May 11, 2008

5/5/2008 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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


2. First Veggie Pride Parade in America Being Organized

3. Jerusalem Post Opinion Piece re Farmed Animals

4. Basic Jewish Vegetarian Argument

5. International Spotlight on Food Crisis

6. Fighting Food Crisis and Climate Change with Knives and Forks

7. JVNA Press Release on the Global Food Crisis and Other Current Crises

8. Animal Rights 2008 Conference Scheduled

9. Hidden Food Costs - Confined Animal Operations Cost Taxpayers Billions

10. Reaching Out to Rabbis and Other Jewish Leaders

11. Important Jewish Educators' Conference to Consider Jewish Environmental Teachings

12. My Article Re Debating Rabbis in “Humane Religion” Publication

13. Vegetarian Eating in Brooklyn

14. Australian Animal Rights Group Promotes Animal Rights Talks

15. Action Alert: Help Save South African Elephants

16. Realities Re Free-Range Eggs, Organic Milk, Etc.

17. Update From

18. Slovenia Society for the Rights and Liberation of Animals Seeking Support

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.



Note: As I recently returned from 2 weeks in Israel, I may have missed some important material that would be valuable for JVNA newsletter readers. If you have suggestions for material during that period that you think should be in a JVNA newsletter, please let me know. Thanks.


a. Documentary Receives Award

Message forwarded from producer Lionel Friedberg:

EXCELLENCE at this year's US INTERNATIONAL FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL. The awards will be presented on June 7th in Beverly Hills.

It is great that we are finally being recognized in a major international
film festival.

b. A SACRED DUTY to be Shown at the Cinematheque in Jerusalem, with Hebrew Subtitles

The movie is scheduled to be shown by Ecocinema at Jerusalem's largest theater on May 17 at 9:30 PM, followed by a talk on Judaism and the Environment by Anat Kaplan of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI).

Having the movie available with English subtitles will be very helpful with future outreach efforts in Israel.

If you would like to attend free and help represent JVNA at this event, please let me know.


c. Continued Efforts to Get A SACRED DUTY Widely Shown

Please let others know that the entire documentary can be viewed at, and that at this web site, people can get further information about the movie and request a complimentary DVD.


Please stay tuned for more developments.

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2. First Veggie Pride Parade in America Being Organized

Message forwarded:

Please cross-post widely.

[Please note: JVNA will be sharing a table with CHAI (Concern for Helping Animals in Israel) and Micah Publications/Jews for Animal Rights (JAR) at this event. If you would like to volunteer to help, please let me know, or just stop by the table. Thanks. Pamela Rice, a JVNA advisor, among many other credits, deserves a tremendous amount of credit for planning and organizing this event. Kudos, Pam.]

For immediate release
Contact: PAMELA RICE, 212-242-0011

May 18, 2008
Greenwich Village, NYC


The First Veggie Pride Parade in America will take place in Greenwich Village, New York City, on May 18, 2008.

The procession will begin at 12 Noon in the Old Meat District (where 9th Ave., Gansevoort St., Greenwich St., and Little West 12th St. intersect).

The parade will culminate in Washington Square Park (Eastern end), where a festival of rock music, speakers, and exhibitors will take

Parade participants are encouraged to dress up in costumes and to wear sign boards announcing their pride in their vegetarian lifestyle.

Local restaurants will represent themselves with banners. And otherwise, contingents from all walks of life are encouraged to get

Participants may be animal-rights activists, environmentalists, or people simply concerned with their health. They may be bricklayers who just so happen to also be vegetarians (just one example). But on May 18, 2008 all will come together with one voice, one expression, of veggie pride.

At 2 p.m. on stage at the post-parade rally in Washington Square Park, the winners of a costume and poster-slogan contest in various categories will be announced.

At 4 p.m., also on stage, a 7-foot-tall human pea pod, Penelo Pea Pod (long-time mascot of parade sponsor VivaVegie Society) will be married in an open wedding ceremony. The lucky guy (ur, animal? vegetable?) has yet to be identified. Stay tuned. The secret will soon be out.

The parade is fashioned after, and will take place the same weekend as, the Veggie Pride Parade in Paris. The Parisian parade was the first of its kind ever to take place in the world and has been going on annually since 2001.

Visit for more information about the
Parisian roots of the parade as well as the genesis for the New York

Also at, find buttons to click to get involved through volunteering and sponsorship. Find maps with start location and parade route as well.

Click at for the official Veggie Pride Parade (USA) blog, calendar, volunteers' listserve, and costume page. And so much more...

Visit to find it all.

Please cross post widely.

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3. Jerusalem Post Opinion Piece re Farmed Animals

[Jerusalem Post - opinion]

Q What is the kashrut status of meat from animals that are treated
harshly, like foie gras?

