February 9, 2008

2/4/2008 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

1. Update on A SACRED DUTY

2. Essay by JVNA Advisor and Animal Rights Leader David Cantor

3. JVNA Endorses Important Open Letter to the President of the European Parliament Re Dietary Connections to Global Warming

4. Superb NY Times Article Re Vegetarianism

5. Concern for Helping Animals in Israel (CHAI) Opposes Mistreatment of Horses in Israel/Please Write

6. Increased Momentum for Animal Rights Groups

7. Shalom Center Organizes/Plans Demonstrations Protesting EPA’s Lack of Action Re Global Warming

8. Vegetarianism for Healthier Seniors in Israel

9. Interested in Vegan Suede Kippot?

10. ShalomVeg.com seeking Literary Contributions

11. Jewish Group “Areyvut” and Jewish National Fund Plan “Make a Difference Day”

12. Update From ShalomVeg.com

13. Israeli Parliament Marks First Animal Rights Day

14. Event Scheduled Re Environmental Issues in Israel

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 on A SACRED DUTY

The great momentum behind A SACRED DUTY is continuing and growing. The latest web site where the documentary can be watched is:


People can also link to the movie at:

Much more re recent developments re A SACRED DUTY will be in a special “Yes We Can!” JVNA newsletter later this week.

The movie is having a great impact in many ways. Two recent examples are below. The first is an indication of how the movie and our related material is helping two potential converts understand that vegetarianism is absolutely consistent with Jewish teachings. The second is how a rabbi has been using A SACRED DUTY and my Judaica books in some courses at his Temple.

1) In a message dated 1/30/08 9:05:18 PM, aqvasites@gmail.com writes:

My husband and I received the booklets and DVDs. Thank you so much for sending those out to us!

We are in the process of converting to Orthodox Judaism, and the issue of vegetarianism was a very big challenge for us.

So you can imagine how thrilled we were to get the booklets!

It is hard to be a vegetarian, but to come from the outside world into Judaism my husband and I didn't realize just how hard it would be to keep our eating preferences.

But thanks to the work you are doing, we feel empowered. Not only is Judaism in no way in conflict with veganism, but it actually supports it!

Your booklet and DVD is an answered prayer! Thank you for being the instrument of
G-d's Work. Very deep down in my heart I had reservations about Judaism in regards to vegetarianism. But thanks to your wonderful work, I am ready to observe all the applicable Mitzvot! Words enough can't express how grateful I am. THANK YOU.

Perhaps you've been hoping to convert many Jews to Vegetarianism but I can tell you this much: Your work is an inspiration and a GREAT help with
the conversion of two Vegans to Judaism!"



I just completed the 4 session version of the class which was part of the Institute for Adult Jewish Studies. I was amazed how many of the people are already doing ecological things.

The version of the class for the Hebrew High has only had two sessions, but so far, so good. Your materials are fabulous. [In a separate message, the rabbi told me that the students were very impressed with A SACRED DUTY.]

Kol tuv,
Rabbi Aaron

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2. Essay by JVNA Advisor and Animal Rights Leader David Cantor

Beware of Politicians – and Newspapers

– Talking "Animal Rights":

An Essay by David Cantor

A January 16, 2008, Associated Press article reported that Democratic Party presidential candidate Barack Obama stated at a "town hall meeting" in Nevada "that he cares about animal rights very much, 'not only because I have a 9-year-old and 6-year-old who want a dog.' He said he sponsored a bill to prevent horse slaughter in the Illinois state Senate and has been repeatedly endorsed by the Humane Society."

[This essay is not meant to be an endorsement or criticism of any candidate, but is designed solely to make a point re politicians and the media re animal rights.]

The article continued, "'I think how we treat our animals reflects how we treat each other,' he said. 'And it's very important that we have a president who is mindful of the cruelty that is perpetrated on animals.'"

In addition to the candidate, apparently the Associated Press's editors don't know what animal rights is, misrepresent it willingly, or have a policy, like many other news venues, of identifying people as they choose to identify themselves, regardless of accuracy. If Obama knows what animal rights is, he also knows no presidential candidate can possibly be elected endorsing it and figures his audience and the
news industry will accept misuse of "animal rights," such misuse already being popular.Obama's comments, though purporting to endorse animal rights, in fact do not. Every detail is either a non- or anti-animal-rights statement.

To show you endorse – and understand – animal rights, you don't say your children "want a dog" – you say you've explained to them an animal is not a thing to want. If you might consider having a dog live in your home, you show you understand animal rights by saying you'll only adopt and never purchase an animal, will adopt more than one to minimize loneliness, and will ensure that they do not reproduce. If you're a celebrity politician, because people tend to imitate the famous, you say you'll only adopt a mixed-breed dog to avoid fueling another 101 Dalmatians- or Kennedy-leopard-skin-pillbox-hat-type debacle. You don't boast of having sponsored a horse-slaughter ban in the Illinois state Senate – you unfurl your plan to phase out all animal slaughter and all other uses of nonhuman animals. You say your family is proud to be showing how much better humans will live when nonhumans have rights – they eat nothing from animals, use no personal-care or household products made from or tested on animals, wear nothing from animals ... acknowledging that consumer choices will not establish any rights, which must be articulated explicitly, probably as Constitutional amendments if they are to end humans' property rights in nonhuman animals and the land, water, and airspace they need. Prohibiting the slaughter of animals so many people love is not a step toward animal rights, nor does it give horses a right not to be slaughtered, let alone not to be born into slavery.


