July 23, 2008

7/14/2008 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

1. Article About Our Campaign with Humane Society of the United States in the Jerusalem Post/Please Write

2. JVNA Press Release Re the HSUS Compassion Campaign and Information From HSUS About the Campaign

3. Article Connects Vegetarianism to Peacemaking

4. My Recent Letter

5. Are We Approaching a Global Warming Turning Point?

6. JVNA Press Release Argues that Vegetarianism is Essential For Planetary Sustainability

7. Major Animal Rights Conference Planned for August 2008

8. Israel Facing Worst Water Crisis in 8-Years

9. Israel Making Great Strides Re Solar Energy

10. Important Letter re Food Crisis and Vegetarianism

11. Tee Shirt Provides Global Warming Connections to Animal-Based Diets

12. Helping the American Vegan Society With Your Searches and Purchases

13. Powerful New Australian Documentary Promotes Veganism

14. Two Recent Very Important Environmentally-Related Jerusalem Events

15. Study: Orangutan populations declining sharply

16. Another Significant Result of Global Warming

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. Article About Our Campaign with Humane Society of the United States in the Jerusalem Post/Please Write

[My letter to the Jerusalem Post follows this article. Please write a letter to the Jerusalem Post at letters@JPost.com. Thanks.]

[Item #2 below has more information about the HSUS campaign and a JVNA press release re this campaign. We hope the Jerusalem Post article is just the beginning of much greater media coverage of our issues because of this important HSUS campaign. Suggestions welcome. Thanks.]

Cruelty to animals riles Jewish leaders


Jerusalem Post July 14, 2008


A campaign to reduce cruelty toward animals, run by the Humane Society of the United States and [supported by] the Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA), has received the backing of Jewish leaders.

On the basis of tza'ar ba'alei hayim - the Halacha that forbids causing any living creature to suffer - prominent religious figures including Haifa Chief Rabbi She'ar Yashuv Cohen have endorsed the campaign, which is called All Creatures Great and Small. It seeks to get all religious communities involved in reducing the mistreatment of animals, especially on factory farms.

"Jews have a choice, and it should be made on treating animals with compassion," said Richard Schwartz, president of JVNA, on Sunday.

Although human beings are considered superior to animals in Judaism, people can only kill animals for authorized purposes and with minimal suffering.

However, JVNA says that contrary to Jewish law, extensive mistreatment is taking place. The group cites cruelty toward chickens on factory farms, including debeaking of birds without anesthesia, and extreme crowding that causes stress leading to pecking and sometimes killing fellow birds.

Though the laws of kashrut require that animals be slaughtered humanely, this does not necessarily extend to the way they are treated while alive, and according to JVNA there are many months of mistreatment before they are killed.

The first part of the campaign encourages Jews to pledge to buy only cage-free eggs and to reduce their consumption of eggs in October 2008.

Eventually the campaign's Web site will be expanded to include extensive resources on these issues. It hopes to establish a strong link between religion and the compassionate treatment of animals. Linked to the Jewish section of the Web site is a documentary they filmed, titled A Sacred Duty: Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal the World.

The group's main goals are to raise awareness of both animal mistreatment and the fact that most religions consider it unethical.

Schwartz also explained that the water crisis in Israel could be traced in part to the huge amounts of water necessary for raising and feeding animals. He noted, too, that animals emit more methane and CO2 than vehicles do.

According to biblical tradition, the denizens of the Garden of Eden were vegetarians, and humanity will return to that state in the messianic period. Currently, however, Judaism does not mandate vegetarianism, and there is even a common practice of eating meat on Shabbat.

"We don't say that [now] they must be vegetarian. We argue that they should be," Schwartz said.

"Judaism is very consistent with vegetarianism," he said, adding that "the main mitzva [commandment] is to rejoice in the world [on Shabbat], and it is hard to rejoice if people are always aware that they are eating something bad for their health, are involved in the mistreatment of animals and [are doing something that] is bad for the environment."

More information about the campaign can be found at humanesociety.org/religion.

My letter to the editor of the Jerusalem Post

Dear editor:

Many thanks for your July 14 article, “Cruelty to animals riles Jewish leaders,” which contrasts Judaism's compassionate teachings on the treatment of animals to the realities on modern factory farms. I hope that this well-written article helps start a long overdue discussion in the Jewish community on the many moral issues related to our diets. This is especially important today as animal-based diets are contributing to an epidemic of diseases in the Jewish community and animal-based agriculture is contributing to global warming, widening water shortages, rapid species extinction and many other environmental problems that threaten Israel and all of humanity. Anyone interested in exploring these issues further can see our new documentary “A Sacred Duty: Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal the World” at ASacedDuty.com and my over 130 articles on the issues at JewishVeg.com/Schwartz.

Return to Top

2. JVNA Press Release Re the HSUS Compassion Campaign and Information From HSUS About the Campaign

Press Release


For Immediate Release:

July 12, 2008

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

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

Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen, Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi of Haifa, has endorsed the major initiative of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which JVNA is supporting, to engage religious communities in efforts to reduce the mistreatment of animals, especially those on factory farms. The campaign, called All Creatures Great and Small, will focus initially on improving conditions for hens, by asking individuals and congregations to take a pledge to make more humane food choices by purchasing only cage-free eggs, or eating fewer eggs or no eggs for the month of October, 2008.

Rabbi Cohen stated: “I wholeheartedly endorse the campaign of HSUS. It is a basic value of our Jewish Religion and tradition to refrain from "Tza'ar Ba'alei Chaim," i.e., to refrain from inflicting pain and suffering on any living creature, Amen. Our faith requires us to follow the ways of the Lord and as we read in Psalms 145:9 - "The Lord is good to all and his compassion extends to all his works." Every live animal is certainly included in "His works." He has made all that is alive and He is the source of all life. Let us try to follow His ways and be compassionate to every living creature.”