- Ben K, Dallas, Texas

A The controversial balance of benefiting from animals while treating them humanely arises in many areas of life. After returning recently from an enjoyable trip with my family to the zoo, which advocates animal preservation and protection, I found on the animal rights group PETA Web site, "Never patronize zoos," since these creatures belong in the wild, not "locked up in captivity."

Through many different mitzvot, Jewish law clearly condemns cruelty to
animals. The Torah, for example, forbids muzzling an ox while it works so that it can eat freely (Deuteronomy 25:4), while the Seven Noahide Laws prohibit eating a limb severed from a living animal. The rabbis further decreed that a person must provide food to his animal before he partakes in his own meal (Brachot 41a).

Today, foie gras is industrially produced by restraining birds while food is poured down their throats held open by a metal pipe, a process repeated over a period of several days or weeks. Some decisors, such as Rabbi Yosef Elyashiv, allow producing foie gras, contending that the force-feeding ultimately provides sustenance to humans, as it did in previous generations. A number of leading rabbis, including Rabbi Ovadia Yosef (Yabia Omer YD 9:3), banned the practice because th process of production causes unacceptable pain, especially in an age when meat is readily available through more delicate means. They further contended that gavage might fatally wound the esophagus, raising questions about the kashrut of the animal.

Rabbi Moshe Feinstein separately prohibited producing veal, since the
animals are fattened up through severe limitations on their movements
(Igrot Moshe EH 4:92). This ruling has received less attention, although it was endorsed by the Masorti movement's Rabbi David Golinkin. In contrast, the prohibition of foie gras has gained much support from both Orthodox and non-Orthodox followers, including the Israeli High Court of Justice, which cited tza'ar ba'alei haim in its 2003 ban of foie gras production, a position I personally support.

The writer, editor of, teaches in Yeshivat Hakotel and is pursuing a doctorate in Jewish philosophy at the Hebrew University.

full story:

[Please consider writing a lettesr re this and other vegetarian related articles. Thanks.]

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4. Basic Jewish Vegetarian Argument

Please consider adapting the statement below in promoting vegetarianism in the Jewish and other communities. Thanks.

Should all Jews give serious consideration to reducing or eliminating their consumption of animal products, since a diet of fruits and vegetables and grains and legumes and nuts fulfills numerous religious obligations in Judaism: preserving human health (a vegetarian diet prevents many diseases); protecting the environment (mass production of animals causes tremendous pollution of land, water, and air); conserving natural resources (a vegetarian diet consumes many fewer resources), treating animals with compassion (factory farming of animals, including most of the animals used for kosher meat, is cruel and painful), feeding the hungry (grains fed to animals could feed millions of hungry people), and pursuing peace?

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5. International Spotlight on Food Crisis

World's finance chiefs say shortages, soaring prices could put poor countries in jeopardy

Steven R. Weisman, New York Times

April 14, 2008

Washington - --

The world's economic ministers declared Sunday that shortages and skyrocketing prices for food posed a potentially greater threat to economic and political stability than the turmoil in capital markets.

The ministers, conferring in the shadow of a slumping U.S. economy that threatens to pull down the economies of other countries, turned their attention to the food crisis and called on the wealthiest countries to fulfill pledges to help prevent starvation and disorder in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

"Throughout the weekend we have heard again and again from ministers in developing countries and emerging economies that this is a priority issue," said Robert Zoellick, president of the World Bank. "We have to put our money where our mouth is now, so that we can put food into hungry mouths. It is as stark as that."

Zoellick said that almost half of the $500 million that the World Food Program recently requested in additional pledges for food aid this year had been committed, but that the program would not meet a deadline of raising the money by May 1.

The World Food Program is seeking the aid, on top of nearly $3 billion already committed, because of shortfalls in food distribution resulting from higher prices.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, said the food crisis posed questions about the survivability of democracy and political regimes.

"As we know in the past, sometimes those questions lead to war," he said. "We now need to devote 100 percent of our time to these questions."

World Bank and IMF officials noted that political instability had already hit countries as disparate as Haiti, Egypt, the Philippines and Indonesia because of food shortages, forcing some countries to limit food exports.

- - -

Some ministers from poor countries, for example, are growing impatient with the way the West is addressing global warming by subsidizing and encouraging conversion of corn, sugar cane and other food products into substitutes for oil. The shift is helping to drive up prices, they say.

Strauss-Kahn said he had heard from many financial officials this weekend that the West's focus on fuel, at the expense of food, was a "crime against humanity." Though he noted that the IMF is primarily a monetary and financial agency, he said it would try to "review its tools" to help countries pay for food imports.

- - -

Full story:


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6. Fighting Food Crisis and Climate Change with Knives and Forks

Thanks to Jean Brodsky and Steve Gorad for writing and submitting the following important, insightful article:

While skeptics continue to doubt scientists' warnings on the urgency of global warming, for millions of people, it seems that doomsday has already arrived.

