June 25, 2008

6/24/2008 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

1. My Talk at Tikkun Olam Conference Now On You Tube

2. Update on A SACRED DUTY

3. Time to Update/Revitalize the JVNA Speakers Bureau

4. The Tomato - Salmonella Scare: A Vegetarian Perspective

5. California Democratic Party Endorses Steps to Reduce Factory Farming Abuses

6. Update on Arrests of Austrian Animal Rights Activists

7. Will Higher Grain Prices Lead to Cutbacks in Meat Production?

8. My Letter Challenging Environmentalists on Vegetarianism

9. Our Efforts Help Idealistic Jews Restore Their Faith in Judaism

10. Latest Animals Voice E-Newsletter

11. Important Lessons We Can Learn From A Dog

12. Ten Commandments Regarding Animals

13. “Culinary Awakenings” Announcement

14. Who Says Athletes Must Eat Meat?

15. Dietary Connections to the Food and Oil Crises

16. Letter in Response to Reports of Shortages of Kosher Meat

17. Reducing Whaling

18. Hazon Bike Ride Scheduled

19. Agriprocessors Boycott Commences

20. Lantern Publishes New Book on Human-Animals Interactions

21. HSUS Campaign To Reduce Factory Farm Abuses in California

22. European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition

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. My Talk at Tikkun Olam Conference Now On You Tube

Many thanks to dedicated JVNA advisor Rina Deych for posting my talk on You Tube in 3 parts.

Part 1: http://youtube.com/watch?v=b3aAdk-keT0

Part 2: http://youtube.com/watch?v=lOVk_PrsG1w

Part 3: http://youtube.com/watch?v=Ar33d4P2ckk

Rina is working on getting it all onto one video. I will keep you posted about this.

Unfortunately the conditions are not ideal as I was given a last minute time deadline, and there is background noise and some visual distractions, but I think I was able to hit many highlights of our basic case. So, please take a look and let me know what you think.

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2. Update on A SACRED DUTY

a. Getting DVDs to People at Conferences

Thanks to the efforts of dedicated JVNA activists Roberta Kalechofsky, Roberta Schiff and Rae Sikora, many DVDs were given out at last week's SUMMERFEST of the North American Vegetarian Society. A SACRED DUTY was also shown at the event.

We have plans to get DVDS to many other vegetarians, animal rights activsts and others at various conferences this summer. If you will be attending an event and would like to help distribute DVDs of A SACRED DUTY or help in any other way, please let me know.

b. Getting DVDs to Others

Our objective is to get A SACRED DUTY as widely viewed and discussed as possible. So, if you would like DVDs to get to your local rabbis, educators, media, libraries, etc., please let me know how many DVDs you can use and send your mailing address. If you can arrange a screening of A SACRED DUTY, that would be great.

Once again, please let people know that the entire movie may be seen at SacredDuty.com, and that they can get further information and request a complimentary DVD at the site. Thanks.

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3. Time to Update/Revitalize the JVNA Speakers Bureau

Message from JVNA advisor Steve Schuster:

I think we should develop a speakers bureau - a credible group of speakers who can deliver the message like you can. We should offer to come to synagogues as guest Shabbat speakers, etc. to actually get in front of Jews. Rabbis love having the night off from sermonizing.

We could develop a standard presentation that could be replicated under your tutelage.

Many thanks for the valuable suggestion, Steve. Actually, we started a speakers bureau several years ago. A list of speakers can be found at:

Also, I have much material at JewishVeg.com/Schwartz that can be used for preparing a talk on “Judaism and Vegetarianism.” We would welcome additional people for our speakers bureau. And I encourage people to use the many articles at JewishVeg.com/Schwarz and the valuable material at the JVNA web site to prepare talks and then to approach local rabbis, Jewish educators and others to offer to give a talk. If we can help in any way re this, please let me know. The need for a major switch toward veganism is becoming more apparent daily, so we need everyone to help out as much as possible. Many thanks.

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4. The Tomato - Salmonella Scare: A Vegetarian Perspective

Thanks to JVNA advisor and professor and author Dan Brook for forwarding the following to us:

As with e. coli, the media seem to blame vegetables (spinach, scallions, now tomatoes), but the culprit is the farming of animals for meat, especially factory farming.---Dan Brook

How Does Salmonella Get on Tomatoes?

