April 1, 2009

3/29/2009 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

1. Is Your Seder Ready to Say Goodbye to Fish and Meat?

2. Major Article Discusses Jewish Connections re the Animal Rights and Vegetarian Movements

3. JVNA Press Release Supports Effort to Prohibit Fur Industry in Israel

4. German Court Rules PETA Holocaust Ad Offensive

5. Understanding and Responding to Dietary/Global Warming Connections

6. Volunteers Sought to Represent JVNA at Conferences

7. Update on Vegetarian and Environmental Podcasts

8. New Study Shows Health Benefits of Vegetarian Diets

9. My Letter Sent to the Jerusalem Post

10. My Talk on “Should YOU Be a Vegetarian?” Scheduled

11. EPA Warns of Health Dangers From Global Warming

12. Vegetarian Poem by Vegetarian Activist Jeff Tucker

13. Profound and Far-Reaching Implications of Vegan Diets

14. Vegetarian Hotel, Resort and Adventure Center in Costa Rico

15. Insightful NY Times Op-Ed Article on Global Warming

16. Great “Veg-Out” Day at a Brooklyn Hospital Organized by Rina Deych

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. Is Your Seder Ready to Say Goodbye to Fish and Meat?


[My article with this title appeared in the March 27 issue of the Jewish News Weekly of Northern California. Please feel fee to pass the article on and to use it for talking points and letters to editors. Thanks.]

Passover and vegetarianism? Can the two be related? After all, what is a seder without gefilte fish, chicken soup and chopped liver?

And what about the shank bone to commemorate the paschal sacrifice? And doesn't Jewish law mandate that Jews eat meat to rejoice on Passover and other Jewish festivals?

Many Jews turning to vegetarianism are finding ways to celebrate vegetarian Passovers while being consistent with Jewish teachings.

Contrary to a common perception, Jews are not required to eat meat at the Passover seder, or any other time, according to the Talmud and scholarly articles by several modern rabbis.

The use of the shank bone originated in the time of the Talmud as a means of commemorating the paschal lamb. However, it's a symbol; no meat need be eaten at the seder. Many vegetarians substitute a beet, since its red color signifies the blood of the sacrifice. Others substitute a mushroom, due to its fleshy appearance.

Many Jewish vegetarians see vegetarian values reinforced at Passover:

o At the seder, Jews say, “Let all who are hungry come and eat.” Although he is not a vegetarian, Rabbi Jay Marcus, an Israeli educator, saw a connection between simpler diets and helping hungry people.

He commented on the fact that “karpas” (eating of greens) comes immediately before “yahatz” (the breaking of the middle matzah) for later use as the “afikomen” (dessert). He concluded that those who live on simpler foods will more readily divide their possessions and share with others.

o Many Jewish vegetarians see connections between the oppression that their ancestors suffered and the current plight of the billions of people who presently lack sufficient food and other essential resources.

Vegetarian diets require far less land, water, gasoline, pesticides, fertilizer and other resources, and thus enable the better sharing of God's abundant resources, which can help reduce global hunger and poverty.

o The main Passover theme is freedom, and at the seder we retell the story of our ancestors' slavery in Egypt. While acknowledging that only people are created in God's image, many Jewish vegetarians also consider the “slavery” of animals on modern “factory farms” - contrary to Jewish teachings of “tsa'ar ba'alei chayim” (the Torah mandate not to cause unnecessary “pain to a living creature”).

In this connection, it is significant to consider that according to the Jewish tradition, Moses was chosen to lead the Israelites out of Egypt because as a shepherd he showed great compassion to a lamb.

o Many Jewish vegetarians advocate that we commemorate the redemption of our ancestors from slavery by ending the current slavery to harmful eating habits through the adoption of vegetarian diets.

o Passover is the holiday of springtime, a time of nature's renewal. It also commemorates God's supremacy over the forces of nature. In contrast, modern intensive livestock agriculture and animal-centered diets have many negative effects on the environment, including air and water pollution, soil erosion and depletion, the destruction of tropical rain forests and other habitats, and contributions to global warming.

Jewish vegetarians view their diet as a practical way to put Jewish values into practice.

They believe that Jewish mandates to show compassion to animals, to take care of our health, to protect the environment, to conserve resources, and to share with hungry people - and the negative effects that animal-centered diets have in each of these areas - point to vegetarianism as the ideal diet for Jews (and others) today.
= = =

Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D., is the author of “Judaism and Vegetarianism” and “Judaism and Global Survival.” He is the president of Jewish Vegetarians of North America (http://www.JewishVeg.com).

Comments posted:
1) by Dan Brook
Thanks for this great article and for vital ways to renew our Judaism.

