February 1, 2008

1/27/2008 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

1. Update RE A SACRED DUTY/Great Momentum Continues

2. Important New Article Relates Diet to Global Warming

3. Nationwide Teach-In On Global Warming Scheduled

4. Global Warming Helps Fuel War and Terrorism

5. Jewish Teachings Re the Environment

6. Producer of AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH Acknowledges that Animal-Based Diets Contribute to Global Warming

7. Israel Promoting Use of Electric Cars

8. Rich Countries Owe Poor a Huge Environmental Debt

9. Challenging Progressives Re Their Diets

10. New Book On Animal Rights/Welfare About To Be Published

11. Greenpeace Urges Eating Less Meat to Reduce Global Warming Threats

12. Great Article Re Negatives of Meat in NY Times Magazine Today

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. Update RE A SACRED DUTY/Great Momentum Continues

a. Please help spread the word that A SACRED DUTY can be seen on You Tube

As previously indicated, a SACRED DUTY can now be seen on You Tube at

* take a look if you haven’t done so yet;
* consider posting a comment;
* consider posting a rating;
* let others know about this possibility of viewing A SACRED DUTY;
* try to arrange links to the You Tube site with groups you are involved with.

Many thanks.
b. A SACRED DUTY also can be seen at www.care2.com

Thanks to the splendid efforts of JVNA advisor and author Arthur Poletti, A SACRED DUTY can now also be seen at www.care2.com, at www.care2.com/news/member/765096461/614344

c. Funds desperately needed to produce 10,000 more DVDs

We have happily sending out DVDs to many key people throughout the US and the world. This has fueled an incredible grass roots campaign that is building momentum daily. One example is in the message from Australia directly below.

We now have only slightly more than 1,000 DVDs out of our original 10,000. Fortunately, as mentioned above, people can now also see the movie on You Tube and other sites. But, we still want to get actual DVDs to key people and to people who will share them, arrange screenings and/or promote the movie in some other way. The issues are far too important to not do everything possible to get our messages out. Hence, we plan to soon produce an additional 10,000 DVDs, and we are desperately in need of funding to do that.

As indicated, in this time when the world is rapidly approaching an unprecedented catastrophe, I think the most important investment that we can make for our children and grandchildren, and future generations, in general, is to fund efforts like ours that are trying to move our imperiled planet to a sustainable path.

Hence, please consider a very generous tax-deductible grant to JVNA. For some options, please visit www.JewishVeg.com/action.

Many thanks.
d. A very positive message re A SACRED DUTY from Australia

The DVD “A Sacred Duty” has arrived today (Friday). Thank you very much for sending it.

I actually watched it online on Wednesday evening because I was so eager to see it. It is so moving and I can’t wait to share it with others. My parents have agreed to watch it. They are both meat eaters, so I will be very interested in their response. My mother is a Christian and had visited Israel (Jerusalem) some years ago, so she is very keen to watch the footage. I will let you know how they feel after they watch the DVD.

I have a group of friends who are willing to view it also, so I will try and make that happen in the next couple of weeks. I’ll make a couple of copies to share with friends. The six minutes of footage showing the different scenes of animal abuse is very disturbing, but it is very important for people to see that, and of course it is only a very brief glimpse at the sorts of evil things that take place every day.

There is a new online vegan magazine (called “aduki”), which is based in Melbourne and is going to be launched next month, so I have written a brief review of “A Sacred Duty” for them to include on their website.

While searching the internet I have noticed that the movie is advertised on the front page of the ALF website, and a couple of MySpace pages have already added the You Tube video to their profiles. I’m really quite surprised at how quickly the news is spreading. It’s very encouraging. The movie has great potential to change people, or at least make them rethink their eating habits.

Congratulations must go to all who were involved in the creation of this film. It is both very beautiful and very heart-breaking, but most importantly, it is very powerful.

Thank you again. I will send news about further movie screenings as soon as I can arrange them.

Kind Regards,

Christina Louise Dicker.
West Gippsland in Victoria, Australia.
Editor: Big Beat of the '50s

e. Thanks to author and JVNA author Arthur Poletti for the following message and his review of A SACRED DUTY.


This is a popular and respected web site that could give the masterpiece A Sacred Duty good exposure to a large number of people.

Wake Up Now “Before It Really Is Too Late”

Published by cyrano2 at 7:07 pm under American Capitalism, Animal Cruelty, Animal Liberation, Capitalist Crises, Climate Change, Corporatism, Earth, Environment, Factory Farming, Souless Capitalists, Spiritual Awakening, Vegetarianism

Cyrano’s Journal Online and its semi-autonomous subsections (Thomas Paine’s Corner, The Greanville Journal, CJO Avenger, and VoxPop) would be delighted to periodically email you links to the most recent material and timeless classics available on our diverse and comprehensive site. If you would like to subscribe, type “CJO subscription” in the subject line and send your email to JMiller@bestcyrano.org


By Arthur Poletti
(with editorial help from Rina Deych)

The purpose of this presentation is to persuade you to stay completely awake and concentrate while you view the one hour major masterpiece documentary film that millions of people throughout the world will be talking about *real soon* titled:


In your lifetime you will probably never see a more important, more meaningful, or more urgently needed documentary film.

Treat yourself and the ones you love. Devote one quiet undisturbed hour of your life to focus in on this majestic and informative film.

Because the insightful and heart wrenching ancient religious messages supporting the importance of kindness and life for humans, animals, the earth, and the earths atmosphere are so brilliantly and dramatically presented, you will be spellbound and inspired like never before.

Your family, especially your children, as well as your friends, will never forget the day they watched *A Sacred Duty* because of your recommendation.

A deeply moving and penetrating film that now, for the first time, explains and reveals the real truth about the most important steps that must be implemented immediately, if life on earth is really going to be sustained and preserved.

You will be fascinated and engrossed by the riveting, penetrating, and convincing ancient religious messages.

The most important, dramatic, entertaining and meaningful multidimensional messages you may ever see or hear again, in one film, in your lifetime, are now within your immediate grasp.