“The All Creatures Great and Small campaign should help get the many moral issues related to animal-based diets onto the Jewish agenda and the agenda of other religions,” stated JVNA president Richard H. Schwartz. “The Jewish community should consider that the production and consumption of meat and other animal products, including eggs, violate basic Jewish mandates to preserve human health, treat animals with compassion, protect the environment, conserve natural resources and help hungry people, and act accordingly.”

JVNA argues that the ways that animals are treated on factory farms are contrary to the Jewish mandate of tsa'ar ba'alei chaim (to avoid causing unnecessary pain to animals). Chickens are especially mistreated. Over 250 million male chicks are killed immediately after birth, because they can't lay eggs and they, unlike “broilers,” have not been genetically programmed to grow much flesh. Egg-laying hens are confined to spaces so small that they can't raise even one wing. Because of the severe crowding and the fact that the hens are prevented from carrying out their natural acts, they tend to peck at other hens in their cages, often harming or killing them. To prevent this, the egg industry debeaks the birds, without providing any anesthesia, a very cruel practice that produces much pain and suffering

The HSUS, founded more than 50 years ago, is the largest animal welfare organization in the nation, with more than 10 million members and supporters -- one of every 30 Americans. The group works to celebrate the human-animal bond, and to confront cruelty wherever they find it. They operate in all 50 states, and also work globally.

All Creatures Great and Small is an innovative, multi-media campaign focused on raising awareness about our responsibilities to all animals, including those raised for food.

The campaign offers an array of resources for interfaith outreach, including documentaries on food and faith and related study guides, materials for grade levels elementary through high school. Recommended readings, lecture aids and bulletin handouts.

The campaign web site will soon feature a wide variety of material on ethical food choices and the humane treatment of animals from the perspectives of Judaism, Christianity, Islam and other religions. The Jewish section includes links to the JVNA documentary “A SACRED DUTY: Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal the World,” the JVNA website (www.JewishVeg.com), JewishVeg.com/Schwartz, where there are over 130 articles by Richard Schwartz, president of JVNA, and booklets and books edited or written by Rabbi Dovid Sears, Roberta Kalechofsky, Lewis Regenstein and Richard Schwartz. There will also be vegetarian-related scriptural quotations, a bibliography and links to Jewish vegetarian and related groups.

Further information about these issues can be found at JewishVeg.com. JVNA will provide complimentary copies of its new documentary A SACRED DUTY: APPLYING JEWISH VALUES TO HELP HEAL THE WORLD to rabbis and other Jewish leaders who will contact us (president@JewishVeg.com) and indicate how they will use them to involve their congregations on the issues. The entire movie can be seen and further information about it can be found at ASacredDuty.com.

Further information about All Creatures Great and Small may be found at humanesociety.org/religion.


Information about the HSUS campaign. As indicated above, further information about All Creatures Great and Small may be found at humanesociety.org/religion.

All Creatures Great and Small: The HSUS Launches New Website, Campaign to Call Attention to Plight of Factory-Farmed Animals

All Creatures Great and Small, a campaign of Humane Society Animals & Religion, aims to raise awareness about our responsibilities to all animals including those raised for food.

In recent decades, agriculture has taken a harsh turn and animals on factory farms are treated like mere objects. Eating is an activity that has moral and spiritual significance.

The HSUS is raising awareness about humane eating, and its effect on animals, through this campaign, with a brand new website that calls on religious communities to make humane food choices, which is an act of caring for creation.

Take the Pledge: Open the cage door and take a pledge now to commit to one or more of the following during October, to

# switch to cage-free or free-range eggs
# eat fewer eggs
# replace eggs with any of the widely available substitutes

Why October? Oct. 2: Ramadan ends, Oct. 4: The Feast of St. Francis (Patron Saint of Animals), Oct. 8-9 Yom Kippur.

Our website features great animation, facts on egg production, and religious statements on animal protection. You can also support the campaign through Facebook.

Endorsements: Religious leaders, scholars, authors and organizations are endorsing the campaign.

Resources: Our campaign includes online resources for religious study groups (adult and youth), designed for people to learn more about the food and faith connection. Resources include The HSUS Animals & Religion booklet series, a Jewish documentary, and Muslim film segment, and an upcoming Christian film on food and faith.

Events: Find out about our Fall film screening in Washington, and notable speaking engagements with HSUS President and CEO Wayne Pacelle at The National Cathedral in Washington and Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. More

Factory Farming: Learn more about cage-free egg production vs. battery-cage egg production and the plight of laying hens and other factory-farmed animals whose suffering is largely invisible to the public. Did you know 95 percent of egg-laying hens are confined in small, barren wire cages? Those hens cannot walk, spread their wings or lay eggs in nests. More

What Does Your Religious Tradition Say About Animals? HSUS Animals & Religion continues to build a database of information regarding religious statements on animal protection. Recent entries include updates on the Southern Baptist Convention, Orthodox Judaism, United Methodist Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. More

Copyright © 2008 The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) | All Rights Reserved.
The Humane Society of the United States | 2100 L Street, NW | Washington, DC 20037
religion@humanesociety.org | 202-452-1100 | humanesociety.org
animals and religion

Return to Top

3. Article Connects Vegetarianism to Peacemaking

[This is an issue not often covered. I have a chapter in my book “Judaism and Vegetarianism” on “Vegetarianism and Peace,” giving many Jewish and general sources.]

Vegetarianism and Peacemaking

The only diet for a peacemaker is a vegetarian diet

National Catholic Reporter

By Father John Dear

In Fort Lauderdale, Fla., last week to speak at the National Convention of Unitarian Universalists, I met my old friend Bruce Friedrich. We spent eight memorable months together in a tiny jail cell, along with Philip Berrigan, for our 1993 Plowshares disarmament action. A former Catholic Worker, Bruce is now one of the leaders of PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. He gave a brilliant workshop on the importance of becoming a vegetarian, something I urge everyone to consider.