For the complete article, please contact:

David Cantor, founding director of

Responsible Policies for Animals, Inc.

-- www.RPAforAll.org /


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3. JVNA Endorses Important Open Letter to the President of the European Parliament Re Dietary Connections to Global Warming


Tell the Pres. of the European Parliament that 'The pressing problem of meat must not be excluded from future debates'

Climate Change: 'The pressing problem of meat must not be excluded from future debates'

Open Letter to the President of the European Parliament

31 January 2008

Open Letter
to Mr. Hans-Gert Pöttering
President of the European Parliament
Brussels - Strasbourg

Dear Mr. President,

On 23 January 2008 Mr. José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, presented a comprehensive package of strategies in the fight against climate change. In the light of increasing scientific evidence of global warming and its disastrous consequences, this courageous initiative will certainly serve as an example to the global community.

Unfortunately one aspect of the problem has not been addressed by the European Commission: Meat. This omission is surprising since, according to the United Nations agency FAO, 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’.

Moreover, in the recommendations ‘Hot tips for a cool planet’ published by the European Commission, the issue of meat consumption is completely ignored. And yet, cutting down on meat is a simple and effective way to reduce a household’s carbon footprint.

The meat industry not only absorbs a very large share of world crops and puts great financial burden on citizens having to pay for enormous subsidies, it has so far also been exempted from the Polluter Pays Principle. In the fight against climate change such luxury is not affordable any longer.

There is no doubt that Europeans are willing to participate in the suggested EC scheme ‘20/20 by 2020: Europe's Climate Change Opportunity’ by paying the demanded €3 a week. However, it is very regrettable indeed that the individual will be obliged to finance a safer environment whilst the meat industry, one of the greatest culprits for the degradation, is allowed to enjoy ‘business as usual’ and continued payments of lavish subsidies!

Considering that, according to the FAO, livestock’s ‘impact is so significant that it needs to be addressed with urgency’, we appeal to the European Parliament to look at all relevant aspects of the growing threat for our environment. The pressing problem of meat must not be excluded from future debates.

Reference links:
-Commission tables ambitious proposals to fight climate change
-Livestock’s long shadow
-Hot tips for a cool planet

This Open Letter is endorsed by:

[I and Roberta Kalechofsky signed the Open Letter. I also helped get the Society of Ethical and Religious Vegetarians (SERV), Vegetarian Union of North America (VUNA) and Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA) to endorse the Open Letter.]

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4. Superb NY Times Article Re Vegetarianism

The World [This article was on the front page of the “Week in Review” section of the 1/27/08 NY Times.]

Rethinking the Meat-Guzzler

HERE’S THE BEEF This feed lot in California can accommodate up to 100,000 head of cattle. [Picture, not included]

Published: January 27, 2008


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, says is resulting in a “relentless growth in livestock production.”

Americans eat about the same amount of meat as we have for some time, about eight ounces a day, roughly twice the global average. At about 5 percent of the world’s population, we “process” (that is, grow and kill) nearly 10 billion animals a year, more than 15 percent of the world’s total.

Growing meat (it’s hard to use the word “raising” when applied to animals in factory farms) uses so many resources that it’s a challenge to enumerate them all. But consider: an estimated 30 percent of the earth’s ice-free land is directly or indirectly involved in livestock production, according to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization, which also estimates that livestock production generates nearly a fifth of the world’s greenhouse gases — more than transportation.

To put the energy-using demand of meat production into easy-to-understand terms, Gidon Eshel, a geophysicist at the Bard Center, and Pamela A. Martin, an assistant professor of geophysics at the University of Chicago, calculated that if Americans were to reduce meat consumption by just 20 percent it would be as if we all switched from a standard sedan — a Camry, say — to the ultra-efficient Prius. Similarly, a study last year by the National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science in Japan estimated that 2.2 pounds of beef is responsible for the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the average European car every 155 miles, and burns enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for nearly 20 days.

Grain, meat and even energy are roped together in a way that could have dire results. More meat means a corresponding increase in demand for feed, especially corn and soy, which some experts say will contribute to higher prices.

This will be inconvenient for citizens of wealthier nations, but it could have tragic consequences for those of poorer ones, especially if higher prices for feed divert production away from food crops. The demand for ethanol is already pushing up prices, and explains, in part, the 40 percent rise last year in the food price index calculated by the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization.

