June 16, 2008

6/16/2008 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

1. I Plan to be at a Tikkun Olam Olam Event This Coming Sunday

2. My Letter to the Jewish Week in Response to Current Meat Shortages

3. Rabbi's Article Considers Jewish Issues Related to Recent Agriprocessor Controversies

4. Orthodox Group Proposes a Boycott of Agriprocessors

5. Insightful Forward Editorial on Global Warming/My Letter and Dan Brook's Letter in Response

6. Impact of Iowa Floods on the World's Corn

7. Food Becoming Major International Issue/Chance to Stress Importance of a Shift Toward Vegetarianism in Response

8. Evangelicals Striving to Reduce Global Warming

9. PETA Featured on Reality TV Show

10. World Animal Day Being Planned for October

11. Analysis by JVNA Advisor Ronald Landskroner re Impacts of Global Warming, Overconmption and More

12. Excellent Video on Role of Meat Production in Spreading Hunger, and Many Other Valuable Insights

13. Effects of the Earth Boiling

14. Latest Re Campaign to Prevent Horse Racing in Israel

15. Many Austrian Animal Rights Activists Arrested

16. Top Ten Vegetarian Movies?

17. Interested in Taking Part in a “Vegan Relationship Survey”?

18. Getting Global Warming on the World's Agenda

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. I Plan to be at a Tikkun Olam Olam Event This Coming Sunday

[Many thanks to JVNA advisor Rina Deych for typing up the following message from a Jewish Week (of NY) ad and sending it to me.]

[It may be too late, as I just learned about this event yesterday, but I have asked about the possibility of speaking. If I am not given a chance to speak, I plan to raise questions, connecting diet to health and to global warming and other issues. I also plan to give out complimentary DVDs of A SACRED DUTY to speakers and some attendees. Please consider coming and helping raise our issues. Also, please look out for similar events in your area and try to attend, raise questions, let people know about JVNA and get DVDs of A SACRED DUTY to key people. Many thanks.]

The Institute for Living Judaism in Brooklyn in cooperation with Kane Street Synagogue and JBFCS presents:

Goodstock - a day of tikkun olam learning.

Sunday, June 22, noon - 6:00pm at Kane St. Synagogue, 236 Kane St. (bet. Clinton & Court).

Discover some top acts of loving kindness:

- Saving Lives: Organ Donation and Bone Marrow Transplants, Disease Prevention and Early Detection, Hadassah Brooklyn Region on Women's Health

- Preserving the Environment: Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL), Hazon, Hechsher Tzedek

- Promoting Peace: Famine and Drought Relief: Jewish World Watch, American Jewish World Service

- Social Justice: Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, Avodah, Dorot, plus: workshops on the care and maintenance of Bikur Cholim and Social Justice Committees

Food - Music "From Fez" - Activities and Crafts for Kids

Admission $5, kids free with adult.
For more info: (718) 339 - 0230

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2. My Letter to the Jewish Week in Response to Current Meat Shortages

[Please consider using my letter and other material in this JVNA newsletter as a basis for your letters, articles and talking points on the issues of global warming, droughts, flooding and food, water and energy scarcities. Thanks.]

June 15, 2007

Editor, Jewish Week

Dear Editor:

As president of Jewish Vegetarians of North America, I hope that “Kosher Meat Now Seen In Short Supply” (June 13 article) will provide an opportunity for many Jews to consider the many benefits of plant-based diets, because such diets:

* are more consistent with Jewish mandates to preserve human health, treat animals compassionately, protect the environment, conserve natural resources and help hungry people.

* help reduce the epidemic of heart disease, several types of cancer and other diseases afflicting so many Jews and others;

* contribute far less to global warming and other environmental threats; A 2006 UN Food and Agricultural Organization report “Livestock's Long Shadow.” Indicated that animal-based agriculture emits more greenhouse gases (in CO2 equivalents) than all the cars and other means of transportation worldwide combined (18 percent vs. 13.5 percent). Making the situation even more serious, the consumption of animal products is projected to double in 50 years. If this happens, it will make it very difficult, if not impossible, to reduce greenhouse emissions enough to avoid very severe effects from global climate change.

* require far less resources that animal-based diets, hence reducing current food, energy and water scarcities.

In addition to helping move our imperiled planet to a sustainable path, a shift toward plant-based diets can help revitalize Judaism by showing the relevance of eternal Jewish values to current crises.

Very truly yours,

Richard H. Schwartz

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3. Rabbi's Article Considers Jewish Issues Related to Recent Agriprocessor Controversies

Jewish Standard

The cost-benefit approach to God's Law
By Shammai Engelmayer | Published 05/30/2008


ITEM: Conservative rabbis debate whether to issue a halachic ruling requiring that workers be paid a living wage.

ITEM: Kashrut authorities insist there is no connection between the Torah's insistence on how animals are to be treated and how they are to be slaughtered for food.

In a little over a week, we will mark the festival of Shavuot, the anniversary of that matchless moment in time when God spoke to all of us individually and together, as He began to give us His laws.

Several days before this unique event and in preparation for it, God said to Moses: "Thus shall you say to the house of Jacob and declare to the children of Israel…: If you will obey Me faithfully and keep My covenant…, you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.'" (See Exodus 19:3-6)

There are no qualifiers here. This was and continues to be an all-or-nothing covenant. The Torah, the instruction book for that covenant, is an organic whole. All parts are interconnected by the concept of holiness. If no direct connection exists between one law and another, it is of no consequence; pick-and-choose is not an option here.

There is also no suggestion of "ethics" or "morality" here. We do the mitzvot for one reason only - because that is what we are supposed to do as a kingdom of priests and holy nation. We may debate among ourselves how to observe a particular law, but we do not get to choose whether or not to observe it.

Some of the laws make sense; do not kill, for example. Others seem to make no sense (sprinkling a red cow's ashes on someone who came in contact with a dead body in order to purify him or her). Sense or no sense, they are God's laws and we must follow them.