I became a vegetarian with a few other Jesuit novices shortly after I entered the Jesuits in 1982 and later wrote a pamphlet for PETA, "Christianity and Vegetarianism." I based my decision solely on Francis Moore Lappe's classic work, Diet for a Small Planet, a book that I think everyone should read.

In it, Lappe, the great advocate for the hungry, makes an unassailable case that vegetarianism is the best way to eliminate world hunger and to sustain the environment.

At first glance, we wonder how that could be. But it's undisputable. A hundred million tons of grain go yearly for biofuel -- a morally questionable use of foodstuffs. But more than seven times that much -- some 760 million tons according to the United Nations -- go into the bellies of farmed animals, this to fatten them up so that sirloin, hamburgers and pork roast grace the tables of First-World people. It boils down to this. Over 70 percent of U.S. grain and 80 percent of corn is fed to farm animals rather than people.

Conscience dictates that the grain should stay where it is grown, from South America to Africa. And it should be fed to the local malnourished poor, not to the chickens destined for our KFC buckets. The environmental think-tank, the World Watch Institute, sums it up: "Continued growth in meat output is dependent on feeding grain to animals, creating competition for grain between affluent meat eaters and the world's poor."

Meanwhile, eating meat causes almost 40 percent more greenhouse-gas emissions than all the cars, trucks, and planes in the world combined. (The world's 1.3 billion cattle release tons of methane into the atmosphere, and hundreds of millions tons of CO2 are released by burning forests due to dry conditions as in California or due to purposeful burns to create cow pastures in Latin America.)

And global warming isn't the only environmental issue. Almost 40 years ago, Lappe spelled out the environmental consequences of eating meat in stark relief. But more recently, her analysis received some high-power validation. The United Nations recently published "Livestock's Long Shadow." It concludes that eating meat is "one of the most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global." And it insists that the meat industry "should be a major policy focus when dealing with problems of land degradation, climate change and air pollution, water shortage and water pollution, and loss of biodiversity."

Much of our potable water and much of our fossil fuel supply is wasted on rearing chickens, pigs, and other animals for humans to eat. And over 50 percent of forests worldwide have been cleared to raise or feed livestock for meat-eating. (A recent protest in Brazil denounced Kentucky Fried Chicken for clearing thousands of acres of untouched Amazon rain forest for chicken feed.)

As a Christian, I became a vegetarian because of the Gospel mandate of Matthew 25, "Whatever you did to the least of these, you did to me" -- because I do not want my appetites to contribute to the ongoing oppression of the world's starving masses. As a Catholic and Jesuit, I want somehow to side with the poor and hungry.

But another issue arises, too, over the decades, I've learned that our appetite for meat leads to cruelty to animals -- chickens pressed wing-to-wing into filthy sheds and de-beaked, for example. And since I've always espoused creative nonviolence as the fundamental Gospel value, my vegetarianism helps me not to participate in the vicious torture and destruction of billions of cows, chickens, and so many other creatures.

The chickens never raise families, root in the soil, build nests, or do anything natural. Often they are tormented or tortured before they are slowly killed, as PETA has repeatedly documented in its undercover investigations -- for your chicken dinner or hamburger. (All this is documented on a video narrated by Alec Baldwin, at www.Meat.org.)

Animals have feelings, they suffer; they have needs and desires. They were created by God to raise their families and breath fresh air; and if chickens to peck in the grass, if pigs to root in the soil. Today's farms don't let them do anything God designed them to do. Animal scientists attest that farm animals have personalities and interests, that chickens and pigs are smarter than dogs and cats.

Animals figure in the Gospels. They brim with lovely, respectful images of animals. Clearly Jesus was familiar with animals, and cared for them, as he urged us to look at the birds of the air or be his sheep. He even identified himself as "a mother hen who longs to gather us under her wings."

And animals figure in the Hebrew Bible. Isaiah 11, a vision of reconciled creation, dreams of a day when "the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; the calf and the young lion shall browse together with a little child to guide them. The cow and the beast shall be neighbors, together their young shall rest. The lion shall eat hay like the ox. The baby shall play by the cobra's den and the child lay his hand on the adder's lair. There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain, for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the God of peace, as water covers the sea." (Isaiah 11:1-9)

A vision of a nonviolent world, all creatures nonviolent, children safely at play with them, and no violence anywhere. That is the peaceful vision of creation that we are called to pursue -- in every aspect of our lives, from the jobs we hold, to our use of gasoline and alternative energies, to what we eat and wear, say and do.

I admire the Bible's greatest vegetarian, Daniel, the nonviolent resister who refused to defile himself by eating the king's meat. He and three friends became healthier than anyone else through their vegetarian diet. And they excelled in wisdom, for "God rewards them with knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom."

In his workshop at the Unitarian Universalists convention, Bruce added another beautiful image, the Garden of Eden. The Bible opens with a vision of paradise where God, animals, and humans recreate in peace together. Clearly, the Bible calls us to return to that paradise.

And Bruce reminded us that from the beginning we are directed to be vegetarians. Genesis 1:29 says, "See, I give you every seed-bearing plant all over the earth and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit on it to be your food."

Biblical images and justice issues aside, there are medical reasons to stop eating meat. Vegetarian diets help keep our weight down, support a lifetime of good health and provide protection against numerous diseases, including the U.S.'s three biggest killers: heart disease, cancer and strokes.