Though some 800 million people on the planet now suffer from hunger or malnutrition, the majority of corn and soy grown in the world feeds cattle, pigs and chickens. This despite the inherent inefficiencies: about two to five times more grain is required to produce the same amount of calories through livestock as through direct grain consumption, according to Rosamond Naylor, an associate professor of economics at Stanford University. It is as much as 10 times more in the case of grain-fed beef in the United States.

The environmental impact of growing so much grain for animal feed is profound. Agriculture in the United States — much of which now serves the demand for meat — contributes to nearly three-quarters of all water-quality problems in the nation’s rivers and streams, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Because the stomachs of cattle are meant to digest grass, not grain, cattle raised industrially thrive only in the sense that they gain weight quickly. This diet made it possible to remove cattle from their natural environment and encourage the efficiency of mass confinement and slaughter. But it causes enough health problems that administration of antibiotics is routine, so much so that it can result in antibiotic-resistant bacteria that threaten the usefulness of medicines that treat people.

Those grain-fed animals, in turn, are contributing to health problems among the world’s wealthier citizens — heart disease, some types of cancer, diabetes. The argument that meat provides useful protein makes sense, if the quantities are small. But the “you gotta eat meat” claim collapses at American levels. Even if the amount of meat we eat weren’t harmful, it’s way more than enough.

Americans are downing close to 200 pounds of meat, poultry and fish per capita per year (dairy and eggs are separate, and hardly insignificant), an increase of 50 pounds per person from 50 years ago. We each consume something like 110 grams of protein a day, about twice the federal government’s recommended allowance; of that, about 75 grams come from animal protein. (The recommended level is itself considered by many dietary experts to be higher than it needs to be.) It’s likely that most of us would do just fine on around 30 grams of protein a day, virtually all of it from plant sources.

What can be done? There’s no simple answer. Better waste management, for one. Eliminating subsidies would also help; the United Nations estimates that they account for 31 percent of global farm income. Improved farming practices would help, too. Mark W. Rosegrant, director of environment and production technology at the nonprofit International Food Policy Research Institute, says, “There should be investment in livestock breeding and management, to reduce the footprint needed to produce any given level of meat.”

Then there’s technology. Israel and Korea are among the countries experimenting with using animal waste to generate electricity. Some of the biggest hog operations in the United States are working, with some success, to turn manure into fuel.

Longer term, it no longer seems lunacy to believe in the possibility of “meat without feet” — meat produced in vitro, by growing animal cells in a super-rich nutrient environment before being further manipulated into burgers and steaks.

Another suggestion is a return to grazing beef, a very real alternative as long as you accept the psychologically difficult and politically unpopular notion of eating less of it. That’s because grazing could never produce as many cattle as feedlots do. Still, said Michael Pollan, author of the recent book “In Defense of Food,” “In places where you can’t grow grain, fattening cows on grass is always going to make more sense.”

But pigs and chickens, which convert grain to meat far more efficiently than beef, are increasingly the meats of choice for producers, accounting for 70 percent of total meat production, with industrialized systems producing half that pork and three-quarters of the chicken.

Once, these animals were raised locally (even many New Yorkers remember the pigs of Secaucus), reducing transportation costs and allowing their manure to be spread on nearby fields. Now hog production facilities that resemble prisons more than farms are hundreds of miles from major population centers, and their manure “lagoons” pollute streams and groundwater. (In Iowa alone, hog factories and farms produce more than 50 million tons of excrement annually.)

These problems originated here, but are no longer limited to the United States. While the domestic demand for meat has leveled off, the industrial production of livestock is growing more than twice as fast as land-based methods, according to the United Nations.

Perhaps the best hope for change lies in consumers’ becoming aware of the true costs of industrial meat production. “When you look at environmental problems in the U.S.,” says Professor Eshel, “nearly all of them have their source in food production and in particular meat production. And factory farming is ‘optimal’ only as long as degrading waterways is free. If dumping this stuff becomes costly — even if it simply carries a non-zero price tag — the entire structure of food production will change dramatically.”

Animal welfare may not yet be a major concern, but as the horrors of raising meat in confinement become known, more animal lovers may start to react. And would the world not be a better place were some of the grain we use to grow meat directed instead to feed our fellow human beings?

Real prices of beef, pork and poultry have held steady, perhaps even decreased, for 40 years or more (in part because of grain subsidies), though we’re beginning to see them increase now. But many experts, including Tyler Cowen, a professor of economics at George Mason University, say they don’t believe meat prices will rise high enough to affect demand in the United States.

“I just don’t think we can count on market prices to reduce our meat consumption,” he said. “There may be a temporary spike in food prices, but it will almost certainly be reversed and then some. But if all the burden is put on eaters, that’s not a tragic state of affairs.”

If price spikes don’t change eating habits, perhaps the combination of deforestation, pollution, climate change, starvation, heart disease and animal cruelty will gradually encourage the simple daily act of eating more plants and fewer animals.