In the last two years, prices of basic foodstuffs have soared to ominous levels, with wheat prices rising by 130 percent in the last year alone. In the US, the poor have already felt the pinch. In some countries, skyrocketing food prices have led to widespread unrest. Food riots have been reported in Africa, the Middle East, South Asia and Latin America. The World Bank recently warned that 33 nations are now at risk of social unrest because of rising food prices. Violent food protests have already taken place in developed economies, such as Italy.

People believe that the first wave of global warming disasters will come sometime in the distant future from rising sea levels. It is now clear that long before rising sea levels make their inevitable catastrophic impact, we will be faced with serious problems with our food supply. Food crises and the social unrest that follows represent the first wave of global warming disasters. The United Nations has even called this a "Silent Tsunami." Poor countries, with little greenhouse gas emissions, will suffer first and the most because they are the least able to adapt. But, we who live in developed countries are not immune. With the planet warming at a much faster pace than previously predicted, even scientists can't predict when or what will be next.

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, a combination of factors have led to this urgent threat: damage to agricultural production caused by climate change, increased meat consumption (diverting food crops to feed livestock), the production of biofuels, and rising energy costs. While politicians continue to argue the issues, there is something that every one of us can do right now to prevent the food crisis from worsening and to curb climate change at the same time. It is so simple, and so obvious. Just stop eating meat!

The 2006 United Nations report "Livestock's Long Shadow" points out that meat consumption generates 18% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, more than all forms of transportation combined. One third of grain production worldwide is used to feed livestock instead of humans. This just doesn't make sense. It takes about 700 calories' worth of grain to produce a 100 calorie piece of beef. Forgoing meat can help feed a lot more starving people than you think. As for greenhouse gas emissions, reducing meat consumption by just 20 percent would be the equivalent of switching from a Camry to a Prius. Going vegan for a year would save 1.5 tons of greenhouse emissions.

All of humanity is connected. Our lifestyle affects the wellbeing of people in faraway countries, and vice versa. Going meatless is the most effective thing that each one of us can do to help rein in the food crisis and global warming. It's time for us to rise up with our knives and forks. With simple changes in our food choices, we just might be able to eat our way out of the doomsday scenario.

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7. JVNA Press Release on the Global Food Crisis and Other Current Crises

May 5. 2008
For Immediate Release
Contact person: Richard H. Schwartz, President of the Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) (; Phone (718) 761-5876; web sites: and


The Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) today released the following statement:

A major shift toward veganism would be a significant step in effectively responding to the current food crises and other societal problems. Please consider:

* At a time when food prices are soaring, when there have been recent food riots in at least a dozen countries, when an estimated 20 million of the world's people die annually due to hunger and its effects, over 70 percent of the grain produced in the United States and over 40 percent of the grain produced worldwide is fed to animals destined for slaughter.
It takes up to 16 pounds of grain in a feedlot to produce one pound of beef.

* In a period of increasing droughts and with over half of the world's people expected to be living in areas chronically short of water by the middle of this century, it takes up to 14 times as much water to produce a typical western animal-centered diet than a vegan diet.

* While energy prices are soaring and it is expected that we will soon start running out of oil, it takes up to ten times more energy on an animal-based diet than a vegan diet.

* Whle the world is heading toward an unprecedented catastrophe from global warming, a 2006 UN Food and Agricultural Organization report indicated that animal-based agriculture emits more greenhouse gases (in CO2 equivalents) than all the world's cars, trucks, ships, planes and other means of transportation combined (18% vs. 13.5%).

Making the situation even more critical for each of the above issues, the same UN FAO report projects a doubling in the amount of animal products consumed globally in 50 years, and this would negate the effects of many other positive changes that are currently being considered.

An additional important factor is that the production and consumption of meat and other animal products violate basic Jewish mandates to preserve human health, treat animals with compassion, protect the environment, conserve natural resources and help hungry people.

For all of the above reasons, JVNA will respectfully urge rabbis and other Jewish leaders to actively address the many moral issues related to animal-based diets. It hopes that Jewish religious leaders will engage in a respectful dialogue/debate on "Should Jews Be Vegetarians Today?"

Putting these issues squarely on the Jewish agenda would save many lives, move our imperiled planet to a more sustainable path, and show the relevance of Judaism's eternal teachings in addressing current critical issues, and thus help revitalize Judaism.

Because the issues are so urgent and are generally 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 in its entirety at JVNA will send a complimentary DVD to people who contact JVNA ( and indicate how they might help promote the movie.

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 (; (

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8. Animal Rights 2008 Conference Scheduled

The Animal Rights 2008 National Conference is taking place August 14-18 in Alexandria, VA (a suburb of Washington, DC).

