March 29, 2008

2/26/2008 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

1. Challenging Rabbis to a Debate on “Should Jews Be Vegetarians?”

2. Interview With Rabbi David Rosen

3. Largest Meat Recall in US History

4. Hitler a Vegetarian Myth Raised Again

5. CHAI Sends Out Tribute to Tom Lantos

6. Israeli Rabbis Agree to Phase Out Shackling & Hoisting

7. JVNA Press Release on Israeli Rabbis Plans to Phase Out Shackling and Hoisting

8. Jerusalem Post article by Rabbi Adam Frank on Shackling and Hoisting

9. Two Very Important Environmental Articles

10. Campaign to Urge Al Gore to Endorse Vegetarianism

11. New Book Discusses Feminism and Animal Ethics

12. JVNA Press Release From JVNA Publicist

13. Chain of Vegetarian Fast Food Restaurants Opened

14. Effort To Stop Creation of a Dairy Factory Farm

15. New York Times Editorial on the Record Beef Recall

16. Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life Sets Up an Environmental Blog

17. Supporting Jerusalem in New Monopoly Game

18. More on Veggie Pride Parade

19. Excerpts From Newsletter

20. Update On Activities of Areyvut Group

21. New Book Discusses Human Cruelty to Animals

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. Challenging Rabbis to a Debate on “Should Jews Be Vegetarians?”

I am planning to send the following article to the Jewish media and some rabbis. Suggestions welcome. Thanks.

Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D.

This is a very respectful challenge to rabbis and other Jewish leaders to engage in a public dialogue/debate via email on “Should Jews Be Vegetarians?” This is something that Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) has been trying to organize for many years.

We think such a debate is very important today because the mass production and widespread consumption of meat harms people, communities and the planet and is in conflict with Judaism in at least six important areas:

1. While Judaism mandates that people should be very careful about preserving their health and their lives, numerous scientific studies have linked animal-based diets directly to heart disease, stroke, many forms of cancer, and other chronic degenerative diseases. Efforts to cure these diseases has resulted in sharp increases in medical expenditures, contributing to huge deficits, making it difficult to fund social programs that many Jews and others depend on.

2. While Judaism forbids tsa'ar ba'alei chayim, inflicting unnecessary pain on animals, most farm animals -- including those raised for kosher consumers -- are raised on "factory farms" where they live in cramped, confined spaces, and are often drugged, mutilated, and denied fresh air, sunlight, exercise, and any enjoyment of life, before they are slaughtered and eaten. A few examples of practices that are sharply at variance to Jewish teachings are that over 250 million male chicks are killed annually in the US alone immediately after birth at egg laying hatcheries because they can’t lay eggs and they have not been genetically programmed to provide much meat; hens are kept in spaces so small that they can’t even stretch a wing, and they have their beaks cut off without anesthesia, so they won’t harm other hens by pecking in their very unnatural environment; dairy cows are artificially impregnated (raped) annually, so they will be able to continually be able to give milk, and forced to give birth to calves who are whisked away from them at birth, likely to become veal calves and live a short, tortured life; and the list could go on and on.

3. While Judaism teaches that "the earth is the Lord's" (Psalm 24:1) and that we are to be God's partners and co-workers in preserving the world, modern intensive livestock agriculture contributes substantially to global warming, soil erosion and depletion, air and water pollution, overuse of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, the destruction of tropical rain forests and other habitats and other environmental damage. A 2006 UN report indicated that “livestock' agriculture emits more greenhouse gases (18 percent in CO2 equivalents) than all the cars and other forms of transportation worldwide combined (13.5 percent), and that the number of farmed animals is projected to double in the next 50 years. If that happens, the increased greenhouse gas emissions from these animals will negate reductions in other areas, and make it extremely difficult to reach the greenhouse gas levels necessary to avoid global warming's severest effects.

4 While Judaism mandates bal tashchit, that we are not to waste or unnecessarily destroy anything of value, and that we are not to use more than is needed to accomplish a purpose, animal agriculture requires the wasteful use of grain, land, water, energy, and other resources. As one example, in an increasingly thirsty world, it takes up to 14 times as much water to produce a person’s animal-based diet than to produce his or her vegan diet.

5. While Judaism stresses that we are to assist the poor and share our bread with hungry people, over 70% of the grain grown in the United States is fed to animals destined for slaughter, while an estimated 20 million people worldwide die because of hunger and its effects each year.
The need to produce so much food for farmed animals raises the price of grain, and makes it difficult for poor people to afford the nourishment they need for the health and proper development.

6. While Judaism stresses that we must seek and pursue peace and that violence results from unjust conditions, animal-centered diets, by wasting valuable resources, help to perpetuate the widespread hunger and poverty that eventually lead to instability and war. Seeing that the Hebrew words for bread (lechem) and war (milchamah) come from the same root, the Jewish sages deduced that a lack of grain and other resources makes it more likely that nations will go to war.

In view of these important Jewish mandates to preserve human health, attend to the welfare of animals, protect the environment, conserve resources, help feed hungry people, and pursue peace, and since animal-centered diets violate and contradict each of these responsibilities, I and JVNA argue that committed Jews (and others) should sharply reduce or eliminate their consumption of animal products.

One could say "dayenu" (it would be enough) after any of the arguments above, because each one constitutes by itself a serious conflict between Jewish values and current practice that should impel Jews to seriously consider a plant-based diet. Combined, they make an urgently compelling case for the Jewish community to address these issues.