As the food industry has rapidly grown in the past 35 years, the study said, the FDA has cut inspections by 78 percent. Now, inspectors visit a given food manufacturing plant once a decade; no inspectors visit farms or retail sales outlets, reports chron.com

Many people, concerned about food and tomato safety ask questions on how it is that tomatoes can be contaminated with salmonella. We usually hear of salmonella being a problem with raw eggs and poorly cooked meat.

Here's what I found. Animals infected with salmonella don't show symptoms. So when they eliminate waste, the salmonella that was in their intestines in now in the manure that unsuspecting farmers use to fertilize fields.

Usually the process of composting the manure kills most bugs. Usually... not always.

Of course, animal waste can get into fields in the form of run-off from contaminated water supply systems and infected animals that sneak in and relieve themselves.

Crops are washed after they're harvested to control this sort of thing, of course, but when they go to the packing plant, if one batch is contaminated, it can contaminate others. Especially when the tomatoes travel a long way and have plenty of time to grow more bacteria to share with the healthy tomatoes on board.

Reported by Latina Viva Health

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5. California Democratic Party Endorses Steps to Reduce Factory Farming Abuses

Yesterday, the California Democratic Party officially endorsed the ballot measure to ban battery cages, veal crates, and gestation crates. This is the first time a major state party has endorsed an animal protection ballot initiative. We now turn our attention to the other side of the aisle.

Other endorsements include Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. Maxine Waters, SF Mayor Gavin Newsom, former state Senator John Burton, Cesar Chavez Foundation, Center for Food Safety, Union of Concerned Scientists, Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production, Center for Science in the Public Interest, Sierra Club-California, Defenders of Wildlife, Greenpeace USA, nearly 400 California veterinarians, nearly 150 California veterinary students, numerous religious leaders, Michael Pollan, Eric Schlosser, and the cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Davis, Santa Monica, and Berkeley.

Props to the phenomenal campaign staff and volunteers who are building this massive list of endorsers. More to come…

Interested in taking action online to help animals? Then join our online community! Go to:


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6. Update on Arrests of Austrian Animal Rights Activists

Forwarded message by Herma Caelen of EVANA:
Dear friends,

by now you certainly all know about the fate of Austrian activists who were arrested on 21 May and today are still kept in prison, and that without any specific charge.

You can find a lot of information about the situation here

After the first shock and the ensuing hope that this was nothing but a horrible misunderstanding to be corrected any day by the authorities, we now know better.

That's why the international AR and veg-community starts to get organized in the interest of solidarity and freedom of expression: The members of the international yahoo group 'Freedom for Austrian Activists'*) have drafted a common press release for which endorsements are requested before the text will be released to the media of many countries (and, of course, in many languages).

If you want to help by getting involved, we invite you to endorse the press release below by sending us the name and website (or e-mail address, if no website is available) of your organization (e-mail address info@evana.org /not later than midnight on Tuesday, June 24)

BTW, two banners have also been designed to draw attention to Austria's legal blind spot (see enclosure). They are already seen on many websites. Please feel free to use them as you see fit.

We thank you for your support.

The international EVANA Team





Non-governmental organisations express concern about what may be a case of state repression of social activism.

On 21st May 2008 at 6 a.m., heavily armed police officers from an elite unit stormed 21 homes and the offices of a number of non-governmental organisations in Austria. Breaking their way in, the masked police surrounded frightened civilians in their beds at gun point. Ten people were arrested and have been held in custody without specific charge since that day.

Despite the statement by the Austrian Federal Ministry of the Interior that "The measures taken by the police (.) were in no way directed against animal welfare or animal welfare organizations", the removal of computers, documents and other assets has effectively crippled some of the organizations involved.

Those asking the media to look at this case draw attention to the fact that Amnesty International (1) and the Austrian Green Party have reacted strongly, questioning police methods and the treatment of detainees, particularly the absence of actionable evidence justifying "reasonable suspicion" (dringender Tatverdacht) or the "probable cause" (Haftgrund) for the arrests.

Detainee accounts of what has happened are alarming: see, for example, this appeal sent out by Martin Balluch on June 9 (2).

In recent years, milestone reforms in animal law have been achieved in Austria including bans on fur farms, battery cages for hens and the use of wild animals in circuses. Should those who have achieved advances that are an example to the rest of the world be blamed for all the unsolved cases of damage to property in Austria over the last eleven years?

"All citizens have the right to actively stand up for or demonstrate against something. It is particularly important to stand up for animal rights because animals cannot stand up for themselves. People must do it for them. Animals, like all the defenseless, rely on this protection." (Elfriede Jelinek, Nobel Prize for literature 2004) (3)

Should organisations acting for animals that have always operated peacefully and within the law have their functioning hampered by the seizure of their material?