[I am scheduled to attend on Sunday, August 17 and to be a panelist on religion and vegetarianism and to help present A SACRED DUTY on that day. JVNA will share a table with CHAI at this event. We already have some volunteers to help, but if you would like to also volunteer, please let me know. This is a chance to reach many animal rights activists with our message. Thanks.]

Highlights include 100 speakers from more than 60 organizations, 80+ free exhibits, 60+ videos, networking receptions, vegan food, cruelty-free shopping, celebrity & activist awards, and much more.

There's an early registration discount through May 31st, plus an extra $20 off if you mention this e-list. There are also staffing positions and room/ride share boards to help with costs.

Check out the website for details at

We also need help with promotion! You can help by distributing colorful AR2008 promo cards at events. Request a free pack at

We hope to see you this summer!

For the animals,
Jen at FARM

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9. Hidden Food Costs - Confined Animal Operations Cost Taxpayers Billions

Forwarded message:

Dear Richard,

The news has been full of stories recently about the rising cost
of food. But when it comes to most meat, milk, and eggs sold in
the United States, consumers have paid more for years--they just
didn't know it.

According to a new Union of Concerned Scientists report, the
true cost of meat and milk produced in massive CAFOs (confined
animal feeding operations) includes billions in unaccounted-for
taxpayer dollars that pay for the economic, health, and
environmental problems CAFOs create.

CAFOs are supported by misguided government policies. Meanwhile,
modern, alternatives are already in practice today that can
produce the quantity of food we need, often without government
subsidies. These alternatives can safeguard our health while
protecting the foundations of our food supply--like healthy soil
and fresh water. Please sign our petition to the secretary of
the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), asking him to end
policies that give an unfair advantage to the polluting CAFO
industry and to support modern alternatives instead.

Sign this petition via the web at:


Jennifer Palembas
National Field Organizer
Food and Environment Program

CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations) are costing U.S.
taxpayers billions of dollars in unaccounted for costs,
according to a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists.
"CAFOs Uncovered: The Untold Costs of Confined Animal Feeding
Operations" examines how misguided government policies force the
public to pick up the tab to support these operations. This
gives CAFOs an economic edge over small and medium-sized
livestock, poultry, egg, and dairy operations that use modern,
alternative methods to avoid the health and environmental
problems that plague CAFOs.

As the leader of the government agency with the responsibility
to regulate and research agricultural methods, we urge you to
reject policies that support CAFOs at the expense of more
sustainable alternatives, and to embrace policies that support
those alternatives, including:

* enforcing antitrust and anti-competitive laws to prevent huge
meat and poultry processors from dominating the production
industry and shutting out smaller producers,

* allocating research dollars to methods of animal agriculture
that benefit the environment, public health, and rural
communities, especially smaller, smarter alternatives to CAFOs,

* reducing payments to CAFOs from agricultural conservation
programs like the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, and

* updating slaughterhouse regulations to afford smaller,
alternative producers better access to markets.

Your support for these measures would save taxpayers billions,
while leveling the playing field for producers that can provide
high quality, affordable food without threatening our health and
the resources we depend upon.


Visit the web address below to tell your friends about this.

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10. Reaching Out to Rabbis and Other Jewish Leaders

Statement by A SACRED DUTY producer Lionel Friedberg on the need to more aggressively promote our message:

You know Richard I fear that all this [my previous messages] is falling on deaf ears.

What you really need is a short, concise, to-the-point, snappy
challenge that compels people to debate you.

Your challenge needs to go mainstream media.

It needs drive, capability and chutzpah to get it out in front of
people's faces.

It needs headlines that scream out: “Jewish mathematician challenges the religious establishment to a debate. The survival of the human species is at stake.” This should appear in the mainstream media, EVERYWHERE.

I think that polite, wordy messages in e-mails are going to get you
nowhere. What you really need is a sharp, aggressive effort to force
the message into the mainstream media.

What is needed instead is a short statement filled with alarming,
accurate, effective details, which points out that the world is going to hell in a hand basket (with Israel one of the first to be powerfully affected) and challenges the Jewish establishment and its leaders to say and do something serious (also pointing to relevant Jewish teachings and to the need to address and mobilize increasingly-alienated young Jews). Most of the intended recipients don't give a damn about vegetarianism and won't. But they do care about Jewish survival, Israel's survival, the planet's survival, and losing young Jews.

[I basically agree with Lionel's analysis. Comments, suggestions very welcome on how to carry out his suggestions.]

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11. Important Jewish Educators' Conference to Consider Jewish Environmental Teachings

Forwarded message from Rabbi Arthur Waskow:

Jewish Educators Gather to Heal the Planet

[JVNA advisor, author, editor, publisher, speaker Roberta Kalechofsky will be representing JVNA at this event. Please consider also attending this important event and help get our Jewish vegetarian message out. If interested, please let me know. Many thanks.]

