October 22, 2007

10/21/2007 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

Note: Please stay tuned for an update re our documentary A SACRED DUTY: APPLYING JEWISH VALUES TO HELP HEAL THE WORLD and some strategy ideas related to it, to be sent out soon. Thanks.

1. L.A. Times Editorial Powerfully Connects Meat to Global Warming/My Letter and Two Others

2. My Recent Widely-Published Letters Relate Meat-Eating to Global Warming

3. Latest Annual Farmed Animals Death Toll Report

4. Future Consequences of Failure to Address Global Warming Soon

5. JVNA Advisor’s Novel Released

6. World Food Day Report

7. How Meat Consumption Increases Global Food Insecurity

8. Challenging Personal Statement From Israel Vegetarian Activist Steve (Shaya) Kelter

9. Southeastern U.S. Facing Unprecedented Drought

10. My Article in Austrian Vegetarian Publication

11. Article Re Repairing World in Chasidic Publication

12. Dramatic Change in Global Meat Production Projected

13. World Vegan Day Approaching

14. JVNA Advisor/Author Has Article on Animal Rights Published

15. Animal Rights Proclamation to Be Unveiled in Nation’s Capital

16. My Article With Dan Brook Is Cover Article in “The Animals’ Voice” Magazine

17. Canfei Nesharim Environmental Dvar Torah for Vayera

18. Roberta Kalechofsky Featured in “Lilith” Magazine Article

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. L.A. Times Editorial Powerfully Connects Meat to Global Warming/My Letter and Two Others

[This is an incredible editorial and we should try to see that it is widely read. Please consider sending a letter to the editor. Please note my letter and letters from JVNA advisors Dan Brook and Rina Deych after the editorial.

BTW, After our demonstration in August against the OU's "Halachic Adventure” in L.A. and their failure to mention our protest in their article, they printed my letter which made the basic points in their editorial. I wonder if there is any connection?]


From the Los Angeles Times
Killer cow emissions

Livestock are a leading source of greenhouse gases. Why isn't anyone raising a stink?

October 15, 2007

It's a silent but deadly source of greenhouse gases that contributes more to global warming than the entire world transportation sector, yet politicians almost never discuss it, and environmental lobbyists and other green activist groups seem unaware of its existence.

That may be because it's tough to take cow flatulence seriously. But livestock emissions are no joke.

Most of the national debate about global warming centers on carbon dioxide, the world's most abundant greenhouse gas, and its major sources -- fossil fuels. Seldom mentioned is that cows and other ruminants, such as sheep and goats, are walking gas factories that take in fodder and put out methane and nitrous oxide, two greenhouse gases that are far more efficient at trapping heat than carbon dioxide. Methane, with 21 times the warming potential of CO2, comes from both ends of a cow, but mostly the front. Frat boys have nothing on bovines, as it's estimated that a single cow can belch out anywhere from 25 to 130 gallons of methane a day.

It isn't just the gas they pass that makes livestock troublesome. A report from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization identified livestock as one of the two or three top contributors to the world's most serious environmental problems, including water pollution and species loss. In terms of climate change, livestock are a threat not only because of the gases coming from their stomachs and manure but because of deforestation, as land is cleared to make way for pastures, and the amount of energy needed to produce the crops that feed the animals.

All told, livestock are responsible for 18% of greenhouse-gas emissions worldwide, according to the U.N. -- more than all the planes, trains and automobiles on the planet. And it's going to get a lot worse. As living standards rise in the developing world, so does its fondness for meat and dairy.
Annual per-capita meat consumption in developing countries doubled from 31 pounds in 1980 to 62 pounds in 2002, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization, which expects global meat production to more than double by 2050. That means the environmental damage of ranching would have to be cut in half just to keep emissions at their current, dangerous level.

It isn't enough to improve mileage standards or crack down on diesel truck emissions, as politicians at both the state and national levels are working to do. Eventually, the United States and other countries are going to have to clean up their agricultural practices, while consumers can do their part by cutting back on red meat.

Manure, methane and McGovern

In a Web forum for presidential candidates in September, TV talk-show host Bill Maher asked former Sen. John Edwards a snarky question: Because Edwards had suggested that people trade in their SUVs to benefit the environment, and cattle generate more greenhouse gases than SUVs, "You want to take a shot at meat?" Maher asked.

Edwards wisely dodged the question. It is extremely hazardous for politicians to take on the U.S. beef industry, a lesson learned by Sen. George McGovern in the late 1970s when his Select Committee on Nutrition dared to recommend that Americans cut down on red meat and fatty dairy products for health reasons. After a ferocious lobbying blitz from meat and dairy interests, the committee rewrote its guidelines to suggest diners simply choose lean meats that "will reduce saturated fat intake." McGovern was voted out of office in 1980, in part because of opposition from cattlemen in his home state of South Dakota.

Beyond the dangers of taking on the beef bloc, legislating food choices is an unpopular and nearly impossible task, so it's unlikely any candidate will endorse a national vegetarian movement to fight global warming any time soon. There are other approaches, though.

Cows and other ruminants have four stomachs, the first of which, called the rumen, is where the trouble lies; bacteria in the rumen produce methane. Scientists -- mostly in Australia, New Zealand and Britain, where the problem is taken a lot more seriously than it is here -- are working on a variety of technical solutions, including a kind of bovine Alka-Seltzer. Scientists are also trying to develop new varieties of feed grasses that are more energy efficient and thus generate less methane, and they are experimenting with targeted breeding to produce a less-gassy strain of cattle.