2) Posted by chaimleib (Howie)
03/27/2009 at 12:01 AM
veggie seder

Thanks so much for this article.
What a wonderful way to celebrate our liberation from slavery and our turning toward serving Hashem.

Yes we can help Hashem's creations: our planet and all life, maintain a healthier existence by our simpler diets.

What better way to make this connection to our Jewish faith than through a vegetarian seder.

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2. Major Article Discusses Jewish Connections re the Animal Rights and Vegetarian Movements

Thanks to Michael Croland for forwarding the link below. It is an extremely comprehensive article and very well worth reading.


Below is an excerpt from the article:

A Jewish Vision of Obligation and Compassion

Richard H. Schwartz, a modern Orthodox Jew, president of Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA), co-founder of the Society of Ethical and Religious Vegetarians, and professor emeritus of mathematics at the College of Staten Island, is perhaps the world's leading authority on the teachings of Judaism in relation to humanity's obligation to show compassion for animals.

Schwartz says that his best-known book, Judaism and Vegetarianism, was the result of his examination of what Judaism says about diet, ecology, and the proper treatment of animals. Steeped in the tenets of Judaism, Schwartz's distinctive contributions to increasing public awareness about Jewish teachings concerning the ethical treatment of animals and vegetarianism have attracted people from a host of religions other than Judaism.

A Sacred Duty: Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal the World, a film produced for JVNA by multi-award-winning movie producer Lionel Friedberg, premiered November 2007 at the Orthodox Union's Israel Center, Jerusalem, followed by its U.S. debut at the Staten Island Jewish Community Center's Jewish Film Festival. Honing in on environmental threats facing Eretz Yisrael and the planet as a whole, "the movie makes a strong plea for compassion for those creatures whose plight is barely recognized in the media, and by and large ignored in the pulpit-the so-called 'farm animals' destined for human consumption," according to JVNA's website.

Schwartz's writings and expertise on the subjects of vegetarianism and animal welfare serve as a pattern for like-minded societies in Israel. He holds advisory board positions in dozens of animal rights and vegetarian associations, including the earliest animal rights organization in Israel, CHAI, headed by Nina Natelson. CHAI was established 22 years ago, when animal advocacy in Israel scarcely existed.

Israel's leading animal rights group is Anonymous for Animal Rights. Why the unusual name? AAA responds: "Out of deep solidarity with the suffering of those sentient beings, without name or identity, who are imprisoned and subjected to systematic abuse in laboratories, circuses, municipal pounds-but above all, in factory farms. They are anonymous, and need our help."

Obviously, this sentiment is prevalent in Israel, given the rapid formations of animal advocacy groups and the quantity and zeal of participants. Israeli animal rights groups generally represent their stance as a refusal to stand by and watch animals swept from this good earth, from unnatural birth to brutal death, enduring unimaginable suffering, merely existing as things meant for profit.

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3. JVNA Press Release Supports Effort to Prohibit Fur Industry in Israel


For Immediate Release:
March 25, 2009
Richard H. Schwartz, President of the Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA)
President@JewishVeg.com Phone: (718) 761-5876 Cell: 917-576-0344

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

We strongly endorse the efforts of the International Anti-Fur Coalition (their statement is below) to support the new Knesset bill (posted at the end of this message) to prohibit the fur industry in Israel.

“Passage of this bill would be a Kiddush Hashem (sanctification of God's Name),” stated JVNA president Richard Schwartz, “in showing the applicability of Judaism's strong messages on compassion for animals, and it would also give a badly-needed boost to israel's image, especially at a time when Canada is carrying out its massive slaughter of seals.”

Jewish teachings that can be used to argue that Jews should not wear fur can be found at the end of the Knesset bill below and in the JVNA article “Is Fur a Jewish Issue?” in the section on animals at www.JewishVeg.com/schwartz.

JVNA is a group that argues that the production and consumption of animal products violate basic Jewish mandates to preserve human health, treat animals with compassion, protect the environment, conserve natural resources, help hungry people and pursue peace.

JVNA urges rabbis and other Jewish leaders to increase awareness that a major shift toward plant-based diets is essential to avoid the unparalleled disaster that the world is rapidly approaching and to help move our precious, but imperiled, planet to a sustainable path.

JVNA would very much welcome respectful dialogues/debates with rabbis and other Jewish leaders on “Should Jews be Vegetarians?” Such discussions would constitute a kiddush Hashem (a sanctification of G-d's Name) because it would show the applicability of eternal Jewish teachings to dietary issues.

Further information about these issues can be found at the JVNA web site www.JewishVeg.com. We 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 might 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.




Israel - Israel creates a precedent by submitting the world's first nationwide bill “Prohibiting the Industry of Fur”. Knesset member Nitzan Horowitz proposed on March, 18th 2009 a bill to prohibit the fur industry in its entirety, including all importation, production and all sales in Israel; illuminating that his intention is "not to lend a hand to this cruelty towards animals.”