The kosher laws fall in the no-sense category. A variety of explanations have been suggested for the permitted and non-permitted animals, birds, fish, and creepy crawling things (okay, creepy flying things, since we are limited on the permitted side to locusts, albeit only four specific varieties, provided we can actually identify them, which is a neat trick). They remain suggestions, however, since the Legislator remains silent.

The reason for ritual slaughter, on the other hand, appears fathomable (although this, too, is ultimately guesswork) because it emerges from a discernible pattern in the Torah.

Initially, God appears to limit humankind to vegetarian diets (see Genesis 1:29), but the human desire for killing things leads not only to killing animals for food, but ripping their limbs off while they are yet alive.

After the Flood, God produces a compromise: He allows meat-eating, but He also creates rules meant to limit the suffering food animals must endure. (See Genesis 9:1-6.)

When Israel comes along, God devises ever more stringent legislation unique to His holy nation. Thus, an Israelite wanting to invite the neighbors over to his tent for a barbecue must bring the ill-fated cow to the Tabernacle to be "sacrificed." (See Leviticus 17:1-4.) Otherwise, "bloodguilt shall be imputed to that man: he has shed blood...."

As the late Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch noted, this means that simply to kill an animal for food "is to be taken as murder."

Why? The logical progression provides the answer (there is much I have left out because of lack of space): The priests, in doing the slaughtering, follow guidelines that bring about as painless a death as possible for the animal (even if only as a side "benefit" of the ritual).

Of course, Leviticus 17:1-4 - a piece of wilderness legislation - would be unworkable once Israel spread out in its own land. Thus, on the eve of the crossing of the Jordan, Moses eliminated the need for sacred cover as long as the animal is slaughtered "as I have instructed you." (See Deuteronomy 12:20-25.) Put another way, you no longer have to sacrifice an animal to eat it, but it still must be ritually slaughtered.

To argue, then, that there is no connection between the Torah's concern for animal welfare and the laws of kosher slaughter is fatuous. Maybe there is no "direct" connection, but if the Torah is an organic whole, that connection exists nonetheless and, in context, that connection in this case virtually screams out at us.

To hear those screams, however, is to open a Pandora's box of financial implications that few want tackled (such as loss of income, or worse, for restaurateurs and mashgichim, and even higher meat prices for consumers).

Also screaming out at us are other laws, such as Leviticus 19:13, which states, "The wages of a laborer shall not remain with you until morning."

The Torah elaborates on this in Deuteronomy 24:13-14: "You shall not abuse a needy and destitute laborer, whether a fellow countryman or a stranger in one of the communities of your land. You must pay him his wages on the same day, before the sun sets, for he is needy and urgently depends on it; else he will cry to the Lord against you and you will incur guilt."

Obviously, this law will change over time as rabbinic legislation adapts it to changing circumstances - but the changes only build on the concept that the worker must be paid in a timely manner and must receive a living wage (i.e., a wage that is not abusive and that somehow helps meet his or her needs; this clearly has implications for the Postville case, but we are on to another point here).

This interest in the laborer on the Torah's part has led to a desire on the part of some Conservative rabbis to require that workers be paid a living wage as a matter of halacha. Other Conservative rabbis, however, oppose the move. They warn that we Jews are in a "different place" economically than we once were (we are more "employer" than "employee") and that here, too, a financial Pandora's box awaits with potentially far-reaching implications (such as limiting an employer's flexibility during collective bargaining or causing marginal businesses to close, imposing a competitive hardship on Jewish-owned businesses, etc.).

As noted earlier, "If you will obey Me faithfully and keep My covenant" came with no qualifier. Apparently, it did come with a price cap.

This Shavuot, instead of staying up all night studying the minutiae of medieval rabbis, maybe we should all simply concentrate on understanding the opening and closing verses of Leviticus 19:

"You shall be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy….You shall faithfully observe all My laws and all My rules: I am the Lord."

Shammai Engelmayer is rabbi of the Conservative synagogue Temple Israel Community Center in Cliffside Park and an instructor in the UJA-Federation-sponsored Florence Melton Adult Mini-School of the Hebrew University. He is the editor of Judaism: A Journal of Jewish Life and Thought.

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4. Orthodox Group Proposes a Boycott of Agriprocessors

Prominent Jews join boycott threat

Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Published: 06/04/2008


Several prominent Jews signed on to a boycott threat against the kosher meatpacker Agriprocessors.

Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, Ruth Messinger and Rabbi Avi Weiss are among the 1,000 signers of a petition organized by Uri L'tzedek, according to its co-director, Shmuly Yanklowitz.

"We believe we have the right as consumers to be assured that Agriprocessors, a company that controls 60 percent of the kosher beef market, is committed to protecting its workers by upholding the law," Yanklowitz said in a statement.

Uri L'tzedek, a group founded by students at the liberal Orthodox seminary Yeshivat Chovevei Torah in New York, says the company must set up a transparent and accountable department to ensure compliance with the labor requirements of both Jewish and secular law.

If Agriprocessors does not, the group will begin to boycott the company and businesses that purchase from it on June 15.

Agriprocessors announced Wednesday that it is seeking to hire a chief compliance officer in addition to a new chief executive officer. The announcement was issued through a public relations person.

"We are fully dedicated and take full responsibility for ensuring that our company complies with all applicable immigration and state and federal laws," said Heshy Rubashkin, the vice president of Agriprocessors.

Last week, Rubashkin's father, Aaron, announced that he was replacing another son, Sholom, as manager of the Postville plant.

Heshy Rubashkin said Agriprocessors is cooperating with the government on the worksite enforcement action. "However," he said, "we cannot respond to specific allegations until the investigation is completed and pending legal issues are resolved."

The largest kosher slaughterhouse in the United States, Agriprocessors has been under a hail of criticism since federal authorities arrested 389 of its workers in a May 12 raid at the company plant in Postville, Iowa.

Among the allegations leveled since the raid are that workers were underpaid, sexually harassed and forced to work long overtime shifts.

