September 25, 2007

9/25/07 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

1. Chag Samayach: Best Wishes For a Very Joyous Sukkot

2. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report: Poor Countries To Suffer Most From Global Climate Change

3. Many Temperature, Rainfall and Drought Records Broken in August, 2007

4. A Suggestion Re Future National and International Vegetarian and Animal Rights Conferences/Suggestions Welcome

5. Printing Firm Going Green/Seeking Environmentally Concerned Customers

6. Getting Vegetarianism Into Considerations Re Recent Health Proposals

7. NY State Passes Law to Ban Electrocution of Animals For Fur

8. Compilation of information re eating meat and its effects from the EVU

9. Very Comprehensive Article With Pro-Vegetarian Arguments

10. Jewish National Fund (JNF) Taking Steps To Reduce Global Warming in Israel

11. Is It Too Late To Stop The Worst Effects of Global Warming?

12. IsraeI Court Rules Kapparot Violates Country’s Animal Slaughter Laws

13. October is World Vegetarian Day!

14. Some Excerpts From European Vegetarian Union Newsletter

15. More Re Challenging Al Gore Re Dietary Connections to Global Warming

16. New Documentary Exposes Meat-Production Abuses

17. The Changing Statistics Behind Current Global Warming and Other Environmental Threats

18. Does Global Warming Threaten U.S. Coastal Cities?

19. Excellent Vegan Poem

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. Chag Samayach: Best Wishes For a Very Joyous Sukkot

Best wishes for a very joyous Sukkot. It begins at sundown on Wednesday, September 26.

Please consider my article below for background for your letters and talking points. Also, please be on the lookout in your local papers for my articles and letters, and let me know if any appear in your local Jewish weeklies. Thanks.

Sukkot, Simchat Torah, and Vegetarianism

Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D.

There are many connections that can be made between vegetarianism and the joyous Jewish festivals of Sukkot, Shemini Atzeret (the Eighth Day of Solemn Assembly), and Simchat Torah:

1. Sukkot commemorates the 40 years when the ancient Israelites lived in the wilderness in frail huts and were sustained by manna.

According to Isaac Arama (1420-1494), author of Akedat Yitzchak,and others, the manna was God's attempt to reestablish for the Israelites the vegetarian diet that prevailed before the flood in the time of Noah.

2. On Simchat Torah, Jews complete the annual cycle of Torah readings, and begin again, starting with the first chapter of Genesis, which contains God's first dietary law: "Behold I have given you every herb yielding seed which is upon the face of the earth, and every tree, in which there is the fruit of a tree-yielding seed - to you it shall be for food." (Genesis 1:29). Also, the Torah, along with prophetic and Talmudic interpretations, is the source of the Jewish mandates - to take care of our health, treat animals with compassion, protect the environment, conserve natural resources, help hungry people, and seek and pursue peace - that point to vegetarianism as the ideal diet today.

3. Sukkot is the Jewish harvest festival called the "Feast of Ingathering". Hence, it can remind us that many more people can be sustained on vegetarian diets than on animal-centered diets that presently involve over 70 percent of the grain produced in the United States being fed to animals raised for slaughter, while 15 to 20 million people die due to malnutrition and its effects annually.

4. The Sukkot holiday, including Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah, is known as the "Season of Rejoicing", because people's worries about the success of the harvest are over. Since one must be in good health in order to fully rejoice, the many health benefits of vegetarian diets and the knowledge that such diets are not harmful to hungry people or animals are factors that can enhance rejoicing.

5. Sukkahs, the temporary structures that Jews dwell in during
Sukkot, are decorated with pictures and replicas of apples, oranges, bananas, peppers, carrots, and other fruits and vegetables, never with meats or other animal products.

6. After the sukkah, the main ritual symbols for Sukkot are related to the plant kingdom. The Torah states: "On the first day, you shall take the first fruit of hadar (goodly) trees (an etrog or citron), branches of palm trees (lulav), boughs of leafy trees (hadassim) and myrtle, and willows of the field (aravot), and you shall rejoice before the Lord thy God seven days (Leviticus 23:40). These four species represent the beauty and bounty of the land of Israel's harvest.

7. On Shemini Atzeret, Jews pray for rain, and plead to God that it should be for a blessing, not a curse. This is a reminder of the preciousness of rain water to nourish the crops so that there will be a successful harvest. Also, according to the Talmud (Rosh Hashanah 1.2), the world is judged on Sukkot with regard to how much rainfall it will receive. In the days when the Temple stood in Jerusalem, there was a joyous "Water Drawing Ceremony" (Simchat Bet Shueva), designed to remind God to pour forth water when it was needed. Modern intensive livestock agriculture requires huge amounts of water, much of it to irrigate feed crops. According to Newsweek magazine, the amount of water needed to raise one steer would float a Naval destroyer. A person on an animal-based diet requires up to 14 times as much water as a person on a strict vegetarian diet.

8. Sukkot is a universal holiday. There are at least three indications related to the festival that Jews consider not only their own welfare, but also the fate of all of the world's people:

a. In Temple days, there were 70 sacrifices for the then 70 nations of the world;
b. The lulav is waved in all directions, to indicate God's rule over and concern for the entire world;
c. The roof of the sukkah is made only of natural materials such as wood and bamboo, and must be open sufficiently so that people inside can see the stars, to remind them that their concerns should extend beyond their immediate needs and should encompass the world.

Vegetarianism also considers not only a person's health, but also encompasses broader concerns, including the global environment, the world's hungry people, and the efficient use of the world's resources.

9. Moving out of comfortable homes to dwell in relatively frail sukkahs indicates that it is not our power and wealth that we should rely on, but rather that our fate is in God's hands. And it is God Who originally provided vegetarian diets for people, and created us with hands, teeth, and digestive systems most conducive to eating plant foods.