So, this is an open invitation for rabbis to engage in a respectful debate on the above issues. We are not arguing that Jews must be vegetarians; there should be a choice, but we believe that choice should be based on the realities of the production and consumption of meat and other animal products and how they impinge on the Jewish values mentioned above. We believe that engaging in such debates would be a Kiddush Hashem (a sanctification of God’s Name) as it would lead to an improvement in the health of Jews and others, reduce the current massive mistreatment of animals on factory farms, help move our imperiled planet to a sustainable path and enhance the commitment of Jews to Judaism, by showing the relevance of our eternal teachings to current issues.

So rabbis, please contact me at to arrange a debate. Or, perhaps choose one rabbi to represent your views. If you are not willing and able to do this, we think, respectfully, that you should admit that our arguments are correct, that animal-based diets violate fundamental Jewish teachings, and tell your congregants they should shift toward vegetarian diets.

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2. Interview With Rabbi David Rosen

EVANA Interview: Chief Rabbi David Rosen

"..I had to join in on spot checks on the slaughterers in the abattoir and was sickened by the sight of the slaughter..."

"... goodness towards others and our world is goodness to ourselves and is the path towards happiness and fulfillment for others and ourselves.."

February 2008

On behalf of EVANA, Herma Caelen talks to Chief Rabbi David Rosen, KCSG, International President of Religions for Peace and Honorary President of the International Jewish Vegetarian Society. [Rabbi Rosen is also a former chief rabbi of Ireland.]

Herma Caelen: Rabbi Rosen, you have endorsed the Open Letter to the President of the European Parliament *)demanding that 'The pressing problem of meat must not be excluded from future debates' about climate change. In the package of climate strategies, presented by the President of the European Commission, the dramatic impact of the meat industry has been absolutely ignored. How is the situation in
Israel? Are decision makers more inclined to look at all the aspects, without excluding those which may be unpopular?

Rabbi David Rosen: To begin with I must confess that I am traveling three quarters of the time and therefore cannot speak most authoritatively about what is going on in Israel. However many crucial issues are pushed aside in Israel as a result of
immediate "life and death" issues. In other words the (shortsighted) attitude often is - "we have to deal with immediate challenges to our survival and security; broader and more long range issues will have to wait." Moreover Israeli governments are very similar to their Italian counterparts. They are always made up of coalitions and thus the political leaders are overwhelmingly caught up in political horse-trading and maneuvering for their own political survival. Accordingly, not only is the ability for civic advocacy groups to impact upon government decisions very limited, but such coalition governments are a recipe for cautious rather than courageous behaviour.

EVANA: Even the FAO acknowledges the fact that the environment suffers enormously from animal husbandry. Since your region of the world is already confronted with droughts and the production of meat requires enormous quantities of water, the future may become even more difficult in the context of global warming. Have Israel already special measures in place to pro-actively deal with the problem?

Answer: Quite honestly I don't know. I do know that serious consideration is being given to finding alternative and additional ways of providing for our regional water needs. However, my impression is that there is little or no consciousness of the
consequences of animal husbandry in this regard; and if there is, then there is still little desire to take on the industry or people's life styles..

the complete interview:

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3. Largest Meat Recall in US History

USDA Orders Largest Meat Recall in U.S. History

By David Brown
 Washington Post Staff Writer 
Monday, February 18, 2008; Page A01 

The Agriculture Department has ordered the largest meat recall in its history -- 143 million pounds of beef, a California meatpacker's entire production for the past two years -- because the company did not prevent ailing animals from entering the U.S. food supply, officials said yesterday. 

Despite the breadth of the sanction, USDA officials underscored their belief that the meat, distributed by Westland Meat, poses little or no hazard to consumers, and that most of it was eaten long ago. 

The recall comes less than three weeks after the release of a videotape showing what the USDA later called "egregious violations" of federal animal care regulations by employees of a Westland partner, Hallmark Meat Packing in Chino. 

Hallmark did not consistently bring in federal veterinarians to examine cattle headed for slaughter that were too sick or weak to stand on their own, Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer said. "Because the cattle did not receive complete and proper inspection, [the USDA] has determined them to be unfit for human food, and the company is conducting a recall," he said in a statement. 

About 37 million pounds of the meat -- cuts, ground beef and prepared products such as meatballs and burrito filling -- went to school lunch and other public nutrition programs, and "almost all of this product is likely to have been consumed," said Ron Vogel, a USDA administrator. 

Some larger purchasers, though, may keep meat for as long as a year. Company and government officials will try to trace the meat to notify the purchasers not to use it. 

The USDA issued 20 meat recalls last year, including one of more than 20 million pounds, and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), who chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee, called on the agency to toughen its inspection requirements. "How much longer will we continue to test our luck with weak enforcement of federal food safety regulations?" Harkin asked. 

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association "support[s] USDA's recall as a precautionary measure. At the same time, we can say with confidence that the beef supply is safe. . . . There are multiple safety hurdles before it arrives at our grocery stores or restaurants," said James O. Reagan, who chairs the organization's Beef Industry Food Safety Council. 

About 150 school districts and two fast-food chains, Jack in the Box and In-N-Out, have announced they will no longer use ground beef from Westland. The company has been closed since Feb. 4, when the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service withdrew inspectors from the Hallmark slaughterhouse after verifying the mistreatment of cattle shown on the videotape and discovering other problems. 

The tape, made secretly by a slaughterhouse worker and provided to the Humane Society of the United States, showed electric shocks and high-intensity water sprays administered to cows too sick or weak to stand on their own, and the use of forklifts to roll such animals. Government regulations prohibit slaughtering for food cattle that cannot stand or walk on their own. 