But it's not just about the belching. Livestock manure also emits methane (especially when it's stored in lagoons) and nitrous oxide, better known as laughing gas. There's nothing funny about this gas: It has 296 times the warming potential of carbon dioxide, and livestock are its leading anthropogenic (human-caused) source. The best way to reduce these gases is to better manage the manure; storage methods and temperature can make a big difference. The California Air Resources Board is studying manure-management practices as part of a sweeping effort to identify ways of cutting greenhouse-gas emissions, work that by the end of next year might lead to regulation of the state's ranches and dairies. Other states should do the same.

There are also smart ways of treating or converting animal waste. Manure lagoons can be covered, capturing gases that can be used to generate power or simply be burned away (burning the gases converts most of the emissions to CO2, which is far less destructive than methane). That's the strategy being pursued by American Electric Power Co., a gigantic utility based in Columbus, Ohio, whose coal-fired power plants make it the nation's biggest emitter of carbon dioxide. This summer, the company began putting tarps on waste lagoons at farms and ranches and sending the gases they capture to flares.

American Electric is under heavy regulatory pressure. Last week, it was on the wrong end of the biggest environmental settlement in U.S. history and agreed to spend up to $4.6 billion to clean up its smokestacks. Its work on manure is part of an experiment in carbon offsets; the company anticipates that someday Congress will cap the amount of carbon dioxide that can be emitted and allow polluters to trade pollution credits. As a previous installment of this series noted, that's a less effective way to combat global warming than carbon taxes, but the American Electric example shows that it would also direct the economic might of industrial polluters toward solving off-the-beaten-path problems such as livestock waste.

Other possible solutions include providing more aid to ranchers in places like Brazil, where forests are rapidly disappearing, to make cattle operations more efficient and thus decrease the need to cut down trees. Changes in farming practices on fields used to grow livestock feed could help capture more carbon. And U.S. agricultural policy is overdue for changes. Subsidies on crops such as corn and soybeans have traditionally kept the price of meat artificially low because these are key feedstocks.

Broccoli: It's what's for dinner

Such policy shifts and new technologies would help, but probably not enough. A recent report in the Lancet led by Australian National University professor Anthony J. McMichael posits that available technologies applied universally could reduce non-carbon dioxide emissions from livestock by less than 20%. The authors advocate another, fringe approach that has long been embraced by dietitians and vegans but is a long way from going mainstream in the United States: eating less meat.

Americans love beef. According to the 2000 census, the U.S. ranks No. 3 in the world in per-capita consumption of beef and veal (after Argentina and Uruguay), gorging on 100 pounds per year. We're also among the leaders in obesity, heart disease and colorectal cancer, and there is a connection -- fatty red meat has been linked to all of these conditions.

McMichael's idea isn't likely to gain much traction outside Australia; he proposes that developed countries lower their daily intake of meat from about 250 grams to 90 grams, with no more than 50 grams coming from ruminant animals -- that's less than 2 ounces, or half a McDonald's Quarter-Pounder.

Still, as evidence mounts that cutting back on beef would both improve our health and help stave off global warming, a campaign urging people to do so is clearly in order. It's understandable why political candidates are wary of bashing beef, but less understandable why environmental leaders with nothing to lose are reluctant to raise the issue. They would be more credible in targeting polluters if they were equally assertive in pointing out what all Americans can do to fight global warming, and at the very top of that list -- way ahead of more commonly mentioned approaches such as buying fluorescent lightbulbs or energy-efficient appliances -- would be eating less red meat.

A University of Chicago study examined the average American diet and found that all the various energy inputs and livestock emissions involved in its production pump an extra 1.5 tons of CO2 into the air over the course of a year, which would be avoided by a vegetarian diet. Thus, the researchers found, cutting out meat would do more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions than trading in a gas guzzler for a hybrid car.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture assesses ranchers, dairymen and producers of other commodities to pay for marketing campaigns to promote their products, raising millions of dollars a year and turning such slogans as "Got Milk?" and "Beef: It's What's for Dinner" into national catchphrases. This isn't quite tantamount to a government-mandated campaign to promote cigarette smoking, but it's close. The government should not only get out of the business of promoting unhealthful and environmentally destructive foods, it should be actively discouraging them.

Three letters in response to the editorial from me, Dan Brook and Rina Deych
October 16, 2007

Editor, Los Angeles Times

Dear editor,

Kudos on your wonderful, challenging October 15 editorial “Killer cow emissions,” about the inconvenient truth of dietary connections to global climate change. With almost daily reports of severe heat waves, storms, floods, droughts and wildfires, with glaciers and polar ice caps melting at alarming rates and with many other indicators of global warming, it is increasingly apparent that the world is rapidly approaching an unprecedented catastrophe, and major changes are necessary o avoid it. Hence, it is scandalous that environmental groups and others are generally ignoring the UN FAO report indicating that animal-based agriculture emits more greenhouse gases (in CO2 equivalents) than all of the world's transportation vehicles, and that these emissions are projected to double by 2050. I hope that your excellent editorial awakens people so that we will take actions necessary to move our imperiled planet to a sustainable path.

Very truly yours,

Richard H. Schwartz

I very much appreciate your “Killer Cow Emissions” editorial (10/15), saying what needs to be said because it’s true even if inconvenient. Global warming is the biggest crisis for life on Earth, yet we still treat it like it’s a minor issue. While we’re waiting form our government and the corporations to step up, we need to make personal steps to fight global warming with our forks.

Vegetarianism, as you indicate, is a powerful antidote. Vegetarianism is literally about life and death - for each of us individually and for all of us together. Eating animals simultaneously contributes to: their suffering and death; the ill-health and early death of people; the unsustainable overuse of oil, water, land, topsoil, grain, labor, and other vital resources; environmental destruction, including deforestation, species extinction, and global warming; the legitimacy of force and violence; the mis-allocation of capital, skills, land, and resources; vast inefficiencies in the economy; tremendous waste; massive inequalities in the world; the transmission and spread of dangerous diseases; and moral failure in so-called civilized societies.

