to confront an animal’s reality, he says. His announcement of the planned slaughter has generated a storm of discussion on the Internet.

Savage, of course, is against using chickens for kaporos.

The ASPCA in New York City confiscated hundreds of abandoned and starving kaporos chickens during the last two years. PETA this year called on the city’s Health Department to examine the conditions in which the animals are held.

Having done kaporos once, I don’t do it with a chicken anymore. I can’t believe that the waving doesn’t scare or hurt the bird, no matter how gently I hold it.

On Erev Yom Kippur, I do kaporos with money instead.

Now the only pain is in my wallet.


Dear Editor,

As president of Jewish vegetarians of North America, I was glad to read about Nigel Savage’s plan to “force [Hazon] conference participants [who eat meat] to confront an animal’s reality (“Swinging No More: Kaporos and the new eco-kosher movement;” September 14, 2007 issue). However, rather than shecting an innocent, defenseless animal, as they plan to do, I think it would be better to show the horrors of slaughtering by videos, and we would be happy to provide some. I think it would also be valuable if the Hazon conference addressed other realities re producing and consuming animals, including the devastating effects on human health and the environment.

Very truly yours,

Richard H. Schwartz

d. JTA article

Activists cry fowl over kapparot

Published: 09/17/2007

An Israeli animal rights group appealed for an end to the use of chickens in the kapparot ritual.

Each year before Yom Kippur, many Orthodox Jews pay to have a chicken swung over their heads in a rite symbolizing penitence. The bird is then slaughtered for food.

Let the Animals Live, Israel's biggest animal welfare society, sent a letter to former Sephardi Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef this week asking him to urge his followers to opt for a more humane and doctrinally approved version of kapparot in which money is used instead of a chicken and given to charity.

Let the Animals Live argued that the more traditional ritual is unnecessarily cruel and thus contradicts biblical morality.

Yosef, who is considered the spiritual mentor for the powerful Sephardi religious political movement Shas, had no immediate response to the appeal.

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14. Are Our Oceans Becoming Depleted of Fish?,,2162131,00.html

Waves of despair

Once they were a national treasure chest, teeming with fish and wildlife. Now the waters of the North Sea are quiet, almost dead. But it's not too late, says Callum Roberts, to stop the fishing industry destroying itself

Wednesday September 5, 2007
The Guardian


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15. Conference on Religious Perspectives on Climate Change Scheduled

"Religious Perspectives on Climate Change: Turning Faith into Action"

Ford School of Public Policy

University of Michigan

October 19, 2007

Join us for a multi-faith exploration of the intersection of religious beliefs and concern for the global environment. Does Aldo Leopold's lament still hold true today? How do some of the world's religions address the issue of the environment? How do they treat the split between human beings and nature? Is there scriptural support for attending to the issue of climate change as a religious and moral
issue? How can concern for climate change be integrated into religious rituals as a way to modify behavior and consciousness? What is being done to reach across traditions and to foster interfaith dialogue and collaboration? What more needs to be done? Come join in a conversation over the answers to these and many other questions.

Mary Evelyn Tucker, noted Yale University expert on the intersection of religion and the environment, will set the stage for a climate change panel discussion among representatives from the Catholic, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Protestant (Evangelical and Mainline) faiths. Engage in the discussion by asking questions about how these
faiths compare regarding the necessity and means of addressing climate change.

Reverend Sally Bingham, President of the Regeneration Project, will present the afternoon keynote, offering constructive suggestions for getting active and staying active on this important social issue that affects us all, regardless of whether you share one of the faiths discussed or not. Following her address, a second panel discussion among noted experts on ways to turn your religious beliefs into action through lifestyle changes, engagement with city government, developments in federal policy and using your pocketbook through socially responsible investing. Leave this meeting with a better understanding of what you believe about the morality of climate
change and what you can do about it.

Register now:

Conference Information:

* Carbon emissions from speaker travel to and from this conference will be offset through Native Energy.

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16. Is the US Government Doing Enough to Combat Global Warming?