Dr. Dean Ornish and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn both have 100 percent success in preventing and reversing heart disease using a vegan diet. Meanwhile, Dr. T. Colin Campbell writes that one of the leading causes of human cancer is animal protein. More, vegetarians are also less prone to developing adult-onset diabetes. And then we have to contend with the spread of Mad Cow disease and Avian influenza. One could almost argue that the human body is not designed for meat-eating.

But for me being vegetarian boils down to peacemaking. If you want to be a peacemaker, Bruce said, reflecting the sentiments of Leo Tolstoy, you will want to eat as peaceful a diet as possible. "Vegetarianism," Tolstoy wrote, "is the taproot of humanitarianism." Other great humanitarians like Mahatma Gandhi, Albert Schweitzer and Thich Nhat Hanh agree. The only diet for a peacemaker is a vegetarian diet.

"Not to hurt our humble brethren, the animals," St. Francis of Assisi said, "is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission: to be of service to them whenever they require it. If you have people who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity," he continued, "you will have people who will deal likewise with other people."

So it was good to visit with my friend Bruce, and hear once again the wisdom of vegetarianism. It's a key ingredient in the new life of peace, compassion and nonviolence.

John's autobiography, A Persistent Peace, (with a foreword by Martin Sheen), available Aug. 1, can be ordered at www.amazon.com. See also: www.persistentpeace.com. John's pamphlet "Christianity and Vegetarianism" can be read online at www.peta.org or free copies of the pamphlet or a free CD of John reading the pamphlet can be ordered by sending an email to VegInfo@peta.org. You can listen to or download John reading the pamphlet at www.ChristianVeg.com. See also: www.johndear.org

Return to Top

4. My Recent Letter

[Please consider this letter and other material in this newsletter to compose and submit your own letters to editors. Many thanks,]

The incredible flooding, along with other recent reports of record numbers of tornados, severe heat waves and major California wild fires, should awaken us to the fact that the world is threatened as perhaps never before.

We should also consider that the many examples of climate change occurring on almost a daily basis are due to an average temperature increase of little more than one degree Fahrenheit, while the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group composed of leading climate scientists worldwide, is projecting an increase in temperature of 3 to 11 degrees Fahrenheit in the next hundred years. This shows what a potentially perilous future lies ahead, if major changes do not soon occur.

Indeed, leading climate scientists, including James Hansen of NASA, have warned that without such changes, global warming may reach a tipping point within a decade and spin out of control, with disastrous consequences.

Hence, it is urgent that everything possible be done to reduce continued emissions of greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. However, there is an inconvenient truth that even Al Gore has not adequately considered: the major impact of animal-based agriculture on global warming.

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

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

In addition, the production of meat and other animal products require far more resources than the production of plant foods, and this is a major factor behind current energy, food and water crises.

Hence, it is essential that there be a major shift toward plant-centered diets to help move our imperiled planet to a sustainable path.

Return to Top

5. Are We Approaching a Global Warming Turning Point?

"We Have Seven Years Left to Reverse the CO2 Emissions Curve"

Monday 07 July 2008

by: Laurence Caramel and St├Ęphane Foucart Interview Rajendra Pachauri, Le Monde


IPCC President and Nobel Laureate Rajendra Pachauri, who shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore, says humanity has only seven years to reverse the greenhouse emissions trend before we cross a threshold of "serious danger."

Since 2002, Rajendra Pachauri has presided over the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the reports of which have scientifically asserted the reality of climate change. For that work, this 67-year-old Indian engineer and economist received the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize jointly with former American Vice President Al Gore. A guest in Saint-Cloud (Hauts-de-Seine) at the Informal Council of European Environment and Energy Ministers on Friday, July 4, he called on the Twenty-Seven to maintain their commitment to reduce their greenhouse gases by at least 20 percent between now and 2020. Quoting Gandhi, he exhorted the Europeans to be at the forefront of the struggle against global warming: "If you want the world to change," he declared to the ministers, "you have to embody the change you want."

Le Monde: Six months have gone by since the Bali Conference. Are the negotiations to achieve a post-Kyoto international agreement advancing?

Rajendra Pachauri: Not much has happened and that's worrying. There isn't much time left before the Copenhagen Summit in December 2009, even though, with these kinds of negotiations, it's always a bit the same: everyone watches everyone else and waits until the last minute. In the best case, that leads to agreement on a compromise, while this time, we need a solid and ambitious accord. To contain the rise in temperatures below 2-2.4 degrees C, which, according to our studies, is the threshold not to be crossed without putting us in serious danger, we have only seven years left in which to reverse the global curve of greenhouse gas emissions. That's very little time.

What role may Europe play?

Europe has an essential role to play; it must continue to show the way as it had begun to do. If Europe does not decide to be the first great region to voluntarily reduce its carbon dioxide discharges, it is futile to hope for an international agreement. Neither the United States nor China will ever come on board.

Should we see the food crises that are hitting poor countries as a manifestation of climate disturbance?

The present crisis has multiple causes, specifically population increases, changes in certain countries' eating patterns - like the increase in meat consumption - or even the fact that stocks of certain foodstuffs have not been maintained. But it is certain that if temperatures continue to increase, food shortages will get worse. We've calculated that agricultural yields could drop by half in certain African countries between now and 2020.


Translation: Truthout French language editor Leslie Thatcher.


Return to Top

6. JVNA Press Release Argues that Vegetarianism is Essential For Planetary Sustainability

[Please help spread this message through letters and in other ways. Thanks.]



For Immediate Release:

July 13, 2008
Richard H. Schwartz, President of the Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA)
(president@JewishVeg.com Phone: (718) 761-5876

Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) announced plans today to inform Jews and others that a major shift toward vegetarianism is essential to avoid an unprecedented catastrophe from global warming and other environmental threats.

“We are receiving so many wake-up calls, in terms of massive floods, severe droughts, widespread wild fires and much more,” asserted JVNA president Richard H. Schwartz. “It is time that we applied Judaism's splendid environmental teachings in efforts to shift our imperiled planet to a sustainable path.”