10. Dwelling in sukkahs also teaches that no matter how magnificent our homes, no matter how extensive our wealth and material possessions, we should be humble and not be overly concerned about our status. Vegetarianism is also an attempt to not be taken in by status symbols, such as those that the eating of meat often represent.

11. Sukkot's prophetic readings point to the universal messianic transformation of the world. According to Rabbi Abraham Isaac Hakohen Kook, first Chief Rabbi of pre-state Israel, based on the prophecy of Isaiah (. . . the wolf will dwell with the lamb, . . . the lion will eat straw like the ox . . . (Isaiah 11: 6-9)), the messianic period will be vegetarian.

In summary, a shift to vegetarianism is a way to be consistent with many values and teachings related to the joyous festivals of Sukkot,
Shemini Atzeret, and Simchat Torah.

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2. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report: Poor Countries To Suffer Most From Global Climate Change

Grim outlook for poor countries in climate report

* David Adam, Peter Walker and Alison Benjamin
* Guardian Unlimited
* Tuesday September 18 2007

The Arctic is again highlighted as being among areas most at risk.

The effects of climate change will be felt sooner than scientists realized and the world must learn to live with the effects, experts said today.

Professor Martin Parry, a climate scientist with the Met Office, said destructive changes in temperature, rainfall and agriculture were now forecast to occur several decades earlier than thought.

He said vulnerable people such as the old and poor would be the worst affected
, and that world leaders had not yet accepted their countries would have to adapt to the likely consequences.

The professor was speaking in London at a meeting to launch the full report on the impacts of global warming by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The report – which had its executive summary released earlier this year – says hundreds of millions of people in developing nations will face natural disasters, water shortages and hunger due to the effects of climate change.

Today Professor Parry, co-chair of the IPCC working group that wrote the report, said: "We are all used to talking about these impacts coming in the lifetimes of our children and grandchildren. Now we know that it's us."

He said the international response to the problem had failed to grasp that serious consequences such as reduced crop yields and coastal flooding were now inevitable. "Mitigation has got all the attention but we cannot mitigate out of this problem. We now have a choice between a future with a damaged world or a severely damaged world."

Countries such as Britain need to focus on helping nations in the developing world cope with the predicted impacts, by helping them to introduce irrigation and water management technology, drought resistant crops and new building techniques.

Dr Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the IPCC, said: "Wheat production in India is already in decline, for no other reason than climate change."

The report says that "extreme weather events" are likely to become more intense and more frequent, while higher global temperatures could affect crops and water supplies and spread disease.

The effect on ecosystems could be equally severe, with up to 30% of plant and animal species at risk of extinction if the average rise in global temperatures exceeds 1.5-2.5C.

The 1,000-page document is part of the IPCC's fourth overall assessment of climate change, to be published in full later this year. It was put together by the so-called Working Group II, which examines global warming's impact on the environment and people.

The experts involved warn that the consequences of rising temperatures are already being felt on every continent, and sooner than expected. It is "probably too late" to avoid some impacts in developing countries because about 1C of warming is already in the climate system, they warn. If it is not kept below 2C – which "currently looks very unlikely to be achieved" – up to 3.2 billion people will face water shortages and up to 600 million will face hunger, they have predicted.

The trade and development minister, Gareth Thomas, told the launch of the report at the Royal Geographical Society: "Failing to tackle it [climate change] will lead to floods, droughts and natural disasters which can destroy poor people's lives as well as their livelihoods."

Professor Parry said today that he was pessimistic about the chances of keeping the increase in global average temperatures below 2C. "And it's evident from the work of the IPCC that even with a maximum of 2C we're not going to avoid some major impacts at the regional level."

In February the report of the IPCC's first working group, which looks at the scientific background of climate change, concluded that global warming was "very likely" – a probability of 90% or greater – to have been caused by human activity.

A report in May by the IPCC's Working Group III, which examines how climate change can be addressed, argued that devastating global warming can be avoided without excessive economic cost but only if the world begins acting immediately.

Today's report concludes that while the impact of a warmer globe will have mixed effects – for example, it notes that crop yields could increase in northern Europe – the overall impact will be deeply negative, particularly in Africa, in the so-called "mega-deltas" of south and east Asia, and on small islands and in polar regions.

By 2020, the report warns, up to 250 million Africans may be left short of water, while access to sufficient food is "projected to be severely compromised by climate variability and change".

"New studies confirm that Africa is one of the most vulnerable continents to climate variability and change because of multiple stresses and low adaptive capacity," says the document.

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3. Many Temperature, Rainfall and Drought Records Broken in August, 2007

Forwarded message:

NOAA: Second warmest U.S. August ever

Let’s look at some of the records for the month, according to the National Climatic Data Center, a division of NOAA:

* For the contiguous U.S., the average temperature for August was 75.4°F (24.1°C), which was 2.7°F (1.5°C) above the 20th century mean and the 2nd warmest August on record.
* More than 30 all-time high temperature records were tied or broken and more than 2000 new daily high temperature records were established.
* Raleigh-Durham, NC equaled its all-time high of 105°F on the August 21, and Columbia, SC had 14 days in August with temperatures over 100°F, which broke the record of 12 set in 1900. Cincinnati, OH reached 100°F five days during August, a new record for the city.
* The warmest August in the 113-year record occurred in eight eastern states (West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, and Florida) along with Utah.
* Texas had its wettest summer on record.
* This was the driest summer since records began in 1895 for North Carolina and the second driest for Tennessee.
* At the end of August, drought affected approximately 83% of the Southeast and 46% of the contiguous U.S.

Coincidence? I think not!

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4. A Suggestion Re Future National and International Vegetarian and Animal Rights Conferences/Suggestions Welcome

I, Richard would like to make a suggestion re future conferences. Please let me know what you think.