Dear Friends,

This summer, for the first time in its 33-year history CAJE-Coalition for the Advancement of Jewish Education--is offering an ECO-Track at its conference at the University of Vermont in Burlington, beginning August 10.

CAJE has put together a wonderful array of 59 sessions on Judaism and ecology from the practical to the pleasurable to the sublime. The Shalom Center will have an important role, along with other major eco-Jewish organizations.

SCHOLARSHIPS are available to COLLEGE students (apply through the Schusterman Fellowship program).
SCHOLARSHIPS are available to adults (who need them) who plan on taking at least 10 sessions in the ECO-Track
And College Credit is available from Hebrew College for those who are taking at least 10 eco-track sessions and are interesting in getting academic credit.

Scholarships are on a first-come, first-served basis, so apply now!

To learn more and register, go to or

From The Shalom Center, Rabbi Arthur Waskow will be one of the major speakers at the opening Shabbat and will also teach and help shape Tisha B'Av observance on Sunday (taking into account ancient midrash that saw the destruction of the Temple as a microcosmic forewarning of global destruction). Noam Dolgin, composer of The Shalom Center's curriculum for Bar/ Bat Mitzvah and confirmation-age youth on global climate crisis -- "Elijah's Covenant Between the Generations" -- will also teach, on behalf of our Green Menorah Covenant campaign.

You're invited to daven outdoors; to learn in the Eco beit midrash, to study with an array of 20 teachers who have been developing the field Judaism and ecology for over 20 years, to hike and bike in the beautiful Vermont countryside, to experience nature from a Jewish perspective, to discover the world of Jewish farms and farming and how to bring these practices to your classroom. You're invited to learn how to teach Jewish values by using nature's classroom.

For the first time, 20 pioneers in the field of Judaism and ecology are joining together with the hopes of creating a sea change in Jewish education and therefore the Jewish community, involving Jews more deeply in ecological thinking and environmental concerns. Ellen Bernstein, one of the pioneers of eco-Judaism, is coordinating the ECO-track.

You don't need to be a professional Jewish educator to love the CAJE conference. The Conference is for all of us who love learning and experiencing the joy of Jewish community, especially for those who have a strong interest in environment, nature or the outdoors.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact David Frank at

Hope to see you there -


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12. My Article Re Debating Rabbis in “Humane Religion” Publication


Humane Living - Bible - Love - Compassion - Peace - Justice - Sensitivity - Church - Synagogue - Temple - God - Christ - Christian - Human Rights - Animal Rights - Cruelty Free Living - People - Animals - Life Style - Nurture - Support

Humane Religion Magazine

March - April 2008 Issue


by 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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13. Vegetarian Eating in Brooklyn

The following was sent in by a JVNA advisor who chooses to remain anonymous:

Kosher Vegetarian Eateries in Brooklyn

Whether you are a native Brooklynite or a visitor to this great hub of Jewish life, you might want to know about some of the local kosher vegetarian eateries.

In the Borough Park section, Cafe Paris on the corner of Sixteenth Ave. and 46th St is at the top of the list of their lunch and afternoon fare, made fresh on the premises by a pleasant Israeli couple who prepare gourmet soups, sandwiches and specialty platters. If I'm not mistaken, the entire menu is acceptable to both vegetarians and vegans.

A lacto-ovo-vegetarian oasis in Borough Park that deserves mention is Cafe Shalva on 53rd St near the corner of Thirteenth Ave. and a hop, skip and a jump from the landmark Shomer Shabbos Shul (famous for its constant minyanim throughout the day and into the night). Cafe Shalva serves fancy coffees plus a wide breakfast and lunch menu beginning early in the morning. Try the grilled vegetable wraps!

In the Sefardic section of Flatbush, Tea For Two at 547 King's Highway is a first-reat Italian kosher dairy restaurant suitable for both lunch and more formal dining in the evening. There is also a nice vegetarian and vegan natural foods is a few doors away, the name of which escapes me at the moment.

Recently, my wife and I stopped for lunch at the kosher Subway restaurant on Ave. J and East 14th. St. where we enjoyed their veggie-burger sandwich with salad vegetables and special sauces on a freshly-baked whole wheat Italian-style roll. Nearby is Brooklyn's premier oriental restaurant Estihana, another meat restaurant that offers a number of vegetarian and fish alternatives. (The original Estihana still operates on Manhattan's Upper West Side).

An economical gourmet Italian dairy restaurant on the corner of Coney Island Ave. and Ave. M is Cafe Napoli, which is open for both lunch and dinner in a cozy artsy atmosphere. Great salads and pasta dishes prepared before your eyes, as well as gourmet pizza with the finest imported chalav yisrael cheezes.