Agriprocessors owner Aaron Rubashkin denied the allegations last week in an exclusive interview with JTA.

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5. Insightful Forward Editorial on Global Warming/My Letter and Dan Brook's Letter in Response

Seeing the Obvious

Editorial The Forward
Jun 13, 2008 issue


The United States Senate acted last week with rare irony, verging on self-parody, when it abandoned efforts to pass a long-awaited, urgently needed measure on global warming. The legislators' inaction was timed exquisitely, if unintentionally, to coincide with the latest wave of record-setting storms descending on us these days. While the senators were dithering over climate change and whether it matters, newspapers across the nation and around the globe were reporting on the current and future devastation wrought by the manmade warming of the planet.

This spring has set new records for bad weather: record heat waves along the East Coast, record flooding in the Midwest and tornadoes up and down the Great Plains as far north as Manitoba, all in record-setting intensity. Of course, we've all heard these breathless news flashes many times before. But that's only because each year sets new records as things get worse. Nearly every year for the past decade, seasonal weather phenomena have pushed to new extremes of heat, wet and storm intensity. Areas traditionally known as breadbaskets now suffer alternating bouts of flooding and drought. Ski resorts go for months without snow. Most recently, governments around the world report shortages of usable fresh water, partly because declining snowfall in mountain ranges is drying up the rivers down below.

Skeptics continue to insist that the various weather disasters are isolated incidents, or at worst a cyclical phase. But that argument is getting harder and harder to sustain as scientists keep uncovering new evidence of a global pattern and ordinary people start noticing it in their backyards. Just this past week, newspapers as far apart as Missouri and India carried reports linking extreme weather locally to global climate change.

The stakes in the debate could not be higher. Scientists who study climate change have long predicted that as nations continue to burn fossil fuels and pour carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the resulting temperature changes would produce just the sort of extreme weather we are now seeing. In the coming decades, the scientists say, the heat resulting from accumulated carbon in the atmosphere will melt the polar ice caps, raise sea levels and flood coastal areas where much of humanity now lives. Farmland will turn to desert, species will face mass extinction and humans will suffer shortages of food and water.

So far, scientists overwhelmingly agree, the predictions are proving accurate, but it's all happening much faster than anyone had predicted. Hence the urgency of radical cuts in carbon emissions before it's too late. Activists who claim that the future of the planet is at stake are not exaggerating.

The alarm is worldwide. In India and much of South Asia, “there is a concern that the enhanced greenhouse effect may be affecting extreme weather events such as tropical cyclone frequency, duration and their intensity,” said the Madras-based daily The Hindu, citing a new study by India's National Institute of Oceanography in Goa. “There is substantial scientific evidence,” The Hindu added, “that the enhanced greenhouse effect is predominantly of anthropogenic origin,” meaning manmade.

And in Stockton, Mo., the daily Cedar County Republican reported this week on the latest wave of tornadoes, hailstorms and flooding across the Midwest, quoting a National Wildlife Federation scientist who insisted that the “trend is absolutely tied to global warming.”

Only in Washington, it seems, is the obvious too difficult to discern. The Senate was preparing to vote last week on a so-called Climate Security Act, authored by Joseph Lieberman, the Connecticut Independent who used to be a Democrat, and John Warner, the Virginia Republican who used to be married to Elizabeth Taylor. The measure aimed for a 70% reduction in America's greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The bill had targets that were so modest, compared with what scientists say is needed to save the planet, that some environmentalists actually opposed it, evidently hoping that some stricter measure might somehow magically appear. Backed by 54 senators, including a handful of Republicans, it had enough votes to pass the Senate but not enough to override President Bush's promised veto; however, it never got to the Oval Office. Senate Republican leaders mounted a filibuster, and the bill's backers did not have the 60 votes needed to proceed. In the end, Democratic leaders withdrew the bill to avoid a defeat.

The bill's backers are hoping they can reintroduce the measure next year in a friendlier political environment. It's important that voters give them the right conditions. There are many important issues at stake on Election Day, including the economy, health care, the war in Iraq, the war on terrorism and the security of Israel. It's hardly an exaggeration, though, to say that global warming is the only one that truly matters. What does it mean to fix health care, the job market, democracy or security if we're all going to be under water?

Thu. Jun 12, 2008
Copyright © 2008 Forward Association, Inc.

Dan Brook's letter to the editor in response to the editorial:

As a species, we're become experts at not seeing the obvious. Or,
rather, we're quite good at seeing some things that are obvious, to us,
but are still oblivious to seeing other things just as obvious, to
others. There are too many examples, but I'll stay on point. While it is
critical that the US get serious about global warming and pass a strong
bill to effectively reduce greenhouse gases, it is also vital that we,
on an individual level, reduce our own carbon footprint and methane
mouthprint. As is now known, the livestock industry contributes
significantly more to the plague of global warming than does the world's
entire transportation sector. Eating less meat or, better still,
eliminating it altogether, is a Jewish as well as an environmental
My letter to the Forward in response to the editorial:

Editor, the Forward

Dear Editor:

Kudos on your cogent editorial “Seeing the Obvious.” Which pointed out how critical it is that society quickly respond to the many threats posed by global warming.

With climate scientists warning that global warming may reach a tipping point within a decade and spin out of control, with disastrous consequences, unless major changes are soon made, I hope your powerful message will awaken the Jewish community to the need to put this issue onto our agenda.

As president of Jewish Vegetarians of North America, I would like to stress that there is another point that should be obvious, an inconvenient truth that is generally being ignored, even by Al Gore: the major impact of animal-based agriculture on global warming and other environmental threats..

A 2006 UN Food and Agricultural Organization report “Livestock's Long Shadow.” Indicated that animal-based agriculture emits more greenhouse gases (in CO2 equivalents) than all the cars and other means of transportation worldwide combined (18 percent vs. 13.5 percent).

Making the situation even more serious, the consumption of animal products is projected to double in 50 years. If this happens, it will make it very difficult, if not impossible, to reduce greenhouse emissions enough to avoid very severe effects from global climate change.