An inspecting veterinarian had said the cattle in question were healthy enough to be used for food, but they subsequently collapsed. Under federal regulations, such animals must be reexamined by a veterinarian and slaughtered separately. That apparently was not done. 

One worry when an animal collapses is that it may have bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), the infection known as "mad cow disease." A small number of people who have eaten meat from such animals have developed a fatal brain infection, but cattle with BSE have very rarely turned up in government inspections. Richard Raymond, the USDA's undersecretary for food safety, discounted the chance of BSE in any of the Hallmark/Westland cattle. 

"We are very confident in the safety of the food supply," he said. Hallmark fired two workers seen on the tape, and the men face animal cruelty charges in California. A company spokesman said senior management was not aware of the use of extreme measures to get sick cattle upright. Humane Society President Wayne Pacelle said yesterday the recall "validates the chief finding we made, that sick and injured animals got into the food supply." Officials at Hallmark and Westland could not be reached yesterday to comment. The largest previous meat recall orders both covered 35 million pounds and came a month apart in 1998 and 1999. Both involved ready-to-eat products contaminated with listeria. Nearly two dozen people died and about 100 fell ill after eating the meat. Last September, 21.7 million pounds of Topps Meat ground beef were recalled after at least 30 people were sickened from meat contaminated with E. coli bacteria. In the Hallmark/Westland case, Raymond said, "We feel there is a very, very remote possibility of health consequences from consuming this product." 

Staff researcher Rena Kirsch contributed to this report


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4. Hitler a Vegetarian Myth Raised Again

I was informed by JVNA advisor and author Stewart Rose that Jonah Goldberg stated again on the Glen Beck program recently that Hitler was a vegetarian. At Stewart's suggestion, I would like to urge readers to contact the show with a protest and a demand for a correction. Suggestions very welcome.

For background information, please see my review of Rynn Berry’s book “Hitler: Neither Vegetarian Nor Animal Lover” in the reviews section of

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5. CHAI Sends Out Tribute to Tom Lantos

View as web page:

Please distribute widely.

February 19, 2008

Farewell to Tom Lantos

Congressman Tom Lantos was a stalwart friend to animals across the globe, including to animals in Israel. "As a Holocaust survivor,
I know that suffering is suffering, whether human or animal," he said.

An Advisory Board member of Concern for Helping Animals in Israel (CHAI) for over two decades, along with his wife, Annette, he could always be counted on, whether the issue was urging government officials to care about an issue, pressing a Mayor to provide land for an animal shelter, or appearing in a video on behalf of the organization. "Draft the letter and Tom will sign it," was the generous response to appeals for assistance.

When CHAI sought to send the first animal ambulance to a shelter in Israel, the Finance Ministry demanded taxes and customs duties equaling the price of the vehicle, though identical vehicles donated to public hospitals entered the country duty and tax free. When appeals to officials and demonstrations went unheard, Tom Lantos sent a letter to every member of Israel's Knesset (Parliament), and at last, the life-saving ambulance was allowed in duty and tax free.

Although one city's town planner set aside land for an animal shelter, its Mayor would not allow the land to be used for that purpose. In response to CHAI's request for help, while on a business trip to Israel with Tom, Annette Lantos took the time to call the Mayor and praise the shelter's work, letting him know how much such a facility was needed. That afternoon, a delegation from the Mayor's office appeared on the shelter's doorstep to let them know they could start building.

When CHAI sought to sponsor a conference on the link between violence toward people and toward animals and the importance of humane education in reducing violence, Tom Lantos contacted the Minister of Education on our behalf. The Ministry agreed to co-sponsor the conference with us and sent out a letter and a poster about the event to school principals, encouraging them to send educators to it, and offered credit to teachers who attended (which translated into a salary increase for them). The very well-attended event received much media coverage and resulted in the Knesset Education Committee deciding that humane education must be introduced into the school system.

And so much more. The world has lost a tremendous friend to humans and animals alike. Tom Lantos' kindness and that of his wife, Annette, will never be forgotten.

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6. Israeli Rabbis Agree to Phase Out Shackling & Hoisting

Hakol Chai, CHAI's Israeli sister charity, today praised the decision of the Chief Rabbis to phase out the cruel practice of shackling and hoisting in Israeli and South American slaughterhouses. The decision came after the release of an undercover video showing how animals suffer in slaughterhouses using this practice and an appeal to the Rabbis by Jerusalem Rabbi Adam J. Frank on behalf of Hakol Chai.

"Kosher laws are intended to minimize the suffering of animals so it is logical, just, and in keeping with Jewish values that a cruel method be replaced with a more humane one," said Rabbi Frank.

"The Israeli Rabbinate has shown awareness and a sense of duty toward the concerns of its constituent population and deserves praise for this sensitivity," he continued. "Judaism contains a self-correcting mechanism by which each generation has the responsibility to evaluate the implementation of Jewish law and its concomitant ethical teachings; a change in practice in the kosher slaughter industry is a fine example of the power of caring people to influence Jewish practice."

Hakol Chai/CHAI's contribution to this campaign was credited in the Israeli media, Rabbi Frank was interviewed on an Israeli radio station on behalf of Hakol Chai and his op ed appeared in the Jerusalem Post.

Hakol Chai and CHAI now urge both the Orthodox Union and the Israeli Rabbinate to establish a committee to set a fixed timeframe and ensure the supervision of the expedient phase-out of shackling and hoisting in the kosher slaughter industry.

