April 29, 2008

4/7/2008 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. Happy Passover

2a. I Am Scheduled to Speak and Present A SACRED DUTY at the Animal Rights 2008 National Conference Near Washington, DC

3. HSUS Releases Booklet on Jewish Teachings on Protecting Animals and Nature - Commandments of Compassion: Jewish Teachings on Protecting Animals and Nature

4. Important Vegan Web Site Established

5. Video Showing Grateful Lion Bonding With Person Who Helped Her

6. Israeli Pro-Animal Group Protests Mock Passover Sacrifice/JVNA Press Release Draft

7. Update from ShalomVeg.com/a Very Supportive New Web Site

8. Messages For Reaching Out in Responses to Environmental and Other Groups

9. NY Times Op Ed Article Relates World Food Crisis to Global Warming/Two Letters in Response/Please Write

10. Demand that the Federal Government Reveal Which Schools Served Meat from Downed Cows

11. Global warming As An Important Issue for the Animal Rights Movement

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

I am pleased to report that there have been several very positive developments re A SACRED DUTY recently, including:

* CLAL, a Jewish think tank is in the process of sending DVDs of A SACRED DUTY to about 2,000 influential Jews connected with the group, including about 1,200 rabbis, 500 major donors, and 300 others., along with a strong message of support, which was included in the last JVNA newsletter. It is hope that this will lead to many positive developments. Please continue to let rabbis, educators, media people and other potentially valuable contacts in your area know about A SACRED DUTY, and that the entire documentary can be viewed at ASacredDuty.com. Thanks.

* Supreme Master TV, a group that is very supportive of vegetarianism, and is making major efforts to portray Judaism in a very positive light, has added subtitles in 8 languages to A SACRED DUTY and shown it in 4 segments. Please take a look at ASacredDuty.com, where the four segments are posted.

* Our very capable web coordinator Noam Mohr has added some very valuable material about A SACRED DUTY at ASacredDuty.com, including the four segments of A SACRED DUTY with subtitles mentioned above, blurbs and several reviews. Lease take a look. Constructive suggestions always welcome.

* I am providing Farm Sanctuary with 650 DVDs, so that they will put one in each gift bag they will give out at their upcoming “Hoe Down.” This will get DVDs to many Animal Rights activists.

Please help us spread the word re A SACRED DUTY by letting people know that they can see the entire movie and/or request a complimentary DVD by visiting ASacredDuty.com. Many thanks.

Please also let us know about breaking stories that we can tie A SACRED DUTY and vegetarianism, in general, to. Please consider writing letters related to Earth Day, April 22, that discuss A SACRED DUTY and vegetarianism, in general.

If you have any suggestions re the possible creation of a trailer for A SACRED DUTY, please let me know. Thanks,

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2. Happy Passover

This year, Passover begins the night of April 19 and includes Earth Day on April 22.

Please visit the fstival section at JewishVeg.com/Schwartz for my articles “Passover and Vegetarianism” and “Passover and Earth Day.” Please consider using material in these articles (no need to give me any credit) for your articles, letters and talking points. Thanks.

Vegtarian Seders This Year? If you know of any, please let me know so that I can include information about them in the next JVNA newsletter.

Vegetarian Passover recipes can be found in the recipes section of the JVNA web site JewishVeg.com. Also at http://www.vegcooking.com/passover/

Please see the insightful material from the Shalom Center below for connections between Passover concepts and global warming and other environmental threats.

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2a. I Am Scheduled to Speak and Present A SACRED DUTY at the Animal Rights 2008 National Conference Near Washington, DC

I plan to arrive by Amtrak on Sunday morning, August 17, and take part in a panel on religion and animal rights/vegetarianism, a showing of A SACRED DUTY and possibly a panel on effective ways to promote vegetarianism.

This is a very important conference where we can have great outreach to many animal rights and vegetarian groups. So, please consider coming and being involved. JVNA advisor Ron Landskroner, who has been extremely helpful in promoting A SACRED DUTY, will be attending.

I plan to ship 2 boxes (610 DVDs total) to the conference for distribution to attendees. If you plan to attend and can help out, please let me know. Many thanks.

Complete information re the conference can be found at :


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3. HSUS Releases Booklet on Jewish Teachings on Protecting Animals and Nature - Commandments of Compassion: Jewish Teachings on Protecting Animals and Nature

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has just published a new booklet with the above title, describing how the Bible and Jewish law teach and command us to treat animals with kindness, and to protect nature and its resources. Indeed, such teachings are fundamental to Judaism.

The very first commandments given by G-d to humans and to animals concern the welfare and survival of animals and nature, and human stewardship responsibilities towards them.

The massive abuse of the environment and the suffering inflicted on billions of animals every year clearly violate the teachings of Judaism, and cannot be justified by any person of faith and decency. If Jewish teachings were better known and adhered to, much of the destruction of the natural world and the suffering of animals would be eliminated, and this would be a better world for all of G-d's creatures - and for humans, as well.