Many Jewish vegetarians feel that it can be difficult to keep a diet that is so different than that of the surrounding community. But when you realize how many excellent vegetarian options there are in our larger Orthodox enclaves, much of this difficulty (at least for locals) proves to be imaginary. As the Gemara (Megillah 6a) states, "Yagati u-matzati, ta'amin -- try and you'll succeed!"

[Please consider sending us material about kosher vegetarian restaurants in your area. Thanks.]

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14. Australian Animal Rights Group Promotes Animal Rights Talks

Forwarded message from Voiceless, the Fund for Animals

Dear Richard,

Animal Law is scheduled to take centre stage in universities across Australia and New Zealand next month as the UNSW/Voiceless Animal Law Lecture Series makes its 2008 debut.

Later this month, Raj Panjwani, one of India's foremost animal advocates, will present a series of public lectures addressing some of the big issues facing legal advocates for animals and the status of animal protection in India.

Mr Panjwani has over 25 years experience in the High and Supreme Courts of India where his work has changed the lives of countless animals from tigers to turtles to buffalo.

Please visit the Voiceless website for more information. By clicking the “Lecture Series” button on the homepage,, you will find details of Mr Panjwani's speaking schedule and answers to frequently asked questions. Be sure to check out if Mr Panjwani is speaking at a university near you and don't forget to SAVE THE DATE!

To RSVP, please email your full name and contact details to

We look forward to seeing you.

All the best,
Brian Sherman and the Voiceless Team

2 Paddington Street
Paddington, NSW, 2021
Phone: 02 9357 0723
Privacy Policy o Contact o About Voiceless
© Voiceless Limited ACN 108 494 631

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15. Action Alert: Help Save South African Elephants

Message forwarded by JVNA advisor Rina Deych:

Biologist Kristal Parks has refuted the South African government's claims that over-population of elephants is destructive to the land. She contends that this is just an excuse to satisfy peoples' lust for ivory, elephant skin and elephant meat.

Please write to the following person to protest the horrifically cruel elephant culling that started May 1, 2008:

Mr. Marthinus Van Schalkwyk, Minister
Environmental Affairs and Tourism
Private Box x447
Pretoria, 0001
South Africa

phone: 27123103611

Thank you in advance for being a voice for the elephants,

Rina Deych
Brooklyn, NY

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16. Realities Re Free-Range Eggs, Organic Milk, Etc.

Forwarded message:

I am forwarding you this message because I feel it is vital and could symbolise a watershed moment in the lives of many living beings.

"The truth is, the world can change. Indeed, the world has changed many times before, and it has changed in ways that seemed impossible at the time."


A Safe Haven for Rescued Farmed Animals Who Have Been Given A Second Chance At Life

The Prairie Blog

Peaceful Choices

From Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary

Letter From A Vegan World

Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary, May 2008

Dear Friends and Fellow Activists,

At a time when most animal rights organizations are actively promoting, advocating and rewarding "humane" animal products and farming methods, I am writing to you on behalf of three of the recipients of that mercy.

To the industry, they are known as production units #6, #35, and #67,595. To the "compassionate" consumer, they are known as feel-good labels: "organic dairy", "rose veal", "free-range eggs". To welfare advocates, they are known as "humane alternatives". To each other, they are known as mother, son, sister, friend. To themselves, they are simply what you and I are to ourselves: a self-aware, self-contained world of subjective experiences, feelings, fears, memories - someone with the absolute certainty that his or her life is worth living.

#6, is a first time mother. She is frantic. Her baby is missing. She is pacing desperately up and down the paddock, bellowing and crying, and calling for her lost boy, fearing the worst, having her fears confirmed. She is one of the thousands of defenseless females born into a quaint, verdant, organic dairy farm. She will spend her entire short life grieving the loss of baby after baby. She will be milked relentlessly through repeated cycles of pregnancies and bereavements. Her only experience of motherhood will be that of a mother's worst loss. In the prime of her life, her body will give, her spirit will break, her milk "production" will decline, and she will be sent to a horrifying slaughter, along with other grieving, defeated, "spent" mothers like herself.

She is the face of organic milk.

#35 is a two-days old baby, his umbilical chord is still attached, his coat is still slick with birth fluids, his eyes are unfocused, his legs, wobbly. He is crying pitifully for his mother. No one answers. He will live his entire short life an orphan, his only experience of mother love will be one of yearning for it, his only experience of emotional connection, one of absence. Soon, the memory of his mother, her face, her voice, her scent, will fade, but the painful, irrepressible longing for her warmth will still be there. At four months old, he and other orphans like himself will be corralled into trucks and hauled to slaughter. As he will be dragged onto the killing floor, he will still be looking for his mother, still desperately needing her nurturing presence, especially at that dark time when he will be frightened and needing her more than ever in the midst of the terrible sights, and sounds, and scents of death all around him and, in his despair, in his want for a shred of consolation and protection, he, like most baby calves, will try to suckle the fingers of his killers.