Mr. Rosegrant of the food policy research institute says he foresees “a stronger public relations campaign in the reduction of meat consumption — one like that around cigarettes — emphasizing personal health, compassion for animals, and doing good for the poor and the planet.”

It wouldn’t surprise Professor Eshel if all of this had a real impact. “The good of people’s bodies and the good of the planet are more or less perfectly aligned,” he said.

The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, in its detailed 2006 study of the impact of meat consumption on the planet, “Livestock’s Long Shadow,” made a similar point: “There are reasons for optimism that the conflicting demands for animal products and environmental services can be reconciled. Both demands are exerted by the same group of people ... the relatively affluent, middle- to high-income class, which is no longer confined to industrialized countries. ... This group of consumers is probably ready to use its growing voice to exert pressure for change and may be willing to absorb the inevitable price increases.”

In fact, Americans are already buying more environmentally friendly products, choosing more sustainably produced meat, eggs and dairy. The number of farmers’ markets has more than doubled in the last 10 years or so, and it has escaped no one’s notice that the organic food market is growing fast. These all represent products that are more expensive but of higher quality.

If those trends continue, meat may become a treat rather than a routine. It won’t be uncommon, but just as surely as the S.U.V. will yield to the hybrid, the half-pound-a-day meat era will end.

Maybe that’s not such a big deal. “Who said people had to eat meat three times a day?” asked Mr. Pollan.

Mark Bittman, who writes the Minimalist column in the Dining In and Dining Out sections, is the author of “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian,” which was published last year. He is not a vegetarian.

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5. Concern for Helping Animals in Israel (CHAI) Opposes Mistreatment of Horses in Israel/Please Write

View as web page: www.chai-online.org/e-news/27jan08/chaialert_27jan08.htm

Please distribute widely—click Forward email at bottom of page

January 27, 2008



On December 30, 2007, a special session of the Tel Aviv City Council met to address, for the first time, the problem of horse and donkey abuse in the city. The meeting came as a result of a proposal and recommendations submitted to the Council by Hakol Chai's attorneys in April 2005, followed by more than two years of continued pressure.

The sight of emaciated, beaten, injured, and lame horses and donkeys pulling carts overloaded with heavy construction materials is common in Tel Aviv traffic. The animals are forced to work long hours without water or shade, under a blazing sun or heavy rain. When they can no longer stand, they are often abandoned on garbage sites or by the side of the road to starve to death.

Hakol Chai's recommendations included a ban on horse-drawn carts in the city, granting permits to keep these animals only after annual inspections and approvals by equine veterinarians, and establishing places where abused horses can be taken temporarily for rehabilitation, after they are seized.

Hakol Chai demonstration at Tel Aviv City Hall

Outside the meeting, at the entrance to City Hall, Hakol Chai activists demonstrated in support of banning horse-drawn vehicles. Other organizations joined Hakol Chai's campaign, including the Green Party. The city also received numerous complaints from tourists. Inside the meeting, attended by many owners of cart horses, Council head and Mayor Ron Huldai said he will first make efforts to enforce an existing municipal bylaw that makes permits conditional upon the owners providing proper food, maintenance, and veterinary care before he will consider a ban on these vehicles. His decision was made despite the fact that municipal veterinarian Zvi Galin made clear that the city does not have the resources to investigate cruelty cases and seize horses who are abused.

The forum was a first step that puts the city on record as promising to bring about change, but clearly, we must keep up the pressure for a complete ban. CHAI first began urging city officials to take action to prevent horse abuse in the summer of 1999, after rescuing a severely abused horse in Jaffa, the old part of the city. Officials brushed aside our concerns and municipal veterinarian Zvi Galin consistently ignored our calls reporting abuse and refused to take action to help the horses. In 2001, Hakol Chai exposed a major abuser of horses in Jaffa, Nissim, who was starving and selling horses, providing no veterinary care, and shockingly, hacking them apart with an axe in front of each other and selling their meat in the market as beef.

When an undercover video of the killings taken by a TV investigative reporter aired on a popular TV channel, Nissim's place was temporarily closed down. He reopened again, and Hakol Chai organized a raid on his place in 2003, which again exposed horrendous cruelty. After that, he was shut down permanently. Still, the city took no action to investigate the condition of other horses in the city and remove those being abused from their abusers. In April 2005, Hakol Chai's attorney submitted its proposal to the Council, urging it to, at last, confront the problem in a special session, and to consider its recommendations.

"In the 21st century, there is no place for horses and donkeys in city traffic," Hakol Chai representative Omer Ginzberg told reporters at the demonstration. "Many cities worldwide have already prohibited using horses and donkeys within their boundaries, among them Las Vegas, London, Paris, Beijing, and Toronto. A New York City Mayoral candidate expressed his support for a similar prohibition in his city. On the eve of Tel Aviv's 100th anniversary, it is time Israel followed the lead of these more humane cities.

Please urge the Mayor of Tel Aviv to ban horse-drawn carts from the city.