Hakol Chai/CHAI remind the public that becoming vegetarian is the best way to prevent animal suffering (tsa'ar ba'alei hayim), preserve human health, and reverse global warming. According to a report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), meat, not cars, is the number one cause of global warming. It is also a major source of land and water degradation. The UN's Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), made up of hundreds of climate change scientists worldwide, noted the importance of lifestyle changes in meeting the challenge of global warming.

"Please eat less meat," said IPCC representative, economist Rajendra Pachauri, adding that a meat-based diet also has negative consequences for human health.

For more information about shackling and hoisting and vegetarianism, see and

Please donate to CHAI and Hakol Chai's work on behalf of Israel's animals.
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

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7. JVNA Press Release on Israeli Rabbis Plans to Phase Out Shackling and Hoisting


The Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) announced today that it strongly commends the Israeli chief rabbis for their plans to phase out the “shackle and hoist” method of kosher slaughter in Israel and South America, as reported on the front page of the February 19 Jerusalem Post. []
The group indicated that much praise is deserved by all whose actions led to this decision, including PETA, for the undercover video that raised the issue, the group Concern for Helping Animals in Israel (CHAI) and its sister Israeli charity Hakol Chai, for urging the rabbis to take this action, and Israeli Rabbi Adam Frank, whose article in the Jerusalem Post, on behalf of CHAI and Hakol Chai, put a spotlight on the issue.

JVNA expressed its hope that this would be the first step in addressing the many moral and halachic issues related to the production of meat and other animal products. “This is a very positive step, but it only deals with the tip of the iceberg,” asserted Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D. president of Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA). “Even if ritual slaughter is performed flawlessly, consistent with halacha, we should not ignore the severe violations of Jewish law occurring daily on factory farms. We should fulfill our charge to be 'a light unto the nations' by helping to lead the world away from a diet that is so harmful to people, the environment, and animals, to one that is far more consistent with basic Jewish values.”

For a long time, JVNA has argued that Jews should consider how animal-based diets and agriculture violate basic Jewish mandates to preserve human health, treat animals with compassion, preserve the environment, conserve natural resources, and help hungry people.

JVNA is eager to engage with rabbis and other Jewish leaders in a respectful discussion/debate on the issue, "Should Jews Be Vegetarians Today?" The group urges rabbis and other Jewish leaders to consider how a shift toward plant-based diets would improve the health of Jews and others, show the relevance of Judaism's eternal teachings to current threats, thus helping to revitalize Jewish life and, most important, help move our imperiled world to a sustainable path. It urges the Israeli chief rabbis to build on its important decision on shackling and hoisting by considering other aspects of the production of meat that are not consistent with Jewish law and values.

Further information about the JVNA and its campaign to get vegetarianism onto the Jewish and other agendas may be obtained by contacting Dr. Schwartz or the JVNA (; A complimentary copy of JVNA's new one-hour documentary A SACRED DUTY: Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal the World will be sent to members of the media who request them and to others who indicate how they would use the material to help get vegetarianism and related issues onto the Jewish agenda. The entire movie can also be seen by visiting, a site that also has much background material re the film.

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8. Jerusalem Post article by Rabbi Adam Frank on Shackling and Hoisting

Why do the OU and Israel's rabbinate condone barbarity?

The scandal of meat that's technically 'kosher' and ethically tainted. The writer is rabbi of Congregation Moreshet Yisrael in Jerusalem, Israel's flagship Masorti synagogue. www.chai-

A recent undercover investigation into slaughterhouse practices in South America has revealed the heinous use of the animal restraint method known as "shackling and hoisting" during the kosher slaughter process.

We in Israel have no reason to feel immune from responsibility for these barbaric practices as South America is the largest source of kosher beef imports into Israel. Additionally, South America is the largest offshore supplier of kosher meat to the United States. Both the Israeli rabbinate and the Orthodox Union (OU) in the US explicitly endorse these methods by providing their kosher authorizations to the resulting meat.

Shackling and hoisting is the brutal and outdated technique of chaining and suspending in mid-air a fully conscious adult cow by its rear leg. The problems associated with this method include the animal's scientifically measured hyper-stress levels, tearing of muscle tissue, tendons and skin, the compression of internal organs by the immense weight of the cow's mass on the organs and more. According to the halacha of kashrut, none of these injuries cause the animal to become a tref - or unkosher.

Due to the high incidence of worker and animal injury, this method of restraint is no longer practiced in the United States. The advent of safer and more humane animal handling systems encouraged kosher slaughter in North America to abandon the practice years ago.

In a Sept. 25, 1998 article in Haaretz magazine Yossi Bar-Moha gave this eye-witness account of the process: "One of the local workers grabs a back leg of the bull and lashes it to an iron chain. The door is raised again and the bull is yanked violently upward by the chain attached to his back leg. The animal is now dangling in the air - its immense weight held by one foot, its head down.

A second worker locks the head into a crescent-shaped device that has been grafted onto a long iron rod. The slaughterers advanceEThe [cut] is dazzlingly swift, a second or two, one cut forward and another backward across the bull's neck. It is done.

Immediately the two animals, their bodies jerking convulsively, are lifted upward with the iron chain, unleashing a torrent or blood. Wasting no time, the slaughterers and the workers turn to the ... Box, where the next two steers are already waiting. ... Their bellowing intensifies.

The slaughtered animals, by now dangling from large hooks, are pulled up to the second floor, where workers attach them to a gigantic machine. A quick cut loosens a flap of skin, which is inserted into the machine and pulled by two rollers until the animal is completely skinless.


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9. Two Very Important Environmental Articles

Thanks to JVNA advisor Itae Amit for forwarding these links:

1) Can Organic Farming End World Hunger?