He is the face of the "rose" veal we are encouraging "responsible restaurant leaders" to use.

#67,595 is one of the 80,000 birds in a family-owned "free-range" egg facility. She has never seen the sun, or felt the grass under her feet, she has never met her mother. Her eyes are burning with the sting of ammonia fumes, her featherless body is covered with bruises and abrasions, her bones are brittle from the constant drain of egg production, her severed beak is throbbing in pain. She is exhausted, depleted and defeated. After a lifetime of social, psychological, emotional, physical deprivation, she copes by pecking neurotically at phantom targets for hours on end. She is two years old and her life is over. Her egg production has declined, and she will be disposed of by the cheapest means possible - she will be gassed along with the other 80,000 birds in her community. It will take three full work days to finish the job. For two long days, she will hear the sounds and breathe the smells of her sisters being killed in the gas drums outside her shed. On the third day, it will be her turn. She will be grabbed by the legs and taken outdoors for the first time in her life and, like every single one of the 80,000 "spent" hens, like every single one of the 50 billion annual victims of our appetite, she will fight to go on living, and she will accept no explanation and no justification for being robbed of her pathetic only life.

She is the face of the "free-range" eggs we are encouraging college campuses, businesses and consumers to use.

These are the "beneficiaries" of the "humane farming practices" that we, the animals' defenders, are developing, promoting, and publicly rewarding by encouraging "compassionate" consumers to buy the products of what we know to be nothing but misery. "Humane" practices that, if any of us were forced to endure, none of us would experience as humane.

We, the activists, know that there is no such thing as compassionate, responsible or ethical farming on any scale. We know that the only humane and ethical alternative is vegan living.

Why are so few of us telling the truth? Why are we describing "free-range" products as "humane" when we know the horror such practices inflict on their victims? Why are we lying to the public, and ourselves, that "compassionate" animal farming is anything but a myth, a marketing scheme, a deceptive label? Why are so many of us offering up the lives of animals by encouraging the consumption of their flesh, eggs and milk, when our only duty is to fight for their lives as if they were our own? Why are we promoting the practice of consuming animals when we know it to be brutal, inexcusable, unconscionable and completely unnecessary? Why are we rewarding consumers for demanding more of the the very thing we are struggling to eliminate? Why are we strengthening and rewarding the worlds' entrenched speciesist assumptions, when our job, our only job, as vegan educators and activists, is to challenge and change those assumptions by offering a new model of thinking about nonhuman animals, a new model of interacting with them, a new practice of living, a new way of being in the world?

Many of us justify our endorsement of "humane" animal products and our pursuit of welfare reforms by saying that the world is not ready to change, that it may never go vegan, that the most we can hope to accomplish in the meantime is to reduce the suffering of today's doomed animals. But this is not true. This is not a fact. It is a fear - a fear of action, a failure of will, a self- defeating attitude and, ultimately, a self-fulfilling prophesy.

The truth is, the world can change. Indeed, the world has changed many times before, and it has changed in ways that seemed impossible at the time. The truth is, the world will change, but only if we work towards creating that change. It will stay the same if we, the self-proclaimed agents of change, encourage it to stay the same. It will change if all of us tell the whole truth that there is no such thing as humane animal farming, or animal use of any kind, the truth that the only humane alternative is vegan living, the truth that animal farming on any scale is an ethical and environmental disaster, the truth that animals are persons like you and me who happen to be nonhuman and who have the same inherent right to life and liberty as you and I. The truth that vegan living is not a "lifestyle choice", but a moral imperative.

We can do better. Indeed, we have an obligation to do better.

I invite you to see for yourselves how much can be accomplished when a small group of dedicated activists commits all of its time and resources to vegan education that is consistent with, not undermining of, our ultimate goal - Animal Liberation - and when the Go Vegan message is central to every single one of its communications, form online resources, to printed literature, to ads, demos, and billboards, to outreach events, to the in-depth exploration of farmed animal personhood detailed in the individual portraits published on the Prairie Blog.

On a shoestring budget, with an all-volunteer core of vegan educators who are determined to tell the whole truth about meat, dairy and egg production, a small, grassroots organization like Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary has built something that large, wealthy organizations have not only failed to bring forth, but have consistently undermined through years of anti-vegan advocacy: A vibrant vegan world growing in the middle of the nonvegan world, a place where the animal refugees are regarded and represented as the persons they rightly are, a place where the human residents advocate tirelessly for nothing less than total liberation, a Free State in the heart of the human-subjugated world, a place where the principles of abolition are applied in word, thought, and deed. A vegan enclave whose very presence has already changed the world's physical, political, psychological and spiritual geography.

I invite you to experience it for yourselves. Join us in our struggle to expand its reach. Help us make it borderless.