In light of this bill, Israel takes a giant leap forward; from having no existing law concerning fur; to becoming the first nation on the planet to completely protect all fur bearing animals from the suffering and death inflicted upon millions of animals at the hands of the fur industry the world over.

The" International Anti-Fur Coalition"thanks MK Nitzan Horowitz for his proposal and calls on all MKs to support this bill:said Jane Halevy, Director of the 'International Anti-Fur Coalition'. "We hope that Israel will inspire other countries and they too will propose comparable bills throughout the world".

Last month, a report on Israel's channel 10, led by SPCA Israel and International Anti-Fur Coalition, had revealed that items from the top fashion chain stores to cheap toys in bazaars, that what was being sold as fake fur was indeed real fur. Lab tests had shown that several articles taken from leading Israeli brands and sold as fake fur were made of dog and rabbit fur!

Each year millions of animals are brutally killed for their fur throughout the world. Animals live in tiny cages made only of wire, before being gassed, electrocuted or even skinned alive! Footage shows that some of them fight against death for up to 10 minutes in total anguish after being skinned alive!

About the International Anti-Fur Coalition

The International Anti-Fur Coalition is a collective of more than 50 organizations from around the world that fight against the fur industry. This coalition, created in 2006, organizes on a regular basis international days of action against the fur industry.

For more information, please visit:

Contact: info@antifurcoalition.org

Jane Halevy
International Anti-Fur Coalition


The 18th Knesset

A private bill by Member of Knesset: Nitzan Horovitz

Fur Industry Prohibition, 5769-2009


1. In this law -

"Fur" - the body cover of a mammal, which was skinned from it for the purpose of producing fur products

"Fur Products" - any item which is made, predominantly or partly, of fur, for the purpose of being worn or for any other purpose

"Artificial Fur" - a product similar to fur in its properties or looks, yet which isn't made of fur, but of exclusively synthetic materials

"Research" - ecological, zoological or biological research only, and which is conducted by a research institution, and not for profit

"Research Institution" - a scientific, research-based, medical, educational or higher-education institution where ecological, zoological or biological research is being conducted

"The Commissioner" - as defined in the Animal Welfare Law (Protection of Animals) 5754-1994

"The Minister" - The Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor

2. The purpose of this law is to prohibit the production of, and industry in, fur and fur products in Israel
Prohibition on fur manufacturing and trade

3. (a) No one in Israel is permitted to rear animals with the purpose of producing fur products
(b) No one in Israel is permitted to produce fur products
(c) No one in Israel is permitted to trade in fur products
(d) Should anyone trade in artificial furs - he must be in possession of a lab certificate proving it is not made of real fur
(e) Such certificates as mentioned in clause 3(d) will be kept for any artificial fur product line in the trader's possession

Prohibition on imports

4. No one is permitted to import fur or fur products from foreign countries
Scientific research exception

5. (a) The Commissioner may grant permits to trade in fur for research purposes
(b) Any such permit will be given to a research institution, on an individual basis for a specific research project, and said permit will be valid for one year only from the day it was granted. The Commissioner will grant the individual permit only after he is convinced that the requestor keeps in his possession the minimal number of furs required for said research. Any renewals of the permit the following year will be subject these same conditions.
(c) Once the research was concluded, or once the permit allowing its continuation was revoked, the fur items will be taken for safe keeping in the State of Israel's national natural history collections

6. (a) Any person found in breach of the provisions of this law is liable to one-year imprisonment or to the fine prescribed in section 61(a)(2) of the Penal Law
(b) Any business trading in fur or fur products will be closed and its merchandise confiscated
(c) Any and all furs and fur products confiscated according to clause 6(b) above will be destroyed


The fur industry is a cruel one, which inflicts terrible and unnecessary suffering on many mammals in order to provide luxuries aimed at only a very small section of the population. It is estimated that 75 million animals are skinned alive annually for this industry.

On fur farms around the world many animals are reared in terrible conditions, including dogs, cats, minks, foxes, rabbits, chinchillas and others. Once they reach the right size, these animals are killed for their fur. In order not to hurt the raw material, in many cases the animal is electrocuted, gassed, or even skinned alive.
Other furs come from wild animals hunted specifically for that purpose. One good example is the seal pups, half a million of which are hunted each spring (the birthing season) in countries such as Canada. Hunters catch the pups and hit them with blunt objects to render them unconscious, but over 40% are alive and conscious and in terror and agony while being skinned. On top of the cruelty involved in obtaining fur, near-extinct wild animals, as well as whole ecological systems, also suffer serious and at times irreversible damage.