JVNA plans to widely publicize the following key relations between animal-based diets and current environmental threats:

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

* At a time when food prices are skyrocketing, food riots are occurring 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.

Additional reasons for Jews to consider a switch toward vegetarianism, and preferably veganism, include:

* Animal-centered diets are contributing to an epidemic of heart disease, several types of cancer and other diseases in the Jewish and other communities;

* Even if animals are slaughtered strictly according to Jewish law, with minimum pain, billions of animals still suffer greatly from cruel treatment on factory farms.

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

To increase the campaign's impact in the Jewish community, JVNA plans to stress the great threats to Israel from global warming. A recent report by the Israel Union for Environmental Defense indicated that, unless major changes occur in Israel and worldwide, Israel will suffer from severe heat waves, a reduction of rainfall of up to 30 percent, major storms and a rise in the Mediterranean Sea that would flood much of the country. Israel is currently suffering from its worst drought in 80 years.

It is essential that our rabbis and other Jewish leaders recognize that a major shift toward plant-based diets is essential to avoid the unprecedented catastrophe that the world is rapidly approaching and to move our precious, but imperiled, planet to a sustainable path.

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

JVNA urges rabbis and other Jewish leaders to make Jews aware of how animal-based diets and agriculture violate basic Jewish mandates to preserve human health, treat animals compassionately, protect the environment, conserve natural resources and help hungry people.

Further information about these issues can be found at the JVNA web site JewishVeg.com. JVNA will provide complimentary copies of its new documentary A SACRED DUTY: APPLYING JEWISH VALUES TO HELP HEAL THE WORLD rabbis and other Jewish leaders who will contact them (president@JewishVeg.com) and indicate how they will use them to involve their congregations on the issues. The entire movie can be seen and further information about it can be found at ASacredDuty.com.


Return to Top

7. Major Animal Rights Conference Planned for August 2008

[I am scheduled to give 4 talks, including one at a plenary, at this important event. Also, JVNA has a table and will be distributing many DVDs. If you plan to attend, please let me know, and perhaps you might want to help get messages re A SACRED DUTY and JVNA teachings. Also, if you will be attending other conferences this summer or fall, and would like to help, please let me know. Many thanks.]

For more information about this conference, please visit http://www.arconference.org/. It is a very important event that I have attended several times in the past, and I highly recommend it.

* AR2008 Setting New Participation Records

AR2008 Setting New Participation Records

The Animal Rights 2008 National Conference promises to set new records in number of registrants, presenters, exhibits & new videos.

It's a great opportunity to learn new skills, to network with other activists, to "recharge your batteries" and to bring your friends.

Here are more exciting news:

* The program highlights and schedule have been posted

* Heather Mills will accept our Celebrity Animal Advocate Award

* The Lodging, Travel, and Discussion Boards have been posted

* The hotel is now allowing animal companions

To register at the current discounted rate, please visit our registration page before July 31st.

The Conference will be held on August 14-18 at the Hilton Mark Center in Alexandria, a Washington DC suburb. The hotel offers offers excellent meeting facilities, $93 rooms, and a free shuttle service to the Metro transit system and National Airport. This is our most attractive venue since we started hosting national animal rights conferences in 1981.

Please register now and request a free pack of colorful promo cards to distribute at local veg & animal events.

Return to Top

8. Israel Facing Worst Water Crisis in 8-Years

[Please help make people aware of the wastefulness of animal-based diets. It takes up to 14 times as much water on an animal-based diet than on a vegan diet. Thanks.]

Israel facing water crisis

July 8, 2008, JTA

Israel's water situation is facing "the worst crisis in 80 years," the head
of the country's water authority said.

Uri Shani, the director of the Israel Water Authority, said at a news conference Tuesday that Israel's major sources of drinking water, including the Sea of Galilee and the mountain aquifer, are below their "red lines," meaning they are not recommended to draw water.

Another large water source, the costal aquifer, has fallen below its "black line" -- if additional water is drawn it could suffer serious damage. The mountain aquifer is likely to reach its black line this year, Shani said.

Shani said the Sea of Galilee also would reach its black line by December. It is not possible to pump water from the sea at that point since the pipes are unable to reach the water.

He added that long-range weather forecast predictions tell an equally grim story for next year.

- - -

Full story:




Second article re Israel's water crisis:

Water Authority hikes prices in effort to stave off emergency

By Amiram Cohen, Haaretz

The official word is in: The water level in all of Israel's aquifers has
dipped below the red line and emergency measures must be taken. The Water Authority yesterday announced it was doubling water charges for gardening and hiking domestic water prices.

Next year the Water Authority is expected to prohibit the watering of grass and to further cut water allocations to agriculture, which means fields will wither, particularly in the north. Israel is going from green to brown, the Water Authority said yesterday as it announced a number of steps "to save the water economy from catastrophe," in the words of the Water Authority chairman, Professor Uri Shani.

On element of the program involves increasing the cost of water to public and domestic landscaping by 90 percent, from NIS 3.90 a cubic meter to NIS 7.40 per cubic meter, and next year to prohibit the watering of grass.

The Water Authority also plans to cut the allocation of fresh water to agriculture from 450 million to 300 million cubic meters a year. The fresh water the state will allow farmers to use will decline to one-quarter of the allocation in 1989.

Shani notes that this step will lead to the drying out of large areas under cultivation, especially the Hula Valley, the Golan and the Galilee that depend on fresh-water irrigation. Prices of fruit and vegetables will continue to rise as a result, Shani says, and the agriculture and finance ministries will have to discuss how to deal with shortages and higher prices.