2) PB&J Campaign

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10. Campaign to Urge Al Gore to Endorse Vegetarianism

Thanks to Steve Schuster for forwarding this.

Please check out this important information about PETA's campaign to urge Al Gore to recommend going vegetarian as one of the solutions to the global warming crisis.

Gore and the Alliance for Climate Protection have created a seven-point pledge that names easy action steps that we all can take to help the environment. Going vegetarian is not on the list, yet it is the most effective solution to the global
warming crisis.

Please click the link below to send a quick note to Gore and the Alliance for Climate Protection urging them to make the seven-point pledge an eight-point pledge by adding going vegetarian to the list.

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11. New Book Discusses Feminism and Animal Ethics

Thanks to long-time animal rights activist Batya Bauman for forwarding this message:

The Feminist Care Tradition in Animal Ethics
Editors: Josephine Donovan and Carol J. Adams

Book Description

In Beyond Animal Rights, Josephine Donovan and Carol J. Adams introduced feminist "ethic of care" theory into philosophical discussions of the treatment of animals. In this new volume, seven essays from Beyond Animal Rights are joined by nine new articles-most of which were written in response to that book-and a new introduction that situates feminist animal care theory within feminist theory and
the larger debate over animal rights. Contributors critique theorists' reliance on natural rights doctrine and utilitarianism, which, they suggest, have a masculine bias. They argue for ethical attentiveness and sympathy in our relationships with animals and propose a link between the continuing subjugation of women and the human domination of nature. Beginning with the earliest articulation of the idea in the
mid-1980s and continuing to the theory's most recent revisions, this volume presents the most complete portrait of the evolution of the feminist-care tradition.


"Every scholar interested in social (in)justice should read this book. As a compelling examination of the workings of power, prejudice, and ideology, this powerful anthology lays down a challenge to all progressive scholarship and politics -- whether 'animal-identified' or not. As a nuanced and sophisticated framework for a feminist approach to social relationships, the articulation of a 'care tradition' in human-animal relations is transformative. The editors do a tremendous service by bringing together some of the classic essays in the field
with some of the sharpest new criticism and commentary.

This collection is an invaluable source and resource that every feminist should have on her bookshelf." -- Joni Seager, professor and dean of the Faculty of
Environmental Studies, York University, Toronto

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12. JVNA Press Release From JVNA Publicist

Contact: Susan Tellem
Tellem Worldwide, Inc.
310-479-6111 x1; cell 310-613-3504

Stop Eating Meat, Says Jewish Vegetarians of North America

New York – February 18, 2008
-- Yesterday, February 17, the USDA issued the largest recall of beef in U.S. history after the investigation by the Humane Society of the United States of a dairy cow slaughter plant in Southern California. The recall of 143 million pounds of beef came after slaughter plant workers were caught on video torturing crippled cattle, and two weeks after the USDA shut down that slaughter plant. (See video here -

According to the Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA), New York, this should be a wake-up call to the importance of shifting away from animal-based diets as the consumption of beef and other animal products is a major factor behind an epidemic of heart disease, several forms of cancer, diabetes, obesity and other diseases. The meat industry claims that the mistreatment of animals at the California slaughterhouse is an exception, but they ignore that about 10 billion animals in the United States are living in horrible conditions every minute on factory farms, prior to slaughter.

The production of more than 50 billion animals worldwide annually for slaughter is contributing significantly to global warming and other environmental threats that imperil all of humanity. As reported in the 2006 UN Food and Agricultural Organization report "Livestock's Long Shadow," animal-based agriculture emits more greenhouse gases (18% in CO2 equivalents) than all of the cars, trucks, planes and other forms of transportation worldwide combined (13.5%).

Because the issues are so urgent and are not being sufficiently addressed, the JVNA has produced a one-hour documentary A Sacred Duty: Applying Jewish Values To Help Heal The World. It can be viewed completely at JVNA urges rabbis and the Jewish leadership to break their silence on the many moral issues related to meat consumption. JVNA also challenges Jewish religious leaders to a respectful debate on, "Should Jews Be Vegetarians?

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13. Chain of Vegetarian Fast Food Restaurants Opened

Thanks to long-time animal rights activist Batya Bauman for this forwarded message:

US restaurant group Zen Burger aims to revolutionize the fast food world with a chain of vegetarian outlets.

The first Zen Burger fast food restaurant has opened in New Yorks' Lexington Avenue. It specialises in meatless comfort foods that copy those sold in traditional fast-food chains, such as the ZenSausage breakfast sandwich, ZenBeef burgers, crispy ZenChicken sandwich, ZenTuna sandwich, ZenHotDog, ZenChicken tenders, ZenShrimp and French fries, as well as organic soups salads.

Zen Burger founder, James Tu, plans to take the chain nationwide, with the next restaurant slated to open in Hollywood.

full story:

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14. Effort To Stop Creation of a Dairy Factory Farm

Hi Richard,

My wife and I have been actively involved in animal rights for years, and recently I sent you the name of an assistant rabbi that I thought you should send a copy of your recent DVD to.

I have a favor to ask of you.

I, and many of my neighbors, are trying to stop a California investor from building an enormous, inhumane, factory dairy farm right near my house in rural NW Illinois. We need to get as much attention to this issue asap so that we can pressure the governor into stopping the facility.

Can you possibly include the following text in your next newsletter so we can get more people calling in?

Please feel free to contact me via email or phone if you'd like more information. There is also a lot of news up on our web site, including a very well written 4 page expose that was run in The Milkweed, a newsletter dedicated to family dairy farms, which blasts this facility and all the agencies that support it. I think you'd enjoy reading that article.