All you need to do is visit one or both of the following web sites. You do not have to be a member or sign on to view the film.

Copy and paste the web site addresses below for a direct connection to the broadcast or visit ( YouTube ) or ( Blip.TV ) and type in the words, A Sacred Duty.

*Widen the broadcast screen* to the size of your computer screen, and then sit back and watch this entire incredible one hour film. You will be very happy you did.

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9RxmTGHZgE

Blip.TV: http://blip.tv/file/602351/

Boldly and convincingly, this amazing, one of a kind film, will break through many age old religious barriers created by unawareness, uniting many religious leaders throughout the world, for the common goal of nurturing and protecting the earth, and all the creatures that dwell here.

You will never forget this wonderful, inspiring one hour film!

Bravo!! A Sacred Duty.

For the sake of all humans, all animals, the earth, and the earth’s atmosphere.

“One of the great tragedies of history is that so many people fail to remain awake through great periods of social change.”

The Reverend, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

f. Offer your congressperson a complimentary DVD

Message sent by Arthur Poletti to his congressman:

Thank you for your message.

On the behalf of everyone that *truly cares* about the health and welfare of humans, animals, the earth and the earths atmosphere I strongly recommend that you take one hour out of your life to watch the entire one hour major masterpiece documentary film titled *A Sacred Duty" online for *free* at the following YouTube web site.


Congressman Lipinski, in your lifetime you will probably never see a more important, more meaningful, or more urgently needed documentary film than the major one hour long masterpiece *A Sacred Duty"

You can be sure that your family, as well as your *friends and associates in the United States Congress* will never forget the day they watched *A Sacred Duty* because of your recommendations.

A deeply moving and penetrating film that now, for the first time, explains and reveals the *real truth* about the most important steps that must be implemented immediately, if life on earth is really going to be sustained and preserved.

Please let me know If you would like a free copy of the one hour DVD version of * A Sacred Duty* which I will be pleased to mail to you or any of your associates.

Thank you for seriously considering the importance of this message.

For the sake of all humans, all animals, the earth and the earths atmosphere.

Arthur Poletti
Western Springs, Illinois
Cook County

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2. Important New Article Relates Diet to Global Warming

Forwarded message from Bruce Friedrich:

Please cross post and if you have time, please comment. The HuffingtonPost puts the most recent comments at the top, unlike most other such Blogs.


Eating as if the Climate Mattered
by Bruce Friedrich

Last week in our nation's capital, the National Council for Science and the Environment <http://ncseonline.org/> (NCSE) held a climate change conference focused on solutions to the problem of human-induced climate change. And in Paris the head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is sharing the Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore, held a press conference to discuss to discuss "the importance of lifestyle choices" in combating global warming.

Notably, all food at the NCSE conference was vegan, and there were table-top brochures with quotes from the U.N. report on the meat industry, discussed more below. And the IPCC head, Dr. Rajendra Pachauri declared, as the AFP sums it up
<http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5iIVBkZpOUA9Hz3Xc2u-61mDlrw0Q?>, "Don't eat meat, ride a bike, and be a frugal shopper."

The New York Times, also, seems to be jumping on the anti-consumption bandwagon. First they ran an editorial on New Year's Day <http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/01/opinion/01tue1.html> stating that global warming is "the overriding environmental issue of these times" and that Americans are "going to have to change [our] lifestyles..." The
next day, they ran a superb opinion piece by Professor Jared Diamond about the fact that those of us in the developed world consume 32 times as many resources as people in the developing world and 11 times as much as China.

Diamond ends optimistically, stating that "whether we get there willingly or not, we shall soon have lower consumption rates, because our present rates are nsustainable."

It is reasonable for all of us to review our lives and to ask where we can cut down on our consumption -- because it's necessary, and because living according to our values is what people of integrity do.

Last November, United Nations environmental researchers released a report that everyone who cares about the environment should review. Called " Livestock's Long Shadow <http://virtualcentre.org/en/library/key_pub/longshad/a0701e/A0701E00.pdf> ," this 408-page thoroughly researched scientific report indicts the consumption of chickens, pigs, and other meats, concluding that the meatindustry is "one of the... most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global" and that eating meat contributes to "problems of land degradation, climate change and air pollution, water shortage and water pollution, and loss of biodiversity."

The environmental problems of meat fill books, but the intuitive argument can be put more succinctly into two points: 1) A 135-pound woman will burn off at least 1,200 calories a day even if she never gets out of bed. She uses most of what she consumes simply to power her body. Similarly, it requires exponentially more resources to
eat chickens, pigs, and other animals, because most of what we feed to them is required to keep them alive, and much of the rest is turned into bones and other bits we don't eat; only a fraction of those crops is turned into meat. So you have to grow all the crops required to raise the animals to eat the animals, which is vastly wasteful relative to eating the crops directly.

2) It also requires many extra stages of polluting and energy-intensive production to get chicken, pork, and other meats to the table, including feed mills, factory farms, and slaughterhouses, all of which are not used in the production of vegetarian foods. And then there are the additional stages of gas-guzzling, pollution-spewing transportation of moving crops, feed, animals, and meat -- relative to simply growing the crops and processing them into vegetarian foods.

So when the U.N. added it all up, what they found is that eating chickens, pigs, and other animals contributes to "problems of land degradation, climate change and air pollution, water shortage and water pollution, and loss of biodiversity," and that meat-eating is "one of the... most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global."

And on the issue of global warming, the issue the New York Times deems critical enough to demand that we "change [our] lifestyles" and for which Al Gore and the IPCC received the Nobel peace prize, the United Nations' scientists conclude that eating animals causes 40 percent more global warming than all planes, cars, trucks, and other forms of transport combined, which is why the Live Earth Global Warming Survival Handbook says that "refusing meat" is "the single most effective thing
you can do to reduce your carbon footprint" [emphasis in original].

There is a lot of important attention paid to population, and that's a critical issue too, but if we're consuming 11 times as much as people in China and 32 times as much as people in the third world, then it's not just about population; it's also about consumption.