The undersigned express deep concern at what appears to be an attempt to criminalise the animal advocacy movement and to stifle the political freedom of those involved in it.

Information in German and English are available on the website of the
Association Against Animal Factories (Verein Gegen Tierfabriken):

(1) Statement from Amnesty International (5 June 2008)
(2) Martin Balluch Needs Your Help!
(3) Nobel Laureate Elfriede Jelinek comments Austrian police raids

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7. Will Higher Grain Prices Lead to Cutbacks in Meat Production?

Begin forwarded message:

From: Cathy
Date: June 19, 2008 4:34:00 PM EDT

Financial News

Meat industry leaders warn cutbacks are coming

By Janie Gabbett on 6/19/2008 for Meatingplace.com

Meat industry executives Thursday warned of production cutbacks in the beef, pork and poultry sectors as runaway corn prices have pushed input costs to unmanageable levels.

Citing corn futures prices that point to another 30 percent increase in already escalated feed costs next year, Seaboard Foods CEO Rod Brenneman told reporters on a conference call that sow slaughter will continue and there will be fewer hogs and less pork in the marketplace by later this year.


Acknowledging ethanol is not the only factor driving feedgrain prices, the executives pointed out that current ethanol policy was developed when the United States had an oversupply of grain and farmers were getting only about $2 per bushel for their corn. Current futures prices are now pointing to $8 per bushel corn, and current oil prices are nearing $140 per barrel.

"There are not a lot of variables in this world we can control," said renneman. "But government mandates are certainly something we can control."

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8. My Letter Challenging Environmentalists on Vegetarianism

[Please consider writing similar letters. It is very important that we educate people on how harmful 'livestock' agriculture is re global warming, the energy crisis, soaring food costs, increasing water shortages and other environmental threats. Thanks.]

Kol hakavod ]kudos] to Arthur Waskow and Doug Chandler for their splendid articles in the Jewish Week [on increasing environmental activism in the Jewish community]. They deserve to be widely read and widely heeded, as the future of humanity and perhaps Judaism depend on it.

However, as comprehensive and insightful as the articles are, I believe that they ignore a major factor, an inconvenient truth that even Al Gore has generally been overlooking. While, as the articles indicate, there are many things that need to be done, unless there is a major shift toward plant-based diets, there is no way that we will adequately address the global warming crisis, the energy crisis, the hunger crisis, the water crisis, the vanishing species crisis and many more current crises.

Please consider:

* While the world is increasingly threatened by global warming, 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).

* At a time when food prices are skyrocketing, food riots have occurred in many areas and an estimated 20 million people are dying annually worldwide from hunger and its effects, over 70 percent of the grain produced in the United States and over 40 percent produced worldwide are fed to farmed animals.

* In an increasingly thirsty and energy-dependent world, animal-based diets require up to 14 times as much water and 10 times as much energy as vegan (all plants) diets.

Making all of the above points even more compelling, the worldwide 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 extremely severe effects from global climate change.

And, of course, producing all of these negative effects is at the expense of the billions of animals who are so cruelly treated on factory farms before being slaughtered, and animal-based diets are contributing to an epidemic of diseases that are afflicting the Jewish and other communities.

I believe, respectfully, that we would more effectively show how serious we believe the threats are by leading a campaign to show why it is imperative that there be a major movement toward plant-centered diets. This, along with the many very valuable suggestions in the 2 great Jewish Week articles, would help move our imperiled planet to a sustainable path and help revitalize Judaism by showing the relevance of eternal Jewish teachings to current threats.

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9. Our Efforts Help Idealistic Jews Restore Their Faith in Judaism

I recently received the following two messages from one person, which indicate still another reason why our efforts are so important:

Hi Richard:

Just a brief note - I'm going through your work now, and I must say, this is an immense treasury of material. I've found many, many of my questions answered, and also, my faith in my faith restored.

I feel like I've just stumbled upon a treasure chest, honest to goodness!!

Have a wonderful weekend,

________ [I am keeping this anonymous for now, as I have not yet received permission to include this in a JVNA newsletter.]
Hi Richard:

Thanks very much for the invitation to write a story on finding my faith again; I may take you up on that. I was seriously on the brink of calling a local Buddhist Centre and finding my way into that faith, though I know Buddhists don't always practice the compassion that they preach - I've just been reading about how some Buddhists actually do eat meat.