Federal Inaction on Climate Change Science

Two recent reports have exposed the Bush administration's
inaction on the science of climate change and its impacts. The
Government Accountability Office (GAO), an arm of Congress,
"harshly faulted the Bush administration for doing little to
deal with the far-reaching effects of climate change rapidly
taking place in national parks, forests, marine sanctuaries and
other federal lands and waters," according to a recent article
by the Associated Press (below).

** Read the GAO report here:

The National Academy of Science (NAS) reported this week that
the Climate Change Science Program has completed just 2 of the
21 planned reports on various aspects of climate science,
including agricultural yields, weather patterns, and the best
ways to adapt to rising temperatures. This was the first
independent analysis of the program's progress by a NAS panel
(article below)

** Read the NAS report here:

GAO Faults Agencies Over Global Warming
September 7, 2007

WASHINGTON (AP) - Wildfires are flaring bigger and hotter in
Alaska, the northern Rockies and the Sierra Nevada. Bighorn
sheep, mountain goats and grizzly bears in Glacier National
Park, along with deer and marsh rabbits in the Florida Keys,
face a housing crisis.

Glacier's alpine meadows are disappearing, sea levels are rising
in the Keys and other federal lands are feeling the heat from
global warming - and the government is not doing much about it,
congressional investigators said in a report Thursday.

Climate change, however, does have things looking up for
heat-loving pests like beetles, grasshoppers and fungi. Spruce
bark beetles are chewing their way through 1,560 square miles of
Alaska's Kenai Peninsula, including 620 square miles of spruce
trees in Chugach National Forest. Southern pine beetles are on
the march in red spruce forests of the Southeast.

Non-native grasses are fast replacing native shrubs in the
Mojave Desert, where the grasses also are fueling hotter and
longer-lasting wildfires. Even pinyon pines hundreds of years
old that have survived droughts before in the Southwest are
dying off.

After more than three years of study, the Government
Accountability Office, an arm of Congress, harshly faulted the
Bush administration for doing little to deal with the
far-reaching effects of climate change rapidly taking place in
national parks, forests, marine sanctuaries and other federal
lands and waters - almost 30 percent of the United States.

The GAO said the Interior, Agriculture and Commerce departments
have failed to give their resource managers the guidance and
tools they need - computer models, temperature and precipitation
data, climate projects and detailed inventories of plant and
animal species - to cope with all the biological and physical
effects from the warming.

"Without such guidance, their ability to address climate change
and effectively manage resources is constrained," the report

The White House disagreed.

"President Bush is committed to addressing climate and providing
the agencies with the tools they need to address this important
issue," said Kristen Hellmer, a spokeswoman for the White House
Council on Environmental Quality. "The president has provided
unparalleled financial investments for dozens of federal climate
change programs, many of which are directed at adaptation and
developing and deploying cleaner, more efficient energy

The GAO investigators looked at four representative areas:

_The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

_Alaska's Chugach National Forest.

_Montana's Glacier National Park.

_Grasslands and shrubs managed by Interior's Bureau of Land
Management in northwestern Arizona.

From those studies, investigators concluded: "Climate change has
already begun to adversely affect federal resources in a variety
of ways. Most experts with whom we spoke believe that these
effects will continue and likely intensify over the coming

What turned out to be a 184-page report was requested in March
2004 by Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., and John McCain, R-Ariz, when
Kerry was running for the presidential nomination. He now wants
legislation requiring more climate change science.

"We waited a long time for this report to confirm the daunting
prospect that climate change is impacting our public lands from
coast to coast, and this administration is ill-equipped to
respond," Kerry said.

Jamie Rappaport Clark, who was director of the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service in the Clinton administration and is now
executive vice president of Defenders of Wildlife, called the
report an urgently needed wake-up call for the nation.

"Global warming is and will continue to contribute to species
extinctions, flooding of coastal refuges and massive movements
of wildlife populations in search of more hospitable habitat,"
she said. "Polar bears and other imperiled species, wildlife
refuges, parks and myriad natural resources are at risk and
Congress clearly needs to provide more legislative direction
because the agencies have failed to do so."