Recently it was revealed that fur trimmed items sold at Israeli fashion chains as synthetic fur, actually came from dogs and rabbits reared in China and sold as synthetic fur, misleading the consumers. As much as this saddens and shocks us, it appears that obtaining cat and dog fur is less expensive than producing synthetic fur. Knowledgeable sources report that what's referred to as "mislabeling" is a common practice, where the manufacturer deliberately attaches a misleading label in order to present cat and dog fur as synthetic fur or as wild animal fur. This is done in order to prevent consumers from being shocked by wearing fur whose origins are household pets.

27 EU countries, as well as the USA and Australia, have laws prohibiting the import and export of cat and dog fur. Five countries prohibit the importing and selling of seal fur. Such a law is due to come up for discussion in the EU in April 2009.

Once Israel enacts this bill, she joins the increasing number of enlightened nations of the world in her ethics and moral position towards animals.

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4. German Court Rules PETA Holocaust Ad Offensive

Mar. 26, 2009
Associated Press, THE JERUSALEM POST

Germany's highest court on Thursday ruled that a PETA ad campaign comparing animal slaughterhouses to the Holocaust is an offense against human dignity.

The 2003 campaign used eight, 60-square-foot (5.6-sq. meter) panels depicting images of factory farms next to Jewish concentration camp inmates and the slogan "Holocaust on your plate."

The Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe on Thursday ruled that the ad campaign was not protected under freedom of speech laws.

PETA - People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals - claimed its goal was to compare Nazi-run concentration camps with contemporary animal abuse.

Paul Spiegel, former president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, filed the suit against the ad campaign along with several other Jewish organizations.
This article can also be read at http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3693116,00.html

[Due to the efforts of JVNA, PETA issued an apology to the Jewish community. It was not as strong as we would like, but it showed recognition that many were offended by their insensitivity.]

[There are also 2 articles in a special section at www.JewishVeg.com/Schwartz on my views related to PETA. Basically, I argue that Jews should be actively involved in trying to reduce the widespread abuses of animals, not because of the arguments of PETA, but because of strong Jewish teachings on compassion for animals.]

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5. Understanding and Responding to Dietary/Global Warming Connections

Insightful message from vegetarian activist Syafrin Djohan:

In 2006, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization had estimated that animal raising for meat and dairy is responsible for 18% of global warming.

However, it is becoming increasingly clear to scientists that the livestock industry is playing a more significant role.

Dr. Rajendra Pachauri during a talk he gave in September 2008 on the role of reducing meat consumption in addressing global warming: “Since people found out about this talk that I was going to give here today, I've received a number of emails from people that I respect saying that the 18% figure is an underestimate; it's a low estimate and in actual fact it's much higher.”

To arrive at the potency of these gases, the general method is to average over a 100-year period. However, methane in particular is a much shorter-lived gas. Scientists have thus determined that it is more accurate to average methane's potency over 20 years. This gives methane a 72 times greater potency than CO2 as a greenhouse gas.

Noam Mohr - Physicist, New York University Polytechnic Institute, USA: When measured over 100 years, the United Nations said animal agriculture is responsible for 18% of global warming emissions, which is an enormous amount, far more than all transportation put together.

If you look at it on a shorter term, methane has an outsized effect, and so that number goes up. The true value in the near term when we take all these things into account is much higher.

Dr. Kirk Smith Professor, University of California - Berkeley, USA: Sure we have to deal with CO2, but if you want to make an impact on climate in the next 20 years, the place to do it is with the shorter-lived greenhouse gases, most important of which is methane.

So, of the emissions in the next 20 years, the CO2 in this year's emissions will only be about 40% of the total warming. The other 60% or more will be from the shorter-lived gases, most important of which is methane.

In addition, according to US physicist Noam Mohr, livestock has an even larger share of emissions when yet another unaccounted factor is acknowledged: aerosols, or particles released along with CO2 from burning fossil fuels that despite their detrimental health aspects, actually have a cooling effect.

Noam Mohr: When you consider aerosols and consider the net effect of burning fossil fuels, the carbon dioxide released heats the planet, the aerosols cool the planet, and the net effect roughly cancels each other out. Moser, p. 1-2, supra note 9. Moser, Susi, “Review of Hansen et al.: 'Global warming in the twenty-first century: An alternative scenario'”, Information Update, The Union of Concerned Scientists, September 2000, p.2, http://www.ucsusa.org/documents/reviewofalt.pdf.

That means that most of the warming we have seen historically and are likely to see in the future comes from other gases, namely methane.


l) Organizations should advocate vegetarianism a very major part of their global warming campaigns. At a minimum, they should mention vegetarianism in any information about actions individuals can take.

2) Government policy should very encourage vegetarian diets. Possible mechanisms include heavy environmental tax on meat, a 100% shift in farm subsidies to encourage plant agriculture, or an increased emphasis on vegetarian foods in government-run programs like the school lunch program.