When I went to a zen centre for a retreat once, the Roshi or whatever you call it was very obviously a former Jew, as she later confirmed to me, and many of the more notable Buddhists in American life are formerly Jews -

the thing is - Buddhists are out there in the marketplace of ideas talking about everything important, including happiness and compassion - for example in the latest edition of Buddhadharma, available on newstands, the Karmapa (the 3rd most powerful Buddhist leader) wrote a brilliant article entitled "The Power of Unbearable Compassion" which spoke so personally to me, as I feel so badly about animal abuse that I want to faint.

Whereas there's a new Jewish Life publication out on the same newstands that talks a lot about stuff. I picked it up and immediately put it down, there was nothing of substance to it and it reinforced my overwhelming sensation that Jews have lost the plot completely, that beyond materialistic and ritualistic concerns, and Israel, there's little else occupying the global Jewish mind.

So when I saw your material I was completely taken by surprise, no - SHOCK! and I have put those thoughts of Buddhism away for now to see if I might be able to salvage what remains of my once strong ties to my faith of origin.

Take care, ...

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10. Latest Animals Voice E-Newsletter


Each week we give a tiny glimpse of animals in mainstream media with links to more. And we have links to petitions, events, articles and websites of interest to people who care about animals.

View this week's eNewsletter online at:

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Please feel free to use the contents of The Animals Voice without permission if
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11. Important Lessons We Can Learn From A Dog

[A little change-of-pace]

A Dog's Purpose from a 6 year old

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife, Lisa, and their little boy, Shane, were all very attached to Belker.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn't do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker's family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on.

Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away. The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker's death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, "I know why."

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation.

He said, "People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life-- like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?" The six-year-old continued, "Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long."

Please pause a moment and consider to....
Live simply.
Love generously.
Care deeply.
Speak kindly.

Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:
1. When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
2. Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
3. Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
4. Take naps.
5. Stretch before rising.
6. Run, romp, and play daily.
7. Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
8. Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
9. On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
10. On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
11. When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
12. Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
13. Eat with gusto and enthusiasm. Stop when you have had enough.
14. Be loyal. Never pretend to be something you're not.
15. If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
16. When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.
17. Be always grateful for each new day.



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12. Ten Commandments Regarding Animals

From all-creatures.org
Animal Rights Articles
Moo-ving people toward compassionate living

Visit the all-creatures.org Home Page.
Write us with your comments: flh@all-creatures.org

Ten Commandments Regarding Animals

By Dan Brook [JVNA advisor, professor and author]


I. As the Baal Shem Tov said that “People should consider themselves, and the worms, and all creatures as friends in the universe, for we are all created beings whose abilities are God-given”, you should know that animals are important in their own ways and you should therefore grant them rights and respect.

II. As all living beings have the breath of life and a living soul (Genesis 1:30, 2:7, 19), do not objectify animals, thereby denying them their sentience and souls, their intelligence and consciousness, their emotions and feelings.

III. As God's mercy extends to all creatures (Psalms 145:9), do not say things like 'they are only animals' to excuse behavior, whether yours or of others.

IV. As the Bible states that righteous people safeguard the lives of animals (Proverbs 12:10), allow animals to eat and drink, as you enjoy eating and drinking; allow animals to rest, as you enjoy resting; allow animals their space and freedom, as you enjoy yours; allow animals to live in peace, as you desire peace; allow animals to have safe habitats, as you would enjoy a safe home.

V. As we have learned from scientific discovery and personal experience, you need to remember that humans are also animals and to therefore recognize your common evolutionary ancestry and social relationships with all other beings.

VI. As it is the ending of a world, do not kill or murder animals, whether for food, clothing, research, entertainment, or otherwise.

VII. As it is cruel and unusual punishment, especially for crimes not committed, do not exploit or abuse animals, whether for food, clothing, research, entertainment, or otherwise.

VIII. As we are to be others' keepers (Leviticus 19:16), love our neighbors (Leviticus 19:18), and respect the stranger (mentioned dozens of times in the Bible), do not stand idly by as animals are exploited, abused, harassed, tortured, or killed.

IX. Following Confucius (Analects 15:23), Hillel (Pirkei Avot 1:12, Shabbat 31a), Jesus' Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12, Luke 6:31), and many others (including Mahabharata 5:1517, Samyutta Nikaya v.353, Udana Varga 5:18, Mencius VII.A.4, #13 of Imam Al-Niwawi's Forty Hadiths, Sutrakritanga 1.11.33, Shayast-na-Shayast 13:29, in addition to writings from Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece), do not do unto other living beings what you would not want done to you and do unto other living beings as you would have them do unto you. Love your fellow beings.

