July 1, 2008

6/29/2008 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

1. My Speaking Schedule at AR2008

2. My Talk on “Judaism and Vegetarianism” on the Internet

3. Very Comprehensive Analysis of Negative Effects of Animal-Based Diets

4. Getting A SACRED DUTY More Widely Shown on TV

5. Australian Campaign to Save the Planet Through Dietary Changes

6. Update on Agriprocessors Controversy

7. Response to James Hansen Warnings Re Global Warming

8. Israeli Solar Energy Breakthrough

9. Global Warming Effects Per Degree of Temperature Rise

10. Update on “Responsible Policies for Animals”

11. Update Re Animal Rights Activists Arrested in Austria

12. Re Oprah Winfrey's Vegan Experiment

13. Donkey Sanctuary in Israel

14. Lagoons With Animal Wastes Threatened by Flooding in Midwestern States

15. Videotape of Dorit Discussing the Raw Lifestyles Film Festival

16. “The Environment in Jewish Thought and Law” Published

17. JVNA Press Release Challenges Rabbis to Respond to Global Warming, Put Vegetarianism on the Jewish Agenda

18. “Notmilkman” Robert Cohen Publishes New Book

19. Additional Negative Effects of Producing and Consuming Meat

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 Speaking Schedule at AR2008

I am now scheduled to give the following four talks at the AR2008 conference, scheduled for the Washington, DC area. The conference will be from August 14-18, but I will only be attending on August 17-18.

Talk #1: 8/17/2008, 11:03 AM: Engaging Religion
(engaging Christian, Jewish, Moslem, and minor religious denominations)

Other people assigned to this session:
Sue Grisham; Kris Haley, Will Tuttle,

Talk #2 8/17/2008, 1:33 PM: Effective Tactics for Agriculture
(tactics for ending abuse of animals raised for food)

Other people assigned to this session:
Harold Brown, Karen Davis, Alex Hershaft
Talk #3 8/17/2008, 4:32 PM: Producing/Airing Videos
(producing and airing of TV documentaries and PSAs)

Other people assigned to this session:
Shannon Keith, Howard Lyman, Jonny Vasic,

Talk #4: 8/17/08 7:30 PM: Acting Globally
(Spreading the vegetarian message globally)

Plenary Talk
Other people assigned to this session:
Anthony Marr
There will also be one or more showings of A SACRED DUTY at the AR2008 conference. I have asked that there be a showing at 3 PM on Sunday, August 17, so I can introduce it and respond to questions.

I am hoping to have my talks videotaped, and then posted on the Internet. Suggestions welcome. Thanks.

Other JVNA activists, including JVNA Secretary/Treasurer John Diamond, Ron Landskroner and George Shea will be attending and helping respond to inquiries and distribute A SACRED DUTY and JVNA literature at a JVNA table. That we will be sharing with Micah Publications and CHAI (Concern for Helping Animals in Israel).

I plan to take part in a vigil on Monday, August 18 that will spotlight dietary connections to global warming.

Please consider attending and helping spread the Jewish Vegetarian message. Thanks.

Sign up now for AR2008

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2. My Talk on “Judaism and Vegetarianism” on the Internet

As indicated in a separate message, thanks to the splendid efforts of JVNA advisor Rina Deych, my talk at a Tikkun Olam event at the Kane Street Synagogue in Brooklyn on June 22 was videotaped and can be seen on the internet at:

As indicated, the conditions were far from ideal and the sound in the first minute or so is not good. But the basic case for why Jews should be vegetarians is there. So, if you would like a quick review (only 24 minutes), please take a look and let me know what you think. Thanks.

As indicated above, I hope to have my talks at AR2008 videotaped, and hopefully that will be of better quality.

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3. Very Comprehensive Analysis of Negative Effects of Animal-Based Diets

from Viva! Vegetarians International Voice for Animals (Viva!)

8 York Court, Wilder Street, Bristol BS2 8QH, UK
Telephone: 0117 944 1000 Fax: 0117 924 4646 E: info@viva.org.uk


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4. Getting A SACRED DUTY More Widely Shown on TV

Some very good suggestions in the paragraph below from Lois Baum:

Local Cable Access is an idea, as well as PBS. Each one operates differently, so contact them in your own area and get details on requirements, etc.

Please contact your local stations and ask if they would be willing to screen A SACRED DUTY. We will be happy to supply complimentary DVDs. Also, please let station managers know that the entire movie can be seen at ASacred Duty.com, with a version with subtitles in several languages. I hope to be able to announce soon that a version with Hebrew subtitles will be available.

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5. Australian Campaign to Save the Planet Through Dietary Changes

UVA (the Vegetarian Union of Australia) continue with the campaign

According to UN's report, the meat industry is the main producer of greenhouse gas emissions: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and ammoniac. Besides, the FAO ensures that ranching is “the major driver of deforestation worldwide” and overgrazing is turning a fifth of all pastures and ranges into desert. Pesticides, antibiotics and hormones used to treat cattle get into drinking water and endanger human health. Consider that livestock production accounts for 33 percent of all
agricultural land and 30 percent of the land surface of the planet.