NCSE, IPPC, and the U.N. deserve accolades for calling on people to stop supporting the inefficient, fossil fuel intensive, and polluting meat industry. The head of the IPCC, who received the Nobel Prize with Mr. Gore and who held last week's press conference in Paris, puts his money where his mouth is: He's a vegetarian.

The NCSE's all-vegan 3,000-person conference last week, also, sends positive signal that other environmentalists would be wise to listen to. Thus far, among the large environmental organizations only Greenpeace ensures that all official functions are vegetarian. Other environmental groups should follow suit.

It's empowering really, when you think about it: By choosing vegetarian foods, we're making compassionate choices <http://www.meat.org/> that are good for our bodies, and we're living our environmental values at every meal

Find out more at www.GoVeg.com/eco, and find recipe tips, meal plans, and more at www.VegCooking.com.

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3. Nationwide Teach-In On Global Warming Scheduled

Nationwide "Teach-In" Planned to Address Climate Change

Stacy Teicher Khadaroo reports for The Christian Science Monitor on global warming teach-ins that are planned for this week on college campuses across the country: "Organizers bill the culminating day, January 31, as the largest teach-in in the nation's history, drawing parallels to the civil rights and antiwar movements of the 1960's and 1970's. More than 1,500 institutions, most of them colleges and universities, will host classes, documentaries, performances, energy-saving competitions and discussions with political leaders."

Gore Says "Changing Light Bulbs" Not Enough
Ben Hirschler, Reuters, "Climate campaigner Al Gore urged world policymakers on Thursday to change laws, "not just light bulbs," in tackling global warming, and a UN official said world market turmoil must not be allowed to delay action."

Drought Could Force Nuke-Plant Shutdowns
Mitch Weiss, The Associated Press: "Nuclear reactors across the Southeast could be forced to throttle back or temporarily shut down later this year because drought is drying up the rivers and lakes that supply power plants with the awesome amounts of cooling water they need to operate.

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4. Global Warming Helps Fuel War and Terrorism

From The Times (online)

January 24, 2008

Climate change ‘will lead to warfare over food and water’

Lewis Smith, Environment Reporter


Climate change will have a long-term impact on the nation’s security as wars break out over food and water supplies around the world, a report said yesterday.

Hundreds of millions of environmental refugees will seek new places to live, with many of them heading for Britain, according to the report for the Oxford Research Group.

The report said that security services would be challenged increasingly by the number of refugees, and the Government would need to consider stronger border controls. Protests against companies that continued to emit greenhouse gases were possible as climate change intensified and they might even provoke riots.

In other parts of the world the pressures caused by global warming, particularly through changes in rainfall patterns and the disappearance of glaciers, would provoke wars over agriculture and water rights.

It was “almost certain” that, by 2050, droughts, food shortages and flooding would lead to the mass movement of up to 200 million environmental refugees, the paper, An Uncertain Future: Law Enforcement, National Security and Climate Change, said.

Chris Abbott, a fellow of Bristol University’s Centre for Governance and International Affairs, said that attempts to tackle the new problems with old strategies would be doomed.

“If governments simply respond with traditional attempts to maintain the status quo and control insecurity they will ultimately fail,” he said. “The security consequences of climate change will not just manifest themselves ‘over there’, there will be domestic security concerns for both developed and developing nations alike.”

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5. Jewish Teachings Re the Environment

Thanks to JVNA advisor Stewart Rose for forwarding this article to us:

Metro Views: The halacha of environmentalism


Should ecology be seen as an integral part of Orthodox Jewish life?

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull &cid=1200572520773

The word of the moment seems to be "footprints." It is hard to ignore messages about our environmental footprints here in the US. This land of outrageously excessive consumption has gotten the jitters, and the general idea about footprints these days is that you don't want to leave any.

Messages come in all forms: in An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore's movie on global warming, and the news that even Porsche is coming up with a hybrid vehicle. Fuel is expensive, and water is scarce in once-lush parts of the country. Recycling is required in all New York City households. In Westchester County, just north of the city, people will find yellow "oops" stickers on their garbage cans the first time they are caught tossing recyclables in with the trash. If that fails to convince them to sort their discards, they face $250 fines.

Most people I know use fluorescent light bulbs, even if they do tend to give most of us the color of cadavers. And some can give you their score on the Ecological Footprint Quiz. (Mine is lower than the American average because I recycle like a maniac and rarely use a car. But my quiz results still screamed: "IF EVERYONE LIVED LIKE YOU, WE WOULD NEED 5 PLANETS.") Although environmental issues cut across political and denominational lines, some lines are harder to breach than others.
THIS YEAR marks the 15th anniversary of the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL), which was created to spark distinctively Jewish programming and policies on the environment. It drew support from the Reform and Conservative movements, and participated in interfaith environmental partnerships. It has some kitschy gimmicks, like fluorescent light bulbs with a green Magen David, called "A Light Among Nations." But COEJL and the general environmental movement couldn't make inroads into the American Orthodox communities, which, because of family size alone, tended to have larger footprints than most.

Five years ago on Tu Bishvat, a group of Orthodox environmentalists began Canfei Nesharim ("the wings of eagles"). By linking Jewish law and Torah sources to environmental issues, Canfei Nesharim is bringing environmentalism into the American Orthodox world.

"People take care of the environment because it is central to their values," said Evonne Marzouk, the director of Canfei Nesharim. "We have to show it is central to Orthodox values and in turn that Orthodoxy has something to contribute to the environmental movement."

IT'S BEEN nearly 40 years since the first "Earth Day" was held in the US. But in many religious communities, there is a genuine newness and genuine ignorance about how religious texts speak to environmental issues, says Fletcher Harper, an Episcopal priest and director of GreenFaith, New Jersey's interfaith environmental organization.

But in New Jersey, for instance, the dangers are real and immediate. The Garden State is a national leader in environmental health threats. According to GreenFaith, the air quality in two-thirds of the counties does not meet federal health standards, and every state resident lives within 10 miles of a Superfund site - the name given to the most toxic waste sites that required federal intervention in the cleanup.