I have not been to an IVU conference for at least 20 years. However, I have been to several of FARM's annual AR conferences and Summerfests.
I have found excellent speakers, great topics, many new valuable contacts, wonderful chances for informal discussions, and much inspiration. But, I feel these conferences are not as valuable as they might be because they are not focused -- they are like smorgasbords of topics and thus do not lead to as much positive change as they might.

Imagine if a focus at a conference was on health issues. Imagine if a
resolution was passed by IVU and many of the affiliated groups that challenged the medical establishment to make people aware that plant-based diets would reduce and, in some cases, reverse many chronic, degenerative diseases. Imagine if there were plans to start a major letter writing campaign to increase awareness of the health benefits of vegetarianism. Imagine if a campaign was started to make people aware that medical practice is often malpractice, if it failed to point out the negative health effects of animal-based diets. Imagine a discussion of position papers, fliers, possible ads, sample letters and op-ed articles
all devoted to getting this issue onto the mainstream.

And then, please imagine a similar thing re global warming.

And how about a major campaign to challenge religious groups to take their teachings re compassion, preserving health, sharing resources, protecting God's creation, helping hungry people, etc. seriously.

Imagine if all, or at least many, of the attendees returned home with ideas
re furthering the objectives discussed at the conference.

Perhaps one day could be devoted to each of these issues and/or others, such as the mistreatment of animals on factory farms.

If this approach were tried, there could still be all the previously mentioned benefits re excellent speakers, interesting topics, great informal discussions, etc., but they could be focused on the overall objectives and how to make the projects ongoing and effective.

Future conferences could assess progress and discuss moving forward,
as well as other issues and approaches.

Please let me know what you think. Many thanks.

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5. Printing Firm Going Green/Seeking Environmentally Concerned Customers

Forwarded message from my friend Bert Schonbach, of Nova Graphics:

I recently joined Nova Graphics, a print shop in the Wall Street area of lower Manhattan. One of the shop’s primary concerns is the environment. Nova recycles paper and metal diligently and use vegetable-based ink, almost exclusively. The firm recently took this attitude a step further by securing certification by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) , an organization monitoring and certifying firms adhering to responsible forestry practices.

Manufacturers who establish systems by which wood, paper or other forest products can be traced to certified forests are certified, as well. A customer can demand of these "Green" vendors that their particular order only use certified materials and be imprinted with the FSC logo. The trademark of the FSC indicates that the wood (or paper) used to make the product comes from a forest which is well managed according to strict environmental, social and economic standards. The forest of origin has been independently inspected and evaluated according to the principles and criteria for forest management agreed to and approved by the FSC. FSC is an international, non-profit association whose membership comprises of environmental and social groups and progressive forestry and wood retail companies working in partnership to improve forest management, worldwide. This promotes public awareness of the efforts to preserve our environment.

We, at Nova, are anxious to print "certified" jobs.

We seek exposure to other environment-concerned people and businesses who will want their jobs to be certified.

I suggest you go to and, to obtain more detailed information about the FSC and how Nova fits into their efforts.

Nova Graphics / 47 Ann Street. NYC, NY 10038

(212) 349 – 4545

Please feel free to forward this message.

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6. Getting Vegetarianism Into Considerations Re Recent Health Proposals

Evidently, health care is going to be a big issue in the 2008 elections. This provides a valuable opportunity to get vegetarianism into the discussions.

My message below, which I sent to a blog, might provide some background for your own letters and talking points.

This interesting analysis and other analyses of this issue are ignoring the 800 pound gorilla in the room -- the apparently "inconvenient truth" that animal-based diets are contributing to an epidemic of heart disease, various types of cancer, diabetes and many more chronic, degenerative diseases. There is an abundance of evidence supporting this statement, including epidemiological, migration, wartime and other studies. Rather than educating people on how to prevent, and in some cases, reverse diseases, our healthcare system is based on seeking new pills based on very cruel animal experiments. These often produce misleading results because animal are so different from humans and because the diseases are artificially induced in the animals.

Making the situation far worse is that the production of animal products is having a devastating effect on the environment. In addition to trying to feed 6.6. billion people, the world is also raising over 50 billion animals for slaughter annually and that number is projected to double in 50 years. The UN FAO reported in 2006 that animal-based agriculture emits more greenhouse gases (in CO2 equivalents) than all the cars and other forms of transportation worldwide (18% vs 13.5%). Hence a switch toward plant-based diets is an essential part of attempts to move our imperiled planet to a sustainable path.

I hope that progressive people will lead efforts to increase awareness of these realities.

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7. NY State Passes Law to Ban Electrocution of Animals For Fur

Thanks to authors and JVNA advisors Rabbi Dovid Sears and Charles Patterson for separately forwarding the following item:

September 17, 2007
The state of New York has become the first US state to ban electrocution as a method of slaughtering animals raised for fur. State lawmakers were commended by various animal rights and animal welfare organisations for enacting the first law in the country to ban electrocution, including all types of electrocution of animals raised to become fur coats and fur-trimmed garments.

Governor Spitzer signed the bill into law, making it the first public policy in the U.S. to prohibit this practice.
(Source: Arkangle)

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8. Compilation of information re eating meat and its effects from the EVU

Lots of valuable information re the negative effects of producing and consuming animal products:

Meat, the bloody stuff - why do people still eat it?

EVANA has compiled just the latest information about the dire consequences of meat consumption under

Inputs and comments are very welcome!

best regards
the international EVANA Team

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9. Very Comprehensive Article With Pro-Vegetarian Arguments

Nuggets and Hummers and fish sticks, oh my!

PETA VP Bruce Friedrich argues vegetarianism is the best way to help the planet

Posted by Grist at 11:35 AM on 18 Sep 2007

This is a guest essay from Bruce Friedrich, vice president for campaigns at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). It was written in response to Alex Roth's essay "PETA's dogma is all bark and no bite." Friedrich has been an environmental activist for more than 20 years.