In addition, producing meat and other animal products requires far more resources that producing plant foods, and this contributes significantly to current energy, food and water crises.

Hence, I hope that many Jews will use the current shortage of meat due to the recent raid at the Agriprocesors' Iowa kosher slaughterhouse as an opportunity to switch toward plant-based diets. This will help move our imperiled planet to a sustainable path and help revitalize Judaism by showing the relevance of our eternal teachings to current threats.

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6. Impact of Iowa Floods on the World's Corn

[Another example of why feeding so much grain to animals (70% in the US and over 40% worldwide is so insane.]

Floods Threaten World's Corn

Saturday 14 June 2008


by: Stevenson Jacobs, The Associated Press

Downpours in states like Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana flooded corn fieldsand made it difficult for farmers to plant, pushing corn prices to record highs on commodities exchanges this week. (Photo: Steve Apps / AP)

Reduced supply may drive food prices higher.

Floods that have inundated the Midwest could reduce world corn supplies and drive food prices higher at a time when Americans are stretching their grocery budgets and when people in poor countries have rioted over rising food costs.

The U.S. government will report later this month on how many acres of corn were lost to flooding, but farmers and agriculture experts say the toll appears grim, with thousands of acres probably destroyed in the region that grows most of the world's corn.

"It's not a very good picture at all. We're looking at possibly a good reduction in acres if a lot of this crop remains underwater," said Chad Hart, an agriculture economist at Iowa State University. "There's still hope, but it wanes with each rainstorm."

The disaster has drawn comparisons to the 1993 floods that displaced thousands of people and wiped away vast swaths of the heartland's agriculture. At the time, about 18 bushels per acre of corn were destroyed, "and everybody is reporting that this year is worse," said Jason Ward, grains analyst at North Star Commodity in Minneapolis.

The most recent floods have sent corn prices soaring past $7 a bushel for the first time, up from about $4 a year ago. Prices shot to a record for a seventh straight day Friday, climbing as high as $7.37 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade.

Floodwaters also hurt soybean crops, sending prices near all-time highs. Wheat, oats, rice and other food commodities were also damaged.

In Iowa, the country's top corn producer, about 9 percent of the anticipated crop either hasn't been planted because farmers can't get into their fields, or needs to be replanted because it's waterlogged, said Roger Elmore, a corn expert at Iowa State.

That's about 1.2 million acres of corn - almost 1.5 percent of the country's anticipated harvest - that may produce only a fraction of its potential yield.

Rain continued falling Friday in much of Iowa, and it's already late to be planting corn.


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7. Food Becoming Major International Issue/Chance to Stress Importance of a Shift Toward Vegetarianism in Response

[Thanks to JVNA Secretary/Treasurer John Diamond for alerting us to this important article.]

[This article is an example of the great attention being given to food issues recently. Please consider writing letters to editors like the two of mine in this newsletter pointing out the insanity of feeding so much grain to animals at a time of so much food scarcity. You might also mention that animal-based diets also contribute very significantly to global warming and water scarcerties, both of which also threaten future food supplies. I plan to send out a general letter and a press release on this issue soon.]

Too important to table


By Lois Goldrich

Jewish Standard

Food is much in the news right now, and much of that news is grim. In the kosher community, we are dealing with the fallout of the situation at Agriprocessors, raided by federal officials last month for employing large numbers of illegal aliens and allegedly abusing them. While some fear that we may face shortages of kosher meat as a result of the action, others are actively calling for boycotts of the company's meat - not because the company hired illegal workers but because it treated them unfairly. For these people, the term "kosher" has moral as well as ritual implications. This is a debate that is just beginning, but at the very least, we need to ask, "Was anybody paying attention?"

Attention must certainly be paid to the issue of food, whether in kosher meat-packing plants or on the farms that grow our vegetables. Yet sometimes it seems as if nobody is looking. This week's media reports are filled with warnings about a rare and dangerous kind of salmonella, linked to various kinds of fresh tomatoes.

In fact, some members of Congress are questioning why the FDA has not requested resources that would allow them to increase their oversight over such products. This time the outcry was over tomatoes - last time it was contaminated pet food, preceded by bacteria-infested lettuce and spinach. While each time the FDA promised to take strong measures to prevent the pollution of our food supply, it clearly has not done so. Leading us to ask, "Is anybody watching the watchdogs?"

The rising price of food throughout the world is also a matter of grave concern - so troubling that it will share the bill at the upcoming Group of Eight meeting in Osaka, Japan. While G8's main focus will be on the rising cost of fuel, talks will also address the increasing need for emergency humanitarian assistance and the ongoing struggle of farmers in developing countries who have scant access to resources such as seeds and fertilizers.

We cannot take our food supply for granted. "Food, glorious food," sang the orphans in the musical "Oliver," who never had enough to eat. The need to fill one's stomach is more than a passing desire. Eyn kemach, eyn Torah - without sustenance, there can be no Torah learning, or anything else, for that matter.

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8. Evangelicals Striving to Reduce Global Warming

Evangelicals press to fight global warming
By Jonathan J. Cooper
The Rev. Larry Rice


WASHINGTON - When the Senate takes up legislation next month to confront global warming, environmental groups will have some fervent new allies: evangelicals and other Christian activists.

Concerned about what they see as a moral and biblical issue, religious groups from the right are joining with environmental organizations from the left in supporting strong measures to fight global warming.

Some Christian leaders are using the clout they have built up in Republican circles to lobby conservatives in Congress to support regulations on greenhouse-gas emissions.

"When evangelicals speak, Republicans listen," said Richard Cizik, vice president of government affairs for the National Association of Evangelicals. "And Republicans, frankly, are listening to what we're saying."

For many religious groups, global warming isn't a political or environmental issue. It's a threat to God's creation.

"It's not a blue state, red state, scientific, or even a green issue," said Cizik, whose organization represents 45,000 churches. "It's a spiritual issue. And that, above all else, is why evangelical Christians should be concerned."