Complete report in English

The Argentinean Vegetarian Union (UVA) asks to the United Nations and through this organization to every government in the world to sensitize world population about the importance of basing our diet on vegetables and to promote a dietary change as the main measure to diminish greenhouse gas emissions.

The UVA calls to every sensitive person interested in preserving life to sign this petition supporting our initiative. The collected signatures will be sent to the United Nations.

Join this initiative! Save the future of our planet for future generations.

Please, to sign, visit the following link

Thank you very much

Manuel Alfredo Martí

Unión Vegetariana Argentina (UVA)

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6. Update on Agriprocessors Controversy

Article in the Forward Forward.com
Sun. Jun 29, 2008

[As I have previously indicated, I believe our best approach is to urge that the many controversies at the Postville, Iowa slaughterhouse be considered as wake-up calls to address the many moral issues related to the production and consumption of meat, including that at least 6 basic jewish mandates are violated.]

Kosher Meat Giant Kicks Off P.R. Blitz

By Anthony Weiss
Thu. Jun 26, 2008 The Forward


The operator of the country's largest kosher slaughterhouse appears to be gearing up for a major public relations blitz after being battered by criticism of its labor practices and calls for a boycott of its products.

Agriprocessors, which has come under renewed fire in the wake of a federal raid on its Postville, Iowa, plant, has hired 5W Public Relations, a New York-based P.R. powerhouse that represents clients ranging from hip-hop stars to Fortune 500 companies; in the Jewish world it built a reputation for representing right-wing and Orthodox figures.

Even with the new representation, the beleaguered kosher meat company has run into complications as it tries to counter concerns that have permeated the Jewish community, the media and even the kosher industry. A closed community meeting that representatives of Agriprocessors scheduled for June 24 was canceled after word of the meeting leaked to the press and to the company's detractors.

Agriprocessors has faced criticism for the past two years over the labor conditions at its large Iowa plant. Those criticisms have sharpened in the wake of a massive federal raid on the slaughterhouse May 12, in the course of which nearly 400 illegal immigrant employees were arrested.

Since the raid, there has been a growing backlash against Agriprocessors in the Jewish community. On June 11, representatives from Agriprocessors met with organizers from Uri L'Tzedek, a liberal Orthodox organization that has called for a boycott of Agriprocessors until the company introduces labor reforms.

Juda Engelmayer, who is handling the Agriprocessors account for 5W, said that Agriprocessors had hired his firm in mid-June to deal with marketing. Engelmayer leads 5W's corporate and public affairs department, specializing in publicity and crisis management. He has represented several major Jewish organizations and corporations, as well as controversial evangelical Reverend John Hagee.

Menachem Lubinsky, CEO of the kosher industry consulting firm Lubicom and a spokesman for Agriprocessors, told the Forward that he expected 5W to deal with negative publicity and blogs. Asked to confirm this, Engelmayer said 5W's role is still undefined.

Lubicom organized the June 24 meeting in midtown Manhattan to present the Agriprocessors case. According to an e-mail publicizing the event, the topics slated for discussion included the potential for a kosher meat shortage and “What can be done to stop the slander and vilifications against Agriprocessors?” Among those scheduled to appear, according to the e-mail, were “local community activists from Postville” and “kosher food industry leaders.” In response to inquiries, a Lubicom employee said the event would be closed to the public and to press.

But once word of the meeting began to circulate beyond the intended invitees, the organizers, nervous that it might be disrupted by protesters, canceled it.

“They decided that it's better to have a meeting where the point of the meeting can be had without a possible ruckus,” Engelmeyer said.

Instead, a conference call was held, featuring presentations by two of Agriprocessors' lawyers - Nathan Lewin, a constitutional lawyer who previously represented Agriprocessors, and James Martin, a former federal prosecutor who has been hired by Agriprocessors to lead its compliance efforts. Both men defended the company and laid out changes that Agriprocessors has been making. Among the participants in the call were a former member of Postville's city council and about 20 Jewish community leaders and kosher industry consumers.

Rabbi Pesach Lerner, executive vice president of the National Council of Young Israel and a participant on the call, said that he came away from the discussion reassured that the company had tried to comply with the appropriate laws and that it was making necessary adjustments.

But critics remain concerned. Rabbi Morris Allen, leader of the Conservative movement's effort to reform labor practices in the kosher food industry, and one of the most prominent critics of Agriprocessors, said he worried that the public relations push was a sign that Agriprocessors was more focused on going after its critics than on changing its practices.

“It appears that sometimes, people's best defense is not to look at themselves to make change, but rather to attack people who are simply calling for a higher standard to be used in the production of kosher food,” Allen said.

Copyright © 2008 Forward Association, Inc.