In 1987, I read Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappé and -- primarily for human rights and environmental reasons -- went vegan. Two decades later, I still believe that -- even leaving aside all the animal welfare issues -- a vegan diet is the only reasonable diet for people in the developed world who care about the environment or global poverty.

Over the past 20 years, the environmental argument against growing crops to be fed to animals -- so that humans can eat the animals -- has grown substantially. Just this past November, the environmental problems associated with eating chickens, pigs, and other animals were the subject of a 408-page United Nations scientific report titled Livestock's Long Shadow.

The U.N. report found that the meat industry contributes to "problems of land degradation, climate change and air pollution, water shortage and water pollution, and loss of biodiversity." The report concludes that the meat industry is "one of the ... most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global."

Eating Meat Is the No. 1 Consumer Cause of Global Warming

Al Gore, Leonardo DiCaprio, and others have brought the possibility of global cataclysm into sharp relief. What they have not been talking about, however, is the fact that all cars, trucks, planes, and other types of transportation combined account for about 13 percent of global warming emissions, whereas raising chickens, pigs, cattle, and other animals contributes to 18 percent, according to U.N. scientists. Yes, eating animal products contributes to global warming 40 percent more than all SUVs, 18-wheelers, jumbo jets, and other types of travel combined.

Al and Leo might not be talking about the connection between meat and global warming, but the Live Earth concert that Al inspired is: The recently published Live Earth Global Warming Survival Handbook recommends, "Don't be a chicken. Stop being a pig. And don't have a cow. Be the first on your block to cut back on meat." The Handbook further explains that "refusing meat" is "the single most effective thing you can do to reduce your carbon footprint" [emphasis in original].

And Environmental Defense, on its website, notes, "If every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetables and grains ... the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off of U.S. roads." Imagine if we stopped eating animal products altogether.

Eating Meat Wastes Resources

If I lie in bed and never get up, I will burn almost 2,500 calories each day; that is what's required to keep my body alive. The same physiological reality applies to all animals: The vast majority of the calories consumed by a chicken, a pig, a cow, or another animal goes into keeping that animal alive, and once you add to that the calories required to create the parts of the animal that we don't eat (e.g., bones, feathers, and blood), you find that it takes more than 10 times as many calories of feed given to an animal to get one calorie back in the form of edible fat or muscle. In other words, it's exponentially more efficient to eat grains, soy, or oats directly rather than feed them to farmed animals so that humans can eat those animals. It's like tossing more than 10 plates of spaghetti into the trash for every one plate you eat.

And that's just the pure "calories in, calories out" equation. When you factor in everything else, the situation gets much worse. Think about the extra stages of production that are required to get dead chickens, pigs, or other animals from the farm to the table:

1. Grow more than 10 times as much corn, grain, and soy (with all the required tilling, irrigation, crop dusters, and so on), as would be required if we ate the plants directly.
2. Transport -- in gas-guzzling, pollution-spewing 18-wheelers -- all that grain and soy to feed manufacturers.
3. Operate the feed mill (again, using massive amounts of resources).
4. Truck the feed to the factory farms.
5. Operate the factory farms.
6. Truck the animals many miles to slaughterhouses.
7. Operate the slaughterhouses.
8. Truck the meat to processing plants.
9. Operate the meat processing plants.
10. Truck the meat to grocery stores (in refrigerated trucks).
11. Keep the meat in refrigerators or freezers at the stores.

With every stage comes massive amounts of extra energy usage -- and with that comes heavy pollution and massive amounts of greenhouse gases, of course. Obviously, vegan foods require some of these stages, too, but vegan foods cut out the factory farms, the slaughterhouses, and multiple stages of heavily polluting tractor-trailer trucks, as well as all the resources (and pollution) involved in each of those stages. And as was already noted, vegan foods require less than one-tenth as many calories from crops, since they are turned directly into food rather than funneled through animals first.

Eating Meat Wastes and Pollutes Water

All food requires water, but animal foods are exponentially more wasteful of water than vegan foods are. Enormous quantities of water are used to irrigate the corn, soy, and oat fields that are dedicated to feeding farmed animals -- and massive amounts of water are used in factory farms and slaughterhouses. According to the National Audubon Society, raising animals for food requires about as much water as all other water uses combined. Environmental author John Robbins estimates that it takes about 300 gallons of water to feed a vegan for a day, four times as much water to feed an ovo-lacto vegetarian, and about 14 times as much water to feed a meat-eater.

Raising animals for food is also a water-polluting process. According to a report prepared by U.S. Senate researchers, animals raised for food in the U.S. produce 86,000 pounds of excrement per second -- that's 130 times more than the amount of excrement that the entire human population of the U.S. produces! Farmed animals' excrement is more concentrated than human excrement, and is often contaminated with herbicides, pesticides, toxic chemicals, hormones, antibiotics, and other harmful substances. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the runoff from factory farms pollutes our rivers and lakes more than all other industrial sources combined.

Eating Meat Destroys the Rain Forest

The World Bank recently reported that 90 percent of all Amazon rainforest land cleared since 1970 is used for meat production. It's not just that we're destroying the rainforest to make grazing land for cows -- we're also destroying it to grow feed for them and other animals. Last year, Greenpeace targeted KFC for the destruction of rainforests because the Amazon is being razed to grow feed for chickens that end up in KFC's buckets. Of course, the rainforest is being used to grow feed for other chickens, pigs, and cows, too (i.e., KFC isn't the only culprit).

What About Eating Fish?

Anyone who reads the news knows that commercial fishing fleets are plundering the oceans and destroying sensitive aquatic ecosystems at an incomprehensible rate. One super-trawler is the length of a football field, and can take in 800,000 pounds of fish in a single netting. These trawlers scrape along the ocean floor, clear-cutting coral reefs and everything else in their path. Hydraulic dredges scoop up huge chunks of the ocean floor to sift out scallops, clams, and oysters. Most of what the fishing fleets pull in isn't even eaten by human beings; half is fed to animals raised for food, and about 30 million tons each year are just tossed back into the ocean, dead, with disastrous and irreversible consequences for the natural biological balance.