Sample Letter

Dear Mayor Huldai,

In the 21st century, horse-drawn carts do not belong in city traffic. The numerous accidents caused by these carts and the suffering of the horses shows that it is dangerous, both for animals and people. Tel Aviv's municipal veterinarian has stated that the city lacks the resources to routinely inspect these animals and remove those abused from their abusers.

The only humane solution is to ban these vehicles from the city. Please act to bring Tel Aviv into a more humane 21st century.

For detailed information about horse abuse in Israel, see our website.

Mayor Ron Huldai
Tel Aviv City Hall
69 Ibn Gvirol St.
Tel Aviv 64162, Israel
Postage from U.S. to Israel: $0.90
You can also write to the Mayor on the Tel Aviv Municipality's website at

Please help CHAI post ads around the city, urging residents to press the Mayor to ban these vehicles. Send your tax-deductible donations to:
CHAI, POB 3341, Alexandria, VA 22302, USA, or donate through our website.

Yours for a more compassionate world,

Nina Natelson

CHAI - Concern for Helping Animals in Israel
PO Box 3341, Alexandria, VA 22302

Email: chai_us@cox.net
Phone: 703-658-9650
Web: http://www.chai-online.org

CHAI - Concern for Helping Animals in Israel | POB 3341 | Alexandria | VA | 22302

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6. Increased Momentum for Animal Rights Groups

“Animal rights groups pick up momentum”

By Larry Copeland

USA Today

January 28, 2008


Animal rights groups pick up momentum

By Larry Copeland, USA TODAY

The growing influence of animal rights activists increasingly is affecting daily life, touching everything from the foods Americans eat to what they study in law school, where they buy their puppies and even whether they should enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride in New York's Central Park.
Animal activist groups such as the Humane Society of the United States and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) say they are seeing a spike in membership as their campaigns spread.

"There's been an explosion of interest" in animal welfare issues, says David Favre, a Michigan State University law professor and animal law specialist. "Groups like the Humane Society of the United States and PETA have brought to our social awareness their concerns about animals and all matter of creatures."

"Animals are made of flesh and blood and bone just like humans," says Bruce Friedrich, PETA's vice president for campaigns. "They feel pain just like we do. Recognition of that grows year by year. The animal rights movement is a social justice movement (similar to) suffrage and civil rights."

Among other initiatives, PETA supports a measure introduced last month by a New York City councilman that would ban carriage horses that haul tourists around Manhattan. Many other cities feature such businesses.

"I think it's clear that animal issues are part of the public domain like never before," says Michael Markarian, executive vice president of the Humane Society, the largest animal welfare organization. "People have started thinking more and more about how we treat animals in our society."
Food producers say the activists aren't just concerned about animal welfare but are trying to win them the same rights as human beings.

"Ultimately, their goal is to eliminate animals being used as food," says Kay Johnson-Smith of the Animal Agriculture Alliance, an industry-supported organization that seeks to educate the public about agriculture. "There's a real danger when we allow a very small minority of activists to dictate procedures that should be used to raise animals for food."

Animal rights campaigns are moving on several fronts:

•The Humane Society says it expects 28 state legislatures this year to consider strengthening existing bans on dogfighting and cockfighting; 13 states are considering bills regulating "puppy mills," mass dog-breeding operations that keep puppies in small crates.

•Massachusetts activists are collecting signatures to get a statewide initiative on the November ballot that would ban commercial greyhound racing by 2010. The Committee to Protect Dogs says state records show that since 2002, 728 greyhounds have been injured racing at the state's two tracks.

•Over the past three years, 330 colleges have stopped or dramatically reduced the use of eggs from hens in cramped wire crates called battery cages; retailers including Burger King, Hardee's, Carl's Jr. and Ben & Jerry's now use eggs produced by cage-free hens, Markarian says.

•More than 90 American Bar Association-approved law schools now offer courses in animal law, compared with only a handful 10 years ago. Favre compares the growing interest in animal law among incoming law students to an explosion of interest in environmental law in the 1970s.

Monastery under fire

When it comes to food production and animal rights activists, even monks don't get a pass. After months of protests by PETA, the monks at Mepkin Abbey, a Trappist monastery in Moncks Corner, S.C., announced last month that they were giving up the egg production business that had sustained them for nearly 50 years.

The monks were targeted because their chickens were kept in battery cages, the nation's most common method of egg-farming but a practice many animal rights advocates consider cruel.

Father Stan Gumula, abbot of Mepkin Abbey, said the monks were reluctant to give up the egg business. "The pressure from PETA has made it difficult for (the monks) to live their quiet life of prayer, work and sacred reading," he said.

David Martosko, director of research for the Center for Consumer Freedom, an organization supported by restaurants and food companies, says most Americans oppose cruelty to animals. But he says that activists who say animals shouldn't be eaten or used for medical research or any other purpose won't find much mainstream support.

"That is a position that very few Americans agree with," he says.

Martosko also says abandoning some current agricultural practices will drive up food prices. According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, a dozen regular eggs cost $1.56 in mid-2007, compared with $2.89 for cage-free eggs.