X. As the Bible's first dietary regimen, in the Garden of Eden, was strictly plant-based (Genesis 1:29), choose vegetarian (vegan) so that you, your offspring, and all other beings may live and thrive in a happier, healthier, more peaceful, and more sustainable world. Love animals, do not eat them.

Dan Brook, Ph.D., is a writer, speaker, activist, and instructor of sociology and political science. He also maintains Eco-Eating at www.brook.com/veg, The Vegetarian Mitzvah at www.brook.com/jveg, and No Smoking? at www.brook.com/smoke. Dan welcomes questions, comments, contributions, and other communication via Vegnik@gmail.com.

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13. “Culinary Awakenings” Announcement

Greetings this summer:
Here is our announcement for our next and last program for 2008. Please post in the next newsletter or e-mail posting. Thank you.
Donna and Chef Al
Culinary Awakenings

20 Day Vegan Culinary Arts Program
Portland, Oregon

Learn all about how to prepare delicious and nutrient-dense organic, plant-based cuisine from a professional vegan chef. Training is Monday through Friday, 9am-3pm with weekends off in Portland, Oregon -- one of the most veg-friendly cities in North America. Visit www.chefal.org; click on Write Us; fill out the Client Contact Form and send. JVNA member discounts apply!

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14. Who Says Athletes Must Eat Meat?


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15. Dietary Connections to the Food and Oil Crises

[Again, these are important points, so please consider writing letters to the editor about them. Thanks.]

Forwarded message from “Spirituality and Ecological Hope”

Oil and water

Posted: 16 Jun 2008 07:01 PM CDT

Fostering Ecological Hope
Today from Margaret Swedish:

Everything we need to live seems to be under siege these days. Water - too much of it (central Midwest), too little of it (the West and Southeast); oil prices in the stratosphere; food prices rising inexorably - because of too much water and the high cost of oil. It's all connected, deeply connected.

“There are going to be some trying times coming up in the near future,” said Brian Fagan, mayor pro tem of Cedar Rapids where flood waters are finally receding, leaving a monumental mess.

But the water is still on the move and I can't imagine what it must be like to be waiting down river. Many Mississippi River communities are just holding their breath knowing it will be bad.

You have already heard, no doubt, what this will mean for the price of food. Iowa was the number one corn state in the country. flooded-iowa-river-near-oakville-scott-olson-getty-images.pngThe broad swath of farmland across Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana that flooded over the past couple of weeks have ruined millions of acres of crops - corn, soybeans, hay, and more - fields already under stress from a late spring. Food prices will rise - grains, meat and poultry, dairy products - all will be impacted.

And food prices were already rising because of the skyrocketing oil prices.

By the way, Milwaukee is about three tenths of an inch of rain shy of the June all-time record. Two weeks to go.

What will we do in the face of these immediate challenges? How about the government subsidies for corn ethanol and soy biodiesel? Make sense right now? Before the floods, a third of U.S. corn production was slated for ethanol. If turning grains into energy was already having an impact on global food prices, and the availability of food in poor countries, what now? The US is the world's leading corn exporter, a major source of food aid.

What now?

Oil. The pressure being felt by escalating costs of gasoline has become a prime opportunity for the oil industry to press lawmakers to overturn the ban on off-shore drilling and to open the Alaska wilderness for oil and gas drilling. It has also become a prime opportunity for nuclear energy enthusiasts to make the biggest push in decades for the construction of new nuclear power plants.

Meanwhile, President Bush has already opened the way for even more mountaintopping - blowing up our beautiful Appalachian Mountains to get to coal seams.

This is all such destructive behavior. It is all about trying to find ways to keep business-as-usual in a world where business-as-usual is the problem.

We need a new way of life. We need a whole new approach to how humans live on the planet, how we organize our lives, our life goals, our frameworks of meaning.

I have such fear that we will make decisions in a frenzy of desperation and fear, rather than taking these moments of crisis to take a deep breath and really reflect on what we are doing.

There are going to be some trying times coming in the near future - indeed. Not just for Cedar Rapids.

We are looking through a whole series of remarkable events - 'natural' and otherwise - that mark a change in our times - really major change. Look around the world right now - China, Myanmar, tornado alley, the midwest (I could make a very long list here) - look at what is happening to energy realities, population growth, changing landscapes, ecosystem breakdowns, melting ice sheets and arctic seas - markers of a major change in the very era in which we live.