Jews should take great pride in their centuries-long history of showing compassion and concern for animals and the environment - we are the first people in the world known to have adopted such teachings and laws. Thus have the Jews, charged with the mission of being “compassionate children of compassionate ancestors” and “a light unto the nations,” given the world, along with Monotheism, the important legacy of compassion for other living creatures. Perhaps this new booklet will help this wonderful legacy, now largely forgotten, to be placed again in the forefront of modern Jewish life, at a time when it is more needed than perhaps ever before.

The booklet was compiled, based on the teachings of the Bible and Jewish literature and scriptures by Lewis Regenstein, president of The Interfaith Council for the Protection of Animals and Nature, and author of "Replenish the Earth: The Teachings of the World's Religions on Protecting Animals and Nature." Further information about the booklet can be found and the booklet in a PDF form can be downloaded at:

The booklet is not yet available in printed form.

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4. Important Vegan Web Site Established

From: "matthew.cole@vegatopia.org"
Subject: Vegatopia

We hope you might be interested in a new website we have just launched, www.vegatopia.org, which is dedicated to providing a academic resource on all things vegan. It is specifically aimed at raising the profile of veganism in academia, at creating more links between academics and activists around veganism, and at providing a resource for research and debate. The website is also intended as an interactive forum, facilitating dialogue between academics interested in vegan-related research and also opening up opportunities for mutually beneficial collaboration between academics and vegan activist organisations and support groups. We have already been working with some organisations within the UK, including The Vegan Society and the Vegan Organic Network, and have forthcoming articles in the magazines for both organisations. We would also be grateful if you could forward details of www.vegatopia.org onto anyone else you think might want to know about us. We have attached a flyer to this email that you may like to forward on to colleagues you think may be interested and perhaps display in your office.

We would be very grateful for any comments or feedback about Vegatopia - and of course, please let us know if you have any queries.

Thanks and best wishes

Dr. Matthew Cole
School of City and Regional Planning
Cardiff University

Dr. Karen Morgan
School of Law
University of Bristol

Announcing www.vegatopia.org
a multi-disciplinary academic resource

Vegatopia is dedicated to providing a comprehensive academic resource on all things vegan. If you are a student, researcher or teacher interested in any aspect of veganism, then Vegatopia is the site for you. We hope to facilitate new areas of research into issues relating to veganism. We want vegatopia to be an interactive forum for dialogue, informing individual and collaborative research and teaching, as well as making a contribution to vegan activism and having a positive impact on veganism in a wider sense.

The website includes

o A news page with information about vegan academic activities, such as conferences, seminars, publications or courses.

o A diary with alerts to upcoming talks and other events.

o A comprehensive, interdisciplinary bibliography. We have archived over 1500 references relevant to the theory and practice of veganism. The bibliography is searchable according to keywords, such as 'social research' or 'activism'.

o A list of significant media sources relevant to veganism, including print, television and radio broadcasts, films and music.

o A set of resources for research and teaching veganism in academia, including the text or notes of lectures on veganism, conference papers, theoretical notes, and other unpublished work.

o A research forum, inviting discussion of ideas for future academic work to research and promote ethical veganism.

o An archive of public statements on vegan matters.

o Links to other organizations promoting veganism, including activist groups, educational charities and more.

Interested in joining vegatopia, or finding out more?

Contact us at "matthew.cole@vegatopia.org

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5. Video Showing Grateful Lion Bonding With Person Who Helped Her


Thanks to JVNA secretary/treasurer John Diamond for forwarding the URL to us.

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6. Israeli Pro-Animal Group Protests Mock Passover Sacrifice/JVNA Press Release Draft

Three related articles are below, followed by a JVNA press rlease:

Published: 04/02/08,
Mock Passover Sacrifice Slammed by Pro-Animal Group

by Gil Ronen


(IsraelNN.com) Animal rights group "Tnoo Lachayot Lichyot" ("Let the Animals Live") is threatening to take legal action to prevent the Jewish Temple movement from carrying out an educational demonstration of the Pesach (Passover) sacrifice next week. The group's chairman, Attorney Reuven Ladiansky, sent a letter to Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski and to Temple Institute Director Yehuda Glick, urging them to cancel the planned event or face legal action. The group sees the planned sacrifice as an act of illegal cruelty to an animal.

The demonstration of the Paschal sacrifice is part of a study day scheduled to take place on Sunday, the First of Nissan (April 6), at the Kotel Yeshiva in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City. The study day is a joint project of the Temple Institute, the Sanhedrin and the King David Museum. It was originally planned to take place one week later, but the organizers decided to dedicate it to the memory of the eight yeshiva boys murdered in Jerusalem recently, and to hold it on the 30th day after their death.