The once-tiny Christian environmental movement began accelerating quickly in 2006, when 85 prominent evangelical leaders signed on to the Evangelical Climate Initiative calling for action on global warming. The number has climbed to more than 100.

"It's a bit out of the ordinary for evangelicals to be involved with this issue," said Jim Jewell, chief operating officer of the Evangelical Environmental Network, a group that educates and mobilizes Christians on environmental issues. "The evangelical involvement with climate has kind of shaken the political landscape a bit."


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9. PETA Featured on Reality TV Show

Forwarded message from
Melissa Karpel, Campaign Coordinator
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

PETA Featured on New Episode of '30 Days'

Dear Veggie Jews,

As one of PETA's campaign coordinators, I get to travel the nation, leading campaigns to help educate people on animal rights issues. I recently had the opportunity to take part in a reality TV show called 30 Days, the brainchild of
filmmaker Morgan Spurlock (of Supersize Me fame). On each episode of 30 Days, a person or group of people must live for one month with someone who has drastically different beliefs and a different lifestyle.

In my episode, George, a hunter, had to live with my family and me-who are all animal rights activists and vegans-for 30 days. George had a busy month! He took part in PETA protests-including one against KFC, for which he wore a chicken suit, and another against
Burberry's use of fur-gathered signatures for a California bill that would eliminate the worst abuses in factory farming, and got to know animals on a very personal level.

Please tune in on June 17 at 10 p.m. on the FX network to see for yourself how George handles animal rights activism while living as a vegan for 30 days. In Morgan Spurlock's words, it will be the "best hour of television that you're ever going to see in your life."

Check out PETA.org during the next week for updates on where George is now and behind-the-scenes bonus features.

Please also forward this message to your friends and family!


Melissa Karpel, Campaign Coordinator
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

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10. World Animal Day Being Planned for October

14 Hewlett Road, Cheltenham,
Gloucestershire GL52 6AA
Telephone: 01242 252871
Email: Debbie@worldanimalday.org.ukWebsite: www.worldanimalday.org.uk

Could you spare a few minutes for the animals?

Dear Friend

Each year, since 2003, World Animal Day has grown from strength to strength and the message has been spreading further and further a field, with more and more people worldwide getting involved to celebrate mankind's relationship with animals.

2007 showed a huge increase in the amount of events that took place worldwide, proving that World Animal Day is firmly setting down roots as an annual celebration of animals. Please help us to encourage Animal Welfare Organisations and animal lovers throughout the world to be united on this special day to celebrate the animal kingdom and make World Animal Day 2008 even BIGGER and BETTER than ever before.

Could you help us promote World Animal Day by including a link on your website - ideally on your home page! Perhaps you could also include it in your newsletter if you have one. By adding a simple link to the website, you will be encouraging many more organisations and individuals to visit the site, be inspired and 'get involved'.

If you visit www.worldanimalday.org.uk and go to the resources section, you will find instructions on how to create a link to the website. It's pretty straightforward and should only take up a few minutes of your time, but the benefits of getting the message out to a wider audience will be huge.

Many organisations have already started 'spreading the word' by providing a link from their website, so to all of you, our heartfelt thanks.

Don't forget to make use of the event listing facility which provides free publicity to any group or individual who is doing something special connected with animals on or around 4th October. If you haven't listed your event yet you're missing out on some free publicity, so what are you waiting for? - enter your event today!!

If you could let me know when your link is up and running, I can then make sure that a reciprocal link is added from the World Animal Day website.

Finally, I would like to highlight the fact that World Animal Day is not linked to any one individual, organisation or campaign, but belongs to everyone. The official World Animal Day website was created and is sponsored by Naturewatch but the organisation does not benefit from this in any way, shape or form.

Thank you on behalf of the animals and myself.

My best wishes

Debbie Dawson
Assistant Project Manager
World Animal Day
+44 (0)1242 252871

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11. Analysis by JVNA Advisor Ronald Landskroner re Impacts of Global Warming, Overconmption and More

[Ron has been very helpful in providing me with email lists of Hillel directors, JCC directors, Professors of religion, Jewish librarians and many more groups. This has enabled us to get A SACRED DUTY DVDs to many key people.]

Unprecedented flooding and killer tornadoes in the Midwest, home-destroying sequential brush & forest fires in California, record high temperatures all over. Reminds one of biblical-scale plagues. The televangelists should be having a field day with this stuff. You don't have to wait any longer for the future. The future is here. And yet, given all of these obvious signs, people continue to procreate, save for college, fill their SUVs, yak away on their cell phones, crank the music up on their iPods, watch the ever increasing and insulting (at least to intelligent folk) dumbed-down trash on their big screen, hi-def plasma TV as they munch on KFC and chug down their daily lattes in throw-away cups. If they don't get the message now, will they ever? PBS aired a very interesting program the other night about a thriving and advanced civilization in Peru that suddenly vanished 1300 years ago, due to a combination of climate change which initially devastated them followed by civil war as societal controls unraveled. This has played out repeatedly throughout human history. What we are seeing now is no exception. The only difference being that this time around most of the changes are human-caused. Case closed.


Message 2:

This may be over dramatizing things somewhat but this is how I see it . We just might be in the final stretch of a neck-and-neck race between good and evil, right and wrong, open-minded v. narrow-minded, stubborn, blind adherence to a dark past v. looking to a bright future, the high road v. the low road, enlightenment v. ignorance, peace v. violence, life v. death. In other words, either the beginning of the end OR the end of the beginning.

Message 3 from Ronald Landskroner:

After watching the disgusting display of Steve Jobs unveiling his latest adult toy the other day to exulting oohs and ahs by his adoring fans, salivating consumers and greedy investors, I thought of writing him a scathing letter. However, I subsequently thought better of it, realizing that it probably had only a slight chance of ever being read by him. Furthermore, he is so entrenched in this stuff that occupies his life he would not be very open to my opinions.