We are moving from one era to another with precious little thought about what we are going to do, how we will live through this period of upheaval with as much ease as possible, with the least amount of suffering and catastrophe, until we can find some new balance among humans and the rest of Nature.

Because there are ways to do this. We can reinvent our lives in a way that can ease the crisis and make it a profoundly meaningful life mission to change how we live on the planet.

I think we must create grassroots communities around this mission. There are places where this is happening in incipient and prophetic forms. That is a sign of great hope.

Let us use this fearful time to move this reflection forward. Let's do it for all those suffering now from these weather extremes, those who have lost homes and livelihoods. And let's do it for our children who will inherit from us whatever it is we now choose to leave them.

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16. Letter in Response to Reports of Shortages of Kosher Meat

Re: Sue Fishkoff's front page article in the Jewish Journal, “Kosher meat in short supply”

Letter from JVNA advisor Maida Genser:

What to do about the kosher meat shortage?

Now that there is a local connection - where a local kosher catering firm is feeling the results - the issue of improprieties at the kosher meat “processing” plant in Postville, Iowa has finally come to the attention of the local Jewish press. Mistreatment of animals (making the kosher standing of the plant questionable in the minds of many) was reported in the national press at least three and a half years ago. The more recent revelation of mistreatment of workers was also national news. Finally the extent of use of illegal immigrants has resulted in action by the federal government.

People who choose to eat kosher meat, I am sure, want to eat clean and properly handled animals. Unfortunately the realities of modern factory-style processing of animals, including the speed of the lines and the low skill level of the cheap labor used in the plants, makes it almost impossible for the meat to be as pure as the intention of the kashrut laws. Even changing managers at the infamous Iowa plant, the source of most kosher meat in the US, is destined to fall short of the ideal result. This is why many religious Jews have turned instead to vegetarianism. There is even an organization for Jewish vegetarians - JVNA (Jewish Vegetarians of North America, www.jewishveg.com). This organization has been around for years. The group recently produced an excellent environmental film (because animal factory farming has a negative impact on the environment), called A Sacred Duty. The film can be viewed in its entirety on the internet, on YouTube or on www.ASacredDuty.com.

Locally, South Florida Vegetarian Events, www.soflavegevents.net is available to support people looking into eating less meat. The web site lists local vegetarian meetings and resources and has a sampling of general information links.

Maida W. Genser
Tamarac, FL 33319

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17. Reducing Whaling

Message forwarded by JVNA advisor and A SACRED DUTY producer Lionel Friedberg:

Dear Friend,

I just took action online to tell the Prime Minister of Norway that allowing whaling to continue paints a red stain on the country's "green" image as an eco-friendly nation. Whales already face so many other threats; yet Norway continues to kill these animals and has even raised its quota in recent years. Most recently, the Scandinavian country reportedly even exported whale meat to Japan, a move with dangerous implications.

We must convince Norway to end its whale hunt for good. Please help -- it will only take a minute!



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18. Hazon Bike Ride Scheduled

Fun, Torah, Judaism, Community, Environmentalism: Join Hazon for all of these things as we "Bike to the Beach" and embark on the 2008 Jewish Environmental Bike Ride.

This Labor Day Weekend (August 29 - September 1), Hazon, a Jewish environmental non-profit based in NYC, will lead more than 400 participants in the 8th annual Hazon New York Jewish Environmental Bike Ride. Guided by an amazing group of trained staff and volunteers, it will combine a two-day inclusive Shabbat retreat, and a two-day, fully supported, bike ride through the Hudson River Valley and into Manhattan. Funds raised during the Ride will go to support a number of different environmental organizations and causes in Israel and in the States.


Get a taste of riding with Hazon and the NY Ride: Join us for Bike to the Beach on June 29 - riding from 8 locations in NYC and NJ - for FREE!


Use the discount code “Kol Chai” to receive $65 off a rider registration for the New York Jewish Environmental Bike Ride.

If you cannot read this email, visit http://www.hazon.org/biketothebeach for details.