Pivotal events unfolded

Animal welfare organizations are riding a wave of popularity. The Humane Society says it has 10.5 million members or supporters, up from 7.4 million five years ago; during the same period, PETA says its rolls have doubled to 1.8 million. The groups attribute intensified public interest partly to three recent events that highlighted the vulnerability of animals:

•New Orleans residents forced to leave pets to die in 2005 when they were evacuated during Hurricane Katrina.

•The recall last year of 60 million containers of pet food after an unknown number of cats and dogs were poisoned, raising questions about pet-food safety.

•The conviction last year of Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick for dogfighting.

"Those were major events that made people realize we have so much power over animals," says Markarian of the Humane Society. "We can use that power to be cruel and indifferent, or to be kind and careful stewards."

Johnson-Smith of the Animal Agriculture Alliance says current farming practices have "a scientific basis" and "have been supported by the animal science, research and veterinarian communities."

Janet Riley, senior vice president of public affairs for the American Meat Institute, whose members produce about 95% of the beef, pork, lamb, veal and turkey consumed in the USA, says the industry is diligent in handling animals humanely. But, she adds, "people have different opinions about what constitutes humane handling."

My Letter in Response to the Article

January 29, 2008

Editor: USA Today

Dear Editor:

Re "Animal rights groups pick up momentum" (January 28 issue)

In addition to the massive abuses of animal on factory farms, it is important to also consider that the consumption of meat and other animal products is causing an epidemic of heart problems, several forms of cancer and many other chronic degenerative diseases, and the production of these products is contributing significantly to global warming and other environmental threats. According to a 2006 UN Food and Agriculture Organization report, animal-based agriculture emits more greenhouse gases (in CO2 equivalents) than all the cars, trucks, planes and other means of transportation worldwide combined (18 percent vs. 13.5 percent). The report also projected that the number of farmed animals will double in the next 50 years, and this would result in increased greenhouse gas emissions that would negate many positive changes. Hence, a switch toward vegetarian diets is an essential part of the actions needed to shift our severely imperiled planet to a sustainable path.

Very truly yours,

Richard H. Schwartz

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7. Shalom Center Organizes/Plans Demonstrations Protesting EPA’s Lack of Action Re Global Warming

Forwarded message from Shalom Center Director Arthur Waskow:

Dear Eco-Jews,

Last week, on two weeks notice, The Shalom Center put together two demos at EPA regional offices (NYC & Phila). In NYC, we partnered with a Conservative synagogue in New Jersey that sent a bus to NYC and with the Arbeter Ring -- Workmen's Circle. The Phila demo won a very big article in the Phila Jewish Exponent.

We have three months till Pesach. There are many aspects of Pesach that might be relevant to the global climate crisis.

For example:

* What does it mean to get "chometz" out of our houses before Pesach? Is coal-fired electricity chometz, to be replaced by wind-stirred electricity? Which cleaning substances for the spring cleaning are eco-treyf, eco-chometz, and which are eco-kosher, eco-pesachdik?

* Who is Pharaoh in our world today, bringing eco-disastrous plagues upon our heads?

With three months to plan, can we organize even better than we did on two weeks notice for Tu B’Shvat? The first Seder is on Saturday night, April 19. On, say, the Wednesday late afternoon before, or perhaps late afternoon on the Wednesday of Pesach itself, could we put together demonstrations of 50 people each at -- the EPA offices, focusing again on permission for the states to do better on CO2 emissions ??? Or at ExxonMobil offices in five or six cities around the country ??

As we brought trees to EPA on Tu B’Shvat, could we bring matzah, bitter herb, chant the Plagues of today — rivers undrinkable, frogs dying, polar bears drowning, droughts consuming, etc -- as we pour wine out of our cups?

And then with song and dance welcome the Elijah who is to turn the hearts of parents to children and the hearts of children to parents "lest the earth be utterly destroyed" ? ( See the last verse of the Prophet Malachi, read on the Shabbat before Pesach -- and could we make that the point of that Shabbat HaGadol [April 12] in many many synagogues?)


Shalom, Arthur

Rabbi Arthur Waskow, author/ editor of Down-to-Earth Judaism, Torah of the Earth, and Trees, Earth, & Torah: A Tu B’Shvat Anthology; director, The Shalom Center www.shalomctr.org

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8. Vegetarianism for Healthier Seniors in Israel

Forwarded message from Israeli vegetarian and social justice activist Hadassah Harrell


Dear Richard (Professor Emeritus) and our JVNA friends,

Shalom/love to you all from Israel.

We received an email from Roger A. Russo, DC (Doctor of Chiropractic russochiropractic@verizon.net )/President of Stay Fit Seniors Inc. (1-800-385-1141) located in the U.S. He is interested in implementing their program here in Israel also. Note: Jack Lalanne is connected with them and is 93 years young.