The study day is to include a public sacrifice which is being termed a "general rehearsal" for the actual Pesach sacrifice on the Temple Mount, a ritual prescribed by the Torah but currently forbidden by the Israel government and courts.

Public sacrifices are allowed

“Making the Paschal sacrifice is part of the religious freedom which is a basic human right and a cornerstone of democracy." Glick told Ynet Monday that according to Jewish law, abstaining from performing the sacrifice is an extremely serious offense, comparable in its severity to avoiding a brit (circumcision ceremony) for one's newborn boy. He explained that although Jewish law forbids Jews in an impure state (which all Jews are in as long as the Temple rites are not renewed) from entering the Temple area, an exception is made for public sacrifices like the Pesach sacrifice.

The Temple movement recently sent a formal request to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Minister of Public Security Avi Dichter, to allow them to conduct the sacrifice on the Temple Mount. "Making the Paschal sacrifice is part of the religious freedom which is a basic human right and a cornerstone of democracy," they wrote.

Glick said, however, that the organizers "have no intention of trying to ascend to the Mount without permission from the police."

'A substitute should be used'

According to the chairman of "Tnoo Lachayot Lichyot," the "demonstration sacrifice" would violate the Israeli law which makes it illegal to torture animals or to kill them in a cruel way. Any use of animals for educational purposes requires prior approval by the Council for Experiments on Animals. "Carrying out a 'general rehearsal' in which a live animal is sacrificed for demonstrational purposes only, while a substitute - like a model of a sheep - can be used, is unjustified and unnecessary," he claimed.

Another animal rights activist, Etti Altman, said the sacrifice has no place in an "enlightened country" like Israel and quoted from the ancient Sifri biblical commentary which says: "As God is called 'compassionate,' so should you be compassionate."

The Temple movement has conducted several Paschal sacrifices in recent years. The ceremonies took place in front of the Temple Mount, on a hill which is called the Hill of Hananyah, and on the Mount of Olives. These sacrifices, however, bore a symbolic nature and were seen as memorials to the real Pesach sacrifice, because Biblical law stipulates that the Pesach sacrifice can only be performed on the Temple Mount.

Court cited 'Special feelings'

In Biblical times, pilgrims came to Jerusalem from all parts of the Land of Israel, each family bringing with it a lamb, which was sacrificed in the Temple. The family then took the lamb and roasted it according to the Bible's instructions, making sure it did not touch the oven or the ground during the roasting. Then each family sat together and ate the sacrifice.

In 2007, the Temple Mount Faithful and the Sanhedrin rabbis purchased a herd of sheep and petitioned the Supreme Court to allow a Pesach sacrifice to be offered on the Temple Mount. However, the government and legal advisors to the police asked the Supreme Court to reject the plea. The act of bringing a sacrifice could threaten the general public's safety, they said, citing the Muslim public's “special feelings” for the Temple Mount and the possibility of a violent outbreak.

Besides the planned Pesach sacrifice demonstration, next week's study day will include discussions regarding the possibility of using an electrical oven or a ceramic skewer for roasting the Pesach sacrifice.

Animal rights groups against Passover sacrifice


Movement threatens to take legal action against Jerusalem municipality, Jewish leaders planning to publicly slaughter animals
Kobi Nahshoni

The Temple movements' intention to hold a public slaughter of the Passover sacrifice was slammed by the animal rights movement, Let Animals Live.

The activists demanded that the event's coordinators cancel their plans, and sent letters to Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski, and to the Director of the Temple Institute, Yehuda Glick, threatening to sue if their demands were not met within 24 hours.

Kosher Slaughter

Jewish slaughter in danger, chief rabbi tells importers / Neta Sela

Rabbi Metzger initiates meeting with meat importers, asks them to pressure slaughterhouses in South America to adopt 'boxing' method which does not cause animals undue distress. 'The koshering organizations are under attack, and Jews are presented as cruel people,' he warns

Full story

According to Let Animals Live director, Reuben Ladianski, the law states that it is prohibited to abuse or torture animals, including slaughtering them in a cruel manner.

"Any use of animals for educational purposes must be approved by the committee for animal experimentation," Ladianski said. "And the law states that permission will not be granted if the goal of the experiment can be reached in other, more humane ways."

In his letters, Ladianski warned that the maximum penalty for infringement of this law is three years in prison. He also mentioned the halacha, which prohibits animal abuse, and cited halachic rulings dealing with the correct treatment of animals.

In his letter to the mayor Ladianski writes, "Performing a public act in which an animal is sacrificed, when one can just as easily use a dummy, is wrong and unnecessary.

"Before we assume legal action we request that you notify us within 24 hours that you have received this letter and do not plan to allow this slaughter in Jerusalem's jurisdiction."