For more information, there’s a great collection of “Meat Eating and Global Warming” links at www.ivu.org/members/globalwarming.html.

Dan Brook, Ph.D.


Thank you for your excellent October 15th editorial entitled "Killer Cow Emissions." It's mind-boggling that major environmental groups are conspicuously avoiding the UN report (and others) showing that animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than all forms of transportation combined. As a registered nurse, humanitarian, and environmentalist, I strongly feel that anyone who purports to be concerned about the environment must "go green" inside and out. A switch to a plant-based diet is healthier for everyone - humans, the planet, and, of course the animals.

Rina Deych, RN
Brooklyn, NY 11219

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2. My Recent Widely-Published Letters Relate Meat-Eating to Global Warming

Message from JVNA activist Judy Lipson:

CONGRATULATIONS...........I just received my Moment Magazine and was
thrilled to find your letter to the editor on page 10. It was the
very first letter to the editor at the very top of the page under the
In the last few months, I have had letters re meat/global warming connections in the NAVS “Vegetarian Voice,” “VegNews,” “Animal People,” Newsweek and my local Staten Island Advance. I think consciousness is increasing and A SACRED DUTY and our accompanying campaign can accelerate it.

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3. Latest Annual Farmed Animals Death Toll Report

Forwarded message from FARM (Farm Animal Reform Movement):

[US] Annual Farm Animal Death Toll Drops for First Time
Posted by: "FARM" farm-usa@verizon.net farmfarmusa
Tue Oct 16, 2007 7:34 pm (PST)
CONTACT: Alex Hershaft 301-530-5683


The total number of land-based animals killed for food in the U.S. this year is projected to reach 10,378 million, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This represents no significant change from the 2005/2006 mean of 10,381 million, and a 1% drop in the per capita figure, in light of the 1% annual U.S. population growth.

The number of fishes and other aquatic organisms killed for human and animal consumption is not reported by any agency, but is likely to exceed that number.

The 10,357 million land-based animals killed for food in 2006 includes both the 9,432 million animals reported as slaughtered by USDA and an additional 925 million, or 9% of the total, who died lingering deaths from disease, malnutrition, injury, suffocation, stress, or other deadly factory farming practices. The more egregious example are the 266 million laying hens (62% of those hatched), including 213 million males dumped to suffocate slowly in plastic garbage bags upon hatching and 53 million “spent” females dumped on the waste pile, dead or alive, after a lifetime of laying eggs.

The 2007 total of 10,378 million includes 39 million cattle and calves (about even with the 38.7 million in 2006), 121 million pigs (up 2.6% from 118 million), 4 million sheep and goats, 10 million rabbits, 317 million turkeys (up 5% from 302 million), 28 million ducks (down 7% from 30 million), 9,409 million “broilers” (down slightly from 9,428 million) and 450 million laying hens (up 5% from $426 million).

In more personal terms, during a 75-year life span, a typical U.S. resident is responsible for the suffering and death of 10 cows, 34 pigs, and other small mammals, 2,535 turkeys, chickens and ducks, and uncounted numbers of fishes and other aquatic animals.

The 10,357 million animals raised and killed for food in 2006 accounted for 98% of land-based animals abused and killed annually in the U.S. Another 250 million animals were killed for “sport,” in biomedical laboratories, in pounds, or as “pests.”

The report on the number of victims of animal agriculture is compiled each year by FARM, a public interest organization, in connection with the annual observance of World Farm Animals Day, launched in 1983 to expose and memorialize the suffering and deaths of animals in the world’s factory farms and slaughterhouses. This 25th annual observance was co-sponsored by In Defense of Animals and PETA. (www.WFAD.org)

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4. Future Consequences of Failure to Address Global Warming Soon

Climate Change-US: Delay Now, Pay Dearly Later

By Stephen Leahy
Inter Press Service

Tuesday 16 October 2007


Brooklin, Canada - The United States is facing hundreds of billions of dollars in weather-related damages in coming years if it does not act urgently on climate change, the first-ever comprehensive economic assessment of the problem has found.

The costs of inaction on climate change on U.S. infrastructure, and its agricultural, manufacturing and public service sectors, will far outweigh the costs involved in making the needed reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, according to the report, "The U.S. Economic Impacts of Climate Change and the Costs of Inaction", released Tuesday.

"We're making billions of dollars of infrastructure investments every year and often without taking impacts of climate change into account," said report co-author Matthias Ruth, director of the University of Maryland's Centre for Integrative Environmental Research.

"Climate change will affect every American economically in significant, dramatic ways, and the longer it takes to respond, the greater the damage and the higher the costs," Ruth told IPS.

"The true economic impact of climate change is fraught with 'hidden' costs," the report concludes. It adds that these costs will vary regionally and will put a strain on public sector budgets. For example, the combined impacts of storms on the U.S. since 1980 have surpassed 560 billion dollars. Hurricane Katrina alone accounted for nearly 200 billion dollars in economic losses.

More frequent and intense storms - a virtual certainty, many climate scientists warn - will raise the price-tag even higher.

Storm damage is just one factor in what is fast becoming a cascade of costs amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars, the report documents.

In the U.S. west and northwest, the cost of fire suppression and property damages will run in the billions due to changes in precipitation patterns and snow pack. The Great Plains will experience increased frequency and severity of flooding and drought, resulting in additional billions of dollars in damages to crops and property.

The already sinking water levels will go lower in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River system, driving up shipping costs and producing major impacts on the midwest manufacturing sector. Sea level rise and storm surges will eat away valuable property along the Atlantic coast - a single storm surge event can cost 2.0 billion to 6.5 billion dollars.