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7. Response to James Hansen Warnings Re Global Warming

Future Hope column, June 29, 2008

Prioritizing Climate

Article by environmental activist Ted Glick

"We have used up all slack in the schedule for actions needed to defuse the global warming time bomb. The next President and Congress must define a course next year in which the United States exerts leadership commensurate with our responsibility for the present dangerous situation. Otherwise it will become impractical to constrain atmospheric carbon dioxide to a level that prevents the climate system from passing tipping points that lead to disastrous climate changes that spiral dynamically out of humanity's control."
-James Hansen, Congressional testimony, June 23, 2008

Dr. James Hansen is a, if not the, leading climate scientist in the USA and probably the world. When he says, as he did a week ago before a Congressional hearing in Washington, that avoiding catastrophic climate change "requires a transformative change of direction in Washington in the next year," people really need to take notice.

Note that he didn't say "the next administration," or "the next two years." He was very specific: "the next year," 2009.

The hard truth is that humankind is in grave danger of blowing it. Serious action to shift from oil, coal and natural gas to renewable energy, energy efficiency and conservation is a good 10 years late, particularly in the USA. And we need to be clear why this is the case. Primarily, it is due to the dominance over energy policy of the coal, oil, automobile and utilities corporations.

James Hansen understands this and has the courage to say so: "The ones with the power, the ones with the ability to make a difference, with the ability to change our course, the ones who will live in infamy if we pass the tipping points, are the captains of industry, CEOs in fossil fuel companies such as ExxonMobil, automobile manufacturers, utilities, all of the leaders who have placed short-term profit above the fate of the planet and the well-being of our children."

In his testimony a week ago he said, "CEOs of fossil energy companies know what they are doing and are aware of the long-term consequences of continued business as usual. In my opinion, these CEOs should be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature."

But there is more to it. The additional truth is that many people who understand the urgency of this issue have been unwilling to prioritize it, to take it seriously in their lives, to talk about it and act upon it consistently, day after day after day.

This includes those who call themselves progressives. For reasons that are hard to understand, far too many are essentially missing in action when it comes to this overarching, profoundly essential survival issue.

There are reasons that people give for this. For some it's that the environmental movement is too white and middle-class. Or it's that the Iraq war is so destructive and dangerous. Or it's that police brutality or poverty or housing or jobs are more pressing and immediate. And for some it's that they can't see how individual life-style changes-the dominant solution pushed by far too many prominent climate leaders-will ever add up to an action program that works.

All of these things are true. But, ultimately, they are all excuses.

Every single person reading this column, every progressive, every person who is trying to make a useful contribution with their life-we all have an obligation to internalize the seriousness and the priority of the climate crisis and to speak and act accordingly.

What would this mean, concretely?

-The most important task right now is do everything we can to bring this issue into the 2008 elections for President and Congress. Every person running for office, from whatever party, must hear again and again, at forums, events, via email and letters, in every possible way, a cascading demand that the voting public wants strong action NEXT YEAR, in the first 100 days of the new administration, on climate. Those candidates who get it on this issue have an obligation to speak out clearly and consistently.

What should we be demanding that those running for office support? The demands of the 1Sky campaign (www.1sky.org) are the essentials: no new coal plants, invest in renewables, cap and rapidly reduce carbon pollution, and 5 million green jobs in a sweeping national mobilization for change.

-In localities where efforts are underway to build new coal plants, people
should join with efforts already underway-or help start new ones--to prevent coal plants from being built. Coal is the dirtiest of the fossil fuels; it is essential that we get off it as soon as possible, and the place to begin is to keep any new ones from being built. Already, the no-new-coal movement has played a key role in eliminating 1/3 of the 150 plants that were in the planning stages less than two years ago.

-If you are already active on a particular issue or within a union or in a community, make the connections to this issue. It touches just about everything. Health care will erode massively as the ecosystem deteriorates.

Wars for oil will continue for decades unless we break our fossil fuel addiction. Money spent on fossil fuel subsidies and oil wars is money not spent on housing, jobs and schools. A clean energy revolution will create millions of jobs and stimulate economic development on a transformative scale. It will decrease the power of corporations and strengthen local, grassroots democracy.

But as James Hansen said in concluding last week's testimony, "Time is short. The 2008 election is critical for the planet. If Americans turn out to pasture the most brontosaurian congressmen, if Washington adapts to address climate change, our children and grandchildren can still hold great expectations."

The climate crisis is not a gloom-and-doom issue. The solutions to it hold tremendous potential to bring about truly fundamental, positive change, on a worldwide basis. But time is literally running out. It's all hand on deck

Ted Glick is the coordinator of the U.S. Climate Emergency Council
(http://www.climateemergency.org) and has been active in the progressive movement since 1968. He can be reached at indpol@igc.org or P.O. Box 1132, Bloomfield, N.J. 07003.

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8. Israeli Solar Energy Breakthrough

Thanks to Rabbi Dovid Sears, author of “The Vision of Eden: Animal Welfare and Vegetarianism in Jewish Law and Mysticism” and a JVNA advisor for forwarding this article to us. Let us hope these developments will soon make a very positive difference.

Israeli Breakthrough in Solar Thermal Energy
by Hana Levi Julian

An Israeli entrepreneur is harnessing the sun's energy in an industrial park in the northern Negev, where he plans to refine the technology and then replicate it in California's Mojave Desert.