Thanks Richard,


Dear Friends,

We need your help. A California investor wants to put a 13,000 animal unit industrial dairy in NW Illinois just off of the historic Stagecoach Trail to Galena, and only a few miles from the Apple River Canyon State Park.

Why you should get involved:

1) The untreated waste from this facility will blanket miles of rolling hills in foul odors, threaten numerous streams and rivers, kill fish, and destroy valuable farmland from over-applications of concentrated manure.

2) These facilities are non sustainable. Already over twice as large as any other dairy in Illinois, the owner will be able to incrementally expand the facility without getting any additional permits, and could easily have 35,000 animals confined there in the next few years, making it the largest facilities east of the Rockies.

3) This facility will imprison 12,000 cattle. They will never go outside, never graze. Living on sand bedding, barely able to move around, their lives will be short and hellish, an average of around 2 years, from what I was told. The thousands of male calves born every year suffer an even worse fate. The lucky ones will be raised as steers, and allowed to live outside, the rest will be raised as veal, or killed at birth.

These facilities are coming to the Midwest from the coast. We need to stop them now, before they force out all of the smaller family farms that let their animals graze, and where a cow can easily live to be 5 to 6 years old. Once these factories come in, and the smaller farms fail, due to lower milk prices, more and more of our agricultural land and animals will be owned by, and controlled by, big agriculture. Once that happens, the trend to more sustainable and organic farming will end.

Why this is urgent:

Just last week the Jo Daviess County Board voted 11 to 5 to reject the 12,000 head mega dairy.

Unfortunately, the Illinois Department of Agriculture can ignore that vote, and place the facility against the wishes of the board and the constituents that they represent.

Please give me one minute right now and take two vitally important actions.

First, contact the Governor, and let him know that you don't want this facility in Illinois. You can call, write, or use his web portal to send him a message.

Governor Rod Blagojevich
207 State House
Springfield, IL 62706
Phone: 217-782-0244 or 312-814-2121
TTY: 888-261-3336

Suggested message:

Dear Governor Blagojevich,

The Jo Daviess County board voted 11 to 5 to deny an application for a 12,000 head CAFO proposed for their county. Citing numerous experts's concern about major damage to the aquifer and surrounding rivers and streams, and the tremendous negative impact this facility would have on tourism, which is already bringing over $200,000,000 to the county, they rejected this application since it didn't fulfill the eight criteria imposed by the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

Please use your authority as Governor to ensure that the Department of Agriculture follows their own guidelines and denies this application. The citizens of Jo Daviess County deserve the right to have their elected county board make decisions that will have such significant negative impact on their community.

Thank you.

Second, go to this Sierra Club web site, and tell the federal EPA that huge factory farms should not be exempt from the clean air act...which would give them a legal loophole to avoid all of the pollution lawsuits being filed against them all over the country. This gift to corporate agriculture from the Bush administration would penalize small family farms, while allowing the largest and richest facilities to do as they pleased.

Extra Credit, contact the head of the Department of Agriculture, and voice your objections to this facility. Every letter they get has to be reviewed by their board, and included in their files. They need to know that people are concerned about clean air, clean water, family farms, and public health, and won't stand for these factories in Illinois.

Charles A. Hartke, Director
State of Illinois Department of Agriculture
P.O. Box 19281, State Fairgrounds
Springfield, IL 62794-9281
(217) 785-4789
FAX: 217.785.4505

You can read much more about this issue at including a wonderful story in a dairy newspaper bashing the Ag Dept.

As always, I, and all of my neighbors that are fighting this farm, thank you for your help.

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15. New York Times Editorial on the Record Beef Recall

The Biggest Beef Recall Ever

Published: February 21, 2008

A nauseating video of cows stumbling on their way to a California slaughterhouse has finally prompted action: the largest recall of meat in American history. Westland/Hallmark Meat Company has issued a full recall of more than 143 million pounds of beef produced over the last two years, including 37 million pounds that went to school-lunch programs.

A lot of that beef has already been eaten, and so far, thankfully, there have been no reports of illness. But the question Congress needs to ask is how many people need to get sick or die before it starts repairing and modernizing the nation’s food safety system?

Instead of strengthening the government’s regulatory systems, the Bush administration has spent years cutting budgets and filling top jobs with industry favorites. The evidence of their failures keep mounting: contaminated spinach, poisoned pet food, tainted fish.

At Westland/Hallmark, the latest horrors were secretly videotaped by the Humane Society of the United States, which said it had chosen the plant at random. The video showed workers kicking and using forklifts to force so-called “downer” cows to walk. The government has banned the sale of meat from most of these cows.

Officials have been busy assuring consumers that this massive recall is an “aberration.” “Whistling in the dark” — that is how Caroline Smith DeWaal of the Center for Science in the Public Interest describes such assurances. “The fact that they have failed here so miserably makes you start to question what else is going on that we don’t know about.”

The Westland/Hallmark plant had five federal inspectors on hand, including at least one veterinarian whose job was to make sure that diseased cows did not make it into the meat supply. But where were these inspectors when workers were abusing these poor animals in order to get them to the slaughterhouse? Investigations have already begun in California and Washington.

Whatever the outcome with this particular plant, the larger point is that Congress needs to overhaul the entire food inspection program. That includes giving the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration more power to demand mandatory recalls. Food producers should be able to track their supplies in order to more quickly root out problems. And foreign suppliers would have to create and implement a workable food safety plan that can be monitored better by federal inspectors.