Drought will take firmer hold of the south and southwest, with costly impacts on agriculture, industry and households. For the Central Valley in California alone, the economy-wide loss during the driest years is predicted to be around 6.0 billion dollars.

The "Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change" by Sir Nicholas Stern, the former chief economist of the World Bank, cautioned last year that the global economy could shrink by 20 percent in the worst-case scenario of inaction and a 5 degree C. rise in temperatures. It would be far, far cheaper - costing just one percent of global GDP - to avoid these worst-case scenarios.

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5. JVNA Advisor’s Novel Released

We wish author and JVNA advisor Charles Patterson much success with his recently published novel LAST RITES. His message is below.

LAST RIGHTS is a novel I wrote many years ago. After not getting
published and sitting for 25 years in my closet, it's now out and in

It's about a disgruntled young cleric who is vegetarian and animal
friendly among other things. Although he's a Christian minister, he has
a Jewish soul (reads Hebrew, quotes the Talmud, reveres the prophets of
ancient Israel, etc.) that causes him to rebel against his family and
church. The book is partly autobiographical.

Here's its epigraph:

I hate, I despise your feasts,
I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.
--Amos 5:21


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6. World Food Day Report

Published on Tuesday, October 16, 2007 by CommonDreams.org
World Food Day
by Yifat Susskind


The Globalization of Hunger

At first, the numbers don’t seem to add up. The world produces more food than ever-enough to feed twice the global population. Yet, more people than ever suffer from hunger; and their numbers are rising. Today, 854 million people, most of them women and girls, are chronically hungry, up from 800 million in 1996. Another paradox: the majority of the world’s hungry people live in rural areas, where nearly all food is grown.

World Food Day on October 16 is a good time to try and understand the conundrum of world hunger. The root of the problem is the inequitable distribution of the resources needed to either grow or buy food (also known as poverty). World Food Day is an equally good time to call out one of the main culprits of the crisis: industrial agriculture, the very type enshrined in the Farm Bill that’s currently before the US Senate.

The Farm Bill has far-reaching implications for farmers and food systems the world over. It is set to perpetuate a process whereby heavily subsidized US factory farms overproduce grains that are dumped in poor countries, bankrupting local farmers, who can’t compete with subsidized prices. We’ve begun to hear a bit about the plight of these farmers, but few people know that most of them are women. In fact, women produce most of the world’s food. They do so on small plots of land, working hard to feed their families and generate enough income for things like school fees and children’s shoes.

US Agribusiness: Swallowing Up Lands and Livelihoods

Visit the websites of corporations like Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland, who together control 65 percent of the global grain trade, and you will read that their mission is to “feed a growing world.” The reality is starkly different. Big Farming is part of a larger corporate economic model that prioritizes profit-making over all else, even the basic right to food. Around the world, agribusiness bankrupts and displaces small farmers, and directs farmers to grow export crops instead of staple foods.

Not long ago, most farm inputs came from farmers themselves. Seeds were saved from the last harvest and fertilizer was recycled from animal and plant wastes. Farmers found innovative ways to control pests by harnessing local biodiversity, such as cultivating insect-repelling plants alongside food crops. While these techniques can produce enough food to feed the world and sustain its ecosystems, they don’t turn a profit for agribusiness. That’s why corporations developed genetically modified seeds, chemical fertilizers, and synthetic pesticides.

These inputs are both expensive for farmers and highly damaging to the natural systems on which sustainable farming and, ultimately, all life depends. As the cost of farming has gone up, farmers’ incomes have gone down due to trade rules that favor large-scale agribusiness over small farmers. For example, the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Agriculture forbids governments in the Global South from providing farmers with low-cost seeds and other farm inputs, turning farmers into a “market” for international agribusiness.

Over the past 50 years, as much of the world’s farmland has been consolidated in fewer and fewer hands, millions of people have been forced to abandon their rural homes. In fact, this year, for the first time ever, the number of people living in cities around the world exceeded the number living in rural areas. Most of this urban population boom is due to rural migration.

Cash Crops and Climate Change

The same practices that have devastated women farmers and their communities worldwide have contributed to environmental destruction that impacts us all.

Export agriculture is a major contributor to global warming because it requires huge inputs of petroleum: it takes 100 gallons of oil to grow just one acre of US corn. It also requires a massive global transportation infrastructure, including ports, railways, fuel pipelines, and superhighways, often built at the expense of local people and ecosystems. In many places, 40 percent of truck traffic is from hauling food over long distances. Today, food that could be grown locally is shipped, trucked, or flown half way around the planet.

Trade rules have so distorted agricultural markets that almost anywhere you go, food from the other side of the world costs less than food grown locally. So people in Kenya buy Dutch butter, while those in the Big Apple buy apples from Chile. In the US, the average bite of food travels 1,300 miles from farm to fork. The system is so wasteful that many countries import the very same foods that they export. For example, last year the US exported-and imported-900,000 tons of beef.

Asserting the Right to Food

The good news is that our global food systems may be on the verge of a great transition. Although agribusiness has unprecedented control over the world’s farmers and food supply, the realities of climate change, resource depletion, and the human suffering caused by industrialized farming have led more people to start thinking about the links between food, the environment, and social justice. Around the world, demands for food sovereignty-peoples’ right to control their own food systems-is at an all-time high. Even in the US, where much of the population thinks of farming as a quaint and remote activity, more and more people are realizing that if you eat, you’re involved in agriculture.

The theme of this year’s World Food Day is the right to food. Securing this basic human right for all people, including future generations, will require fundamental changes in the way we use the Earth’s natural resources to grow and distribute food. As we face rising temperatures and declining supplies of cheap energy, change will come of necessity. It’s up to us-working in partnership with small-scale farmers around the world-to demand a change for the better.