No one suggests the Orthodox community is less concerned with the environment than others. However, "the level of awareness in the Orthodox Jewish community as a whole is definitely lower than the level of awareness in the rest of the Jewish community," said Ora Sheinson, Canfei Nesharim's associate director and chair of its Halacha Committee.

"There has been a lot of movement in non-Orthodox environmental circles for a lot of years that has worked very well. The material they are generating is wonderful for Jewish ideas." But she said, "When material doesn't focus on Jewish law, it tends to have less of an impact in the Orthodox community."

Canfei Nesharim is determined that environmentalism be seen not simply as a nice sentiment, but as an integral part of Orthodox life, mandated by religious law. The organization provides educational materials, weekly Torah commentary on environmental issues and enthusiastic speakers.

THESE ARE serious, zealous advocates who are versed in halacha, science and law. Marzouk, for instance, works in the US Environmental Protection Agency's Office of International Environmental Policy. Sheinson is an environmental lawyer at the firm Patton Boggs in Newark, New Jersey. Their work is backed by rabbinic and scientific advisory boards.

The group was endorsed by the Rabbinical Council of America, an organization of about 1,000 rabbis that serves as the rabbinic authority of the Orthodox Union. Canfei Nesharim also has the support of the interfaith and non-Orthodox Jewish environmental groups, which apparently were excited to have a partner who could to reach into the Orthodox world in ways they could not.

With encouragement from Canfei Nesharim, Kehillat Kesher: The Community Synagogue of Tenafly & Englewood, an Orthodox shul in New Jersey, is due to break ground this year for a new building that will be a "green shul." It will have energy-efficient heating, electricity, lighting and appliances; and its building materials will be eco-friendly, according to David Marks, the chairman of Kesher's "green shuls" committee. Part of the idea is that an environmentally correct synagogue also would inspire congregants to modify their household behavior, as well, such as limiting the use of high-energy light bulbs and disposable paper goods.

Slowly, synagogues of all streams are going green in the US. The biggest hurdle among the Orthodox is educating the congregations about why it is important. "Canfei Nesharim is trying to educate the community on the Jewish law, the halachic reasons for becoming environmentalists. Once that is thoroughly understood, then it's a no-brainer. As responsible Jews, this is what we have to do," said Marks.

Sheinson warns that people need not go overboard. "It doesn't mean you can never use a paper plate; it doesn't mean you can never drive a car," she said. "I have four children. I work full time as an attorney, so from time to time I use paper plates. I confess. The point is I am a religious Jew and I have to think about the action I take and the environmental consequences."

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6. Producer of AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH Acknowledges that Animal-Based Diets Contribute to Global Warming

Thanks to long time vegetarian activist and author Keith Akers for forwarding this message from his blog:

UPDATE January 18, 2008:
Laurie David now uses the "V-word."

I received an e-mail today from Laurie David (addressed to the hundreds of thousands of people in the StopGlobalWarming.com "virtual march") which, among other things, specifically addresses meat-eating, and even uses the V-word. I quote:

Recently I talked to ex-Beatle Sir Paul McCartney about vegetarianism and the environment, an important link he feels is being overlooked in the global warming discussion. He shared some shocking statistics from a 2006 UN report entitled "Livestock's Long Shadow: Environmental Issues and Options."

The report found that 18 percent of global warming emissions come from raising cows, chickens, pigs, turkeys and other animals we eat. That's 40 percent more than all the world's cars, SUVs, airplanes, and other modes of fossil-based transportation, which combined account for 13 percent. For further comparison, every house, residential and office building in the world accounts for just 8 percent.

There's a trend in Europe called "Meat Reducers" where, along with recycling and not taking plastic bags, people are eating meat at least one day less a week. Become a "Meat Reducer." It is a simple thing everyone can do to lower their own carbon footprint.

I've sent her a note thanking her for doing this. Of course one could then legitimately ask -- if eliminating meat and dairy one day a week "can make a big difference," then what about the difference that eliminating meat and dairy two, three, or even seven days a week could have? But the important thing is that the subject of meat, and the word "vegetarianism," has now appeared in her discussion of global warming.

The list of 30 "simple things you can do in your daily life" that I previously mentioned above has now been increased to 34, and one of them is "Be a Meat Reducer." O. K., it's at the bottom of the list, and this isn't exactly a ringing endorsement of veganism, but this really is a very positive development.

Thanks, Laurie.

-- Keith Akers

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7. Israel Promoting Use of Electric Cars

Thanks to author and JVNA advisor rabbi Dovid Sears for forwarding this article from the NY Times:


January 21, 2008
Is Set to Promote the Use of Electric Cars

JERUSALEM — Israel, tiny and bereft of oil, has decided to embrace the electric car.
On Monday, the Israeli government will announce its support for a broad effort to promote the use of electric cars, embracing a joint venture between an American-Israeli entrepreneur and Renault and its partner, Nissan Motor Company.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, with the active support of President Shimon Peres, intends to make Israel a laboratory to test the practicality of an environmentally clean electric car. The state will offer tax incentives to purchasers, and the new company, with a $200 million investment to start, will begin construction of facilities to recharge the cars and replace empty batteries quickly.

The idea, said Shai Agassi, 39, the software entrepreneur behind the new company, is to sell electric car transportation on the model of the cellphone. Purchasers get subsidized hardware — the car — and pay a monthly fee for expected mileage, like minutes on a cellphone plan, eliminating concerns about the fluctuating price of gasoline.

Mr. Agassi and his investors are convinced that the cost of running such a car will be significantly cheaper than a model using gasoline (currently $6.28 a gallon here.)
“With $100 a barrel oil, we’ve crossed a historic threshold where electricity and batteries provide a cheaper alternative for consumers,” Mr. Agassi said. “You buy a car to go an infinite distance, and we need to create the same feeling for an electric car — that you can fill it up when you stop or sleep and go an infinite distance.”