The present patchwork of modest fines and penalties must also be stiffened.

Senator Richard Durbin and Representative Rosa DeLauro have a more ambitious idea: creating a single, powerful agency to oversee all food safety, instead of the current bureaucratic tangle of inspectors, some for vegetables, some for beef and some for imports. Right now the Agriculture Department oversees the safety of the home-grown beef supply (while also promoting the cattle industry) and the Food and Drug Administration monitors the safety of cattle feed. With Americans increasingly — and legitimately — mistrustful of the food they eat, their proposal is worth serious consideration.

My letter sent to the Times in response to their editorial:

February 21, 2008

Editor, NY Times

Dear Editor

Kudos for you’re your February 20 lead editorial “The Biggest Beef Recall Ever,” which called for major reforms in food inspection and asked “how many people need to get sick or die before [congress] starts repairing and modernizing the nation’s food safety system?” As president of Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA), I think that another key question is how much evidence do people need about the links between animal-based diets and many degenerative diseases, the massive mistreatment of animals on factory farms, and the major contributions of animal-centered agriculture to global warming and many other environmental threats before they recognize that a major societal shift toward plant-based diets is essential.

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16. Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life Sets Up an Environmental Blog

February 21, 2008 15 Adar I, 5768


COEJL is proud to share the creation of our new blog, To Till and To Tend. The opinions expressed in this blog represent the personal views of COEJL staff and other guests. These postings aren't COEJL policy; rather, their purpose is to generate discussion about issues affecting the Jewish community, the American people, and the world at large. So, enough said, please comment and tell us what you think as we fulfill God's commandment "To Till and to Tend."

Today's blog, written by Liore, COEJL's Project Mananager, is a reflection of her participation in the US Interfaith Climate Change mission to Northern Ireland: "Guinness, Climate Change and Peace."

Inspiration "There are three aspects of nature which command man's attention: power, loveliness, and grandeur. Power he exploits, loveliness he enjoys, grandeur fills him with awe" Man is Not Alone, Abraham Joshua Heschel (p.3)

*We have chosen to keep the original, gendered language used by Heschel, respecting the integrity of his written word while understanding that it represents the literary style of that day.

Advocacy Update

COEJL Is Advocating on Behalf of the Jewish Community. As a follow-up to our efforts with the Climate and Energy Working Group, COEJL has initiated visits with key congressional offices (including Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Oregon, Virginia and Washington). COEJL has been leading a coalition including representatives from many of our member agencies, including the American Jewish Committee, B'Nei Brith, Hadassah, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the Religious Action Center and United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. Visits highlight the Jewish community's concern for strong climate and energy policy, with a particular focus on the need to establish a firm, economy-wide cap on greenhouse gas emissions. These visits are intended to start an ongoing dialogue between Congress and the Jewish community as it considers federal climate change legislation. COEJL has also joined forces with a broad interfaith coalition to ensure that climate change legislation addresses the needs of the least among us.

To let your Senator know that you care, order COEJL's Climate Change Policy Postcards by contacting

Community: Teva's Seminar on Jewish Environmental Ed


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17. Supporting Jerusalem in New Monopoly Game

Forwarded message from Israeli vegetarian activist Mark Feffer:

Richard. Thank you. After all, [if this effort to have our votes make Jerusalem number 1 succeeds], millions of kids will grow up with Jerusalem etched in their minds as THE MOST PRESTIGIOUS city in the world. And the most important with the greatest value.

Here is a lot of information. One can vote everyday till Thursday. Who knows: your efforts/people may put us in the "Boardwalk" top spot..

Mark Feffer wrote: FRIENDS, Last week the Monopoly competition hit the news as they had decided to list Jerusalem without its state (Israel). There were many complaints and so Monopoly's solution was to list all the competing cities without their states. Maybe this was good publicity and more people will vote. At the voting site the leaderboard no longer is shown - to add suspense. One can vote everyday until Thursday this week. Shavua Tov and keep voting. Yours, Mark (We were number 4 in the Green as of last Thursday/ Your votes count! Here is the link...

Vote Jerusalem on the Monopoly Board!
[02. 6.2008]

If you have questions, you can contact Mark at:

* UPDATE (Feb 20): Keep Voting! Thanks to you, Jerusalem is now #4!

* We're aiming for #1! VOTE EVERY DAY! Hasbro encourages it.

* The makers of Monopoly are inviting fans worldwide to vote in an on-line contest to determine which 22 cities will be etched in the collective memory for a new global edition of the 75-year-old game.

* The contest, which got under way this week and will continue through February 28, will allow Monopoly fans the world over to cast their ballots for the 10 best cities out of a pre-selected list of 68, including Jerusalem, Israel.

* The 20 cities with the highest number of votes will make it onto the new board.

* Please ONLY vote for Jerusalem. Voting for other cities will reduce Jerusalem’s relative scoring.

* You can vote EVERY DAY up to Feb. 28.

* Here are step-by-step instructions. Please VOTE NOW!


1. Go to Hasbro's site.

2. In the right-pane, click ‘Sort By: Cities’ (see our diagram)

3. Scroll down to ‘Jerusalem, Israel’ > Click it.

4. A pop-up appears, click ‘Add to My Cities’

5. A small picture of Jerusalem should appear in lower section of the screen. (Please do not select any other cities. This would reduce Jerusalem’s scoring.)

6. Click Vote.

7. Click ‘Create your login now.’

8. Enter a desired Username and Password > Click Save.

9. You will receive a confirmation email at the entered address.

10. Click the link in the email.

11. Once a day until Feb. 28, repeat Steps 1 through 6.

12. Forward this message to others.

Have you signed the Jerusalem Petition?