Eti Altman, one of the founders of the Let Animals Live movement, told Ynet that in her opinion, "The event is pointless and suitable only for unenlightened countries.

"Apart from the fact that it constitutes abuse, the slaughter of animals before an audience is liable to threaten their sense of humanity, and may deepen the rift between religious and secular communities."
From: AnimalConcerns.org <animalconcerns@gmail.com>
Date: April 6, 2008 10:16:08 AM EDT

(IsraelNN.com) The Jerusalem Magistrate's court ruled Friday that the Jewish Temple movement may, under state law, slaughter a sheep on Sunday as a "general rehearsal" for the renewal of the Pesach (Passover) sacrifice. The judge even called the effort "proper," but organizers have been summoned to appear at 1 PM in the District Court after an animal rights groups filed another last-minute suit.

The slaughter is planned as part of a conference dedicated to studying and restoring the Jewish observance of the Korban Pesach, as it was called since it was first observed in Egypt. At the time of the Exodus, Jews slaughtered a sheep per family group, despite its status as a deity to the Egyptian oppressors. The blood was then applied to the doorposts of the Jewish homes.

Animal rights group "Tnoo Lachayot Lichyot" ("Let the Animals Live") had argued that the planned slaughter constituted illegal cruelty to an animal.

Although the slaughter will be identical to any correctly-performed kosher slaughter, and the animal consumed in a manner resembling the popular Israeli pastime - the mangal (barbecue) - the animal rights group compared it to dog-fighting and other spectator events performed at the expense of animals' pain.

In her ruling, judge Hagit Mac-Kalmanovich said, "I was not convinced by the argument that the given event would cause the animal more pain and suffering than the accepted methods of slaughter in slaughterhouses."

full story:



PRESS RELEASE (Draft) [Suggestions welcome.]


April 7, 2008
Richard H. Schwartz, President of the Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA)
President@JewishVeg.com Phone: (718) 761-5876?

Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) today announced its opposition to a scheduled mock Passover sacrifice to take place in Jerusalem on Sunday, April 13.

Richard Schwartz, president of Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) and author of “Judaism and Global Survival” stated: “At a time when animal-based diets are contributing significantly to an epidemic of diseases in the Jewish and other communities, when ten billion animals, in the US alone, are badly mistreated on factory farms, when animal-based agriculture is a major factor behind global climate change, widening water shortages, rapid species extinction, destruction of tropical rain forests, coral reefs and other valuable habitats and many other environmental threats to humanity, we should not be educating people about slaughtering and eating animals. Rather we should increase awareness of the realities of the production and consumption of meat and other animal products and how they violate basic Jewish mandates to preserve human health, treat animals compassionately, protect the environment, conserve natural resources and help hungry people.”

JVNA is urging that tikkun olam-the healing and repair of the world -- be a central issue in synagogues, Jewish schools and other Jewish institutions. “Judaism has splendid teachings on environmental conservation and sustainability, and it is essential that they be applied to respond to the many current environmental threats,” stated Schwartz .

JVNA also stated that dietary concerns should be considered in terms of environmental impacts. Schwartz stated: “In view of the many threats to humanity, it is scandalous that the world is not only trying to feed 6.7 billion people, but also over 50 billion farmed animals; that 70 percent of the grain produced in the United States and over a third produced worldwide are fed to animals raised for slaughter; that the standard American diet (SAD) requires up to 14 times as much water as a vegan diet.”

JVNA also pointed out that the Hebrew prophets condemned sacrifices, if they were not carried out along with acts of justice and mercy and that Rav Kook, first Chief Rabbi of pre-state Israel felt that sacrifices in the Messianic period will not involve the slaughter of animals, based on Isaiah's prophecy re the wolf dwelling with the lamb … the lion eating straw like the ox … and no one hurting or destroying in all of G-d's holy mountain (Isaiah 11:6-9).

Further information about these issues can be found at JewishVeg.com. JVNA will provide complimentary copies of its new documentary A SACRED DUTY: APPLYING JEWISH VALUES TO HELP HEAL THE WORLD to rabbis who will contact them (mail@JewishVeg.com) and indicate how they will use them to involve their congregations on the issues. The entire movie can also be seen at ASacredDuty.com, and there is much background information at that site, including blurbs, questions and answers and several reviews of A SACRED DUTY.

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7. Update from ShalomVeg.com/a Very Supportive New Web Site

e Newsletter
Member Newsletter
April 6th, 2008 - 1 Nissan, 5768

As Passover approaches and we get our houses and stomachs ready for this wonderful celebration of freedom, we have a few pieces of news to share here at ShalomVeg.

Welcome to All of Our New Members! - As word has been spreading about the ShalomVeg community, we have received quite a few new registrations. There are now over 70 members on the site from all over the world including the US, Canada, South Africa, Egypt, Israel, Britain, Australia, Argentina, Israel and Mexico. This is a great time to update your profile to make sure that we can learn a little bit about each of you, and make the networking resources most useful for all members. You can search for and meet people for learning, activism and friendship, and send messages and chat with anyone on the site. To learn more about how to use these features, click here .