And Richard, since you also a young senior is more helpful than you realize. And you, a Vegetarian-Senior are an expert/example of being/living healthy. So Vegetarianism can be added to STAY FIT SENIORS Inc. program in Israel. Many of us Jewish seniors are not taking our health seriously and this should motivate us to want to live.

Here is the link/videos explaining all: http://www.stayfitseniorsforlife.com/

Kol Tuv,
Hadassah (63) & Yosef (68) Harrell
Note: We are looking for JVNA contacts in the U.S., Israel etc. to make this dream come true. Lets work together and STAY FIT SENIORS.
email: hadassah@actcom.co.il
Phone #: 972-2-999-7056;
Cell #: 972-528-627787
Skype ID: winnie1944

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9. Interested in Vegan Suede Kippot?

Forwarded message from Arik Zara:

Have you heard about vegan kippot? We did! All of us are familiar with the traditional suede kippot, made of animal skin. Now there's a nature-friendly alternative available! Eco-Suede kippot, supplied by Zara Israel Judaica Mart, look like suede kippot, but are actually made of recycled cardboard. Why to create more leather consumption, increasing demand for more animal skin, if there are other lovely choices? We just feel that it may make one feel better not buying this discretionary item using animal leather.

For ordering kippot:


Toda Raba! {Thank you!]

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10. ShalomVeg.com seeking Literary Contributions

Forwarded message from Jampa Williams:

shalomveg.com, the new online community for Jewish vegetarians, animal rights activists and curious omnivores, welcomes submissions of poetry, fiction and personal essays for its literary section. Visit our great website, and, while you are there, please follow the link to view the powerful new documentary, “A Sacred Duty”, produced by Jewish Vegetarians of North America. Kindly send submissions to: Jampa Williams, Literary Editor, jampa@shalomveg.com. Thank you!

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11. Jewish Group “Areyvut” and Jewish National Fund Plan “Make a Difference Day”


Download the Education Resource Guide -- COMING SOON
See a list of programs organized by communities -- COMING SOON

About the Program

Make a Difference Day is a day dedicated to helping others and actively making the world a better place. The 2008 program theme is “Preserving the Environment,” and activities will extend throughout the weekend as Jewish communities throughout America celebrate JNF GoNeutral Shabbat.

• Save the Dates: April 4 - 6, 2008! •

Make a Difference Day/JNF GoNeutral Shabbat is a FREE program open to schools, congregations, community organizations and families. Once registered you will have access to education materials that feature resources, planning tips and a variety of hands on activities for all age groups that you can use to help the environment or to “think out of the box” in creating service projects that reflect a personalized theme.

REGISTER TODAY! Every organization and family that registers their Make a Difference Day activity will receive a JNF GoNeutral tote bag, an educational DVD about global warming and steps you can take to help the environment and a certificate of participation.
Mitzvah Video Contest

Contact Areyvut
Daniel Rothner
daniel@areyvut.org or JNF
Michelle Beller
212-879-9305 ext. 269

Areyvut (www.areyvut.org) empowers Jewish youth around the world, enabling them to infuse their lives with the core Jewish values of kindness, charity and social justice. Areyvut specializes in pairing teens with meaningful mitzvah and community service projects. This year Areyvut has inspired over 12,500 individuals with their “A Kindness a Day” Desk Calendar and Make a Difference Day programming.

Jewish National Fund (www.jnf.org) is a non-profit organization founded in 1901 to serve as caretaker of the land of Israel, on behalf of its owners—Jewish people everywhere. Over the past century, JNF has planted over 240 million trees, built over 180 reservoirs and dams, developed over 250,000 acres of land, created more than 1,000 parks, provided the infrastructure for 1,000 communities and educated students around the world about Israel and the environment.
Plant Trees

JNF Store

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Copyright © 2007 Jewish National Fund. All Rights Reserved.

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12. Update From ShalomVeg.com

Forward message from web site coordinator Boris Dolgin:

Member Newsletter
February 3, 2008 - 27, Sh'vat 5768

This is the first of a regular bi-weekly newsletter for ShalomVeg members. In the newsletters you will find updates on the website, sample articles, news and other relevant information for the Jewish veg community.

Site Updates

- We have been spending the last few weeks re-organizing ShalomVeg and have also added some new features. If you have not visited the site recently, check it out and let us know what you think.
- As of today, there are 41 members of ShalomVeg! As our community grows, we hope that the site can become a useful way to network and meet other people to share project ideas, discuss issues or even become friends. The networking features on the site allow you to create a profile and search for people in your area. You can also send instant messages and "bookmark" people you meet. For more info on the networking features, s ee the "How to Use The Site" pages.
- There are now over 40 resource articles available in the learning section of the site. Included are selections from Richard Schwartz's essays (thanks Richard for allowing ShalomVeg to use these articles), "Vegetarian Classics" and a selection of general Shalom!

This is the first of a regular bi-weekly newsletter for ShalomVeg members. In the newsletters you will find updates on the website, sample articles, news and other relevant information for the Jewish veg community.