Bike to the Beach
Ride to Coney Island from eight starting locations around
New York City
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Register to ride for free at www.hazon.org
Lunch and t-shirt are $18 in advance,
$30 at the door
8:30 am
o Riverdale Y
o Jewish Center of Kew Garden Hills
o JCC on the Palisades
9:30 am
o 92nd St Y
o JCC Manhattan
10:00 am
o 14th St Y
10:30 am
o Grand Army Plaza
11:30 am
o 69th St Pier (for famliies)
1:00 pm
o Non-riders meet at Asser Levy Park

Each ride will have designated leaders and all riders will be provided with directions to Coney Island. We will meet at Asser Levy Park and then have a group ride to the Shorefront Y. You can bike home with the group, or take a subway.

Register at www.newyorkride.org
Fun community, beautiful route,
great food, relaxing Shabbat,
two-day, 100+ mile ride into NYC
Prices will go up soon.
For more information:
212 644 2332 or nyride@hazon.org

Please pass this on to your friends and family
For more infromation visit www.hazon.org or
contact nyride@hazon.org or 212 644 2332
Hazon | 45 West 36th Street | 8th Floor | New York, NY 10018
Use the discount code “Kol Chai” to receive $65 off a rider registration for the New York Jewish Environmental Bike Ride

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19. Agriprocessors Boycott Commences

[Please note that you can find much information re this issue at www.failedMessiah.com. I have tried to stress, as I do in the letter below that the many controversies surrounding Agriprocessors in recent years should be wake up calls to the Jewish community to consider the many moral issues and inconvenient truths related to the production and consumption of meat and other animal products. Please consider writing yopur own letters in response to articles in your local media. Thanks.]

JTA, Published: 06/17/2008

A Modern Orthodox social justice group launched a boycott of the kosher slaughterhouse Agriprocessors.

Uri L'tzedek, an initiative started by students at the liberal Orthodox rabbinical seminary Yeshivat Chovevei Torah in New York City, set Monday as the date it would stop patronizing Agriprocessors if the company did not agree to abide by certain ethical labor standards.

Organizers say some 1,300 people, including several leading Jewish figures, have signed the group's petition asking the company to establish a transparent department to ensure compliance with both Jewish and U.S. legal requirements regarding worker treatment.

Representatives of Uri L'tzedek met last week with several company officials in New York, including members of the extended Rubashkin family, which owns the company. The group was promised a statement of the company's position on worker rights within 48 hours, but the document had not materialized as of Tuesday morning.

The representatives also spoke with Jim Martin, a former federal prosecutor who was hired recently as the company's compliance officer, and submitted written questions to Martin regarding the parameters of his role.

"In the interests of fully restoring consumer confidence, we have asked that the company be transparent about Mr. Martin's findings, recommendations, and new policies instituted," said a statement Tuesday from the group. "We are also looking forward to receiving the document that Agriprocessors has promised to provide that will detail Agriprocessors' policy towards the rights of its workers. Provided that Agriprocessors supplies the information that is has promised to provide and is willing to make Mr. Martin's reports and conclusions available to the public, we are hopeful that we can resolve these issues positively for the workers at Agriprocessors, the Rubashkin family, kosher consumers, and klal yisrael."

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested nearly 400 Agriprocessors workers in a raid last month on the firm's plant in Postville, Iowa. Employees since the raid have complained of working long hours without being paid and being sexually harassed.

Agriprocessors spokesmen have not responded to JTA requests for comment.

Dear Editor:

The many recent abuses of people, animals and the environment at the Agriprocessors Postville, Iowa kosher slaughterhouse should be a wake- call to the many moral issues related to animal-based diets.

Can we ignore that such diets are contributing significantly to:

* an epidemic of heart disease, several forms of cancer and other diseases;

* global climate change, since, according to a 2006 UN report, 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)

* widespread hunger, since over 70 percent of the grain produced in the United States and over 40 percent produced worldwide are fed to farmed animals?

* increasing water and energy scarcities, since animal-based diets require up to 14 times as much water and 10 times as much energy as vegan (all plants) diets?

And, the consumption of animal products is projected to double in 50 years, making the situation even worse.

Hence, a major shift toward plant-based diets is essential to move our precious, but imperiled, planet to a sustainable path.

Very truly yours,

Richard H. Schwartz

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20. Lantern Publishes New Book on Human-Animals Interactions

There is a refreshing array of new books available at Lantern. Check out our newest:

Social Creatures
A Human and Animal Studies Reader

Edited by Cliff Flynn

Other-than-human animals are an overwhelming presence in our collective and individual lives and, at the same time, are taken for granted by human animals. Sociologists have neglected the study of human-animal interaction and the role of animals in society. This is true, despite the fact that animals are an integral part of our lives: in our language, food, families, economy, education, science, and recreation.