In any case, this is what I would have written and may yet do so. I would express my consternation over his irresponsible actions in rolling out ten million more pieces of electronic wizzardry, just merely to feed his supersized ego and already engorged bank account. I would remind him of the mountains of electronic trash that already exist all over the globa, the production of which used up diminishing resources and the disposing of which will add to an excessively polluted world.

On an individual level, I would also point out that marketing such devices would push ever more people to spend money they can less and less afford amidst a sinking economy, house foreclosures, diminished employment opportunities and burgeoning human population.

There is no doubt that he would ignore and dismiss my allegations while rationalize his actions and motives, proclaiming in his most boastful and prideful ways that he is helping humanity with his technological innovations while at the same time giving a boost to the economy by "putting people to work."

I am not convinced. Seeing people on the street, on the bus, driving and even riding a bike plugged in to this gadget or that (oftentimes more than one) absolutely obsessed with and addicted to these devices is both personally annoying and rather depressing.

Aren't people alienated enough without continually be connected to their electronic diversions. And whatever became of the concepts of peace and quiet, as well as consideration for other's space and their need to read and think in silence, esp. those few of us not so brainwashed and mesmerized by the latest plastic thing with flashing lights and buttons. The following link is a perfect example of how caught up in this fantasyland people have become.

Give me a sunset or sunrise to marvel at, the sound of birds, a walk at my favorite dog park any day of the week. These amusements are free, healthy for the body, mind and spirit, do not require batteries and best of all will not be outmoded nor made obsolete by the latest updated version.


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12. Excellent Video on Role of Meat Production in Spreading Hunger, and Many Other Valuable Insights

Thanks to JVNA advisor Steve Gorad for this message:

Mark Bittman, food writer from the New York Times, a non-vegetarian, talks frankly about world's food problem, and calls for a reduction in meat consumption.

"less meat, less junk, more plants"


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13. Effects of the Earth Boiling

Forwarded message:

Global Boiling

The evidence for the consequences of global warming is appearing with alarming frequency. This morning's headlines are filled with tales of deadly weather: "At least four people were killed and about 40 injured when a tornado tore through a Boy Scout camp in western Iowa on Wednesday night"; "two people are dead in northern Kansas after tornadoes cut a diagonal path across the state"; "[t]wo Maryland men with heart conditions died this week" from the East Coast heat wave. These eight deaths come on top of reports earlier this week that the heat wave "claimed the lives of 17 people" and the wave of deadly storms killed 11 more: "six in Michigan, two in Indiana and one each in Iowa and Connecticut," as well as one man in New York. Tornadoes this year are being reported at record levels. States of emergency have been declared in Minnesota, California, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Michigan because of floods and wildfires. Counties in Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, South Dakota, and Wisconsin have been declared disaster areas due to the historic flooding that has breached dams, inundated towns, and caused major crop damage, sending commodity futures to new records. The floodwaters are continuing down the Mississippi River, with "crests of 10 feet or more above flood level" for "at least the next two weeks."

GLOBAL BOILING: This tragic, deadly, and destructive weather -- not to mention the droughts in Georgia, California, Kansas, North Carolina, Florida, Tennessee, North Dakota, and elsewhere across the country -- are consistent with the changes scientists predicted would come with global warming. Gov. Chet Culver (D-IA) called the three weeks of storms that gave rise to the floods in his state "historic in proportion," saying "very few people could anticipate or prepare for that type of event." Culver is, unfortunately, wrong. As far back as 1995, analysis by the National Climatic Data Center showed that the United States "had suffered a statistically significant increase in a variety of extreme weather events." In 2007, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that it is "very likely" that man-made global warming will bring an "increase in frequency of hot extremes, heat waves and heavy precipitation." The Nobel Prize-winning panel of thousands of scientists and government officials also found, "Altered frequencies and intensities of extreme weather, together with sea level rise, are expected to have mostly adverse effects on natural and human systems." In 2002, scientists said that "increased precipitation, an expected outcome of climate change, may cause losses of US corn production to double over the next 30 years -- additional damage that could cost agriculture $3 billion per year." Scientists have also found that the "West will see devastating droughts as global warming reduces the amount of mountain snow and causes the snow that does fall to melt earlier in the year."

WAKE-UP CALL?: Of the Memorial Day storms that killed eight people and "led to about $160 million in claims," Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) rose on the Senate floor on June 5 to say, "the storm may serve as a wake-up call to those of us who have become somewhat complacent about severe weather warnings." The next day, Grassley joined 37 of his colleagues to filibuster climate legislation, the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act. This week, he and other conservatives filibustered two more bills to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and support renewable energy and energy efficiency. In response to "[T]he most destructive flood in Indiana history," estimated to have caused "$126 million in damages," Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-IN) told reporters that President Bush "called 'simply to inquire about how Hoosiers were getting through this, and to ask me -- as I have asked local officials -- was his level of government doing all it can to support us here and to cooperate with us? I told him, 'So far, so good.'" At the beginning of the month, Bush said he would veto these climate and clean energy bills if they came to his desk, declaring, "I urge the Congress to be very careful about running up enormous costs for future generations of Americans."

'TURNING THE KNOB': Although the deadly weather has been front-page news all season, and news channels dedicate hours of coverage to "Extreme Weather," the media are strangely reluctant to discuss severe weather events in the context of climate change. Perhaps some of the reason is the virulent response from the right wing whenever a journalist or scientist dares to discuss how "the upsurge in the number and power of the deadly storms could be related to a warming climate." In a rare instance of good coverage, ABC's Good Morning America ran a segment on Monday about the East Coast heat wave that noted "90 records have been tied or broken" across the East and interviewed eminent climatologist Dr. Stephen Schneider. Schneider explained, "While this heat wave like all other heat waves is made by Mother Nature, we've been fooling around by turning the knob and making a little bit hotter." Schneider then pointed out that we are making the climate hotter through carbon dioxide and methane emissions. In response, the right-wing media outlet Newsbusters wrote that Schneider "Blames Greenhouse Gases for Current Heat Wave," saying, "[G]lobal warming activists have another way to frighten the public -- using steamy weather to suggest human greenhouse gas emissions are worsening a heat wave."