Arnold Goldman was a dreamer who didn't give up on his dream even when oil prices dropped and the State of California decided not to renew its incentives for clean energy producers in the 1990's.

Goldman's Luz International company which he had built in the 1980's, went bankrupt in 1991 as a result. But the dream didn't die, and the UCLA and USC-educated scientist built BrightSource Energy Inc. and Luz II instead.

This past April, the Israeli entrepreneur signed the largest power-buying agreement in the history of solar power with Pacific Gas & Electric.

A month later his clean-energy company raised $115 million from like-minded investors such as Google.org and BP Alternative Energy, enabling him to build the world's first solar thermal energy field at Rotem Industrial Park in the northern Negev.

Located between the southern cities of Arad and Dimona, the site is the testing ground for five larger solar fields that Goldman plans to build in California.

The field of 1,640 robotic mirrors, called heliostats, looks a little like a mechanical rock concert in action when the sun rises in the morning.

Each mirror is slightly larger than a ping pong table and is controlled by a computer; the tables turn toward the sun as it moves through the sky. The mirrors focus the sun's rays on the point of a 200-foot tower where a water boiler is to produce high-pressure steam.

The system is designed to produce up to 900 megawatts of clean, renewable energy for the State of California in the next decade, enough to power 540,000 homes per year.

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9. Global Warming Effects Per Degree of Temperature Rise


Hell on Earth
Raising the globe's temperature by a few degrees may not seem like a very big deal. But it is.
By Hillary Rosner

Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet

By Mark Lynas
National Geographic Books, 335 pages, $26

Though the visible impacts of global warming are adding up, much of what we've set in motion still lies ahead. The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts global average temperature increases of between 1.1 and 6.4 degrees Celsius by the end of this century, depending on whether-and by how much-we can rein in greenhouse-gas emissions in the meantime. But what exactly does that mean? What happens if the planet warms one or two or five degrees? To most people, higher temperatures on their own do not seem like cause for concern. “To most of us,” writes Mark Lynas, a British journalist whose previous book was High Tide: News From a Warming World, “if Thursday is six degrees warmer than Wednesday, it doesn't mean the end of the world, it means we can leave the overcoat at home.” But to Lynas, who read “tens of thousands” of scientific papers on climate change and distilled them into a readable 300-page book, six degrees is nothing less than apocalyptic.

Lynas has arranged his book, Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet, by degree of temperature increase, using this peer-reviewed research as a road map to a future earth. As Lynas writes, despite the occasional finding that makes headlines, the bulk of the projections about climate change “are buried in obscure specialist journals, destined to be read only by other climatologists.” Indeed, many papers are not even read by scientists in other disciplines unless they end up in a general research journal like Science or Nature. So Lynas holed up in Oxford's Radcliffe Science Library and molded all the information into the mother of all synthesis reports. If you want to understand what's in store if we don't take drastic action, Lynas has the answers. But be warned: It's not pretty.

If the planet warms by one degree Celsius, we're in for prolonged drought, landslides from melting mountains, devastating coral bleaching, species extinctions, and the disappearance of several island nations. In other words, more of what we're already witnessing. Turn the thermostat up another degree and, in just a few decades, “large areas of the Southern Ocean and part of the Pacific will become effectively toxic to organisms with calcium carbonate shells.” Unfortunately, the creatures on which the entire marine food chain rests-plankton-have just such shells. “Wiping out phytoplankton by acidifying the oceans,” Lynas writes, “is rather like spraying weed killer over most of the world's land vegetation.” The result will be marine deserts, empty underwater wastelands where nothing can survive.


But while the climate scientists reflect on this, global emissions keep rising, and time continues to run out. Which is why you should buy this book for everyone you know.

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10. Update on “Responsible Policies for Animals”

Forwarded message from Responsible Policies for Animals

Update « Via e-mail June 25, 2008 «

Responsible Policies for Animals Members & Friends!

A special welcome to all who since the last Update became Responsible Policies for Animals (RPA) members or joined RPA's e-mail list at my April 28th Free Library of Philadelphia presentation or Vegetarian Summerfest 2008 last week, at events in between, by coming across www.RPAforAll.org online, or through friends or our VegNews, Chronicle of Higher Education, or Academe ads!


Now, on to some news!

Many thanks to RPA's kind and generous members for making it possible for me to speak and table at Vegetarian Summerfest 2008! The conference started last Wednesday and ended this Sunday, with more than 600 people attending. I got to speak with many wonderful people there. It will appear in the next newsletter, but I want to mention that I gave these talks, each emphasizing RPA's campaigns and educational activities:

Political Vegetarianism. Our tax dollars support the production of flesh, milk, eggs & feed crops.

Learn how to create political solutions.

Words, Words, Words. Whoever controls words controls people. Common words blind people to the truth about healthful, humane & ecologically sound food production. Learn how to free yourself and others from mental slavery.

Wrong Thoughts: The Power Behind Meat-Eating.

Suffering results from wrong thoughts. Teaching plants-only eating challenges minds filled with false messages, and sometimes results in defensive reactions. Learn to detect and target wrong thoughts without attacking people.