Then there is aquaculture (fish farming), which is increasing at a rate of more than 10 percent annually. Aquaculture is even worse than commercial fishing because, for starters, it takes about four pounds of wild-caught fish to reap just one pound of farmed fish, which eat fish caught by commercial trawlers. Farmed fish are often raised in the same water that wild fish swim in, but fish farmers dump antibiotics into the water and use genetic breeding to create "Frankenstein fish." The antibiotics contaminate the oceans and seas, and the genetically engineered fish sometimes escape and breed with wild fish, throwing delicate aquatic balances off-kilter. Researchers at the University of Stockholm demonstrated that the horrible environmental impact of fish farms can extend to an area 50,000 times larger than the farm itself.

Eating Meat Supports Cruelty

Caring for the environment means protecting all of our planet's inhabitants, not just the human ones. Chickens, pigs, turkeys, fish, and cows are intelligent, social animals who feel pain, just as humans, dogs, and cats do. Chickens and pigs do better on animal behavior cognition tests than dogs or cats, and are interesting individuals in the same way. Fish form strong social bonds, and some even use tools. Yet these animals suffer extreme pain and deprivation in today's factory farms. Chickens have their sensitive beaks cut off with a hot blade, pigs have their tails chopped off and their teeth removed with pliers, and cattle and pigs are castrated -- all without any pain relief. The animals are crowded together and given steady doses of hormones and antibiotics in order to make them grow so quickly that their hearts and limbs often cannot keep up, causing crippling and heart attacks. At the slaughterhouse, they are hung upside-down and bled to death, often while they are still conscious.

What About Eating Meat That Isn't From Factory-Farmed Animals?

Is meat better if it doesn't come from factory-farmed animals? Of course, but its production still wastes resources and pollutes the environment. Shouldn't we environmentalists challenge ourselves to do the best we can, not just to make choices that are a bit less bad?

The U.N. report looks at meat at a global level and indicts the inefficiency and waste that are inherent in meat production. No matter where meat comes from, raising animals for food will require that exponentially more calories be fed to animals than they can produce in their flesh, and it will require all those extra stages of CO2-intensive production as well. Only grass-fed cows eat food from land that could not otherwise be used to grow food for human beings, and even grass-fed cows require much more water and create much more pollution than vegan foods do.


The case against eating animal products is ironclad; it's not a new argument, and it goes way beyond just global warming. Animals will not grow or produce flesh, milk, or eggs without food and water; they won't do it without producing excrement; and the stages of meat, dairy, and egg production will always cause pollution and be resource-intensive.

If the past is any guide, this essay will generate much hand-wringing from my meat-eating environmentalist colleagues and, sadly, some anger. They will prefer half-measures (e.g., meat that is "not as bad" as other meat). They may accuse PETA of being judgmental -- simply for presenting the evidence. They will make various arguments that are beside the point. They will ignore the overwhelming argument against eating animal products and try to find a loophole. Some will just call the argument absurd, presenting no evidence at all.

But as Leonardo DiCaprio has noted, this is the 11th hour for the environment. Where something as basic as eating animals is concerned, the choice could not be any clearer: Every time we sit down to eat, we can choose to eat a product that is, according to U.N. scientists, "one of the ... most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global," or we can choose vegan -- and preferably organic -- foods. It's bad for the environment to eat animals. It's time to stop looking for loopholes.

Considering the proven health benefits of a vegetarian diet -- the American Dietetic Association states that vegetarians have a reduced risk of obesity, heart disease, and various types of cancer --- there's no need or excuse to eat chickens, pigs, eggs, and other animal products. And vegan foods are available everywhere and taste great; as with all foods -- vegan or not -- you just need to find the ones you like.

You can find out more at and get great-tasting recipes, meal plans, cookbook recommendations, and more at

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10. Jewish National Fund (JNF) Taking Steps To Reduce Global Warming in Israel

[Sponsored by KKL-JNF]

Jerusalem Post

Sep 19, 2007 12:30 | Updated Sep 19, 2007 12:52

KKL-JNF combats desertification and global warming

The planting of Yatir Forest, now the largest forest in Israel, started in 1966. It was created at the insistence of Yosef Weitz, a principal visionary of KKL-JNF to use trees to roll back the desert. His single-mindedness gained Weitz the affectionate title "the father of forests". His vision has proved itself: the magnificent Yatir Forest has completely changed the arid landscape of the northern Negev despite opinions of many experts who declared then that the project would totally fail. It transpires that the very existence of Yatir Forest, on the edge of desert regions, is a prime ecological instrument, having already halted desertification on the heights north-east of Beersheba. Now, it is an undisputed fact: the forest has significantly affected the quality of its environment.

Consequently, Yatir Forest has become the focus of recent research by Professor Dan Yakir of the Weizmann Institute of Science. This research is part of worldwide studies on mechanisms that absorb damaging hothouse gases, an international project carried out in parallel in a hundred sites around the globe, with financing from the European Union. Since 2000, Yatir Forest has actually been serving as a living laboratory: it has a sophisticated monitoring station that checks natural data - precipitation, moisture, growth, the trees' natural development mechanisms, their emission of gases, the air's composition, and other factors. The forest's "unnatural" desert location makes this research even more important.

One of the main parameters examined in this research is the amount of carbon dioxide the forest absorbs from the air, taking into account the fact that average annual rainfall has gradually decreased from 350 mm to only 300 mm whilst the quantity of compounds in the air is increasing. Professor Yakir's survey is the only one in recent years that checks the forest's overall functioning from the viewpoint of both the ecology and its independent functioning.