But these measures are urgently needed, Shani said yesterday to prevent irreversible damage to the country's main water sources: Lake Kinneret, the mountain aquifer and the coastal aquifer. These sources have already dipped below the red line to the "black line."

Return to Top

9. Israel Making Great Strides Re Solar Energy

Israeli company aims to bring solar power a major step nearer

By Daniella Ashkenazi
April 01, 2008


Global warming, and rapid industrialization coupled with dwindling finite reservoirs of fossil fuel, are behind a worldwide drive to develop renewable energy sources. Harnessing the sun - direct conversion of sunlight to electricity using photovoltaic panels - is one path.

Pythagoras Solar, an Israel solar energy start-up with R&D facilities in Tel Aviv and an office in San Mateo, California, has just mobilized $10 million in venture capital to take forward its concept of a stationary photovoltaic (PV) solar panel that is designed "to change some of the 'basic principles' behind PV technology today" according to its developers.

No idle boast, but Pythagoras Solar's team have an impressive track record for successfully thinking out of the box: The CEO and co-founder Gonen Fink served for 12 years as vice-president of R&D, then vice-president of Solutions & Strategy at Check Point - the Israeli Internet security company that invented the firewall, and is a graduate of one of the IDF's elite intelligence technology units.

While most entrepreneurial spirits follow their engineering studies with a graduate degree in business administration, Fink holds a B.Sc in physics and computer science, and an M.A. from Tel Aviv University in philosophy.

Pythagoras' CTO - Dr. Itay Baruchi is a physicist whose work on biological memory - a key to eventually producing neuro-memory chips - was cited by Scientific American as one of the 50 most significant scientific breakthroughs in 2007.

Presently, only one percent of world energy is produced by harnessing the sun, due to the high cost of such systems. One major bottleneck is reducing the cost of pure silicon wafers that constitute 70 percent of the cost of such systems and impede competition with fossil fuels.

One must either develop ways to mass produce pure silicon, or reduce the amount of silicon needed per watt of power.

Some leading-edge companies are concentrating on developing entirely new breakthrough technologies - for example, thin silicon films to replace 'traditional' crystalline silicon technology used in manufacturing 95 percent of photoelectric cells today. But thin films have yet to be mass-produced.

In contrast, Pythagoras-Solar has embarked on a different path - an interdisciplinary breakthrough configuration - combing existing technologies, rather than an entirely new breakthrough technology.

"Our approach is based on proven technology and existing form factors more than some of the new systems, but we use innovation in optics, semiconductor and mass manufacturing processes to significantly reduce the cost of materials being consumed," Fink tells ISRAEL21c.

Another impediment to mass use of solar energy hinges on finding a way to concentrate sunlight on solar panels without moving parts that now align the panels with the sun.

Here Pythagoras' unique optics come into play. Today, only specialized solar energy plants can handle the maintenance such mechanical tracking systems require. The key to expanding the electric grid beyond central power generating systems, to rooftop systems or future structures clad in photovoltaic panels hinges on reliability.

Pythagoras-Solar is developing static solar panels based on low concentration geometry that can help open the way for mobilizing individual buildings as part of the electricity grid, because they will be maintenance free.

Pythagoras-Solar's product is scheduled to be unveiled in 2009.

Return to Top

10. Important Letter re Food Crisis and Vegetarianism

Letter to the Editor of The Nation Magazine:

Naomi Klein's column on Food Price Shock did not address the rising consumption of meat worldwide adding to the current crisis. It is curious that biofuels is in the current mind set but the amount of food fed to animals for meat and dairy production is not. While the figures on water, land and transport vary widely on how much energy is required to produce food from an animal versus directly using the grain/vegetables to feed people; the amount is multiplied greatly and the numbers shocking. From Wikipedia: " To produce 1 pound of feedlot beef requires about 2,400 gallons of water and 7 pounds of grain. Considering that the average American consumes 97 pounds of beef (and 273 pounds of meat in all) each year, even modest reductions in meat consumption would substantially reduce the burden on our natural resources."

It is common sense that by cutting out the "middle man" -- animal based agriculture -- you could feed more people. Reliance on a plant based diet is also the solution for bringing down food prices and drastically cutting greenhouse gases -- without further studies or costly technology. Frances Moore Lappe's Diet for A Small Planet was written in 1971. Rachel Carson's Silent Spring was written in 1962. What a different world we would have today if more people had read and followed those books.

Eileen Weintraub

Return to Top

11. Tee Shirt Provides Global Warming Connections to Animal-Based Diets

Thanks to long-time vegetarian activist Eileen Weintraub for this information:

Environmentalist Tee

New for '08! A new spin on an old saying, backed by a recent United Nations study. Available in men's and women's cruelty-free, sweatshop-free American Apparel "ringer" style.

Front: Real environmentalists don't eat meat.
Back: According to the United Nations, animal agriculture produces more greenhouses gases than all the automobiles in the world. Go Vegan!
Price: $21

Eileen Weintraub adds:

Richard, I really need to point out that these t-shirts run very very small. They are made by American Apparel and while PC they are made for 13 - 20 year olds. So women's large is only up to size 10 in women's clothes (what we ordinarily think of as medium). A woman over that size should order men's large. The men's sizes are larger.


Return to Top

12. Helping the American Vegan Society With Your Searches and Purchases

Message from Freya Dinshah, director of the American Vegan Society:

[If your vegetarian group has a similar relationship, please let me know and we will pass on the information. Thanks.]

GoodSearch and GoodShop for American Vegan Society
Remember to use GoodSearch.com, the Yahoo-powered search engine, for all of your web searches and we'll receive a penny every time you do a search!! Go to www.goodsearch.com and put American Vegan Society as your designated charity, or follow the link at our website www.americanvegan.org
And, please do all of your online shopping through GoodShop.com where a percentage of each order will be donated to us (you don't pay anything extra!)! Hundreds of great stores including Amazon, Best Buy, Macys and others have teamed up with GoodShop and every time you place an order, you'll be supporting us!