Question for the Kehillah (community) - The first question has been added to our forums as a starting point for community discussion. For those who have not used a forum before, it is a great way to meet members of the community, share your views and learn about important issues. You can find the forums and the first "Question for the Kehillah" here.

Add Your Voice - We are still looking for submissions of articles, personal stories and other writings for the site. You can send your submissions to: submissions@shalomveg.com

Don't forget to check out ShalomVeg chat and the store, where you can support the site and buy cool Jewish veg shirts and more.
From Around the Web

Vegan Matzo Balls (finally) - For all of the vegans out there who have been looking for a egg-free mazto ball soup to have at your seder, there is an incredible recipe on Isa Moskowitz's Post Punk Kitchen (the recipe does use kitniyot in the form of tofu, so it is not kosher for Pesach for those who don't eat beans during the holiday). I have been using this recipe for the past few years, and they really do taste very close to the original--light and full of flavor. If anyone has a vegan kitniyot-free matzo ball recipe, or another favorite Pesach recipe you would like to share, you can submit it in the recipes section of the site, or send send it to: submissions@shalomveg.com, and we can add it to the recipe database.

For more veg Passover recipes check out http://www.vegcooking.com/passover/

Earthlings - A Great Film For Passover - Although this award-winning documentary has been around for a few years now, it remains one of the most powerful films describing the human dependence on animals, and the connections between animal and human exploitation. As we think of the themes of freedom and social justice this Passover, this movie can be even more relevant for our lives. On the site you can watch a seven minute clip and order the DVD for yourself.


And of course, on the subject of great films, don't forget the powerful new Jewish Vegetarians of North America documentary A Sacred Duty, which looks at the current environmental crisis and vegetarian issues from a Jewish perspective . The film can be seen in full in the multimeida section of ShalomVeg. For more information see ASacredDuty.com.

Quote of the Moment

The same questions are bothering me today as they did fifty years ago. Why is one born? Why does one suffer? In my case, the suffering of animals also makes me very sad. I'm a vegetarian, you know. When I see how little attention people pay to animals, and how easily they make peace with man being allowed to do with animals whatever he wants because he keeps a knife or a gun, it gives me a feeling of misery and sometimes anger with the Almighty. I say 'Do you need your glory to be connected with so much suffering of creatures without glory, just innocent creatures who would like to pass a few years in peace?' I feel that animals are as bewildered as we are except that they have no words for it. I would say that all life is asking: 'What am I doing here?'

-Isaac Bashevis Singer, Newsweek interview (October 16, 1978) after winning the Nobel Prize in literature

Highlights From the Site

Passover and Vegetarianism, by Richard Schwartz

Do Animals Have a Right to Liberty?, by James Rachels

A Meaningful Life: Animal Advocacy, Human Nature, & A Better World, by Matt Ball

Vegetarianism in Israel, by Dan Arbel

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8. Messages For Reaching Out in Responses to Environmental and Other Groups

Many thanks to JVNA advisor Rina Deych for her valuable messages below promoting vegetarianism and A SACRED DUTY to various groups. Please consider using these insightful messages to compose your own letters. This is a very valuable way to spread our messages, so please apply it.
Great work, Rina!!
One important way to call environmental groups on their conspicuous lack of acknowledgement of the animal-agriculture/global warming connection is to go to the various sites, check to see if the issue is addressed anywhere, and, if it is not, write them an email asking them why. It's also easy (and quick) to respond to each "environmental group" email with a statement saying that you will not support their organization until they acknowledge the connection.

Here is an example of a letter I sent to one "environmental" organization, allegedly concerned about global warming (this particular one I wrote in Sept '07, before the film was even available):

While perusing your web site, I was dismayed to learn that there is not one word promoting a plant-based diet. Why is the November 2006, 400-page UN report entitled "Livestock's Long Shadow" (in which it is documented that animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than cars, buses, planes, and all forms of transportation combined), NOT even mentioned on your entire web site?

I am mortified that an organization that purports to be environmentally concerned is not actively addressing this issue and promoting a switch to a plant-based diet. With animal agriculture increasing exponentially, it is imperative that environmental organizations incorporate this issue into their campaigns.

Jewish Vegetarians of North America, in collaboration with award-winning filmmaker Lionel Friedberg has produced a film that addresses this "more" inconvenient truth. It is entitled "A Sacred Duty." While the film focuses on the Torah (or Old Testament) perspective, it is filled with current statistics and information, pertinent to all humans on this earth. I would strongly advise that your organization request a copy (or several, if needed) of this film for viewing and sharing, which is available, at no charge, in DVD format.