Partial results of the research by Professor Yakir and his team show that the forest's trees have adapted themselves to arid environmental conditions by naturally smart use of the high level of carbon dioxide in the air. Professor Yakir explains that because of the rise in the level of carbon dioxide in the air, the trees absorb all the carbon dioxide they require without needing to fully open all the stomas (apertures) in their leaves' membranes. Partial opening of the stomas reduces the evaporation of the water on the leaves and so a tree uses less water without any damage to its development.

Professor Yakir says that this is the solution to the mystery of the "disappearance" from the atmosphere of some seven billion tons of carbon dioxide from industrial emissions worldwide. In the course of the complex measurements carried out in Yakir Forest it was discovered that, contrary to the accepted assumptions, the desert forest of Yatir absorbs carbon dioxide just as efficiently as forests in wet areas- and in fact it does it better. Yakir's premise is that the rising percentage of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere helps forests expand to semi-arid and desert areas, because when the air has a relatively high level of carbon dioxide, a plant is able to evaporate less water while still absorbing the carbon dioxide that it needs for the photosynthesis process.

The Yatir Forest has its own "biological clock" dictated by its environmental conditions. While similar pine forests in Turkey are in a state of full metabolic activity in the summer months, during that same hot, dry period the Yatir Forest is in suspended animation, with its trees at a very low level of physical activity. Only in winter-time does the forest return to full metabolic functioning, and that is when most of its growth, and most of its absorption of carbon gases, takes place.

This research and others at the Desert Research Institute of Ben-Gurion University spearhead the Green focus that has become the target of KKL-JNF activity in recent years, arousing much interest and curiosity among international bodies, including the US Forest Service which is closely monitoring their progress, plus various government ministries in countries where KKL-JNF representatives have direct work and research relationships.

One of the major driving forces behind this trend in KKL-JNF is Dr. Alon Tal, a member of KKL-JNF's directorate and head of its Sustainable Development committee. Tal, whose career includes fervent activism in environmental preservation organizations, is an eager proponent of KKL-JNF's cooperation with academic research institutions. He says, "Cooperation is essential to achieve the goals that KKL-JNF has set for itself regarding the preservation of environmental quality. It is impossible to overstate the importance of this cooperation in relation to sustainable development of the country's outlying regions, in particular the Negev and Beersheba. The moment KKL-JNF adopted this policy, the organization positioned itself at the top of the list of "green" Zionist organizations.

"Yatir Forest would never have been planted where it is, if a scientist had been the one to make the decision to do so," Professor Dan Yakir often says about the green expanse that is the topic of his important research. The results of that research, though still only partial, already show that Yosef Weitz's vision is reaching fruition, even bringing unanticipated strength in the war on global warning. In scientific terms, Israel's contribution to this international battle cannot be overrated: KKL-JNF's work both enhances Israel and helps the international community.

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11. Is It Too Late To Stop The Worst Effects of Global Warming?

"Too Late to Avoid Global Warming," Say Scientists

Reporting for The Independent, Cahal Milmo writes, "A rise of two degrees centigrade in global temperatures - the point considered to be the threshold for catastrophic climate change which will expose millions to drought, hunger and flooding - is now "very unlikely" to be avoided, the world's leading climate scientists said yesterday."

"Too Late to Avoid Global Warming," Say Scientists
By Cahal Milmo
The Independent UK

Wednesday 19 September 2007

A rise of two degrees centigrade in global temperatures - the point considered to be the threshold for catastrophic climate change which will expose millions to drought, hunger and flooding - is now "very unlikely" to be avoided, the world's leading climate scientists said yesterday.

The latest study from the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) put the inevitability of drastic global warming in the starkest terms yet, stating that major impacts on parts of the world - in particular Africa, Asian river deltas, low-lying islands and the Arctic - are unavoidable and the focus must be on adapting life to survive the most devastating changes.

For more than a decade, EU countries led by Britain have set a rise of two degrees centigrade or less in global temperatures above pre-industrial levels as the benchmark after which the effects of climate become devastating, with crop failures, water shortages, sea-level rises, species extinctions and increased disease.

Two years ago, an authoritative study predicted there could be as little as 10 years before this "tipping point" for global warming was reached, adding a rise of 0.8 degrees had already been reached with further rises already locked in because of the time lag in the way carbon dioxide - the principal greenhouse gas - is absorbed into the atmosphere.

The IPCC said yesterday that the effects of this rise are being felt sooner than anticipated with the poorest countries and the poorest people set to suffer the worst of shifts in rainfall patterns, temperature rises and the viability of agriculture across much of the developing world.

In its latest assessment of the progress of climate change, the body said: "If warming is not kept below two degrees centigrade, which will require the strongest mitigation efforts, and currently looks very unlikely to be achieved, the substantial global impacts will occur, such as species extinctions, and millions of people at risk from drought, hunger, flooding."

Under the scale of risk used by IPCC, the words "very unlikely" mean there is just a one to 10 per cent chance of limiting the global temperature rise to two degrees centigrade or less.

Professor Martin Parry, a senior Met Office scientist and co-chairman of the IPCC committee which produced the report, said he believed it would now be "very difficult" to achieve the target and that governments need to combine efforts to "mitigate" climate change by reducing CO2 emissions with "adaptation" to tackle active consequences such as crop failure and flooding.

Speaking at the Royal Geographical Society, he said: "Ten years ago we were talking about these impacts affecting our children and our grandchildren. Now it is happening to us."

"Even if we achieve a cap at two degrees, there is a stock of major impacts out there already and that means adaptation. You cannot mitigate your way out of this problem... The choice is between a damaged world or a future with a severely damaged world."

The IPCC assessment states that up to two billion people worldwide will face water shortages and up to 30 per cent of plant and animal species would be put at risk of extinction if the average rise in temperature stabilises at 1.5C to 2.5C.