Yifat Susskind is communications director of MADRE, an international women’s human rights organization.

My response to the above article, seeking to build on their strong, eloquent message:

In a world with so much hunger with millions dying annually from insufficient food, how can we justify animal-based diets that involve the feeding of 70% of the grain grown in the US and over 40% of the grain grown worldwide to animals? In a world with so much thirst, how can we justify animal-centered diets that can use up to 14 times as much water per person that vegan diets? In a world rapidly heading toward disaster from global warming, how can we justify 'livestock' agriculture which emits more greenhouse gases (in CO2 equivalents) that all the world's transport, according to the UN FAO's 2006 report, "Livestock's Long Shadow."

For further information, please see my over 130 articles at JewishVeg.com/schwartz.

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7. How Meat Consumption Increases Global Food Insecurity

Press Release - World Food Day, Tuesday 16 October

Meat, the hidden reason for growing food insecurity

16 October 2007

This World Food Day was preceded by a series of FAO-warnings "Wheat prices hit record-high level", "28 countries face food shortages", "Climate change disaster is upon us", etc., and also the European Union cautioned that "2007 total cereal harvest will be ...1,6% below the average of the last five years", and that cereal intervention stocks "have shrunk from 14 million tonnes at the beginning of 2006/2007 to around 1 million tonnes now".

Environmental changes are given as a major cause for failing harvests, and
the FAO even names the culprits, pointing to future disasters by informing that livestock's environmental impact "will worsen dramatically...".

So it's official: It's the beef!

What vegetarians have tried to get across for decades has finally become
official wisdom: 'Livestock's Long Shadow' puts a dramatic pressure on the environment, contributes critically to climate change and global warming, leads to failing harvests and threatens the global food supply. But that's not all: Even in times of dwindling resources, enormous harvest shares continue to be requisitioned for farm animals.

The result is obvious: Food is getting scarce and expensive for everyone
and, as always, the poor are the first to suffer and suffer the most.

Stop meat-business as usual

Since animal husbandry is one of the most prominent reasons for the world's greenhouse pollution which threatens the food supply of billions of people, more sustainable lifestyles have to be adopted urgently. There is absolutely no need for the citizens of some countries to continue eating roughly their own weight in meat every year! Reason and solidarity must bring about lighter ecological footprints of the individual, and vegetarianism is the prime choice in this quest.

On the occasion of World Food Day 2007, the European Vegetarian Union
appeals to all people of good will, and especially to national and
international decision makers, to accept and promote the vegetarian
alternative. The present terrifying crossroad shows clearly that for us and
all future generations, new ethical alternatives have to replace old
destructive habits - today.

Renato Pichler
European Vegetarian Union
Bahnhofstrasse 52
CH-9315 Neukirch (Egnach)
Fax: +41 (0)71 477 33 78
www.euroveg.eu / president@euroveg.eu

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8. Challenging Personal Statement From Israel Vegetarian Activist Steve (Shaya) Kelter

Dear family and friends,

In the past week Al Gore was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his trailblazing advocacy of environmental sanity. Thanks to his work, hundreds of millions of people around the world are more aware of the catastrophic danger to our planet of our devil-may-care burning off of our irreplaceable petroleum reserves. What took nature hundreds of millions of years to produce is being depleted in a matter of decades. In the process our atmosphere is being heated to such a point that the world's climate and ocean levels are being affected very rapidly. A large portion of the world's future population is being threatened. Already hurricanes have become more frequent and more severe. Coastal lands will be flooded. Fresh water will be threatened. Rain will decrease.

What has not been so well known to the general public, what Al Gore doesn't tell you, is that the greatest single cause of global warming, more than all forms of motorized transportation combined is – livestock!

I personally stopped eating meat altogether in 1991 and later gradually reduced my dairy intake. I stopped my remaining dairy consumption in November, 2006 when the U.N. Food and Agriculture report of November, 2006 was published showing that livestock was the single greatest cause of global warming.

The L.A. Times in a ground breaking editorial explains how this works in layman's language. This article is worth reading and re-reading and ruminating over.

I urge you to think again before you take that extra slice of roast beef or steak. You do have an alternative. Vegetarian options are tastier than ever. You can make a significant difference in saving our world for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Granted not everyone is going to stop eating meat "cold turkey." Food habits are deeply ingrained. But I believe that every one of us can gradually reduce our intake of meat and dairy and move to a more vegetarian diet. Not only will you be helping to save the world, but you will be contributing to your own health. You are also helping the poor because livestock production is much more energy, water and pesticide-intensive than vegetarian options and helps to drive up agriculture prices which especially affects the poor.

From a Torah perspective, we just read in the Torah portion Bereishit, at the beginning of the book of Genesis, one of the first commandments to Man, regarding the earth: "work it and preserve it." To my mind, protecting the environment of our world is a key mitzvah.

The L.A. Editorial [is in item #1 above.] It was sent to me by my friend, Richard H. Schwartz, President of the Jewish Vegetarians of North America, in my capacity as one of the advisors of JVNA. You have my permission and encouragement to pass this message and the following to all.

With love from Jerusalem,

Steven "Shaya" Kelter

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9. Southeastern U.S. Facing Unprecedented Drought

Drought-Stricken South Facing Tough Choices

NY Times 10/16/07


ATLANTA, Oct. 15 — For the first time in more than 100 years, much of the Southeast has reached the most severe category of drought, climatologists said Monday, creating an emergency so serious that some cities are just months away from running out of water.

In North Carolina, Gov. Michael F. Easley asked residents Monday to stop using water for any purpose “not essential to public health and safety.” He warned that he would soon have to declare a state of emergency if voluntary efforts fell short.