Mr. Agassi’s company, Project Better Place of Palo Alto, Calif., will provide the lithium-ion batteries, which will be able to go 124 miles per charge, and the infrastructure necessary to keep the cars going — whether parking meter-like plugs on city streets or service stations along highways, where, in a structure like a car wash, exhausted batteries will be removed and fresh ones inserted.

Renault and Nissan will provide the cars. The chairman of both companies, Carlos Ghosn, is scheduled to attend the announcements on Monday. Other companies are developing electric cars, like the Tesla and Chevrolet Volt, but the project here is a major step for Renault, which clearly believes that there is a commercial future in electric cars.

Israel, where the round-trip commute between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem is only 75 miles, is considered a good place to test the idea, which Mr. Agassi, Renault and Nissan hope to copy in small countries like Denmark and crowded cities like London, Paris, Singapore and New York. London, which has a congestion area tax for cars, lets electric cars enter downtown and park free.

Project Better Place’s major investor, Idan Ofer, 52, has put up $100 million for the project and is its board chairman. He will remain chairman of Israel Corporation Ltd., a major owner and operator of shipping companies and refineries. “What’s driving me is a much wider outlook than Israel,” Mr. Ofer said. “If it were just Israel, I’d be cannibalizing my refinery business. I’m not so concerned about the refineries, but building a world-class company. If Israel will ever produce a Nokia, it will be this.”

Mr. Ofer has his eye on China, with its increasing car penetration, oil consumption and environmental pollution, where he has interest from a Chinese car company, Chery, for a similar joint venture.

Renault will offer a small number of electric models of existing vehicles, like the Megane sedan, at prices roughly comparable to gasoline models. The batteries will come from Mr. Agassi. The tax breaks for “clean” electric vehicles, which Israel promises to keep until at least 2015, will make the cars cheaper to consumers than gasoline-engine cars. “You’ll be able to get a nice, high-end car at a price roughly half that of the gasoline model today,” Mr. Agassi said.


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8. Rich Countries Owe Poor a Huge Environmental Debt

The Guardian UK

Monday 21 January 2008


The environmental damage caused to developing nations by the world's richest countries amounts to more than the entire third world debt of $1.8 trillion, according to the first systematic global analysis of the ecological damage imposed by rich countries.

The study found that there are huge disparities in the ecological footprint inflicted by rich and poor countries on the rest of the world because of differences in consumption. The authors say that the west's high living standards are maintained in part through the huge unrecognised ecological debts it has built up with developing countries.

"At least to some extent, the rich nations have developed at the expense of the poor and, in effect, there is a debt to the poor," said Prof Richard Norgaard, an ecological economist at the University of California, Berkeley, who led the study. "That, perhaps, is one reason that they are poor. You don't see it until you do the kind of accounting that we do here."

Using data from the World Bank and the UN's Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, the researchers examined so-called "environmental externalities" or costs that are not included in the prices paid for goods but which cover ecological damage linked to their consumption. They focused on six areas: greenhouse gas emissions, ozone layer depletion, agriculture, deforestation, overfishing and converting mangrove swamps into shrimp farms.

The team calculated the costs of consumption in low, medium and high income countries, both within their borders and outside, from 1961 to 2000. The team used UN definitions for countries in different income categories. Low income countries included Pakistan, Nigeria and Vietnam, and middle income nations included Brazil and China. Rich countries in the study included the UK, US and Japan.

Striking Disparities

The magnitude of effects outside the home country was different for each category of consumption. For example, deforestation and agricultural intensification primarily affect the host country, while the impacts from climate change and ozone depletion show up the disparity between rich and poor most strikingly.

Greenhouse emissions from low-income countries have imposed $740 billion of damage on rich countries, while in return rich countries have imposed $2.3 trillion of damage. This damage includes, for example, flooding from more severe storms as a result of climate change.

Likewise, CFC emissions from rich countries have inflicted between $25 billion and £57 billion of damage to the poorest countries. Increased ultraviolet levels from the ozone hole have led to higher healthcare costs from skin cancer and eye problems. The converse figure is between $0.58 and $1.3 billion.

The team publish their results today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"We know already that climate change is a huge injustice inflicted on the poor," said Dr Neil Adger at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research in Norwich, who was not involved in the research, "This paper is actually the first systematic quantification to produce a map of that ecological debt. Not only for climate change but also for these other areas."

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9. Challenging Progressives Re Their Diets


You Call Yourself a Progressive -- But You Still Eat Meat?
By Kathy Freston, AlterNet. Posted March 14, 2007

Thanks to European vegetarian activist Daniela Dragomir for forwarding this article:

Eating a plant-based diet is an easy, cheap way to end animal cruelty and clean up the environment. Why, then, are so many progressives still clinging to their chicken nuggets?

The report released this week by the world's leading climate scientists made no bones about it: Global warming is happening in a big way and it is very likely manmade. The U.N. report that came out soon after made a critical point: "The livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global." And yet, so many environmentalists continue to eat meat. Why?

Being part of the solution can be a whole lot simpler -- and cheaper -- than going out and buying a new hybrid. We can make a huge difference in the environment simply by eating a plant-based diet instead of an animal-based one. Factory farming pollutes our air and water, reduces the rainforests, and goes a long way to create global warming. Yet for some environmentalists, the idea of giving up those chicken nuggets is still hard to swallow.

So, I thought I might discuss a few of the key concerns that my meat-eating friends offer in defense of their continued meat consumption. Here we go:

Some were worried about thriving, physically, on a vegetarian diet.

Now this just does not make sense. Half of all Americans die of heart disease or cancer and two-thirds of us are overweight. The American Dietetic Association says that vegetarians have "lower rates of death from ischemic heart disease; ... lower blood cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and lower rates of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and prostate and colon cancer." Vegetarians, on average, are about one-third as likely to be overweight as meat eaters.

And I've just learned from the brilliant Dr. Andrew Weil that there is something called arachidonic acid, or AA, in animal flesh that causes inflammation. AA is a pro-inflammatory fatty acid. He explains that "heart disease and Alzheimer's -- among many other diseases -- begin as inflammatory processes. The same hormonal imbalance that increases inflammation increases cell proliferation and the risk of malignant transformation." They are finding out that inflammation is key in so many of the diseases that plague us. So when you eat meat, you ingest AA, which causes inflammation, which fires up the disease process. It doesn't matter if the chicken is free range or the beef is grass-fed because the fatty acid is natural and inherent in the meat.