Requests should be sent to Secretary/Treasurer of the JVNA, John Diamond, at: jdiamond4@cox.net


Rina Deych, RN

Another way of spreading our message (to groups that should be already "getting" it, and others) is by posting similar comments to EVERY global warming and environmental petition we sign. There is almost always a "comments" section on the petitions. It takes only a few seconds. In fact, I save the template for such a response and just tailor it to each petition.

In addition, when I sign petitions like "No Downers" (injured farm animals left to suffer and die slow deaths) I post reasons why we should eliminate animal agriculture altogether, again, citing the UN study.

I believe these petitions have the potential to make a significant impact because MANY people read them! They expand peoples' consciousness and win over many supporters. They also often make the news! How many times have you read in newspaper articles that after a given incident thousands of people wrote letters and signed petitions? Care2, one group which circulates many petitions, has a huge network and is able to spread them far and wide. They are geniuses when it comes to being able to get peoples' attention and support.

Here are some examples of what I post on petitions:
(by the way... a neat little trick to highlight words and make them stand out on petitions is to use spaces and * asteristics *... this symbol ~ is great, too!)
Posted to a petition asking that the government take a more active role in addressing global warming:

As a registered nurse, environmentalist, and humanitarian, I am concerned about the alarming rate at which global warming has been progressing.

Each one of us must do our part to minimize pollution. That includes using environmentally friendly hybrid cars, conserving energy and water, recycling, and, maybe MOST importantly, switching to a plant-based diet. A recent 400-page UN report [ summarized here: http://www.wellfedworld.org/globalwarming.htm
] cited animal agriculture as a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions (more than cars, trucks, planes, and all forms of transportation combined). Let's take some responsibility as individuals and stop expecting someone else to do something about the problem.
Vegetarian/Vegan diets are better for human health, the planet, and, certainly, for the animals... Rina Deych,RN ... http://www.asacredduty.com/
Posted to one petition citing Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth:

We need an immediate reduction (and hopefully ultimate cessation) of * meat eating * ... something Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth conveniently and conspicuously left out.

A recent 400-page UN report entitled "Livestock's Long Shadow" stated that animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than cars and all other forms of transportation combined. The easiest and most direct way we, as a species, can help the planet is to switch to a plant-based diet. Going veg'an is better for human health, the planet, and, of course, the animals. If we do not learn to live in harmony with nature and start minimizing insult to the planet, we will have no planet to protect.....................
Rina Deych, RN and Wildlife Rehabilitator

UN report: ..............
.....http://www.wellfedworld.org/globalwarming.htm ...............................
Great new documentary which addresses the issue from a Judaic point of view.....http://www.asacredduty.com/
Posted to "No Downers" petition:

The human species needs to go vegan, period.
No more downers, no more torturing and slaughtering animals who have lived an unhealthy and miserable life, no more cancers, heart disease, stroke, and other diseases caused by the consuming of flesh.

And, in case your health and the well-being of animals is not enough to convince you, A recent 400-page UN report entitled "Livestock's Long Shadow" stated that animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than cars and all other forms of transportation combined. The easiest and most direct way we, as a species, can help the planet is to switch to a plant-based diet. Going veg'an is better for human health, the planet, and, of course, the animals. If we do not learn to live in harmony with nature and start minimizing insult to the planet, we will have no planet to protect..................... Rina Deych, RN and Wildlife Rehabilitator ....................... UN report: .............. http://www.wellfedworld.org/globalwarming.htm ............................... Great new documentary which addresses the issue from a Judaic point of view.....http://www.asacredduty.com/

Rina Deych
Personal web site: http://www.rrrina.com
Myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/rinadeych

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9. NY Times Op Ed Article Relates World Food Crisis to Global Warming/Two Letters in Response/Please Write

[This very insightful NY Times article provides a valuable opportunity to connect animal-based diets to world hunger and other societal problems, as the two letters below by me and JVNA advisor Syd Baumel do.]

Grains Gone Wild


Paul Krugman NY Times 4/7/06

These days you hear a lot about the world financial crisis. But there's another world crisis under way - and it's hurting a lot more people.

I'm talking about the food crisis. Over the past few years the prices of wheat, corn, rice and other basic foodstuffs have doubled or tripled, with much of the increase taking place just in the last few months. High food prices dismay even relatively well-off Americans - but they're truly devastating in poor countries, where food often accounts for more than half a family's spending.

There have already been food riots around the world. Food-supplying countries, from Ukraine to Argentina, have been limiting exports in an attempt to protect domestic consumers, leading to angry protests from farmers - and making things even worse in countries that need to import food.

How did this happen? The answer is a combination of long-term trends, bad luck - and bad policy.

Let's start with the things that aren't anyone's fault.