Further readings:

http://www.drmcdoug all.com/misc/2006nl/dec/globalwarming.htm

Post by: "Syafrin Djohan" on animal_net@yahoogroups.com, March 27th, 2009

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6. Volunteers Sought to Represent JVNA at Conferences

Below is a forwarded message from author and animal rights activist Karen Dawn on some upcoming animal rights conferences. If you plan to attend any of these or other conferencesand would like to represent JVNA in, for example, getting literature and DVDs to attendees, please let me know. Thanks.


Conference season is upon us. Registration is open for our movement's two major conferences, both in July -- Taking Action for Animals in Washington DC and AR2009 in Los Angeles. I will write about them below but will first bring your attention to a brand new conference that is coming up soon -- Friday April 24 -- and is at Chapman University in my home area of Southern California. It is the first ever:


I am honored to be the keynote evening speaker -- absolutely delighted, really, because I think this is something our movement so badly needs. Those of you have subscribed to DawnWatch for a while are familiar with my discomfort at the tendency for animal rights to be labeled as only a left wing issue. I am equally uncomfortable with the idea of it being seen as only secular, partly because of my personal feelings about where my guidance comes from, but more importantly because the vast majority of Americans believe in a higher power. If our movement hopes to impact that vast majority, those of us in it who are spiritually inclined need to stop seeing that inclination as strictly personal, and to start seeing how we can use it to help influence the public, which tends to honor religion. I think this conference will give us a great opportunity to discuss the place of animals in religious traditions and to plan for the future.

The conference is free to students, and the vegan banquet at which I am speaking on Friday night is a whopping fifteen bucks! You'll find out more about the conference and other speakers at http://www.chapman.edu/chapel/animalConference/

AR 2009 -- Los Angeles -- July 16-20

This conference, put on by the "Farm Animal Rights Movement" is the original national conference. It is known for its diversity of speakers. There will be over a hundred speaking, covering all aspects of the animal rights movement. Speakers range from those who have been jailed for direct action to those who teach the health benefits of vegan diets. I will be there speaking about media (of course) and about the place of welfare reform work in the animal rights movement.

You'll find more information at www.arconference.com

TAFA -- TAKING ACTION FOR ANIMALS -- Washington DC -- July 24-27

Organized by the Humane Society of the United States and sponsored by the other leading animal protection groups, TAFA is a relatively new conference that has boomed to the size of the other national AR conferences. For the first couple of years this conference seemed comparatively staid, but it has since found its footing and developed its own "can do" positive energy with regard to making a difference for the animals. It has become known for the quality of its speakers -- they are carefully chosen, though there are enough to provide plenty of variety. I was proud to be one of the key speakers last year, as was Skinny Bitch author Rory Freedman, whose hilarious potty mouth surely helped the conference dispense with its staid reputation. This year the brilliant comedian Carol Leifer (yep, she can be a potty mouth too, but I don't think she matches Rory there) will attend and speak, as will many leading animal advocates. I will be speaking again, and look forward to seeing you there.

You'll find out more information at http://www.takingactionforanimals.org/

That is not a comprehensive list -- just notes on those conferences with which I am involved. There are others. For example Midwesterners should check out the relatively new and growing "Their Lives, Our Voices" conference in Minneapolis in June. Go to http://www.exploreveg.org/

If you have never been to an animal rights or animal protection conference, don't let another year go by without giving yourself that gift. It is a joyous way to spend a few days, in a community with hundreds of other people who share our values, where all the meals are veg, and nobody will question your compassion for other species. The spirit of camaraderie is wonderful, you'll meet likeminded folks, and you'll learn a lot too.

I look forward to seeing you at one or all of the above!

Yours and the animals',
Karen Dawn

(DawnWatch is an animal advocacy media watch that looks at animal issues in the media and facilitates one-click responses to the relevant media outlets. You can learn more about it, and sign up for alerts at http://www.DawnWatch.com. You may forward or reprint DawnWatch alerts if you do so unedited -- leave DawnWatch in the title and include this parenthesized tag line. If somebody forwards DawnWatch alerts to you, which you enjoy, please help the list grow by signing up. It is free.)

Please go to www.ThankingtheMonkey.com to read reviews and see a fun celeb-studded video and an NBC news piece on Karen Dawn's new book, "Thanking the Monkey: Rethinking the Way we Treat Animals," which was chosen by the Washington Post as one of the "Best Books of 2008."