Some additional high points of Vegetarian Summerfest:

Lee Hall's presentation Climate Disruption: The Vegetarian Advocate's Leadership Role and Harold Brown speaking on the looming problem of fresh-water shortages and contamination worldwide. Both greatly expanded knowledge in these crucial areas for those of us who already thought we knew. It is all the more clear from both that only legal & constitutional rights for all sentient beings can curtail human and corporate rights and practices driving constant population growth and the inhumane treatment of nonhuman animals that causes terrible suffering in them and us.

About the future ...

Examining the plight our species has created for itself

food and energy prices and contamination of water, air, and soil, rapid growth of meat and dairy industries in China and all it means for the people's health and the country's already-devastated ecosystems -- not to mention their lack of human rights and what all of this means for global trade and the destruction it is wreaking world- wide -- and understanding that is just the beginning, we see all the more clearly every day the need for fundamental change.

And we see that the fundamental change that is needed is basic legal & constitutional rights for all sentient beings. All snipping at branches continues to fail as it has for generations -- only striking at the root can work. We see even important choices like eating plants only and minimizing our use of fossil fuels only snip at branches once we understand the connections among the big problems and that using and destroying animals and their natural homes is the root cause of humanity's suffering and currently-bleak future. Educating about animal rights is also a good way -- probably a better way to get people to make lifestyle changes promoted by other kinds of animal-advocacy organizations. And it's important to remember that fundamental change like we need today isn't created by any amount of any kind of shopping.

Most of all, we see our government officials have nointention of solving the big problems or ending the misery people and corporations inflict on nonhuman animals and therefore on all of us.

That's why your support of RPA is so crucial and will remain so for the foreseeable future! Remember: The Founders didn't intend for us to leave government to those we elect! -- they anticipated we would engage in
lifelong learning and engagement.

So ...

This Saturday in West Chester, Pennsylvania, RPA will table and seek new members at Veggie Fest, an annual event run by CARE (Compassion for Animals, Respect for the Environment).

RPA will soon prepare a summer issue of Thin Ice reporting on recent work and explaining further why animal rights is the only likely solution to the problems that have grown to the point where calamity looms everywhere we look and just hearing "the news" is painful and frightening.

I'm planning some meetings with government officials in the near future. Because of possible repercussions (remember how big business has prevailed upon some in government to refer to "animal-rights terrorists" to keep people confused about where violence really comes from?!), I promise not to divulge officials' willingness to consider the importance of our research and campaigns. But I'll report what I can.

And of course we'll report to you on RPA's activities as they happen. The organization received permanent 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit status recently -- it's been five years, we're going strong thanks to you, and we're not going away!

Consider scheduling an RPA presentation -- on health, environment, politics, spirituality, whatever is of interest or concern to any group that's important in your life or community. We're always well received -- we haven't yet heard of anyone regretting scheduling or attending an RPA event!


Have a great summer!

Best wishes,

David Cantor
Executive Director
Responsible Policies for Animals, Inc.
P.O. Box 891
Glenside, PA 19038

Responsible Policies for Animals, Inc., a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit organization, shows people how to establish responsible policies for animals that are also responsible policies for people and ecosystems - meaningful, enforceable basic rights for nonhuman animals, the only means to humane treatment as society's norm.

RPA's 10,000 Years Is Enough campaign aims to end our land- grant universities' support of the meat industry - see www.RPAforAll.org and www.ExpertsOfConscience.org.

RPA's This Land Is Their Land campaign aims to protect wildlife by ending armed assaults and destructive land-use practices. See Campaigns page at www.RPAforAll.org.

RPA's position statement opposing violence and other antisocial behavior in association with animal advocacy is available at www.RPAforAll.org or by request.

Donations to RPA are tax deductible as allowed by law and may be made at the above address or www.RPAforAll.org.

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11. Update Re Animal Rights Activists Arrested in Austria

Forwarded message:


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

25 June 2008

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 organisations", the removal of computers, documents and other assets has effectively crippled some of the organisations 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 "strong suspicion" (dringender Tatverdacht) or the "reason (or grounds)" (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 defenceless, 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.

(1) Amnesty International statement
(2) Appeal Martin Balluch
(3) Elfriede Jelinek http://www.evana.org/index.php?id=34576&lang=en

List of endorsements by more than 170 organisations from 32 countries

For further information please visit the website of the Association Against Animal Factories (Verein gegen Tierfabriken)

2 July 2008 - International Day of Solidarity with the Austrian rights activists in prison

The next evaluation of the detention for the animal rights activists in Austria will take place on Friday July 4 in Wiener Neustadt. There the decision will be made as to whether the activists will remain in remand custody.

To inform the public and the media about the new evaluation and this Austrian Affair we want to spread the word for their freedom two days before, on the 2nd of July.

Please join the International Day of Solidarity and organize Demos in your City! Let's spread the word for the freedom of the 10 activists in Austria and demand an end to repression of social activism...


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12. Re Oprah Winfrey's Vegan Experiment

Forwarded message from JVNA advisor Arthur Poletti, upon hearing that Oprah Winfrey ended her 21 day vegan experiment, and did not advocate that others adopt a vegan diet:

Dear Dr. Richard Schwartz:

This news is extremely disappointing and discouraging.