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14. Latest Re Campaign to Prevent Horse Racing in Israel

Forwarded message from Nina Natelson, Director of CHAI (Concern for Helping animals in Israel) and a JVNA advisor:


The Jerusalem Post interviewed the head of Israel's Jockey Club in a pro-racing article:


Please write a short, polite letter stating why the rosy image presented in the article is false and why gambling on racing should NOT come to Israel.

Submit a letter here:


Sample letter below.

Among the points to make are:

· Thousands born, a few fastest picked to race, most of the rest sent to slaughter.

· At 6, when they're no longer fast enough, they are sent to slaughter, abandoned to starve, or sold from hand to hand in a downward spiral of abuse.

· Widespread drugging of horses is routine, new drug cocktails are created constantly so labs attempting to detect drugs can't keep up.

· Bleeding in the lungs (can be fatal), chronic ulcers, heart attacks are common.

· Impossible to regulate this industry based on greed.

See www.chai-online.org for more information.


Dear Editor,

The June 13 horse racing article presents an inaccurate image of what gambling on racing would bring to Israel if the Knesset fails to vote against it. The reality, shown by the recent deaths of Barbaro and Eight Belles, is an ugly one:

Thousands of horses bred annually, a few fastest picked out to race, most of the rest sent to slaughter; catastrophic injuries caused by being trained and raced before their bones have hardened; drugging to enhance performance or cover up pain so they race even while injured; bleeding in the lungs (which can be fatal), chronic ulcers and heart attacks. No longer fast enough by age 6 (Thoroughbreds can live to 25), they are sent to slaughter or sold from hand to hand in a downward spiral of abuse.

Will Israel go into the horse slaughter business or ship live animals abroad to end up on dinner plates just as other countries are ending these barbaric practices? Insurance fraud, crime and social problems caused by addiction are also an inherent part of the industry. No wonder Israel's Chief Rabbi issued a ruling (psak) saying it violates Jewish law and many Knesset members have vowed to vote against it.

If England and the U.S.' extensive laws and State Racing Commissions have been unable to regulate the industry, Israel will surely be unable to do so. When gambling enters the picture, greed overrides ethics. Barbaro and Eight Bells were not isolated incidents - on the day Eight Belles died, 15 other horses died on U.S. tracks. Even veteran U.S. racing journalists are finally questioning the morality of the sport, comparing it to bullfighting. All with a shred of decency and compassion should urge Knesset members to vote against inviting this evil into the country.


Nina Natelson
Concern for Helping Animals in Israel (CHAI)


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15. Many Austrian Animal Rights Activists Arrested

The following comes form: Maria Griebl
Association Against Animal Factories

Reference page:

Dear colleagues,

After many years of achieving successful reforms to Austrian animal welfare the Austrian animal-rights-movement has been dealt a massive blow by a police raids on May 21th. Ten people were arrested on that day, and remain, to this day in remand custody without any specific charges having been made against them. They are suspected of belonging to a criminal organisation, §278a of the Austrian criminal code. No evidence has been brought by the prosecution which could substantiate this claim: many of the ten have had no contact with each other before or do not even know each other.

The animal welfare movement in Austria has achieved a great deal for animals in the last years. The success list includes a ban on fur farms, a ban on wild animals in circuses, a ban on caged rabbits used for meat and a total ban on battery cages for laying hens. Austria has become a leading country in animal welfare worldwide, obviously too successful for some lobbies and this repression against the movement now seems to be the punishment for this success.

More information on

- http://www.vgt.at/index_en.php
- http://www.wikileaks.org/wiki/User:Austrian_Atrocities

and much more (for those of you speaking German) at
- http://www.vgt.at/index.php


- support us with the actions listed here:
- write to the Austrian embassy in your country and let us know when they reply
- tell the media in your country to write about repression in Austria
- contact celebrities and ask them voice their concern about the misuse of the law and infringement of civil liberties being used to repress social activism in Austria

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16. Top Ten Vegetarian Movies?

The Stone Report
Jay Stone

Top 10 Movies To Make You A Vegetarian
Just in time for Father's Day dinner, our friends at the animal protection group PETA - usually such a stern lot - have come up with an intriguing list: Top 10 most thought-provoking films about what we eat. They've managed to include an ad for their own movie at No. 10, but we'll leave it, seeing as how it includes a scene of a turkey singing to classical music. Sounds delicious. The PETA list, with commentary included:

o Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead (2008). See the KFC-esque 'American Chicken Bunker' get skewered in this film about chickens who return from the grave to seek revenge against their killers. Throw in a few lesbian protesters, musical numbers about Native American burial grounds, and fry-o-lators, and you've got yourself a vegetarian-manifesto masterpiece.

o Soylent Green (1973). Overpopulation and environmental devastation have led to a world where food is scarce and prices have sky-rocketed (sound familiar?), and the only way to survive is by eating a mysterious food called Soylent Green. But the real food for thought is when Chuck Heston discovers that 'Soylent Green is people!' (Please, pass the veggies!)

o Babe (1995). This film has turned legions of people into vegetarians-including its star, James Cromwell-because who could 'pig out' again after watching that cute little piglet charm Farmer Hogett?

o Delicatessen (1991). As if foie gras weren't disgusting enough, this post-apocalyptic comedy gives new meaning to 'French cuisine' when a landlord serves cannibalistic meals to his tenants.

o Fast Food Nation (2006). This film takes a compelling look at the destructive impact that eating meat has on animals, people's health, and the environment. Bruce Willis's 'tough talk' scene about the suspect ingredients found in meat-while chomping on a huge burger-is priceless.