Return to Top

13. Powerful New Australian Documentary Promotes Veganism

Forwarded message from producer Aaron Scheibner:

[I have seen this movie and it is extremely well done, with interviews with many famous vegetarians, including JVNA Vice President and web coordinator Noam Mohr on dietary connections to global warming. Aaron is working on getting the movie released soon in the US and elsewhere after its recent Australian premiere.]

[Blurb I am submitting, after a request from Aaron: I hope many people will view this extremely important, very well-produced documentary, because it has great potential to sharply reduce the epidemic of diseases afflicting so many people and to shift our imperiled planet to a sustainable path. Kudos.]


Cancer and diabetic sufferers urged to attend premiere
Melbourne showcases powerful new Australian health documentary

A gripping new feature-length documentary throws a lifeline to its audience in an effort to counter an epidemic of unhealthy Australians dying prematurely.

A Delicate Balance - The Truth, produced and directed by an upcoming Australian filmmaker, offers practical solutions to empower Australians concerned about their health to make life-saving changes through intelligent dietary choices. The 84-minute film makes no apologies for being provocative or alarming.

A Delicate Balance - The Truth boldly asserts our society is not plagued with bad luck but bad dietary choices that has lead to a catastrophic number of diseases affecting millions of Australians annually.

The Australian Heart Foundation estimates cardiovascular disease kills one Australian every 10 minutes and affects more than 3.5 million people. Some 50,000 Australians are expected to die of heart failure this year. It is estimated one in four will suffer from diabetes or an associated metabolic disease. Bowel, prostate and breast cancer in particular, needlessly takes the lives of tens of thousands of Australians annually.

A Delicate Balance - The Truth provides insurmountable scientific evidence that directly implicates harmful animal products such as meat, seafood, eggs and even dairy products with increased risks of many types of cancer, type II diabetes, heart disease, rhumatiod arthritis, Crohn's disease, Alzheimer's, obesity, stroke and impotence.

Clinical researcher and author Neal Barnard, M.D., is one of America's leading advocates for health, nutrition and higher standards in research. As an adjunct associate professor of medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine, Dr Barnard conducts studies on the role of nutrition in diabetes, obesity and lipid management.

Citing from the film, Dr Barnard says, "The consumption of animal products has killed more people over the last century than automobile accidents, all natural disasters and all the wars combined."

Dr Barnard conducted a research study of diabetes randomly assigning diabetics to either a typically recommended diet, which includes meat and dairy products but low in carbohydrates, and an experimental group on a vegan (no animal products) diet. Dr Barnard comments on the results:

"The results have been striking. The individuals on the vegan diet are doing significantly better than the individuals on the animal protein diet. We now believe there is substantial evidence suggesting that the best diet for diabetic sufferers is probably a low fat vegan diet."

A Delicate Balance - The Truth, took three years to research and produce. Scheibner interviewed twelve eminent doctors, medical researchers and public health authority specialists in Australia, New Zealand and United States of America. The film received a nomination for best unreleased documentary by the Australian Film Critics Association.

Film director and producer Aaron Scheibner, says "Our body is reliant on a delicate balance of healthy, nutritional food. Sadly, an intelligent nation has lost sight of its basic life skills of optimum health and wellbeing and has become addicted to harmful saturated animal fats. The medical experts in this film make convincing scientific arguments that avoiding animal protein can help reverse some pre-existing medical conditions and prevent premature and painful deaths."

A Delicate Balance - The Truth will be showcased in Melbourne on 22 April 2008 as a special advanced screening of a national tour.

For further information visit the website: http://adelicatebalance.com.au/
or contact Aaron Scheibner, Director, at: 0433 218 174.

Editors: Telephone interviews with Dr Neal Barnard or Professor T Colin Campbell are available on request pending their availability.
A Delicate Balance - The Truth Expert biographies

Professor T. Colin Campbell PhD is Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University and Project Director of the China-Oxford-Cornell Diet and Health Project. For more than 40 years Professor Campbell has been at the forefront of nutrition research. His wrote The China Study which is the most comprehensive epidemiology study of health and nutrition ever conducted.

Neal D Barnard M.D. is founder and president of Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. He is clinical researcher and internationally acclaimed author. He is the president of The Cancer Project, a nonprofit organisation advancing cancer prevention and survival through nutrition education and research.

Professor Walter Willett is Fredrick Stare Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. In 1989 Dr Willett established the Nurses' Health Study II that was among the largest prospective investigations into the risk factors for major chronic diseases in women. He wrote Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating challenging the USDA food pyramid.

Michael Greger M.D. is Director for Public Health and Animal Agriculture of Farm Animal Welfare for the Humane Society of the United States. Dr Greger is a physician, author and internationally acclaimed speaker.

John A. McDougall, M.D. is a physician, author and nutritionist with 30 years experience researching the effects of nutrition on disease. Dr McDougall has operated a highly successful live-in recovery healthy program for thousands of patients for more than 17 years.

Professor David Pimentel is Emeritus of Entomology, Ecology and Systematics at the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at Cornell University. Author of almost 500 scientific papers including 20 books. Professor Pimentel current studies include water resources, biodiversity conservation, diseases due to environmental degradation, soil degradation, energy use in agriculture, and exotic species invasions.