As for having strength and energy on a vegetarian diet, some of the world's top athletes are vegetarian. A few examples: Carl Lewis (perhaps the greatest Olympian of all time), Robert Parish (one of the "50 Greatest Players in NBA History"), Desmond Howard (Heisman Trophy winner and Super Bowl MVP), Bill Pearl (professional bodybuilder and four-time Mr. Universe), Jack La Lanne (Mr. Fitness himself) and Chris Evert (tennis champion). Vegetarian athletes have the advantage of getting all the plant protein, complex carbohydrates and fiber they need without all the artery-clogging cholesterol and saturated animal fats found in meat that would slow them down. In fact, Carl Lewis says that "my best year of track competition was the first year I ate a vegan diet."
One person pointed out that the rain forest is being cut down to grow soy, not meat.

Actually, much of the rain forest is being chopped down for grazing, but also yes, the rain forest is being chopped down to grow soy -- but not for human consumption. Americans and Europeans can't raise all the feed domestically that is needed to sustain their meat addictions, so agribusiness has started cutting down the rain forest. Ask Greenpeace or any other environmental group, and they'll tell you that the overwhelming majority of soy (or corn or wheat, for that matter) is used to feed animals in factory farms. In fact, Greenpeace recently unveiled a massive banner over an Amazon soy field that read, "KFC-Amazon Criminal," to accentuate the point that large chicken and other meat companies like KFC are responsible for the destruction of the Amazon. It takes many pounds of soy or other plant foods to produce just one pound of animal flesh -- so if you're worried about the rain forests being chopped down for grazing or to grow soy, your best move is to stop eating chickens, pigs and other animals. If more people went vegetarian, we would need far less land to feed people, and we wouldn't have to destroy the few natural places that this world has left.

Some wondered about humane, organic or kosher meat.
Sadly, most of the meat, egg and dairy companies that pretend to be eco- or animal-friendly, with packages covered in pictures of pretty red barnyards, are basically the same massive corporately owned factory farms but with a newly hired advertising consultant. In fact, labels like "Swine Welfare" and "UEP Certified" are simply the industry labels that attempt to hide the horrible abuse involved in these products' production. And even "organic" farms are industrializing in ways that shock the journalists who bother to investigate. Sadly, "kosher" means nothing when it comes to how animals are treated on farms, and the largest kosher slaughterhouse in North America was caught horribly abusing animals -- ripping the tracheas out of live cows' throats and worse -- and defending the abuse as kosher.

All that said, it's undeniable that the rare meat eater who limits himself or herself to a bit of grass-fed cattle flesh on occasion is making a much smaller environmental impact than the vast majority of Americans. But when you consider that no reputable scientific or medical body believes that eating animals is good for us, let alone necessary, one has to wonder about environmentalists who insist on consuming products that we know to be resource-intensive and polluting (even if they're less resource intensive and polluting than some other similar options or eaten in "moderation"). It'd be like driving an SUV that gets 15 mpg rather than 10, or driving an SUV three days per week instead of seven. Sure, it might be better for the environment, but with so many more fuel-efficient ways to get from A to B, there's no need to drive any SUV at all. Eating meat -- any meat -- is the same thing: With so many healthy vegetarian options that are kinder and far more eco-friendly than even the "best" meat products, there's just no good justification for someone who claims to be an environmentalist -- or to oppose cruelty -- for doing it.
Some worry about "preachy" or "judgmental" or "extreme" vegetarians.

And some consider the very choice to be a vegetarian to be extreme. Although I certainly don't like radical in-your-face messages, the truth is that, sometimes, it's the only thing that seems to wrench us out of our slumber. I know it worked with me when I saw one of the slaughterhouse videos -- definitely not pleasant, but it got my attention.

The very nature of progressive movements throughout history is to tell others to stop doing something harmful or degrading (e.g., using humans as slaves, sexually harassing women, forcing children to work in sweatshops, harming the environment, etc). Yes, the abolitionists, suffragists, feminists, and civil rights activists were called extreme, and similarly, some vegetarians are called extreme. But maybe it's just because vegetarianism is not yet a cultural norm. Old habits -- and appetites -- die hard, and there is usually a lot of resistance before things change. I'm a southern gal, and I loved my chicken fried steak like no other. I didn't want to give up the joys of Sunday barbecue or chicken wings with my friends on a Friday night. I get it; I understand.

But still, if we are to continue evolving -- physically, emotionally, and spiritually -- we really do have to look at how our dinner choices affect not only the environment but, even more importantly, the well-being (or intense suffering) of other creatures. So yes, on the one hand, the move to eating a plant-based diet may look extreme because most people don't do it. But on the other hand, we can still have our barbecued (soy dogs and veggie burgers) and feel good about it.

I do feel strongly that vegetarians should not play into the self-righteous stereotypes, that we should not be shrill or judgmental, of course, but that doesn't require silence; it simply requires patience and decorum.
A few people asked about meat in the developing world, or meat for Eskimos or Inuit.

If you are an Eskimo, or you're living in sub-Saharan Africa and you're reading this blog, I'm not going to begrudge you your pound of flesh; it would be silly of me to do so. But if you're reading this in a developed country where almost all animals are eating animal feed rather than grazing, are factory-farmed rather than living with families or hunted, and you have abundant vegetarian options all around you, talk of people who have limited food options doesn't apply to you.
Some people worried that it's hard to be a vegetarian.