“Now I don’t want to have to use these powers,” Mr. Easley told a meeting of mayors and other city officials. “As leaders of your communities, you know what works best at the local level. I am asking for your help.”

Officials in the central North Carolina town of Siler City estimate that without rain, they are 80 days from draining the Lower Rocky River Reservoir, which supplies water for the town’s 8,200 people.

In the Atlanta metropolitan area, which has more than four million people, worst-case analyses show that the city’s main source of water, Lake Lanier, could be drained dry in 90 to 121 days.

The hard numbers have shocked the Southeast into action, even as many people wonder why things seem to have gotten so bad so quickly.


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10. My Article in Austrian Vegetarian Publication

Forwarded message From Herma Caelen, a European vegetarian activist:

You remember certainly that I have translated your '10 steps [toward a vegetarian-conscious world]' into German

Well, the Austrian Veg Organisation has now printed the complete text in
their Autumn issue of 'anima'. Congratulations!

The president, Dr. Erwin Lauppert, is someone with whom you would certainly get on like a house in fire. Maybe you like to write him and ask for a copy?

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11. Article Re Repairing World in Chasidic Publication

Here is a link to Lilith's eco-ushpizin, which discusses the environmental efforts of seven contemporary women, including our own Roberta Kalechosky. [I was unable to cut and paste the article.]


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12. Dramatic Change in Global Meat Production Projected

FAO newsroom. Dramatic changes in global meat production ahead, risk
Posted by: "Pamela Rice" pamela@vivavegie.org penelopeapod
Wed Oct 17, 2007 8:20 pm (PST)

[EXCERPT: Industrial pig and poultry production relies on a significant movement of live animals. In 2005, for example, nearly 25 million pigs, more than two million pigs per month, were traded internationally.]


Dramatic changes in global meat production could increase risk of diseases

Livestock producers should invest more in biosecurity and disease monitoring

17 September 2007, Rome - Global animal food production is undergoing
a major transformation that could lead to a higher risk of disease transmission from animals to humans, FAO warned today.

"The risk of disease transmission from animals to humans will increase in the future due to human and livestock population growth, dynamic changes in livestock production, the emergence of worldwide agro-food networks and a significant increase in the mobility of people and goods," FAO said in a policy brief (Industrial Livestock Production and Global Health Risks).

"There is no doubt that the world has to depend upon some of the technologies of intensive animal food production systems," said FAO livestock policy expert Joachim Otte.

"But excessive concentration of animals in large scale industrial production units should be avoided and adequate investments should be
made in heightened biosecurity and improved disease monitoring to safeguard public health," he added.

More affluence - higher meat consumption

As countries have become more affluent and the world's population continues to rise, demand for meat and other livestock products has
grown substantially, according to FAO.

To satisfy this higher demand for meat products, livestock production and densities have significantly increased, often close to urban centres. Industrial animal production has become more concentrated, using fewer but more productive livestock breeds.

"These developments have potentially serious consequences for local and global disease risks, which, so far, have not been widely recognized by policy makers," said FAO Chief Veterinary Officer Joseph Domenech.


Erwin Northoff
Media Relations, FAO
(+39) 06 570 53105
(+39) 348 252 361

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13. World Vegan Day Approaching

Forwarded message:

Just 2 weeks left until World Vegan Day - just about enough time to arrange a party or a press release to challenge the status quo.

Lets make the finale of World Vegetarian Month a bit more spectacular 
than usual.

So far there is 

* A Vegan fashion Show in Montreal, Canada
* A Vegan festival In Melbourne, Australia
* A Vegan dinner with prestigious speakers organised by AVS
* A challenge by Lush Cosmetics to staff in all their 88 UK stores to 
go vegan for World Vegan Day supported by ViVA! UK
* Various events around the UK organised by Animal Aid UK as part of 
Vegan Month.
* Vegan food tastings and 'free food fayres' arranged all around the 
* A new initiative by CIWF to reduce meat and dairy consumption to 
save the environment.

May I suggest at the very least vegetarian organisations around the 
world issue a Press Release or Letter to Editors with a World Vegan 
Day challenge to restaurants in their country to create a menu with 
vegan dishes that are not only delicious but help save the 
environment (as per UN Long Shadow Report) and help stop the spread 
of preventable chronic disease (as per WHO report).

"Restaurants Weald Weapons of Mass Destruction" ?

Best wishes for a successful and fruitful World Vegan Day!

Tony Bishop-Weston – London

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14. JVNA Advisor/Author Has Article on Animal Rights Published


Atlanta Jewish Times, chai inside magazine, Thursday, May 11, 2006

Judaism Requires Kindness to Animals

By Lewis Regenstein

The beginning of the spring season, with its renewal of life, is a good time to be reminded of a little-known fact: The Bible and Jewish law are full of admonitions and commandments to protect animals, nature and the environment. Indeed, such teachings are fundamental to Judaism and its traditions.

For example, God’s first commandment (Genesis 1:22) was to the birds, whales, fish and other creatures to “be fruitful and multiply” and fill the seas and the skies. His first commandment to humans (genesis 1:28) was to “replenish the earth … and have dominion” over other creatures.

These commandments concern the welfare and survival of animals and human-stewardship responsibilities toward them. So the Almighty must consider the care of animals an important thing.

Clearly, God was well pleased with the works of His creation. After He made each of the creatures, He blessed them, “saw” that each “was good,” and commanded them to “be fruitful and multiply.” And He pronounced the entire creation, when it was completed, “very good.”

Later, when God made his promise to Noah and generations to come never again to destroy the earth with a flood, He included in the covenant “every living creature … the fowl, the cattle and every beast of the earth” (genesis 9:12-17).