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7. Update on Vegetarian and Environmental Podcasts

Forward message by podcast coordinator Joseph Puentes:

Podcast of vegetarian talk by author and environmental activist Dan Brook

Have a listen to the newly released audio from a Presentation given by Dan Brook at the World Vegetarian Festival Weekend in San Francisco California on October 4, 2008. Sponsored by the San Francisco Vegetarian Society (sfvs.org) and In Defense of Animals (idausa.org). More information can be found at http://www.brook.com/veg/



As some of you may know I was a bit over enthusiastic in my use of Facebook and temporarily had my account suspended. Yes I agree I was inviting too many people to be my friends and letting too many people know about the Environmental Reasons to switch to a Plant Based Diet --- guilty as charged. Anyway I'm FB calmed down a bit and am trying to temper my enthusiasm with a bit of wisdom, lets see if I can keep myself out of FB hot water.

Because of suspension there wasn't enough FB attention brought to the Dr. David Pimentel interview and presentation so I'd like to encourage you all to share these podcasts with your friends both on and off of FB:

David Pimentel "Reducing Energy Inputs in the US Food System": http://h2opodcast.com/vsse.html#re

Also have a listen to the audio by Mike Hudak "Politics Trumps Science in Rangeland Management": http://h2opodcast.com/vsse.html#pi

Here is the Facebook Group Page for the VSSE podcast:


The International Languages Vegetarian Podcast project has a new addition: Serbian

If you have friends that speak the Serbian language please share this link with them: http://h2opodcast.com/intl_veg.html (you can scroll down to the Serbian link and access the page. Also I know you can access the audio via iTunes and other aggregators but not sure about accessing it directly from the page).

If you have Vegetarian/Vegan friends that speak other languages please point them in my direction (NoMeat@h2opodcast.com) so we can try to search for existing audio in their language and if none exists we can work toward creating new audio presentations.


I need help with with the VSSE podcast. This podcast is a community effort and the project can definitely benefit with the liberal sharing of "YOUR VOICE." I have material waiting to be read on the Environmental Reasons the world needs to TRANSITION toward a plant based diet so please contact me (NoMeat@h2opodcast.com) so we can discuss how you can read for the podcast. Here is more material on this subject:


Keep it in mind that the best way to listen to the audio is to subscribe to the free podcast by downloading a free copy of the iTunes program at: http://www.apple.com/itunes/download/. You would then proceed to insert the VSSE RSS feed (http://h2opodcast.com/rss/vsse.xml) into iTunes to complete the free subscription process. If you don't feel like doing that just click on the individual links at the http://h2opodcast.com/vsse.html site and listen directly from the internet or right click, save to your computer and upload to your mp3 player.


Joseph Puentes
http://h2opodcast.com/vsse.html (Vegan Environmental Solutions Podcast)
http://h2opodcast.com (Environmental Podcast)
http://h2opodcast.blogspot.com/ (Blog for above)
http://PleaseListenToYourMom.com (Women's Peace Podcast)
http://NuestraFamiliaUnida.com (Latin American History Podcast)
http://NuestrosRanchos.com (Jalisco, Zacatecas, and Aguascalientes

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8. New Study Shows Health Benefits of Vegetarian Diets

Daily Red Meat Raises Chances Of Dying Early Study Is First Large Analysis Of Link With Overall Health


By Rob Stein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 24, 2009; Page A01

Eating red meat increases the chances of dying prematurely, according to the first large study to examine whether regularly eating beef or pork increases mortality.

The study of more than 500,000 middle-aged and elderly Americans found that those who consumed about four ounces of red meat a day (the equivalent of about a small hamburger) were more than 30 percent more likely to die during the 10 years they were followed, mostly from heart disease and cancer. Sausage, cold cuts and other processed meats also increased the risk.

Previous research had found a link between red meat and an increased risk of heart disease and cancer, particularly colorectal cancer, but the new study is the first large examination of the relationship between eating meat and overall risk of death, and is by far the most detailed.

"The bottom line is we found an association between red meat and processed meat and an increased risk of mortality," said Rashmi Sinha of the National Cancer Institute, who led the study published yesterday in the Archives of Internal Medicine.


"There's a big interplay between the global increase in animal food intake and the effects on climate change," he said. "If we cut by a few ounces a day our red-meat intake, we would have big impact on emissions and environmental degradation."

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9. My Letter Sent to the Jerusalem Post

March 23, 2009

Editor, the Jerusalem Post

Dear Editor:

At a time when the world is apparently rapidly heading toward an unprecedented catastrophe from global warming and other environmental threats, I was very disappointed at the many errors and misrepresentations in Jonathan Rosenblum's article, “Think Again: Not quite 10 minutes to doomsday.”

Here are just a few facts that counteract his assertions that “global warming has entered a decades-long remission” and that “hysterical predictions . . . have consistently failed to find support in observational evidence.”

* The warmest decade in recorded history is that from 1998 to 2007;

* Polar ice caps and glaciers are melting faster than recently projected and temperatures are rising faster than projected.