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12. IsraeI Court Rules Kapparot Violates Country’s Animal Slaughter Laws


Haaretz, Amiram Cohen and Yair Ettinger, September 19, 2007

A Petach Tikvah court on Tuesday ruled that the ritual slaughter of chickens for the Yom Kippur "kapparot" ritual is a violation of state regulations on animal slaughter.

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.

more at:

Court rules 'kapparot' ritual violates animal slaughter laws By Amiram Cohen and Yair Ettinger, Haaretz Correspondents

A Petach Tikvah court on Tuesday ruled that the ritual slaughter of chickens for the Yom Kippur "kapparot" ritual is a violation of state [Israeli]regulations on animal slaughter.

The court adopted the matter after a resident of Ramat Modiin was caught by agriculture ministry officials with dozens of slaughtered chickens in his possession without the required permits for animal slaughter.

The man refused to pay the fine police gave him, and demanded a trial to clear his name.

During his trial, the court ruled against the defendant, and issued a penalty of NIS 2,700 or 17 days imprisonment.

Shas movement spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef recently stated he 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 transference of the person's sins in preparation for the day of atonement. It may be performed anytime between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Speaking last 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."

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13. October is World Vegetarian Day!

And many regard October as “World Vegetarian Month, because of the following dates:

Dates in October:
1 - World Vegetarian Day
2 - Anniversary of Gandhi's birth
4 - The Feast of St.Francis of Assisi (the nearest Sunday to this is World
Day of Prayer for Animals)
16 - World Food Day
24 - United Nations Day

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14. Some Excerpts From European Vegetarian Union Newsletter

a. Less meat means less heat
It's a slogan that leading scientists hope will catch on worldwide, part of a call for people to reduce consumption of meat and dairy products to slow the pace of climate change.
See also: Slash global meat consumption to tackle climate change: Lancet

b. FAO: Dramatic changes in global meat production could increase risk of diseases/Livestock producers should invest more in biosecurity and disease monitoring

c. FAO: Living with climate change
Adaptation strategies needed to build resilience

d. Activists take Al Gore to task on his diet
Al Gore has come under fire for failing to highlight the impact of animal

e. Tuvalu, about to disappear, pleas on global warming
The tiny Pacific island state of Tuvalu on Thursday urged the rest of the
world to do more to combat global warming before it sinks beneath the ocean.


a. Investigators at fault: Study Fails to Show Benefits of Fruits&Veggies for Breast Cancer Patients'

McDougall news online: The meat and dairy industry must have been laughing all the way to the bank on Tuesday July 17, 2007 when headlines worldwide announced the results of a seven-year diet experiment, known as The Women's Healthy Eating and Living (WHEL) Randomized Trial, of more than 3,000 women with breast cancer.


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15. More Re Challenging Al Gore Re Dietary Connections to Global Warming

Forwarded message from Lu:

Al Gore is in the process of writing another environmental book entitled The Path to Survival, due to be released on Earth Day, April 22, 2008.

Since he chose to ignore the inconvenient truth of animal agriculture on global warming in his first book [really his second book “An Inconvenient Truth”], I think it's not enough simply to hope that he will mention the detrimental effects of animal-based diets in his second book.

Please write and urge him to present accurate data showing that meat-based diets are more detrimental to the environment than Hummers. He must hear from the public that truth is what's expected in his book, not subservience to special interests (the meat and dairy industries). Plant-based diets would be more effective in curbing
global warming than all the fluorescent bulbs in the world.

For background info, see MARC's excellent webpage on animal consumption and the environment:

Contact Gore here:


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16. New Documentary Exposes Meat-Production Abuses

Forwarded message from Author Pamela Rice:

There's a new documentary feature out called KING CORN and it's coming to NYC October 12.

Following is a description of the film, author unknown:

King Corn is about two friends, one acre of corn, and the single subsidized crop that drives our meat-fed nation. It's a thoughtful, funny, and at
times, deeply saddening story--and it's coming to New York's Cinema Village at E12th Street on OCTOBER 12th. Anyone who cares about how meat is produced in this country should see this. (And it might make a vegetarian or two (or ten) out of its viewers by the time its run is over!)

In KING CORN, Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis, best friends from college on the east coast, move to the heartland to learn where their food comes from. With the help of friendly neighbors, genetically modified seeds, and powerful herbicides, they plant and grow a bumper crop of America's most-productive, most-subsidized grain on one acre of Iowa soil. But when they try to follow their pile of corn into the food system, what they find raises troubling questions about how we eat—and how we farm.

Considering their crop's future as feed, Curt and Ian visit rancher Sue Jarrett in Colorado, who says her cattle should be eating grass, not
grain. But with a surplus of corn, it costs less to raise cattle in confinement than to let them roam free: As she puts it, "The mass production of corn drives the mass production of protein in confinement." Animal nutritionists confirm that corn makes cows sick and beef fatty, but it also\ lets consumers eat a $1 hamburger. Feedlot owner Bob Bledsoe defends America's cheap food, but as Ian and Curt see in Colorado, the world behind it can be stomach turning. At one feedlot, 100,000 cows stand shoulder-to-shoulder, doing their part
to transform Iowa corn into millions of pounds of fat-streaked beef.

Following the trail of high fructose corn syrup. Ian and Curt attempt to make a home-cooked batch of the sweetener in their kitchen. But their
investigation of America's most ubiquitous ingredient turns serious when they follow soda to its consumption in Brooklyn. Here, Type II diabetes is ravaging the community, and America's addiction to corny sweets is to blame.

The breadth of the problem is now clear: the American food system is built on the abundance of corn, an abundance perpetuated by a subsidy
system that pays farmers to maximize production.

View the trailer here:

And the website here:

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17. The Changing Statistics Behind Current Global Warming and Other Environmental Threats

Thanks to my friend and neighbor Joel Goldberg, Ph.D., for forwarding the link below which provides a chart showing second to second, minute to minute, etc. changes in such variables as CO2 emissions, population growth, gas consumption, military expenditures and many more.