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18. More on Veggie Pride Parade

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Member Newsletter
February 24, 2008 - 19 Adar I, 5768

Poetry and Fiction Section Added - Belles-Lettres, the new poetry and fiction section of the site is now up and running. ShalomVeg member Jampa W. has done a fantastic job creating and editing the pages, and she is looking for submissions for future editions. Please see her introduction below.

More Learning Resources - We have expanded the learning section of the site. There are over 30 new articles on veg and animal rights basics, covering issues such as factory farming, vegan health, animal experimentation, animals in entertainment and more. There is also an expanded selection of videos in the multimedia section, and new sections on activism and opinions. As with all sections of the site, you can add comments and share your views on any of the articles you read.

Share Your Story - If you have always wanted to share your personal story-how you became vegan or vegetarian, how Judaism has influenced your life choices, or any thing else you would like to share--have it published on ShalomVeg! We are always looking for submissions, and all writing can be published anonymously if desired.

Take The Survey - If you have not already done so, please take a few seconds to take the short survey about what you would like to see on ShalomVeg. As the site grows, it is important that we make the site the most useful and enjoyable for you. Click here to take the survey, or go to

Again, if you have any comments or suggestions about the site, please let us know.
-Boris Dolin,

of Kosher Slaughterhouse

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19. Excerpts From Newsletter

Member Newsletter
February 24, 2008 - 19 Adar I, 5768

Poetry and Fiction Section Added - Belles-Lettres, the new poetry and fiction section of the site is now up and running. ShalomVeg member Jampa W. has done a fantastic job creating and editing the pages, and she is looking for submissions for future editions. Please see her introduction below.

More Learning Resources - We have expanded the learning section of the site. There are over 30 new articles on veg and animal rights basics, covering issues such as factory farming, vegan health, animal experimentation, animals in entertainment and more. There is also an expanded selection of videos in the multimedia section, and new sections on activism and opinions. As with all sections of the site, you can add comments and share your views on any of the articles you read.

Share Your Story - If you have always wanted to share your personal story-how you became vegan or vegetarian, how Judaism has influenced your life choices, or any thing else you would like to share--have it published on ShalomVeg! We are always looking for submissions, and all writing can be published anonymously if desired.

Take The Survey - If you have not already done so, please take a few seconds to take the short survey about what you would like to see on ShalomVeg. As the site grows, it is important that we make the site the most useful and enjoyable for you. Click here to take the survey, or go to

Again, if you have any comments or suggestions about the site, please let us know.
-Boris Dolin,

of Kosher Slaughterhouse

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20. Update On Activities of Areyvut Group

Forwarded message fro Areyvit director Daniel Rothner:

[Areyvut strives to educate Jewish youth on Jewish teachings on tzedakah, chesed and tikkun olam (charity kindness and social justice) and to involve them in projects.]

We have a wonderful opportunity to leverage a gift & to really help move us forward. Listed below are a few recent and upcoming events that illustrate the impact of supporting Areyvut.

• We presented on the topic of “Changing Your School Community through Words” to 80 educators at the Jewish Federation of Great Vancouver. Many of the teachers, principals and administrators have begun to implement the new ideas into their curricula. Areyvut has since been contacted to implement a similar program for a day school in Monterrey, Mexico.

• The Teen Philanthropy Institute (TPI) launched in January and is comprised of 24 students from Bergen County in the 8th-10th grades, all of whom are interested in making a positive impact on their community. TPI participants attend meetings to learn more about philanthropy, local agencies that serve the community and how to create a caring community. Each participant has contributed $250 that is matched by a donor. TPI has $10,000 to allocate to agencies that deal with children, healthcare and/or hunger and poverty.

• Tonight we will begin a three part series The Meaning behind Bnai Mitzvah at Yeshivat Noam, a Bergen County Jewish day school. Students and parents will learn different ways to structure a Bnai Mitzvah project and hear from a local student who incorporated an innovative project into her celebration.

• Make a Difference Day is a program dedicated to helping others and actively making the world a better place. The 2008 program will be held from April 4-6 and the theme in partnership with JNF is “Preserving the Environment,” and activities will extend throughout the weekend as Jewish communities throughout America participate. To date we have over 35 projects registered. To access the educational materials, registration and to learn more about the program please visit

• In April, we will be participating in the PEJE Assembly for Jewish Day School Education in Boston.

These are just a few concrete examples of how your support makes a difference and helps us help better serve the community. Your donations enable us to teach students, their families, teachers and communities about the importance of making a difference and actively making the world a better place.

Your help & consideration are greatly appreciated.

Please help spread the word about this!

I want to inform you about an exciting opportunity to impact the future of a creative, dynamic Jewish organization. Areyvut, a non-profit organization that is changing the face of youth tikkun olam programming, invites you to join our President’s Circle. The Areyvut President’s Circle is an elite group of benefactors who make minimum annual contributions of $1,000. Members of this group are eligible to take part in special programming through which we acknowledge and honor those who play a substantial role in our daily operations.

Daniel Rothner
Areyvut Founder & Director
147 South Washington Avenue
Bergenfield, NJ 07621
P: 201-244-6702
F: 201-338-2427

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21. New Book Discusses Human Cruelty to Animals

Forwarded message:

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who's the Cruelest Species of Them All?

By Anneli Rufus <> , AlterNet
<> . Posted February 23, 2008

<> .

We are, of course, but a new book on animal cruelty will make your jaw
drop about how vicious humans can be to other animals.

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