* Israel is currently suffering from the worst drought in its history, a drought so severe that it recently had to stop pumping from the much-lowered Sea of Galilee;

* Many other areas are experiencing extremely severe droughts, including Australia and California, and this has resulted in widespread wild fires that destroyed many home and lives.

A 2007 report from the Israel Union for Environmental Defense warned that global warming could cause the average temperature in Israel to increase by three to eleven degrees Fahrenheit, the rainfall to decrease by up to 30 percent, with much of the rain coming in severe storms, and the Mediterranean to rise, flooding the majority of the Israeli population who live along the coastal plain, unless major changes soon occur.

Rosenblum apparently prefers to blast those who are trying to respond to global warming as “anti-human” and “anti-growth,” rather than addressing the realities. At a time when some climate scientists are warning that the global warming may reach a tipping point and spiral out of control, with disastrous consequences if present trends continue, it is essential that we apply Judaism's splendid environmental teachings to help shift our imperiled planet to a sustainable path.

Very truly yours,

Richard Schwartz

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10. My Talk on “Should YOU Be a Vegetarian?” Scheduled

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009
6:30 p.m

Mid-Manhattan Library
The New York Public Library
40th Street and 5th Avenue, 6th floor

(elevators access the 6th floor after 6 p.m.)
New York, NY 10016

Should YOU Be a Vegetarian?

What are the health, animal-treatment, environmental, resource usage, hunger and other implications of animal-based diets?

Can one be adequately nourished and healthy without eating meat and other animal products? How are animals treated on factory farms? How much does animal-based agriculture contribute to global warming, soil erosion, species extinction, destruction of forests and other habitats and other environmental problems? How much land, water, energy and other resources are needed to produce meat and other animal-based products?

How does animal-centered agriculture affect world hunger? How important is a societal switch toward vegetarianism today?

This illustrated lecture will provide the answers to these questions and more.

Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D, is Professor Emeritus, Mathematics, College of Staten Island; President of the Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA); and co-founder and coordinator of the Society of Ethical and Religious Vegetarians (SERV). He is best known as a vegetarian activist and environmental activist. He is an advocate for animal welfare in the United States and Israel.

Dr. Schwartz is the author of Judaism and Vegetarianism, Judaism and Global Survival, Mathematics and Global Survival and over 130 articles at http://jewishveg.com/schwartz/ . His writings inspired the 2007 documentary film, A Sacred Duty: Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal the World, directed by Lionel Friedberg.

All programs are FREE and subject to last minute change or cancellation.

Join in the New York Bird Club Community Discussion:


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11. EPA Warns of Health Dangers From Global Warming

EPA Says Global Warming a Public Danger

H. Josef Hebert, The Associated Press: "The White House is reviewing a proposed finding by the Environmental Protection Agency that global warming is a threat
to public health and welfare. Such a declaration would be the first step to regulating carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act and could have broad economic and environmental ramifications

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12. Vegetarian Poem by Vegetarian Activist Jeff Tucker

Title: “Preying to praying”

Lyrics: J M Tucker Miami, 2009

Tune: A Very Good Year

When I was Omnivore
Food fell upon my plate.
Both plant and animal served as my prey
Tho I felt not great.
I feasted and binged behind closed door
When I was Omnivore.

Lo Vegetarian
No funny faces on my plate.
Just lacto ovo secretions stayed
Making my health second rate.
I craved unconsciously,
Endured nutritional sin
as Vegetarian.

Next vegan consciousness
made me an Herbivore.
So ethics, compassion and creation thrive
within my door, and so much more:
Visions of plenty and peace
Erase the junk world score;
Calmly dwell within
As Ethical Vegan.


Ecosphere resounds with boundless bliss
Sounds of teeth praying
upon green things, not mean things.
Alimentary Serpent's hiss cannot
overcome an elementary force-
plant-based diet of course.
No creature dies upon your fork,
nor pollution swamp the earth.
Resources shall be conserved,
And human and nature preserved.

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13. Profound and Far-Reaching Implications of Vegan Diets

Forwarded message:

I have recently posted a blog on Care2.com about the profound and far-reaching implications of the vegan ideal, and what it could mean for the future of humankind and our planet. I hope you will take the time to read it and forward it to your networks.


Thanks and kind regards,

Angel Flinn

The Vegan Solution: An Ideal Whose Time Has Come
posted by: Angel Flinn 21 hours ago

From world hunger to climate change, species extinction to escalating violence, the catastrophic problems we face are clear indicators that we are in need of transformation on a radical scale. Gone are the days when we could procrastinate about necessary changes or take baby steps toward sustainability in the hope that enough small actions would collectively add up to create meaningful impact. Drastic, sweeping changes are needed, and this fundamental shift in society's values must begin with each one of us.