Psalm 104 extols the creatures of “this great and wide sea”: “O Lord, how manifold are thy works! In wisdom thou hast made them all: The earth is full of thy riches. … The glory of the Lord shall endure forever.” And a well-known Jewish blessing states, “Blessed art thou, Lord our God, king of the universe, who created everything for His glory.”

Kindness to animals is stressed throughout the Bible and is even required in the Ten Commandments, wherein God forbids us to make our farm animals work on the Sabbath; we must give them, too, a day of rest (exodus 20:10, 23:12).


Lewis Regenstein regenstein@mindspring.com is president of The Interfaith Council for the Protection of Animals and Nature, and author of “Replenish the Earth.” A copy of a new booklet on this subject is available upon request. Additional information on Judaism and animals can be found at www.jewishveg.com/schwartz/

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15. Animal Rights Proclamation to Be Unveiled in Nation’s Capital

Forwarded message: [Please consider attending, and please help inform others who might be interested. I was a member of the group that drafted the document, and I am one of the signers, but I am disappointed that vegetarianism is not a major focus. However, I think the proclamation is a very positive development, and I hope it has a significant impact.]

A Religious Proclamation For Animal Compassion
9:30 am - 12:30 pm ( EST )
Location: Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Cannon Caucus Room (3rd Fl)
Cannon House Office Building
Independence & New Jersey Avenues, S.E.
Washington, DC 20515

You are cordially invited to a signing ceremony of a religious proclamation in support of animal compassion. Presented by an alliance of religious leaders representing faith traditions worldwide.

Please join us in this groundbreaking event as religious leaders issue calls to action for people of faith to reject animal cruelty in all its forms and embrace kindness to animals as a core spiritual value.

Event sponsored by Best Friends Animal Society.

Please RSVP to:
krish@bestfriends.org 435.691.0250

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16. My Article With Dan Brook Is Cover Article in “The Animals’ Voice” Magazine

Message from editor Veda Stram:
We featured your and Dan Brook's article in our current issue of The Animals Voice Magazine, "AnOTHER Inconvenient Truth.

Thank so very very much, as always, for all your work for animals... and particularly for the bazillions of animals who die to be food.

Bye for now,

For subscription information, go here:
The Animals Voice Magazine

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17. Canfei Nesharim Environmental Dvar Torah for Vayera

The Sin of Sodom and Its Impact on Creation

By Rabbi Yuval Cherlow, Parshat Vayera
(translated from the original Hebrew by Ariel Shalem)

The Parsha of Vayera is dedicated by Shoshana Shinnar of the Bikkur Cholim of Westchester, to her dedicated volunteers throughout the years. May G-d bless you for your dedication.

The Sefer of Bereishis is dedicated in memory of Jacob Cohen by Marilyn and Herbert Smilowitz and family.

Two cosmic catastrophes unfold in the book of Genesis. The first, the flood, in which G-d brings waters down from the Heavens to destroy almost all life. The second, the utter devastation of Sodom and Gomorrah, in which an area previously known as a fertile and lush “garden of Hashem” (Gen. 13:10) becomes a desolate land “that cannot be sown, nor sprout, and no grass shall rise up upon it, like the upheaval of Sodom and Gomorrah… which Hashem overturned in His anger, and His wrath” (Deut. 29:22). One of the connections we see between these two events is the word the Torah employs in both cases, lihachsheet – to destroy. When G-d relates to Noah that He will bring the flood He says, “The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with robbery through them; and, behold, I am about to destroy (mashkheetam) them from the earth” (Gen. 6:13).

In the case of Sodom we see the same word applied, “…when God destroyed (beshakhet) the cities of the plain…” (Gen. 19:29). The Torah did not elaborate on the sin of Sodom, but the underpinnings are expressed later in the prophecy of Ezekiel: “Behold this was the sin of Sodom…She and her daughters had pride, excess bread, and peaceful serenity, but she did not strengthen the hand of the poor and the needy” (16:49). The prophet’s description combined with what the Torah reveals to us gives us the following picture: the people of Sodom insisted on preserving their high quality of living to such an extent they established a principle not to let the poor and homeless reside in their city. Consequently when a destitute person would come seeking help, they would revoke his right to any welfare – public or private! By doing this they figured they would preserve an elite upper class community who would monopolize the profits that the bountiful land offers without having to distribute any revenues to a “lower class” of people.

An opinion in the Mishna in Avot 5:10 further strengthens this picture of moral depravity when it defines the Sodomite as one who says, “What's mine is mine and what’s yours is yours.” The Mishna decries a man who wishes to remove himself from the social responsibility of welfare by closing himself and his wealth from others, even if he makes the claim that he is not taking away from anyone else.

Interestingly, the Sages of the Talmud did not merely draw attention to the relationship between the economic injustices of the generation of the flood and the social depravity of Sodom. The Torah narrative concerning Sodom reveals something deeper. “They called out to Lot, ‘Where are the men that came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them!’” (Gen. 19:5) Indeed, the men demanded to relate to Lot’s male guests sexually. According to the Midrash in Genesis Rabba 28:8, the destruction caused by the flood also shared a similar cause:

Rabbi Azariyah said in the name of Rabbi Yehoshua son of Simon, every creature had been corrupted in the generation of the flood. The dog would mate with the wolf, the hen with the peacock. For it is written, ‘All flesh was corrupted.’ ‘All mankind was corrupted’ is not written, rather ‘All flesh was corrupted.’ (Thereby coming to include all flesh, both human and animal.) Rabbi Luliyani son of Tavrin said in the name of Rabbi Isaac, “Even the land became corrupt as they would sow wheat and the land would sprout degenerate wheat.”