o The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974). Leatherface and his family members really know how to throw a dinner party: blood, gore, and all the human flesh that you can eat. Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons calls The Texas Chainsaw Massacre a vegetarian movie. “The way that woman was screaming, 'Aaaahhh,' and she's running away-that's how every animal you eat is running for his or her life,” he says.

o Super Size Me (2004). Morgan Spurlock documents the ill effects that his 30-day, McDonald's-only diet has on his body, giving new meaning to the phrase 'Big Mac attack.'

o Chicken Run (2000). That's right: Laying hens don't 'retire'-they get turned into Mrs. Tweedy's Homemade Chicken Pies. This movie is the best that celluloid (and clay) has to offer in making the case for scrambled tofu.

o Sweeney Todd (2007). This tells the story of a demon barber who conspires with a woman who uses human flesh in her meat pies. The only thing yummy in this blood-splattered spectacle is Johnny Depp.

o I Am an Animal (2007). Showing everything from undercover video footage shot inside a turkey slaughterhouse to a rescued turkey singing along to classical music, this documentary about PETA founder Ingrid E. Newkirk is one of the best cases for a Tofurky Thanksgiving.

“Picking up the remote can become a life-changing act when you watch one of these movies,” says Newkirk. “If animals wrote movie reviews, they'd give these films two paws up.”

[Perhaps JVNA's A SACRED DUTY will make the list next year, or at least get n honorable mention.]

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17. Interested in Taking Part in a “Vegan Relationship Survey”?

Forwarded message:

Vegan Relationship Survey

This survey is being conducted by M. Butterflies Katz, who has published several popular articles on vegan subjects, including 'vegan companies', 'vegan-organic gardening' and 'feeding your pets vegan'.

The results of the survey will be used to research an article that will be published on-line and in magazines.

You can answer anonymously if you choose. Please circulate this questionnaire to other vegans. Reply to veganpoet@hotmail.com


I am willing to be quoted in the article: Yes/No
I wish to remain anonymous: Yes/No

Name (optional) ______________________

Are you vegan?

When did you become vegan?

How do you describe the extent to which you take your veganism?

What is your age group?
under 18 _____
19-30 ______
31-55 ______
56 -75 ______
Over 75 _____

Are there any other vegans in your immediate or extended family?

How do your parents/family feel about your veganism? Has this changed over time? If so, how?

Where do you live? Are there many vegans in your area?

How do you meet other vegans?

Do you live alone? Yes/No

a) Do you live with other vegans? How many? What is their relationship to you?

b) Do you live with any non-vegans? How many? What is their relationship to you? How is that working out?

Is your veganism directly related to the influence of a relationship? Details?

Are there any vegan activists or celebrities that have inspired you?

Have you influenced others to become vegan? How?

Do you date only vegans?

What is your sexual orientation?

Would you object to being romantically involved with someone who is not vegan? Please explain your reasons.

Do you know of any children/people that are vegan from birth? Please give any details that you can.

Are the vegans you know healthy? Please give details.

How do the people you know/meet react towards your veganism? Have you noticed any change in people's reactions over the years?

Do you know more vegan women or men?

From your experience, do you think that men or women are more open to the vegan concept, generally speaking?

How are your friendships with vegans different to your friendships with non-vegans?

Does being vegan influence how you relate to others? If so, how?

Do you have pets? Are they vegan?

Has being vegan changed your relationship to animals?

Thank you so much for participating.



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18. Getting Global Warming on the World's Agenda

Forwarded message from Avaaz:

Dear friends,

On Wednesday, we'll hand our climate petition to the prime minister of Japan -- the chair of the powerful G8 summit. Join the call for climate action now!

Last year, the world seemed to wake up to climate change.

This year, it's falling back asleep.

Two weeks of global climate negotiations have just wrapped up -- with no real progress. The rich nations are the culprits, refusing to take the lead and commit to emissions cuts that will bring the rest of the world onboard.[1]

Our best hope: within weeks, those rich country leaders will gather at the G8 summit chaired by Japan. If Japan's Prime Minister offers bold leadership, the G8 summit could be a breakthrough. But, so far, he is pushing in the wrong direction.[2]

So it's up to us. Next Wednesday, June 18, we will hand-deliver our new climate petition to Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda. If we can muster 250,000 voices in a few short days, we can sound a global alarm on climate that Fukuda and the other G8 leaders cannot ignore. Sign the petition and forward this message to friends:


We've already shown that a global public outcry on climate change can move Fukuda's policy. Asahi Shimbun, Japan's second-largest newspaper, told the story in a lengthy article this January. At a critical, high-level meeting on global warming after the UN negotiations in Bali, the Environment Minister reportedly held up Avaaz's "Titanic" newspaper ad -- showing Japanese Prime Minister Fukuda, with Bush, steering towards climate disaster... along with a call for tough 2020 emissions targets, signed by 90,000 Avaaz members.

"The world sees Japan as a force resisting change! Are we okay with this?" the minister reportedly asked. The Chief Cabinet Minister suggested setting a target. Days later, after having steadfastly resisted the idea at Bali, Prime Minister Fukuda announced his decision: Japan would, indeed set a 2020 emissions target.[3]

Now, five months on, Fukuda has indeed laid out a target -- but it falls far short of what scientists say is necessary to avert a climate catastrophe.

This year's G8 summit will begin on the same day as the Tanabata festival, when citizens write their wishes on pieces of paper and hang them from bamboo trees. [4] This Wednesday, let's send the biggest-ever Tanabata wish: for a climate change treaty strong enough to save the planet.

Sign the petition here, and spread the word:


People created the climate crisis. If we join together, people power can end it.

With hope,

Ben, Ricken, Iain, Graziela, Galit, Paul, Pascal, Veronique, Mark, and Milena -- the Avaaz.org team

Avaaz.org is an independent, not-for-profit global campaigning organization that works to ensure that the views and values of the world's people inform global decision-making. (Avaaz means "voice" in many languages.) Avaaz receives no money from governments or corporations, and is staffed by a global team based in London, Rio de Janeiro, New York, Paris, Washington DC, and Geneva.

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