Very sad turn of events for all animal life.

Unfortunately for animals, there are thousands of intelligent, financially successful people like Oprah Winfrey that just do not get it, and will probably never get it.

I truly thought Oprah was a much wiser person.

I was wrong!!

Oprah Winfrey's obvious inability to catch on and understand the big picture regarding the multitude of benefits of veganism that she could personally enjoy and promote throughout the world is without question the biggest mistake of her life.

Yes, Oprah has just failed the most important test of her life.

The test that determines and reveals the depth and scope of a person's ability to comprehend, and truly understanding that the life of every animal on earth is extremely precious and valuable and should be preserved and protected in harmony with the earth and the universe.

The test that reveals and proves that no matter what status and or fame a person attains in life, without the true feelings of *real* heart wrenching love, *real* heart wrenching compassion, and *real* heart wrenching empathy for all animal life, personal status and fame mean nothing.

Oprah has missed the most important opportunity of her life which gave her the rare and special opportunity to achieve the most important goal and most important accomplishment of her life.

It is amazing that Oprah does not have the mental capacity, depth of compassion, or vision, to realize what could have been!!

Imagine how wonderful it could have been for millions of animals, millions of humans, and the earth if Oprah announced to the world that she has now decided to become a vegan for the remainder of her likely longer, and healthier life, and recommends that every person on earth do the same thing?

Oprah Winfrey and Al Gore have one big thing in common.

Oprah Winfrey and Al Gore have both had the golden opportunity to really change the world and have both failed miserably.

Oprah Winfrey and Al Gore are like two peas in a pod.

They just do not get it and probably never will.

A truly unfortunate, sad, an inconvenient mistake!!

Dr. Schwartz, I will no longer waste my time trying to persuade people like Oprah Winfrey and Al Gore to view the most important, most magnificent, and most urgently needed free one hour documentary ever produced that you were the associate producer of titled:*A Sacred Duty* that can be viewed for free online at: http://www.asacredduty.com/

Oprah Winfrey and Al Gore have proven they would not understand or appreciate your remarkable film that promotes kindness and life for all of God's precious creatures.

For the sake of all animals, all humans, the earth and the earth's atmosphere.

Arthur Poletti

Forwarded Message:
Subj: [AnimalsNeedUsNow] Oprah off the meat-free wagon. Very, very disappointing
Date: 6/24/2008 8:49:57 AM Central Daylight Time
From: fortheanmls@yahoo.com

Oprah off the meat-free wagon

The all-powerful talk-show host ends her vegan cleanse

Posted by Sarah van Schagen at 3:04 PM on 17 Jun 2008


Oprah says her "21-day cleanse" has been "enlightening."

I will forever be a more cautious and conscious eater. That's my commitment for now. To stay awakened.

Hopefully along the way she's also enlightened some of her million-bajillion faithful followers.

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13. Donkey Sanctuary in Israel

Forwarded message from Animal Rights activist Batya Bauman:

I have always loved donkeys, with their soulful eyes and sweet dispositions... and their long history of exploitation, abuse and insult.

I was delighted to find this website. I discovered the Sanctuary, Safe Haven for Donkeys in the Holy land, in a book I am reading called "Holy Land Mosaic" by Daniel Gavron, in which chapters are devoted to the many projects where Israelis and Palestinians: Arabs and Jews, work together for the common good. In so doing, many form fast friendships through work of mutual concern.

This is one vital road to peace, and one about which we rarely ever hear.

Please visit the website:




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14. Lagoons With Animal Wastes Threatened by Flooding in Midwestern States

Message also forwarded from Batya Bauman

From Natural resources Defense Council:


Issues: Water

Pollution from Giant Livestock Farms Threatens Public Health
Waste lagoons and manure sprayfields -- two widespread and environmentally hazardous technologies -- are poorly regulated.

Factory farms -- giant livestock farms also known as feedlots that house thousands of cows, chickens or pigs -- produce staggering amounts of animal wastes. The way these wastes are stored and used has profound effects on human health and the environment.

A giant factory farm in North Carolina; the brownish rectangle at left is a waste lagoon.

On most factory farms, animals are crowded into relatively small areas; their manure and urine are funneled into massive waste lagoons. These cesspools often break, leak or overflow, sending dangerous microbes, nitrate pollution and drug-resistant bacteria into water supplies. Factory-farm lagoons also emit toxic gases such as ammonia, hydrogen sulfide and methane. What's more, the farms often spray the manure onto land, ostensibly as fertilizer -- these "sprayfields" bring still more of these harmful substances into our air and water.

Yet in spite of the huge amounts of animal wastes that factory farms produce, they have largely escaped pollution regulations; loopholes in the law and weak enforcement share the blame. NRDC has fought, and won, a number of courtroom battles over the years to force the federal government to deal with the problem of factory farms, and the U.S. EPA is now under court order to set tighter controls on release of pathogens into the environment by factory farms, exercise greater oversight on factory farms' pollution-reduction plans, and ensure that these plans are made available to the public.