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18. Does Global Warming Threaten U.S. Coastal Cities?

Sea Level Rise Could Flood Many Cities

Posted: 2007-09-22 16:08:13
Filed Under: Nation News, Science News

(Sept. 22) - Ultimately, rising seas will likely swamp the first American settlement in Jamestown, Va., as well as the Florida launch pad that sent the first American into orbit, many climate scientists are predicting. In about a century, some of the places that make America what it is may be slowly erased.

University of Arizona

Northeast: A map created by University of Arizona scientists, based on data from the U.S. Geological Survey, show areas in the Northeast that would become flooded if the sea rose one meter.

Global warming - through a combination of melting glaciers, disappearing ice sheets and warmer waters expanding - is expected to cause oceans to rise by one meter, or about 39 inches. It will happen regardless of any future actions to curb greenhouse gases, several leading scientists say. And it will reshape the nation.

Rising waters will lap at the foundations of old money Wall Street and the new money towers of Silicon Valley. They will swamp the locations of big city airports and major interstate highways.

Storm surges worsened by sea level rise will flood the waterfront getaways of rich politicians - the Bushes' Kennebunkport and John Edwards' place on the Outer Banks. And gone will be many of the beaches in Texas and Florida favored by budget-conscious students on Spring Break.

That's the troubling outlook projected by coastal maps reviewed by The Associated Press. The maps, created by scientists at the University of Arizona, are based on data from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Few of the more than two dozen climate experts interviewed disagree with the one-meter projection. Some believe it could happen in 50 years, others say 100, and still others say 150.

Sea level rise is "the thing that I'm most concerned about as a scientist," says Benjamin Santer, a climate physicist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.

"We're going to get a meter and there's nothing we can do about it," said University of Victoria climatologist Andrew Weaver, a lead author of the February report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in Paris. "It's going to happen no matter what - the question is when."

Sea level rise "has consequences about where people live and what they care about," said Donald Boesch, a University of Maryland scientist who has studied the issue. "We're going to be into this big national debate about what we protect and at what cost."

This week, beginning with a meeting at the United Nations on Monday, world leaders will convene to talk about fighting global warming. At week's end, leaders will gather in Washington with President Bush.

Experts say that protecting America's coastlines would run well into the billions and not all spots could be saved.

And it's not just a rising ocean that is the problem. With it comes an even greater danger of storm surge, from hurricanes, winter storms and regular coastal storms, Boesch said. Sea level rise means higher and more frequent flooding from these extreme events, he said.

Scientists laid out a timeline of the planet's future in April. 2007: The world population surpasses 6.6 billion as more people now live in cities than in rural areas, changing patterns of land use.

All told, one meter of sea level rise in just the lower 48 states would put about 25,000 square miles under water, according to Jonathan Overpeck, director of the Institute for the Study of Planet Earth at the University of Arizona. That's an area the size of West Virginia.

The amount of lost land is even greater when Hawaii and Alaska are included, Overpeck said.

The Environmental Protection Agency's calculation projects a land loss of about 22,000 square miles. The EPA, which studied only the Eastern and Gulf coasts, found that Louisiana, Florida, North Carolina, Texas and South Carolina would lose the most land. But even inland areas like Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia also have slivers of at-risk land, according to the EPA.

This past summer's flooding of subways in New York could become far more regular, even an everyday occurrence, with the projected sea rise, other scientists said. And New Orleans' Katrina experience and the daily loss of Louisiana wetlands - which serve as a barrier that weakens hurricanes - are previews of what's to come there.

Florida faces a serious public health risk from rising salt water tainting drinking water wells, said Joel Scheraga, the EPA's director of global change research. And the farm-rich San Joaquin Delta in California faces serious salt water flooding problems, other experts said.

"Sea level rise is going to have more general impact to the population and the infrastructure than almost anything else that I can think of," said S. Jeffress Williams, a U.S. Geological Survey coastal geologist in Woods Hole, Mass.

Even John Christy at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, a scientist often quoted by global warming skeptics, said he figures the seas will rise at least 16 inches by the end of the century. But he tells people to prepare for a rise of about three feet just in case.

Williams says it's "not unreasonable at all" to expect that much in 100 years. "We've had a third of a meter in the last century."

The change will be a gradual process, one that is so slow it will be easy to ignore for a while.

"It's like sticking your finger in a pot of water on a burner and you turn the heat on, Williams said. "You kind of get used to it."l

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.

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19. Excellent Vegan Poem


We will always be mindful of spreading the word,
that the vegan ideal is the best we have heard.
Our love for the animals will guide what we say-
We will express what we know in a gentle way.
We will be the example of the truth that we teach,
so that people can witness the heights they can reach.
By maintaining our bodies in excellent health,
we exemplify a vegan's bountiful wealth.

We will share all the plant foods that vegans can eat;
all the vibrant colors; both savory and sweet.
With our food and our stamina being so good,
people will see that they haven't understood
how important it is for our diet to evolve,
and the planetary problems we could resolve.
For the vegan concept will magically bring
a multitude of benefits to everything.

We will strive to expand our heartfelt compassion
until loving animals is world-wide fashion.
We won't pay for by-products like "blood and bone",
but will make our gardens "veganically" grown.
We will read the ingredients before we buy
Our dollars won't ask for an animal to die.
We will oppose cruelty with each passing year
until all the animals can live free of fear.

We won't give up until that longed-for day arrives
when it's inconceivable to exploit other lives.
There will come a time, when people will wonder how,
man could earn his "living" by slaughtering a cow.
We will bring about a gentle and new age
where the innocent are free from all human rage.
We will be vegan and usher in a world of peace,
heading for that time when speciesism will cease.

by M. 'Butterflies' Katz
co-author of Incredibly Delicious; Recipes for a New Paradigm by Gentle World

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