A Delicate Balance - The Truth Testimonials

"Since seeing A Delicate Balance-The Truth, I have changed my diet and have noticed a significant improvement in my digestion. As a lupus sufferer, I now realise since watching this film that in the long run my health will be better off if I eat a vegan diet. The parts of the film that interested me and really had a powerful effect on my decision to change my diet, was the information about how the immune system is effected by our food choices. The section on dairy foods and how they can negatively affect health was also interesting, as this is something that has not been widely talked about in the general media. In general, since watching the film I have gained more awareness about food and their effects on human health."
J.Doyle, NSW, Australia

"A weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I've been vegan since I saw the movie, and I feel much better and healthier for it. I was a complete cheese addict and the movie changed my mind."
Zara Pamboukhtchian

"A Delicate Balance is a must see for every Australian. It asks us to be honest with ourselves, to be brave, and to be the change we wish to see in the world. This documentary moved me and my husband to become practising vegans immediately!"
Zara Morgan

"My first reaction to this documentary is that I wanted everyone I know to see it. Backed by scientific data, and eminent world authorities, this crucial message is very convincing. The camera work is brilliant. It is wonderful to see so many people determined to save the planet."
Maria Armstrong, Former editor, Sunday Mail, SA

"This is a remarkable film and should be compulsory viewing for every human being. It gives us hope. Solutions to global warming and the health crisis are within our reach. This is a must for anyone who cares for the survival of the planet, our fellow human beings, animals (great and small) and their own health".
Philip Wollen, Order of Australia medal recipient 2007

Return to Top

14. Two Recent Very Important Environmentally-Related Jerusalem Events

Environment and Judaism: Two Jerusalem Events

5 Tammuz 5768, 08 July 08 03:43
by Hillel Fendel
(IsraelNN.com) "Environment and Judaism" is receiving a large push this week, with two major events scheduled in Jerusalem, featuring a mock trial and a new book.

The first one was held on Monday, co-sponsored by the Shomera for a Better Environment organization and the Gazit Rabbinical Courts Association for Monetary Matters. The two awarded prizes to the winners of the "Judaism and the Environment" article competition, in which more than 25 essays were submitted on topics such as species extinction, the efforts one is required to make to recycle his trash, whether one must take climate damage into account when driving, and the like.

Gazit Director Ido Rechnitz said that the submitted articles contain a wealth of information on what Jewish sources have to say about modern environmental issues, "which we will use for future policy planning."

Mock Rabbinic Court Trial: Residents vs. Contractor In addition, a mock trial on a typical environmental issue was held. The "plaintiffs" were a group of residents, suing a contractor whose three-month earth-moving works project next door was causing harmful air pollution.

The "trial" was held before a panel of three rabbinical judges, with Rabbi Eliezer Shenkolevski of Gazit as presiding judge. The two sides were represented by Attorneys Mordechai Baicz and Binyamin Levin, and Dr. Michael Graber, international environment advisor and ex-Director of the Department for Air Quality in the Environment Ministry, acted as environmental expert to the judges.

Another event will take place in the Jerusalem Municipality on Wednesday, featuring the distribution of the latest edition of the annual collection of Hebrew essays entitled, "The Environment in Jewish Law and Thought." The book is edited by Rabbi Carmi Weismann, who has researched Jewish environmental matters for two decades.

Short lectures will be delivered on topics such as "Jerusalem and the Environment" and "Are All Radiation Types the Same?" Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupoliansky and Environment Minister Gideon Ezra will speak.

Participating in Monday's event were former Sephardic Chief Rabbi Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron, Eretz Hemda Kollel Director Rabbi Yosef Carmel, Jewish National Fund (JNF) co-chairman Avraham Duvdevani, and JNF Board of Directors member Prof. Alon Tal of Ben Gurion Univresity.

Another participant, MK Rabbi Michael Melchior (Labor), Chairman of the Knesset's Environment Protection Lobby, told Arutz-7's Hebrew newsmagazine, "There is a sense that the religious and hareidi public don't care about issues such as the environment. But the truth is precisely the opposite; G-d has given us this world in order that we preserve it, and not to destroy it... There are life-saving issues here, but they are largely ignored. Much effort is expended to fight traffic deaths, but 1,000 people die each year because of pollution and it passes quietly. In addition, the number of children with asthma has grown four-fold, and it's because of air pollution matters. I could go on and on... Environmental affairs must become a national priority; things are moving in this direction, but we're not there yet."

Shomera Chairperson Tamar Gindis said, "There has always been a strong bond between Judaism and environmental issues, and now we are re-discovering it. People are looking to see what our tradition has to say about these issues, which are becoming more and more practical."

© Copyright IsraelNationalNews.com

Return to Top

15. Study: Orangutan populations declining sharply

Yahoo! News

Thanks to A SACRED DUTY producer Lionel Friedberg for forwarding the following:


For further information:

Orangutans "On Fast Track to Extinction"

Michael Casey, The Independent UK, reports: "The orangutan could be the first great ape to become extinct if urgent action is not taken to protect the species from human encroachment in Southeast Asia, according to a new study."

Return to Top

16. Another Significant Result of Global Warming

A Third of Corals Face Extinction

By Stephen Leahy

FORT LAUDERDALE, U.S., Jul 10 (IPS) - One third of reef-building corals already face extinction because of climate change, the first-ever global assessment has found.

Reefs are made up of hundreds of coral species, and a two-year study to determine the current status of corals has discovered that 231 of the 704 species assessed will be "red-listed" Thursday. This means these 231 species meet the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List Criteria for species at risk of extinction in the near future.

Previously, only 10 species of corals had been red- listed, mainly because no proper assessment had been done before.

"We were not expecting the numbers to be that high," said Suzanne Livingstone of the IUCN's Global Marine Species Assessment (GMSA) in Norfolk, Virginia. The paper was published Thursday in Science.


Return to Top

** Fair Use Notice **

The material on this site is provided for educational and informational purposes. It may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. It is being made available in an effort to advance the understanding of vegetarian, environmental, nutritional, health, economic, social justice and human rights issues etc. It is believed that this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have an interest in using the included information for educational or research purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. The information on this site does not constitute legal, technical or medical advice.