First, there's the march of the meat-eating Chinese - that is, the growing number of people in emerging economies who are, for the first time, rich enough to start eating like Westerners. Since it takes about 700 calories' worth of animal feed to produce a 100-calorie piece of beef, this change in diet increases the overall demand for grains.

Second, there's the price of oil. Modern farming is highly energy-intensive: a lot of B.T.U.'s go into producing fertilizer, running tractors and, not least, transporting farm products to consumers. With oil persistently above $100 per barrel, energy costs have become a major factor driving up agricultural costs.
High oil prices, by the way, also have a lot to do with the growth of China and other emerging economies. Directly and indirectly, these rising economic powers are competing with the rest of us for scarce resources, including oil and farmland, driving up prices for raw materials of all sorts.

Third, there has been a run of bad weather in key growing areas. In particular, Australia, normally the world's second-largest wheat exporter, has been suffering from an epic drought.

O.K., I said that these factors behind the food crisis aren't anyone's fault, but that's not quite true. The rise of China and other emerging economies is the main force driving oil prices, but the invasion of Iraq - which proponents promised would lead to cheap oil - has also reduced oil supplies below what they would have been otherwise.

And bad weather, especially the Australian drought, is probably related to climate change. So politicians and governments that have stood in the way of action on greenhouse gases bear some responsibility for food shortages.
Where the effects of bad policy are clearest, however, is in the rise of demon ethanol and other biofuels.

The subsidized conversion of crops into fuel was supposed to promote energy independence and help limit global warming. But this promise was, as Time magazine bluntly put it, a “scam.”

This is especially true of corn ethanol: even on optimistic estimates, producing a gallon of ethanol from corn uses most of the energy the gallon contains. But it turns out that even seemingly “good” biofuel policies, like Brazil's use of ethanol from sugar cane, accelerate the pace of climate change by promoting deforestation.
And meanwhile, land used to grow biofuel feedstock is land not available to grow food, so subsidies to biofuels are a major factor in the food crisis. You might put it this way: people are starving in Africa so that American politicians can court votes in farm states.

Oh, and in case you're wondering: all the remaining presidential contenders are terrible on this issue.

One more thing: one reason the food crisis has gotten so severe, so fast, is that major players in the grain market grew complacent.

Governments and private grain dealers used to hold large inventories in normal times, just in case a bad harvest created a sudden shortage. Over the years, however, these precautionary inventories were allowed to shrink, mainly because everyone came to believe that countries suffering crop failures could always import the food they needed.

This left the world food balance highly vulnerable to a crisis affecting many countries at once - in much the same way that the marketing of complex financial securities, which was supposed to diversify away risk, left world financial markets highly vulnerable to a systemwide shock.

What should be done? The most immediate need is more aid to people in distress: the U.N.'s World Food Program put out a desperate appeal for more funds.
We also need a pushback against biofuels, which turn out to have been a terrible mistake.

But it's not clear how much can be done. Cheap food, like cheap oil, may be a thing of the past.
Re: “Grains Gone Wild,” by Paul Krugman (column, The New York Times, April 7):

“What should be done?” to allay the global grain crunch, asks Paul Krugman. His sensible recommendations leave out one powerful solution: eat less meat, or none at all. As Krugman himself notes, it takes a lot of grain to produce a little meat. Specifically, producers today typically use anywhere from about four to 15 ounces of protein from grain feed to produce one ounce of animal protein, including eggs and dairy: a 10:1 inefficiency ratio, on average.* If developed nations adopted a plant-based diet and encouraged emerging economies to follow suit, the world would have cheap grain to spare.

Syd Baumel
Winnipeg, April 7, 2008

Disclosure: I am the Editor and Publisher of Eatkind.net and Co-director of AnimalWatch Manitoba.

950 Jessie Ave.
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Canada R3M 1A9

* “Quantification of the environmental impact of different dietary protein choices,” Lucas Reijnders and Sam Soret, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2003; 78(suppl):664S-8S (www.ajcn.org/cgi/reprint/78/3/664S).
April 7, 2008

Editor, NY Times


Re: “Grains Gone Wild,” by Paul Krugman (column, The New York Times, April 7):

The current world food crisis is a very important reason for a major shift toward plant-based diets. While billions of people lack adequate food, 70 percent of the grain produced in the US and over 40 percent produced worldwide are fed to animal destined for slaughter. It takes up to 16 pounds of grain to produce one pound of beef in a feedlot.

In addition, animal-based agriculture contributes significantly to two main causes of reduced food production: water shortages and global climate change. It takes up to 14 times as much water for an animal-centered diet than for a vegan diet. And, a 2006 UN study indicated that livestock agriculture emits more greenhouse gases in CO2 equivalents (18%) than all of the world's cars and other means of transportation combined (13.5%). The UN report also projects a doubling of farmed animals in 50 years, making the situation potentially far worse.

Hence, a major shift to plant-based diets is a societal imperative.