In more than thirty essays, Social Creatures examines the role of animals in human society. Collected from a wide range of periodicals and books, these important works of scholarship examine such issues as how animal shelter workers view the pets in their care, why some people hoard animals, animals and women who experience domestic abuse, philosophical and feminist analyses of our moral obligations toward animals, and many other topics.

Social Creatures includes work by Peter Singer, Tom Regan, Carol J. Adams, Josephine Donovan, Barbara Noske, Arnold Arluke, Ken Shapiro, and many leading scholars, anthropologists, and psychologists. The book also comes with an extensive bibliography of hundreds of articles and books.

See the full Table of Contents.
Read the Introduction

Order at lanternbooks.com

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21. HSUS Campaign To Reduce Factory Farm Abuses in California

Forwarded message from Jana Kohl:

Baby and I are on the road for our cross-country puppy mill tour, but I couldn't ignore this urgent request from Paul Shaprio at HSUS -- see below.

This is one of the most important animal welfare campaigns you'll ever be asked to help. With just $20 we can ease the suffering of farm animals by abolishing cruel confinement practices at factory farms. Please give more than $20 if you can and pass on to at least 20 friends.

Let's make sure that agribusiness doesn't win this battle simply because they have deep pockets. We have even deeper pockets if we pool our resources. This legislation is too important - it has the potential to reform these cruel industries once and for all.

Thank you for making a difference.

Love, Jana

Subj: countering the opposition in California
Date: Friday, June 20, 2008 8:05:52 AM

Big Agribusiness is dropping serious cash to counter the California ballot initiative. Just this week alone, egg factory farmers have contributed more than half a million dollars to fight against the animals in California.
As you know, the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act, will reduce the suffering of 20 million abused animals trapped in cages inside California factory farms.

We know we're likely to be outspent by deep-pocketed factory farmers in this campaign, but we must be able to compete. Animal advocates across the country are helping this critical effort by joining the $20/20 Campaign-giving just $20 (or more!) to help these 20 million animals who are depending on us. Click here to donate. https://secure.hsus.org/01/chf_2020?qp_source=chf005

Or, you can donate via our widget on MySpace or Facebook if you're on those networks.

Once you donate, please forward this and spread the word (click here for some ideas, including using your Facebook and MySpace pages!).

By giving JUST $20, you can help change the world for 20 million animals. Then ask 20 friends to do the same.

Thank you so much - I can't tell you how much I appreciate it.

Paul Shapiro
The Humane Society of the United States

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22. European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition

19-21 May 2008

EPIC Steering Committee meeting Key findings Key results and current scientific activity Summary Successful follow-up of the 521,000 subjects enrolled in the EPIC cohort, with little loss to follow-up during this time period, and the identification of over 26,000 incident cases and nearly 16,000 deaths.

Colon cancer etiology: The hypothesis that a diet high in fibre reduces colorectal cancer risk has been corroborated in the EPIC study. Our findings were published in parallel with the results from the PLCO cohort of the NIH-NCI. In that study, a similar protective effect of fibre on colorectal cancer polyps was observed. Together, these results indicate that fibre is protective both for the development of adenomatous polyps and for their malignant transformation. The hypotheses that consumption of red and processed meat increases colorectal cancer risk while intake of fish decreases risk is strongly supported by the EPIC results. The combination of these four dietary factors (i.e. fibre, fish, red and processed meats) plays a major role in colorectal cancer etiology in addition to alcohol intake, obesity and low physical activity.

Breast cancer etiology: The role of endogenous steroid hormones in pre- and post-menopausal breast cancer has been investigated in EPIC in the largest studies conducted to date on this topic. We have shown that both estrogens and androgens increase breast cancer risk while SHBG decreases risk after menopause. In parallel, overweight and low physical activity increase breast cancer risk after menopause. On the contrary, before menopause, androgens increase breast cancer risk, progesterones decrease risk and SHBG and obesity are not associated with risk. These findings provide strong clues for further investigations of the metabolic and hormonal factors specifically related to pre- and post-menopausal breast cancer. We found that the consumption of fruit and vegetables is not associated with breast cancer risk. This is an important finding as it helps to narrow down the factors potentially involved in breast cancer etiology and prevention.

Prostate cancer etiology: We have shown that similarly to breast cancer, prostate cancer risk is not related to fruit and vegetable consumption. full article here: http://epic.iarc.fr/keyfindings.php

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