Until now, we have dealt with sins between people and God (sexual immorality) and between people and society (robbery, excluding the poor), yet our Torah portion even makes references to sins between man and his environment. The Torah again uses the verb hashkhata in relation to the wanton destruction of fruit trees: “When you besiege a city to seize it, do not destroy (tashkhit) its trees by swinging an axe against them, for from it you will eat, and you shall not cut it down; is the tree of the field a man that it should enter the siege before you?” (Deut. 20:19)

A final example: the same Hebrew verb hishkhit is used in regards to the widely accepted Law delineated in the Book of Mitzvoth not to destroy any part of our world. Under the above-stated commandment not to destroy fruit trees in a siege, comes a further negative commandment where we are forbidden to waste. For example, we must not tear or burn clothing or break or discard dishes for no reason. About all of these issues or any other issues of wanton destruction, the Sages of blessed memory said in the Talmud, “And he has transgressed the sin of being a wasteful man” (The Book of Mitzvoth #529).

What could be the connection between the corruption of the generation of the flood, the people of Sodom and environmental sins? There are three basic answers. The first and most simple reason is that humanity itself is part and parcel of its environment and is not separate from it. Having been created in the image of G-d we may think that we are detached from creation. Further, our Torah-given obligation to preserve the world that G-d gave us may suggest to us that we are above it. Nonetheless, we are bound to and part of creation. The Torah stresses this by including the creation of human beings in the six days of creation and creating us with the means to sustain ourselves like all other creatures, regardless of our unique stature of being created in the image of G-d. Consequently, when one sins against a fellow creature -- human or animal -- they are sinning against their environment.

The second connection between the flood, the people of Sodom and the destruction of our environment is that in those generations the people corrupted their sexual power. Sexual power can build worlds or destroy them. Statements by the Sages that the flood was a result of the inbreeding of species may be applied to our present era as a warning of possible destruction caused by various genetic experimentation, which although at times may be morally justified and halakhically permissible, in other situations can be destructive and wrong, and we must be careful in what we allow and what we do not.

The most central point in the connection between moral behavior and environmental behavior comes from the understanding that both behaviors go hand in hand. One without the other corrupts the Divine vision for human action. That is, a society may be passionate about preserving its natural environment while maintaining a complete disregard for the welfare of its citizens. Sodom is a perfect example of this, where they cared so much for their “garden of HaShem" that they refused to aid anyone in need.

In conclusion our Torah portion provides deep insights into living in balance with one’s environment. The people of Sodom’s perverted ways, in effect, were extremely unsustainable - causing God to turn one of the most fertile and lush ecosystems on Earth into what today is infamous for its barrenness and desolation. From the mistakes of the people of Sodom we can learn the essential character traits that allow one to live in balance with the Creator and creation. The moral human being is devoted to the holiness and purity of life, refrains from harming others, lives a sexually responsible lifestyle, and sacrifices their personal pleasure for an ethical and upright path. When we are capable of fulfilling this ideal we will naturally be triumphant in attaining the great spiritual task of infusing our religious/moral lifestyle with one that is also environmentally sustainable.

May we all be blessed to undertake the task.

Suggested Action Items:

1. Look for an opportunity to be generous to another human being this week. For example: give money to the poor, schedule a time to help out at a local shelter, or volunteer your time to help support community needs.

2. Learn about how our environmental choices can disproportionately impact the poor.

3. Focus your attention on living “in balance” with the Creator and creation. One way to do this is by focusing on buying and preparing only as much food as you will eat. Clean out your refrigerator and note which food items have gone to waste, so that you will buy less next time.

Rabbi Yuval Cherlow, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Petach Tikva, is a graduate of Yeshivat Har Etzion and a retired major in the IDF. After obtaining his Rabbinic Semicha, Rabbi Cherlow served as the Rav of Kibbutz Tirat Tzvi, and as a Rav at the Hesder Yeshiva in Chispin.

Rabbi Cherlow was amongst the founders of the Tzohar Foundation, a central Modern Orthodox foundation which works to build bridges between the religious and secular worlds. Rav Cherlow is a member of Governmental Ethical Committees, and of the Presidential Press Council of Israel.

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18. Roberta Kalechofsky Featured in “Lilith” Magazine Article


Repairing Our World

By Jampa Williams

"If I wasn't involved in the political process," my young son said one morning, "there'd be a huge hole torn in the world." I was touched by the way my seven-year-old expressed his feelings, and by the passion in his declaration. Joyfully, I taught him the Hebrew phrase for the feeling he was expressing, "tikkun olam" – the repair or healing of the world. He was glad to learn that his religion has a sacred obligation mirroring his personal belief.

He has formally announced his plans to be a politician. I think my son, Noah, shall contribute more to tikkun olam when he is past the age of playground scuffles and shoving. My boy is far from perfect. Seeing him whipping around the field at school, shrieking with exuberance, it is evident that he is not of mild nature. If further evidence is needed of this, there are his visits to the principal's office after bouts of mischief. But in his heart, Noah comprehends the connections among beings; that a wrong done to one, is a wrong done to all. In his mind, he helps to repair the world by being part of the political process. Indeed, he has formally announced his plans to be a politician when he grows up.

The seeds of Noah's political ambition were sown this past school year when he began lobbying for legislation to decrease school bus pollution, and discovered a world of people as passionate as him about this issue.

How did Noah come to be a seven-year-old lobbyist? It certainly was not a school project. First graders, at least in public school, aren't taught about civics, except perhaps that two presidents, one of whom needlessly chopped down a tree, were born in February. For some reason, schools seem afraid of teaching the rudiments of democracy. Certainly, first-graders are told nothing of how presidents become presidents, never mind how bills become laws. And is civics ever taught as anything but a droning bore?

No, his lobbying career was the result of reacting with horror to the discovery of what diesel emissions on school buses do to the lungs, hearts and immune systems of children. To Noah, school bus pollution is a kind of violence that harms us all by damaging our health.


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