Very truly yours,

Richard H. Schwartz

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10. Demand that the Federal Government Reveal Which Schools Served Meat from Downed Cows

Forwarded message (Care2 petition):

Dear Richard,

Recently, the USDA announced the largest recall of beef in the nation's history -- 143 million pounds. A significant number of "downer" cows -- cows too sick to stand -- had been processed into beef, despite USDA rules forbidding this. A substantial portion of the recalled beef was distributed to schools for school lunches.

Where is that recalled meat? Was it delivered to schools in Staten Island [and everywhere else in the US] , and if so, which ones? Finding that out isn't easy. The Bush Administration knows, but it won't tell you.

You have a right to know about the quality and health of food in your community. Tell the Bush Administration to disclose all schools and retail stores involved in meat recalls! »
Thanks for taking action!

Care2 Campaign Team

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11. Global warming As An Important Issue for the Animal Rights Movement

From: Anthony Marr <anthony_marr@yahoo.com>

The Animal Rights Movement must tackle Global Warming

At this stage of the Animal Rights movement, the subject of global warming is by and large considered irrelevant, and thus ignored. This has to change, immediately or sooner.


The obvious initial answer is that the animal industry generates more greenhouse gasses than the transportation system. A meat-eater riding a bicycle generates more GHGs [greenhouse gasses] than a vegan driving a Hummer. So, yes, veganism definitely is a solution.

But even if all 6 billion humans on Earth suddenly become vegans tomorrow, there is still a greater problem requiring an even great solution - stopping GHG release from all sources altogether in record time, failing which a full-blown and unstoppable 6th Mass Extinction will descend upon the Earth.

The 6th Mass Extinction is not a theory. It is a fact. Its early stages are already unfolding all over the world as we speak. And it is anthropogenic - i.e. of human cause (see http://www.all-creatures.org/hope/gw/01_mass_extinction.htm).

Every day, we are exterminating dozens of known species, and an unknown number of unknown species - directly by hunting and habitat destruction, and indirectly by global warming - and this extinction rate is escalating. (see http://www.all-creatures.org/hope/gw/01_temperatures.htm)

The magnificent Amazon rainforest seems destined to annihilation - become scrubland at best, a savannah if even drier, and a desert at worse - 5 million species right there. (see http://www.all-creatures.org/hope/gw/01_tropical.htm)

A medium case scenario presented by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projects a temperature rise of 3 degrees Celsius and a "moderate" reduction of 30% of Earth's biodiversity (currently totaling about 20 million species) by 2100. As early as 2007, however, the Arctic-meltdown and Amazon-drought combination exceeded IPCC's worst case scenario by 300%. How much more of the worst case scenario can we exceed given a whole century of continued human selfishness, shortsightedness and stupidity? (see http://www.all-creatures.org/hope/gw/01_projections_&_scenarios.htm).

Our business-as-usual, economy-over-ecology way of dealing with global warming (see http://www.all-creatures.org/hope/gw/01_nations'_energy.htm) points at a global temperature rise in excess of the “6-degrees-Celsius/10-degrees-Fahrenheit” threshold where over 90% of all Earth's species would go extinct, possibly including our own.

And we haven't even calculated the impact of the most dangerous substance on Earth - methane clathrate (methan hydrate), currently in solid form in the permafrost and under the sea. But the ocean is warming and the permafrost is melting. The methane being released is >20 time more powerful as a GHG than carbon dioxide. More methane in the atmosphere, more intense global warming, more methane released... Such a positive feedback loop will drive global warming into unstoppable and merciless runaway global heating.

The point to be made here is that the activities of our species are dooming millions of species of animals and plants to extinction. No crime perpetrated by us throughout our blood-soaked history, against humanity or against nature, can be greater than this.

Since it is already happening, it is our responsibility to do all we can to minimize the carnage as soon as possible.

We have no right to destroy in a century what took millions of years to evolve. In other words, we have no right to categorically eradicate God's creation. And the animals, whose rights we champion, have every right to live, and live in harmony with an unpolluted environment.

If the Animal Rights movement does not rise in defense of these otherwise doomed species, including all mammals and birds, what will?


I will not bore you with small talk about changing lightbulbs and insulating houses. There will be no lightbulbs to change and no houses to insulate within a century unless we shut down the most gargantuan monstrosity our species has ever created - the hideous and damned Alberta Tar Sands.

Within 3 years.

This is more than a David-v-Goliath contest, but one akin to mouse-v-dinosaur. Even members of Mission Impossible say, “Impossible”. But I think otherwise. I will not bore you with more words here. Please see the Tar Sands for yourselves, for now. (see http://www.all-creatures.org/hope/gw/02_Alberta_tar_sands.htm) The solution will come shortly. Meanwhile, just bear in mind, between the mouse and the dinosaur, which is still alive today?

Anthony Marr, founder
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)

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