Now that the animal waste lagoon cesspools may already have contaminated the ground water of most of the Midwest because of the catastrophic floods (see http://www.kansascity.com/105/story/682889.html),
the time for individuals to stop buying factory farmed meat is now.
Officials worry about collapse of animal-waste lagoons at factory farms
The Kansas City Star
When a levee failed Friday near Winfield, Mo., National Guard members quickly set to work constructing this makeshift barrier.

Along the Mississippi River, they're watching the levees. In northern Missouri, they're watching the walls of lagoons holding back millions of gallons of animal waste.

Rains this week were filling waste lagoons on industrial farms, and some were leaking and overflowing.

State officials, worried that lagoon walls might collapse, have told farmers that they can lower lagoon levels by spraying the waste on fields, even though the ground was soaked from rainfall.

“All the lagoons are overflowing or right at the edge,” said Karl Fett, regional director of the Department of Natural Resources office in Lee's Summit. “It is a dire situation.”

Missouri has never faced the failure of so many lagoons and potential contamination of waterways, state officials and environmentalists said. The lagoons were built to collect waste from animals on industrial farms, which have proliferated in Missouri in recent years.

“I have been with the department since 1999, and I haven't seen anything like this,” said Joe Heafner, a natural resources industrial farm inspector.

Many lagoons are 1 to 3 acres and can be 8 to 15 feet deep. They can contain up to 25 million gallons of animal waste.

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15. Videotape of Dorit Discussing the Raw Lifestyles Film Festival

Forwarded message from Dorit:

[This item is included here because A SACRED DUTY won an award at this film festival in Los Angeles.]

Feel free to use and post where ever you wish to:


Committed to Raising Consciousness
Dorit, Raw Lifestyle Film Festival Organizer
Book, Celebrating Our Raw Nature 1 & 2
http://www.serenityspaces.org 310-854-2078

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16. “The Environment in Jewish Thought and Law” Published

(Thanks to Sue Tourkin-Komet for forwarding the following article.)

Subject: SCOOP--Environmental/''Green'' Book of Halachik Responsa

Today's Hebrew Ynet wrote an article about the following
>> http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-3558760,00.html - but it hasn't yet appeared in the English press...

Sviva Israel, together with the Jerusalem Municipality Tarbut Toranit Dept., the Israel Ministry for Environmental Protection and the Ramat Shlomo Community Council is marking the publication of “The Environment in Jewish Thought and Law” - Jewish environmental response on contemporary issues of sustainability and Jewish environmental ethics with a conference attended by leading rabbis, environmental professionals and activists.

“The Environment in Jewish Thought and Law”, contains more than 30 rabbinic and scholarly papers in Hebrew and English, from contributors in Israel, the US and the UK. Topics include: global warming, zoning laws, prevention of cruelty to animals, composting the Torah way, vandalism and damages of public property, cleanliness of public spaces etc.

“The Environment in Jewish Thought and Law” is the first book of halachik responsa to be printed on locally produced, unbleached, tree-free paper that was not produced on Shabbat - the most environmentally-sound printing method currently available in Israel.

The conference will be addressed by the Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Yonah Metzger; The Israel Minister for Environmental Protection, MK Gidon Ezra, Mayor of Jerusalem, Rabbi Uri Lupolianski, City Councilors and community rabbis.

For more info, contact:
Carmi Wisemon
Executive Director
Sviva Israel

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17. JVNA Press Release Challenges Rabbis to Respond to Global Warming, Put Vegetarianism on the Jewish Agenda

The press release is online at http://www.evana.org/index.php?id=34905&lang=en

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18. “Notmilkman” Robert Cohen Publishes New Book

Forwarded message from Robert Cohen:

Food For Thought

My new book is out, and I am thrilled. It is a gem. A work of art. Perfection.

My publisher (Rudy Shur, Square One Publishing) expects to sell a few hundred thousand copies.

What I am about to do is unprecedented.

You can buy the book at Barnes and Noble or Amazon, but if you do so, you will not get it signed personally by the author.

Rather than give you my office number, I am asking for yours. I'll call you to take your order. This way, we get to say hello. After ten years of writing Notmilk
columns, it's time you heard my Bronx accent, dontcha think?

"Food For Thought" is divided into seventy different topics, from Adversity and Aging to Dietary rules and Morality in Medicine. Within each topic there are dozens of quotations from Ellen White paired with a quotation from men and women of history, science, literature,
and politics.

To read this book is to read the thoughts of the world's greatest philosopher and the most translated author in the history of American literature.

I am excited and inspired by the beauty of the words in this book. You will be too.

The book begins:


Ellen White wrote:

"So long as we are in the world, we shall meet with adverse influences. Day by day and year by year we shall conquer self and grow into a new heroism."

Thomas Paine wrote:

"The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress and grow brave by reflection."

You will spend hours, days, months, years...a lifetime... reflecting upon the wisdom contained in "Food For Thought."

If you would like to order a signed copy of "Food For Thought", email me.