The effects are widespread.

In Glacier National Park, the number of glaciers in the park has
dropped from 150 to 26 since 1850. Some project that none will
be left within 25 to 30 years. In south-central Alaska, many of
the ponds shown in 1950 maps and aerial photographs are now
grassy basins with spruce and hardwood trees.

On the Keys' receding coastlines, the climate threat extends
"not only to wildlife, but also to humans who live on the
islands," the report says.

Bleaching of coral reefs in the Florida Keys, too, is being
caused by the stress of warmer water - which causes the coral to
eject microscopic algae that live within its tissues. That could
harm the fishing and tourism industries, because they are needed
by fish and other marine species and are popular with snorkelers
and scuba divers.

The GAO said the Interior Department has ignored an order signed
by former secretary Bruce Babbitt on the last full day of the
Clinton administration that requires it to "consider and analyze
potential climate change impacts" in all its major decisions,
long-range planning, management of resources and setting of
scientific priorities.

In response, James Cason, an assistant interior secretary, told
the GAO that an agency task force with nearly 100 people began
meeting in April to study climate change, and the U.S.
Geological Survey will spend $27 million for climate research
in 2008. He said Interior "routinely takes actions to mitigate
impacts of climate change."

Forest Service Chief Abigail Kimbell said that studying one
forest, the Chugach, is not enough to draw conclusions about
more than 300,000 square miles of national forests. Though
Chugach's management plan does not address climate change, she
said, 12 of the 155 national forests do.

David Sampson, deputy commerce secretary, said the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is "at the forefront of
global efforts" to improve the ability to observe and forecast
climate change through computer modeling.

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17. 2007 International Compassionate Living Festival "Becoming the Change" Scheduled

Dear Richard,

With October just around the corner, the Culture and Animals Foundation and the Animals and Society Institute want to remind you that this is the last week to register for the 2007 International Compassionate Living Festival. "Becoming the Change" will take place in Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina, on October 5-7, and we very much want you to be with us. Registration ends this Friday, September 21, so please don't delay another day!

CAF and the ASI have brought together internationally recognized speakers to offer their expertise in a wide variety of animal protection issues. These scholars, authors, activists and artists will give you much to think about and a lot of inspired motivation that will help you in your own efforts to bring about important change for animals worldwide.

If you've already registered, we thank you, and encourage you to bring friends or colleagues to join you, especially if they have never experienced one of these unique Festivals. If you've been "thinking about it" but haven't yet registered yourself, we hope you'll make a commitment to attend and find out just how meaningful this conference is.

See below for more details, and we'll see you there!
Learn from Leaders Already Changing the World

Our keynote speaker on Saturday night:

Captain Paul Watson served in the Canadian Coast Guard in the late 1960s before co-founding the Greenpeace Foundation. A lifelong environmentalist and animal advocate, he has spent more than 30 years fighting for marine mammals by confronting their killers on the high seas and ice floes of the world’s waters. In 1977 he founded the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which in 2007 made international headlines for thwarting the Japanese whaling fleet in Antarctica and campaigning against the Canadian harp seal slaughter.

Featured presentations:

Rory Freedman, co-author of the wildly popular book "Skinny Bitch," will join Herbivore magazine editor Josh Hooten on Friday night to kick off the conference with a "vegan chic showcase" highlighting how vegan food and fashion have become all the rage lately.

Bob Pyle, humorist and guitarist, will be our musical guest both Friday and Saturday evening.

During the plenary sessions on Saturday and Sunday, we will hear from:

Dr. Michael Greger, physician and author, on "Bird Flu: A Virus of Our Own Hatching"

Tammy Grimes, Dogs Deserve Better, and Becky Robinson, Alley Cat Allies, on new, stronger efforts to change society's attitudes toward and treatment of chained dogs and feral cats

Lisa Kemmerer, Ph.D., of Montana State University on "The Buddha, the Bible and the Beasts"

Journalist Will Potter and attorney Lauren Regan on how the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act suppresses free speech and threatens effective animal activism