Being vegetarian isn't exactly the supreme sacrifice -- surfing around the food pics on any vegetarian cooking site will show you that. Vegetarian and vegan food is everywhere (even Burger King has a veggie burger!). Most, if not all, major grocery stores carry soy milk, mock meats ("chicken" nuggets, BBQ "ribs," burgers, soy "sausage," etc.), vegan cheeses, and soy ice cream. If you can't find what you want at the store, most will order it for you. Many restaurants have veggie options a-plenty (especially Thai, Indian, Ethiopian, Mexican and other ethnic restaurants, which are my favorite anyway). Sure, some vegetarians may prefer not to eat food that was cooked on the same grill as meat, but I'm not concerned about that (it does not cause more animals to suffer or more environmental harm). You can find great vegetarian recipes at www.VegCooking.com.

I'd also like to address the top five most common justifications that I hear from meat eaters for their meat consumption:

No. 5 – "Humans have always eaten animals -- it's natural."

First, our evolution in human morality is marked almost entirely by our attempt to move beyond the "might makes right" law of the jungle. It may indeed be "natural" for the powerful to dominate the weak, but that doesn't mean we should support it.

Second, human bodies don't require meat to be healthy -- quite the opposite. Animal flesh contains cholesterol and saturated fat, which are hard on our bodies. We may have had a need to eat meat thousands of years ago, in times of scarcity as hunter-gatherers, but we don't need to now, and we'll be better off if we don't. Check out this essay by Dr. Milton Mills for more information on the issue of whether the human physiology is designed for meat consumption.

Most critically, the people who say this generally use it to justify buying the same old meat that comes from giant, wholly unnatural factory farms where animals are crammed into filthy sheds or cages and not allowed to do anything natural to them -- at all, ever (breathe fresh air, bask in the sun, raise their young, dust-bathe, form social orders, etc.). Chickens in the egg industry have half their beaks cut off, piglets in the pork industry have their tails cut off, etc. (Please take 10 minutes to watch the video at www.Meat.org.) This is how 99 percent of chickens and turkeys, 95 percent of pigs and eggs, and most cow flesh and dairy products end up on our plates.

Lastly, if you care so much about being "natural," then think for a moment about the harm that you're doing to your natural environment by eating meat -- any meat. At the end of the day, for me, we don't need to eat meat, we'll be better off without it, and it causes animals to suffer.

No. 4 - "Animals are not equal to humans, so we should not be so concerned about them."

I disagree with Princeton professor Peter Singer on many issues, but on this one I think he gets it precisely right. Writes Dr. Singer, "[W]hen nonvegetarians say that 'human problems come first,' I cannot help wondering what exactly it is that they are doing for human beings that compels them to continue to support the wasteful, ruthless exploitation of farm animals." Which is to say: Fine, don't spend any time at all on animal issues, but please don't pay other people to abuse animals, which is what you are doing when you buy chicken, pork or other animal products. And remember: A vegetarian diet is also the best diet for the planet, so eat as though the planet depended on it, since it just might.

No. 3 - "There have been many brilliant meat eaters, like Picasso and Mozart, so they could not have been wrong."

I highly doubt that anyone is going to suggest that vegetarians Steve Jobs, Leonardo da Vinci, Pythagoras, Albert Einstein, Leo Tolstoy or Mohandas Gandhi were especially brilliant because they were vegetarians, and I also don't think one can make the argument that meat eaters attained their great heights as a result of their diet. Interestingly, studies show that vegetarians are smarter than meat eaters, but there is probably not causality there -- it's probably just that thoughtful people tend to question things more deeply, hence the decision to become vegetarian. Here's a 2006 study from the British Medical Journal about vegetarians being smarter than meat eaters.

No. 2 - "Where do you draw the line? Should we protect insects? What's the difference between killing plants and killing animals? They're all alive."

The theologian and Narnia inventor C.S. Lewis staunchly opposed testing on animals on Christian grounds, and he pointed out to those who asked this question that the question is baseless -- they already know and understand the differences between plants and animals. To whit, every reader will recoil in horror if asked to imagine lighting a cat on fire or beating a dog's head in with a baseball bat -- because we know that these things cause the animals pain. But none of us feels similarly at the prospect of pulling weeds or mowing our lawn -- because we know that weeds and lawns have no capacity to feel pain. Chickens, pigs, fish and cattle all feel pain in the same way and to the same degree as any dog or cat. Just watch their faces and their body language in these undercover videos; listen to their animal versions of screaming. I assure you, grass does not suffer like these poor creatures do.

I'm not so sure about insects, though I try to give them the benefit of the doubt whenever possible. Yes, when I walk down the street, I'm sure I step on bugs. But does the fact that I can't stop all cruelty mean that I shouldn't bother to stop a lot of it? Of course not. That'd be like saying that if you drive a car, you shouldn't even bother to recycle.

And the No. 1 justification for eating meat is:

"Meat won't kill me, and I like it." No question -- this is the crux of it all, the only purely honest answer if you ask me. Sure enough, unless you get really bad food poisoning from your next piece of undercooked chicken or choke to death on a piece of steak, meat won't kill you right away. But chances are pretty good that eating meat could reduce your life span (and quality) in the long run. The American Dietetic Association (the overarching group of nutrition researchers, doctors, etc.) says that vegetarians have lower rates of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity than do meat eaters.

Some argue that for every study, there's another that says the opposite, but that's simply not so in this case. You'd be hard-pressed to find a reputable scientific or medical body that disagrees with the simple fact that vegetarians are a fraction as likely to be overweight and much less likely to suffer from heart disease and cancer. Really, even if I didn't give a hoot about animal suffering or environmental degradation, I would still be vegetarian because the diet is the best diet for my health. And as noted, eating meat does support cruelty to animals and environmental degradation, all for the sake of a palate preference (which, by the way, can be largely satisfied by the luscious faux meat options out there).

Concluding thoughts:

One thing about being a vegetarian that is often missed is how empowering it is. Personally, I think that integrity of action requires that among other things, we attempt to lead lives that are as compassionate and conscious as possible. What this means to me, personally, is that if there is something that I would not want to do myself, I don't feel good paying someone else to do it on my behalf. So I don't inflict suffering or kill animals myself; and I don't support the market of killing by buying these poor animals chopped up and shrink-wrapped in the grocery store either.