"Food For Thought" $20 (shipping included)
"God's Nutritionist" $20 (shipping included)
"MILK - A to Z" $15 (Shipping included)

All three books ($50) signed personally by Robert Cohen.

"God's Nutritionist is based upon Ellen G. White's "Counsels on Diet and Foods."

Food For Thought is based upon Ellen G. White's "Ministry of Healing."

Robert Cohen

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19. Additional Negative Effects of Producing and Consuming Meat

Contaminated Veggies Are the Meat Industry's Fault

By Allison Kilkenny, Buffalo Beast
Posted on June 24, 2008

(Thanks to JVNA advisor and author Dan Brook for forwarding this article.)

Despite being one of the most grotesquely overfed populations in recent memory, Americans remain preoccupied only with the quantity, not the quality, of their food. They don't mind if scientists inject their french fries with high-fructose corn syrup as long as McDonald's super-sizes their order for a nickel.

Yet, the attitude toward vegetarianism is changing in the United States. While it's difficult to quantify how many vegetarians live within our borders, it's easier to observe the attitude toward vegetarians. Twenty years ago, "What're you, a Commie?" was a typical response to a confession of veggie brotherhood. Nowadays, despite the occasional stink
eye, meat eaters at least understand that vegetarianism is healthy, if not a lifestyle particularly suited for them.

Even though the United States is more veggie-friendly these days, it's still difficult to avoid crappy food, even if one chooses to become a vegan, as I did six years ago. Despite my decision, I found myself projectile vomiting into my toilet last week. Diagnosis: food poisoning. Suspect: tomatoes. Unfortunately, becoming a vegetarian or a vegan doesn't ensure healthiness. Sure, vegetarians enjoy many
health perks (low rates of: heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer, etc.) but we're still at the mercy of the meat industry in many ways.

For starters, the meat industry poisons the environment. A 2006 United Nations report described the devastation caused by the meat industry as "one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global." Aside from global warming, meat production is a large factor in deforestation, wasted land, and air and water contamination.

Water contamination may play a large part in increasing reports of vegetable and fruit contamination. In 2007, a California produce company recalled bagged fresh spinach after a sample tested positive for salmonella. Nearly a year before, an outbreak of E. coli in fresh spinach killed three people and sickened 200. The recent tomato salmonella outbreak has affected at least 145 people, resulting in 23 hospitalizations, and many believe water contamination is the cause of the affected tomatoes. It's not the veggies that are to blame. The problem is the meat.

Salmonella is an animal pathogen, so it doesn't originate from tomatoes. Most experts agree that the bacteria probably come from groundwater contaminated with animal feces. You read that right: Cow [manure] is in your tomatoes. Actually, cow [manure] is in everything: the water, hamburgers, other plant life, and if one ascribes to the hippie New Age belief that we are all one pulsating organism upon Mother Earth, then cow [manure] is in all of us.

But in a realer, more concrete sense, frenzied production lines coupled with lax management have resulted in a dramatic increase in food poisoning. The [manure-contaminated]) food is so prevalent that it's affecting non-meat-eaters. While salmonella prefers fleshy fruit like tomatoes, our friend E. coli prefers leafy
greens like spinach.

The problem is prevalent. A recent census of produce outbreaks between 1996 and 2007 counted no fewer than 33 epidemics from salmonella-contaminated fruits and vegetables. Some scientists claim the cure for salmonella and E. coli contamination isn't scrubbing clean the fruits and vegetables because doing so could remove the good bacteria humans rely upon for survival. The solution will come from the government and outraged citizens demanding that the meat industry clean up its practices so fresh produce doesn't suffer.

The outrage has already exploded in other parts of the world. While cows poison groundwater and otherwise healthy plant life here at home, Americans remain mute about the diseased slabs of meat they're consistently forced to choose from at their grocery stores.

Meanwhile, angry mobs took to the streets of South Korea when their government resumed importing beef from the United States. This wasn't some kind of fervent anti-American protest, but rather concerned citizens protecting themselves from potential mad cow disease.
In America, the only way citizens can protect themselves is to grow their own food or to buy their food from local, trusted farmers who don't use chemicals or unethical farming practices. But many poorer, urban citizens have no choice but to buy whatever food is cheap and readily available.

Still, all of this isn't cause for concern. Unless, of course, citizens are worried about the expanding legion of rotund American children who despise vegetables, binge on bagged chips and walk only if the landscape slopes downhill. The obesity rate is so wildly out of control that Americans collectively celebrated this year - not when the child population began to lose weight, but when they ceased to get fatter and obesity rates finally plateaued for the first time in 20 years.

Unfortunately, Americans can't fix their unhealthy eating until supposedly "healthy" food is clean of bacteria originating in diseased cows. Of course, the crazy practices of the meat industry shouldn't concern citizens ... unless they're worried about global warming. The Environmental Defense Fund reports that if every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted it with vegetarian foods, the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than a half-million cars off U.S. roads.

In fact, the crazy practices of the meat industry probably won't rock citizens at all until they find themselves knelt over their toilets, hurling. Right about then, they'll understand how cow [manure] affects them all.

© 2008 Buffalo Beast All rights reserved.

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