'Veganism' as a philosophy which embodies non-violence and compassion toward the helpless, until now, has been marginalized by our society. Those who embrace this deep and powerful set of values have often been ostracized and the wisdom of their choices ignored or trivialized. But those who recognize the far-reaching effects of this lifestyle choice know how powerful the rewards can be. Ironically, it may well be that the survival of our species, and perhaps even the planet, is dependent upon learning the very lessons of empathy, responsibility and self-control that the vegan ideal embodies, and that our society seems so reluctant to embrace.

No matter how strong the current opposition is to adopting this radically different world view, it will soon have to be accepted that vegan is the way of the future. Only by living the vegan ideal can we address all at once the many, seemingly different issues that are crippling our civilization and threaten not only our survival, but the survival of the many other species that populate the planet. We currently run the risk of driving into collapse the essential life-preserving systems of the planet itself. Much of the destruction stems from the deep-rooted problem of our mistaken belief that we, like the shark or the tiger, are natural predators.


* Global warming - Animal agriculture generates 40% more greenhouse gas than all cars, trucks and planes combined.
* Water - It takes far less water to generate vegan food. A vegan could leave their shower running year-round, and still not waste as much water as a non-vegan.
* World hunger - Most of the world's grain is fed to food animals. On a plant-based diet, we could feed the entire human population. Millions of people who are starving (including 40,000 children who die every day) as a result of the unfair distribution of food could be fed by the many tons of grain that are currently cycled through animals.
* Pollution - Animal agriculture is the single biggest polluter of the planet.
* Human health crises such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, asthma, osteoporosis, and many more would be greatly reduced. Diseases created by intensive animal agriculture would disappear.
* Environment - Animal-based food is the primary cause of issues such as rainforest destruction, topsoil erosion, desertification of grassland, degradation of underwater ecosystems, and the declining population of endangered species.
* Global violence - A non-violent lifestyle would create a more compassionate, gentle population.

When examining issues of such catastrophic potential as global warming, species extinction and mass starvation, it is understandable that individuals who care can feel helpless. It is easy to fall victim to the debilitating belief that we might really have no future. The vegan solution contains within it the power to solve the biggest problems we are facing, on every level from personal to planetary. The vegan ideal is nothing less than the next evolutionary step for humankind. We must embrace the ethic of non-violence if we are to evolve; and we must evolve, if we are to survive.

Read more: poverty, ecology, vegan, diet, vegetarian, conservation, nutrition, animal welfare, global warming, endangered species, animal rights, environment & wildlife, world hunger

Vote now! Thanks for voting!

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14. Vegetarian Hotel, Resort and Adventure Center in Costa Rico

Forwarded message from the Lands in Love Managers:

Lands in Love is a 100% vegetarian cloud forest hotel & resort and adventure center in Costa Rica.

In the hotel area there are canopy, adventure cables, canyoning, horseback riding, rafting and guided forest trails. We coordinate tours to all of Costa Rica's attractions, hotels, transportation and activities.

Two restaurants offer variety of dishes: American, Italian, Japanese, Mexican, Indian, Tai, Chinese, Israeli and more, for vegan, gluten free, weight watchers, diabetics etc.

You can see the hotel accommodation, menu, attractions, pictures, guest book, reviews, articles and more on the website www.landsinlove.com.

We, the staff and owners of the hotel (vegetarian for many years), would like you to know that there's a perfect vegetarian place for your next vacation and offer 15% discount or 5th night free for any guest that will come through you or your website.

Please call or write for more information.

Thank you.

Rona Stein

Tel: +506-2447-9331
Fax: +506-2447-9334
Tel US: +1-408-212-0991
Costa Rica

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15. Insightful NY Times Op-Ed Article on Global Warming


My letter to the NY Times:

Kudos to Tom Friedman for pointing out the great threats to the planet from global warming and indicating 5 steps necessary to respond (“Mother Nature's Dow; March 28). However, like most analysts, he does not consider the inconvenient truth that, according to the 2006 UN Food and Agriculture report “Livestock's long Shadpw,” animal-based agriculture emits more greenhouse gases (18 percent) in CO2 equivalents) than all the cars, planes, ships and other means of transportation worldwide combined (13.5 percent). The same report projects that the consumption of meat and other animal products will double in 50 years at current rates of growth.

Hence, in order to have a chance to reach the greenhouse gas emissions that climate scientists believe is essential to combat global warming, it is essential that there be a major shift toward plant-based diets.

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16. Great “Veg-Out” Day at a Brooklyn Hospital Organized by Rina Deych

Thanks to JVNA advisor Rina Deych for organizing this wonderful event at the hospital that she works at. Please see the wonderful pictures and links by clicking on the links below.

Kudos, Rina! Great job!


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