We are a nation of animal lovers, and we all cringe in horror when we hear about cases like a dog being burned alive or tossed into freeway traffic. But chickens and pigs and other animals also deserve our compassion. They are all smart animals who feel pain and fear, yet they are treated just horribly, and sadly, there are no laws to protect them. Don't take my word for it, watch Alec Baldwin's Meet Your Meat and see for yourself what goes on.

We oppose sweatshops and child labor, and we cringe at the thought of children laboring in developing countries. But American slaughterhouses are sweatshops. They employ people working illegally who can't defend themselves out of fear of being deported. Conditions in these places are so bad that the average annual turnover rate for slaughter-line workers is out of sight. Check out the website of this labor organization to learn about its fight against Smithfield Foods (the world's largest pork and turkey producer, which owns Butterball).

We are environmentalists, and we cringe when see a bright yellow Hummer in the grocery store parking lot. But regardless of the amount of fuel that a Hummer uses or the amount of greenhouse gasses that it emits, if we're eating meat, we're making a conscious decision that is even more wasteful and polluting. In addition to my recent Vegetarian is the New Prius piece, check out this E Magazine article by the magazine's editor, "The Case Against Meat," or this Grist.com article, "How Poultry Producers Are Ravaging the Rural South," as just a few examples.

Americans and Europeans eat meat because we want to, not because we have to. And we do it at the expense of animals, people and the environment.

Copyright protectiaanimalelor.ro 2006

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10. New Book On Animal Rights/Welfare About To Be Published

Announcement by the book’s author Karen Dawn:

Hello everybody,

Many of you know that I have spent the last year or two working hard on a book. I am thrilled to say that the website for that book went up today. Please go to www.ThankingtheMonkey.com to check it out. Many thanks to Rolf Wicklund at Greeni Software for a great design job, and to producer Joshua Katcher at Perhaps Media for a super-fun actorvist packed video. You'll also find nice endorsements on the site, and wonderfully positive advance reviews of the book.

"Thanking the Monkey: Rethinking the Way we Treat Animals," is an overview of animal rights issues, done in as playful and friendly a manner as possible. It is in full color, packed with cartoons and hip illustrations, and with celebrity photos and quotes from musicians ranging from Sir Paul McCartney to Fall Out Boy, and many well-loved and renowned actors. I hope it will be popular gift book, which will help push the issues our community cares about further into the mainstream. My years of doing DawnWatch, and the amazing support from our wonderful animal protection community, made the book possible.

The Harper Collins on sale date is in late March, but, if you like, you can order a signed copy in advance from the website (or unsigned from any book retailing website). If you have a blog or column in which you would like to review or discuss the book, you may like a galley now or an advance copy in early March. Please let me know. Send me an email telling me a little about what you do, and we'll do our best to get you what you need. I so appreciate your help getting the word out.

I also have a fun little banner/link/ad for which I can give you the html if you have a blog or website on which you would like to include it. That would be wonderful!

Harper Collins is publishing the book, and will help with some mainstream publicity, but the animal protection community is ground zero, so anything you can do to help spread the word -- even just forwarding this email -- will be much appreciated.

Yours and the animals',
Karen Dawn
www.DawnWatch.com and now, www.ThankingtheMonkey.com

DawnWatch is an animal advocacy media watch that looks at animal issues in the media and facilitates one-click responses to the relevant media outlets. To sign up go to www.DawnWatch.com

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11. Greenpeace Urges Eating Less Meat to Reduce Global Warming Threats

By Lisa Keefe on 1/25/2008 for Meatingplace.com

A Greenpeace International report released earlier this month places much of the blame for rising greenhouse gas emissions on agriculture — and specifically on livestock.

What the report calls "enteric fermentation" in ruminant animals contributes the largest amount, about 60 percent, to global methane emissions from agriculture (the other 40 percent being generated by rice cultivation and manure). In addition, cultivated acreage releases more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than does land used for grazing. The need to grow crops to feed livestock, then, also contributes greenhouse gasses, the report says.

Overall, lamb and beef have the highest climate impact of all types of meat. Sheep have a global warming potential of 17 kilograms of carbon dioxide for every 1 kilogram of meat produced. Cattle fare somewhat better, with 13 kilograms of carbon dioxide produced for every kilogram of meat yielded. Pigs and poultry, meanwhile, have less than half of that.

The solution, Greenpeace suggests, is that more of the world's population need to become vegetarian so that the head count of livestock can drop. However, that's unlikely to happen; developing countries logged a 77 percent increase in meat consumption in the three decades ended 1990.

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12. Great Article Re Negatives of Meat in NY Times Magazine Today


January 27, 2008

The World

Rethinking the Meat-Guzzler


A SEA change in the consumption of a resource that Americans take for
granted may be in store - something cheap, plentiful, widely enjoyed and
a part of daily life. And it isn't oil.

It's meat.

The two commodities share a great deal: Like oil, meat is subsidized by
the federal government. Like oil, meat is subject to accelerating demand
as nations become wealthier, and this, in turn, sends prices higher.
Finally - like oil - meat is something people are encouraged to consume
less of, as the toll exacted by industrial production increases, and
becomes increasingly visible.

Global demand for meat has multiplied in recent years, encouraged by growing affluence and nourished by the proliferation of huge, confined animal feeding operations. These assembly-line meat factories consume enormous amounts of energy, pollute water supplies, generate significant greenhouse gases and require ever-increasing amounts of corn, soy and other grains, a dependency that has led to the destruction of vast swaths of the world's tropical rain forests.

Just this week, the president of Brazil announced emergency measures to halt the burning and cutting of the country's rain forests for crop and grazing land. In the last five months alone, the government says, 1,250 square miles were lost.

The world's total meat supply was 71 million tons in 1961. In 2007, it was estimated to be 284 million tons. Per capita consumption has more than doubled over that period. (In the developing world, it rose twice as fast, doubling in the last 20 years.) World meat consumption is expected to double again by 2050, which one expert, Henning Steinfeld of the United Nations
<http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/u/united_nations/index.html?inline=nyt-org> , says is resulting in a
"relentless growth in livestock production."


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