Joanna Lucas,
Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary

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17. Update From

This is an e-mail from ''


A few ShalomVeg members have not been receiving the bi-weekly newsletters due to email difficulties, or have had trouble reading the emails because of various computer issues. This is a reminder that the newsletters are archived at the link below, and can be read at your convenience.

If you have not been on the site recently, make sure to check out the new articles and features (read more about them in the newsletters) and log on to see the profiles of our new members.

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

Boris Dolin,

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18. Slovenia Society for the Rights and Liberation of Animals Seeking Support

Forwarded message:

The society for the rights and liberation of animals, Slovenia

Ostro3⁄4no pri Ponikvi 26, 3232 Ponikva

Tel.: +386 (0)3 5763 303, GSM: +386 (0) 31 499 756

International account: IBAN: SI56 0201 1025 3228 311


Our Society has a status of public interest in Slovenia.

Together we are creating animal friendly Slovenia. ·

Ostro3⁄4no pri Ponikvi 26, 3232 Ponikva - Tel.: +386 (0)3 5763 303, GSM: +386 (0) 31 499 756\
A heartfelt request for animals (support for our activities)

Dear Mr / Mrs,

we are a non-profit society with almost 600 members, which was founded in 2002. Our main purpose is to free all the animals from the yoke of humans, because we are aware that animals are not human's property but independent creatures, who have their own personality and need people only as their friends. We are also aware of the golden rule, which by our belief is also applicable in the relationship towards animals: “Whatever you do not want the people to do to you, do not do it to them either” We definitely do not want to be on the run like deer before the hunter, little cow right before the slaughter, laboratory mouse, circus animal or something similar. Animals themselves are of value like humans and that is why we are trying to build animal friendly Slovenia. We want for animals to live a life that is suitable for their species, in freedom, in peace and with no fear that anyone will pursue them, torture or kill them. So we endeavour for the animal rights to get their place in the constitution and other regulations. That is to say, animal rights are a step closer to their freedom. We also act in the field of environmental care and preservation of nature but that is not our priority at the moment, unless it is linked to the animal issue.

Our actions for the liberation of animals within the framework of animal protection run on various fields. We try to promote vegetarianism because it represents a good protection for animals and of course also for people and nature. We shall just recall the reports of IPCC about the climate changes and the report of UNO from November 2006 which labelled stock-breeding as the main cause of degradation of the earth and water. as well as the largest danger concerning environment and one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions, bigger than the whole worldwide transportation. The fact is that meat is a risk factor for many diseases and vegetarians are healthier than those who eat meat. “If everybody would become vegetarians, than we could control the global warming,” British physicist Alan Calverd wrote in Physic World. Enquete-Kommision, the research commission of German federal parliament for the protection of Earth's atmosphere is of opinion, that the greatest thing that you can do to help protect the environment is that you become a vegetarian. That is why we put so much energy into the promotion of vegetarianism and warnings about the harm that is done by stock-breeding and meat. We organize vegetarian picnics, publish various publications, and we also write petitions and prepositions drafted by the guardian of animal rights to the state authorities. The guardian of animal rights is a solicitor who also acts as “the voice” of the animals in different administrative procedures. We also fight for the abolition of hunting, animal testing and other activities that abuse animals. The State has acknowledged us as a society that acts in public interests.

In spite of more and more obvious fact that a better situation for animals means a better situation for people and nature, the Republic Slovenia still does not do enough to change the current unfavourable condition. That is why we decided to intensify our function and try to do even more to improve the situation animals are in. But to function more intensively we need more means;

Request for donation (help for animals, nature and people)

So we are asking you to help us by your abilities, if you agree, of course, with our goals and actions. We will be grateful for every kind of help that will help us build an animal friendly Slovenia which also means a friendly Slovenia for people. In the year 2008 we will need around 197.000 euros (organisation of picnics, demonstrations, participating at public events, payment to the solicitor - guardian of the animal rights, the rent for office, issue costs…) If you wish to help us with a donation, you can remit it to the account written below. If you would like, we can also sign a donation contract. We can also make a sponsorship contract and define mutual commitments. We can mention you as our sponsor in our magazine, on meetings and picnics that we organize, on flyers and other. Possibilities of cooperation are diverse; we can also realize an action together and help the animals with combined forces.

You can read more about our past and future activities in the attachment.

We are truly thankful for your help,

Yours sincerely,

For: The society for the rights and liberation of animals

Stanko Valpatiè, president

Information about the Society:

The society for the rights and liberation of animals, Slovenia

Ostro3⁄4no pri Ponikvi 26, 3232 Ponikva

International account: IBAN: SI56 0201 1025 3228 311


Kontakt: Damjan Likar, GSM: +386 (0) 41 356 093

Our Society has a status of public interest in Slovenia.

Together we are creating animal friendly Slovenia. ·

SNIP (due to space limitations)

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