Site Updates

- We have been spending the last few weeks re-organizing ShalomVeg and have also added some new features. If you have not visited the site recently, check it out and let us know what you think.
- As of today, there are 41 members of ShalomVeg! As our community grows, we hope that the site can become a useful way to network and meet other people to share project ideas, discuss issues or even become friends. The networking features on the site allow you to create a profile and search for people in your area. You can also send instant messages and "bookmark" people you meet. For more info on the networking features, s ee the "How to Use The Site" pages.
- There are now over 40 resource articles available in the learning section of the site. Included are selections from Richard Schwartz's essays (thanks Richard for allowing ShalomVeg to use these articles), "Vegetarian Classics" and a selection of general vegetarian and animal rights essays.
- There is now also a small collection of veg videos which can be watched in the learning section of the site, including the amazing new JVNA documentary, "A Sacred Duty". As with all sections of ShalomVeg, you can easily comment on what you see, to share your views and ask questions of others (all comments can be anonymous if desired).

Take the Survey: What would you like to see on ShalomVeg?

As ShalomVeg grows and we try to make the site most useful for members and visitors, we are looking for your input about what you would like to see on the site. A survey has been set up here . Please take a minute to fill out the survey and let us know what you think!

Spreading the Word-Ads and Flyers

We have begun an advertising campaign for ShalomVeg, to get more members and inform others about the learning and networking resources available on the site. There will be an ad in the March issue of the Jewish campus magazine "New Voices", and banner ads will be put up on various blogs and veg websites in the coming months. You can now download flyers to print out from the front page of the site (look of the left hand side). Feel free to distribute the flyers, and hang them up at synagogues, community centers, coffee shops, veg restaurants and other places where they might be seen. Please continue also to spread the word about the site--word of mouth and e-mails are great ways of getting people involved. The more people who join, the stronger our community can become, and the more we can work for change!


ShalomVeg is looking for writing submissions for the site. If you have always wanted to share your story or have a relevant essay you would like to submit, ShalomVeg is a great place to start. As an example of what you can submit, see the "Member Spotlight" below, submitted by ShalomVeg member, RocDoc. All submissions can be posted with your user name or anonymously if requested. To send a submission, email: submissions@shalomveg.com.

Jampa W., a ShalomVeg member, has offered to edit a poetry and creative writing section of the site. Jampa has begun collecting submissions, and this section should be up in the next few weeks. She can be emailed at jampa@shalomveg.com.
Also a reminder that you can submit your favorite recipes to our recipe database, and use the classified ads and forums to discuss topics of your choice.
Please let us know if you have any comments or suggestions for the site. Welcome again to the community!

-Boris Dolin,
Director, ShalomVeg.com

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13. Israeli Parliament Marks First Animal Rights Day

Thanks to JVNA advisors and authors Charlie Patterson and Roberta Kalechofsky as well as Batya Bauman for forwarding the following important item:

[Suggestions on building on this significant event are very welcome.


The Israeli organization for Animal Rights, Anonymous - http://www.anonymous.org.il/english.htm - organised the first Animal Rights Day in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, on Jan 1, 2008, including the highlighting of vegetarian food at the Knesset cafeteria. The focal point of the event was the launching of "The Declaration of Animal Rights", which states:

"Out of a ethical recognition of the fact that animals go through countless experiences similar to those experienced by all of us – agony and joy, fear and happiness, curiosity and boredom, social contacts, parent-offspring attachment and more – I hold that there is no justification for ignoring the basic needs of animals, and that it is our duty as humans and as a society to take action to protect their basic rights. These rights include, among others, the right not to suffer violence, hunger and thirst, the right for living in a space allowing free movement, and the right for natural behavior.

I believe the state of Israel has the duty to protect the rights of the animals, and pledge to try to adopt habits in my personal life as well, that will prevent harm to animals."

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14. Event Scheduled Re Environmental Issues in Israel

Forwarded message from the TEVA Center:

Blue, White, and Green, Goes to California!

A Political and Spiritual Exploration of the Land of Israel and its Environmental Situation

Come Celebrate Shabbat, Israel and the Natural World

March 14 - 16 in Malibu, CA

• Learn what is happening to Israel’s environment

• Explore your personal connection to the land

• Discuss strategies to help affect positive change

• Connect with other inspiring young adults

Special Guest:

Dr. Daniel Orenstein – Postdoctoral Fellow, Technion Faculty of Architecture &. Lecturer, Arava Institute for Environmental Studies

When: March 14 – 16, 2008

Where: Shalom Institute Camp and Conference Center in Malibu CA

Costs: $150 all inclusive camp-style accommodations, scholarships available to those who need!!

Ages: 20-36

Contact: Becca Weaver at education@greenzionism.org to sign up or if you have questions

This Event will be Carbon Neutral!

Sponsored by the Green Zionist Alliance, Mercaz USA, Marom Olami and Hagshama.

[I have offered them complimentary DVDs for the participants.]

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