Bernard Unti, Ph.D., of The Humane Society of the United States on lessons from 18th-century (yes, that's right!) animal rights pioneers

Rita Anderson of the Committee for Research Accountability and Justin Goodman of the University of Connecticut and PETA, on successful campaigns against primate research at major universities

Former dophin trainer Ric O'Barry of the Earth Island Institute and Detroit Zoo director Ron Kagan on the growing movement to get dolphins, whales and elephants out of aquariums and zoos and into sanctuaries or back into the wild

Kim W. Stallwood, now the ASI's European director, on important developments in animal rights legislation in Europe and how those measures influence American activism

CAF co-founder Tom Regan, PH.D., will conclude the conference with his thoughtful presentation, "The Seed Never Sees the Flower."

Register Online Today!

You can register online easily using the link below. The cost is $139 for ASI members and $169 for nonmembers (including five vegan meals). But if you're not yet a member, you can join online at the same time and register at the discounted rate AND immediately get the additional benefits of ASI membership!

Rooms are still available at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel and Convention Center, on a first-come, first-served basis at regular rates; call the hotel toll-free at (800) 325-3535 or directly at (919) 941-5050. There is a free shuttle to the hotel from Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU).

Don't miss this important event; be part of "Becoming the Change" by signing up today!
Click here for easy online registration
Be There and Be the Change

Richard, this year's program continues the honored tradition begun by Tom and Nancy Regan in 1985 when they founded the International Compassionate Living Festival. Timed to coincide with Mahatma Gandhi's birthday, this conference and its theme of "Becoming the Change" furthers his teaching that "We must be the change we wish to see in the world."

We encourage you to join us in being part of this event and part of this change, and we look forward to seeing you in North Carolina.


Ken Shapiro, Ph.D.

Executive Director
Animals and Society Institute
2512 Carpenter Road
Suite #201 A2
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48108-1188

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18. Your Vote Can Help Get Vegetarianism Discussed on CNN

You can vote at:

Which topic would you like to see Dr. Sanjay Gupta tackle on "House
Call" next weekend?

One option is vegetarianism.

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19. Gorillas Among Many Animals Facing Extinction

Gorillas head race to extinction

By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News website

Thanks to Movie Producer and JVNA advisor Lionel Friedberg for forwarding the following:

Gorillas, orangutans, and corals are among the plants and animals which are sliding closer to extinction.

The Red List of Threatened Species for 2007 names habitat loss, hunting and climate change among the causes.

The World Conservation Union (IUCN) has identified more than 16,000 species threatened with extinction, while prospects have brightened for only one.

The IUCN says there is a lack of political will to tackle the global erosion of nature.

Governments have pledged to stem the loss of species by 2010; but it does not appear to be happening.

The rate of biodiversity loss is increasing
Julia Marton-Lefevre

"This year's Red List shows that the invaluable efforts made so far to protect species are not enough," said the organisation's director-general, Julia Marton-Lefevre.

"The rate of biodiversity loss is increasing, and we need to act now to significantly reduce it and stave off this global extinction crisis."

One in three amphibians, one in four mammals, one in eight birds and 70% of plants so far assessed are believed to be at risk of extinction, with human alteration of their habitat the single biggest cause.

Critical list

The tone of this year's Red List is depressingly familiar. Of 41,415 species assessed, 16,306 are threatened with extinction to a greater or lesser degree.

Extinct - Surveys suggest last known individual has died
Critically Endangered - Extreme high risk of extinction - this some Critically Endangered species are also tagged Possibly Extinct
Endangered - Species at very high risk of extinction
Vulnerable - Species at high risk of extinction
Near Threatened - May soon move into above categories
Least Concern - Species is widespread and abundant
Data Deficient - not enough data to assess
The main changes from previous assessments include some of the natural world's iconic animals, such as the western lowland gorilla, which moves from the Endangered to the Critically Endangered category.

Numbers have declined by more than 60% over the last 20-25 years.

Forest clearance has allowed hunters access to previously inaccessible areas; and the Ebola virus has followed, wiping out one-third of the total gorilla population in protected areas, and up to 95% in some regions.


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