July 7, 2009

7/7/2009 JVNA Online Newsletter

1/1/2009 JVNA Online Newsletter
Shalom everyone,

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

1. Tisha B'Av and Vegetarianism

2. Solution to the Global Climate Change Crisis?

3. Shocking New Documentary Exposes Factory Farming Abuses

4. Update re Possible Fur Ban in Israel

5. Media Article on Judaism and Vegetarianism

6. Is Failure to Address Global Climate Change Betraying the Planet?

7. Sweden Leads Efforts to Reduce Meat Consumption

8. New Book Relates Religion to Vegetarianism

9. New Environmental and Vegetarian Podcasts on the Internet

10. Another Article Discusses Judaism and Vegetarianism

11. The Only Healthcare Reform That Would Solve Our Health Care Crisis

12. Speaking “Truth to Power” in Religious Communities

13. Unique Conference for Jewish Environmental Educators Scheduled

14. Online Vegan Community Being Organized

15. New Vegetarian Book that Explains Vegetarianism to Children Published

16. Action Idea: Urge US Senator to Stop Blocking Pro-Animal Candidate

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. Tisha B'Av and Vegetarianism

The next important Jewish holiday is Tisha B'Av (the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av), which starts this year on Wednesday evening, July 29. For connections between this holiday and vegetarianism, please see my article, “Tisha B'Av and Vegetarianism,” in the holidays section at JewishVeg.com/Schwartz. Please use the points in the article for letters to editors and for talking points. Thanks.

Another article related to Tisha B'Av is below. Suggestions on either or both articles Is very welcome.

Richard H. Schwartz

Tisha B'Av (the 9th day of the month of Av) which we commemorate this year on July 29-30, reminds us that over 2,000 years ago Jews failed to heed the warnings of the prophet Jeremiah, with the result that the first Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed.

Today there are many “Jeremiahs” warning us that now it is the entire world that faces destruction from global warming and its effects, species extinction, droughts, destruction of tropical rain forests and other valuable habitats, and many other environmental threats. For example, in 1992, over 1,700 of the world's leading scientists, including 104 Nobel Laureates, signed a "World Scientists Warning to Humanity," stating that 'human beings and the natural world are on a collision course", and that "a great change in our stewardship of the earth and the life on it is required, if vast human misery is to be avoided and our global home on this planet is not to be irretrievably mutilated." This year, a comprehensive US government report warned of severe consequences to all sections of the US if immediate steps are not taken to reduce global warming.

On Tisha B'Av, Jews fast to express their sadness over the destruction of the two Temples and to awaken us to how hungry people feel. So severe are the effects of starvation that the Book of Lamentations (4:10) states that "More fortunate were the victims of the sword than the victims of famine, for they pine away stricken, lacking the fruits of the field." Yet, today over 70% of the grain grown in the United States is fed to animals destined for slaughter, as an estimated 20 million people worldwide die annually because of hunger and its effects.

Jewish sages connected the word "eichah" (alas! what has befallen us?) that begins Lamentations and a word that has the same root "ayekah" ("Where art thou?"), the question addressed to Adam and Eve after they had eaten the forbidden fruit. Perhaps failure to properly hear and respond to "ayekah" in terms of stating "Hineni" - here I am, ready to carry out God's commandments so that the world will be better - causes us to eventually have to say and hear "eichah".

The reading of the book of Lamentations on Tisha B'Av is meant to wake up the Jewish people to the need to return to God's ways, by showing the horrors that resulted when God's teachings were ignored. The readings on Tisha B'Av help to sensitize us so that we will hear the cries of lament and change our ways. Rabbi Yochanan stated "Jerusalem was destroyed because the residents limited their decisions to the letter of the law of the Torah, and did not perform actions that would have gone beyond the letter of the law" ('lifnim meshurat hadin') (Baba Metzia 30b. in this time of factory farming, environmental threats, widespread hunger, and epidemics of chronic degenerative diseases, perhaps it is necessary that Jews go beyond the strict letter of the law.

This Tisha B'Av, I hope that we will begin to heed its basic lesson that failure to respond to proper admonitions can lead to catastrophe. The Jewish people must make tikkun olam (the repair and healing of the planet) a major focus in Jewish life today, and consider personal and societal changes that will start to move our precious, but imperiled, planet to a more sustainable path. By doing this, we would be performing a great kiddush Hashem (sanctification of God's Name) by working to meet our mandate to be a light unto the nations.

All of us can and must contribute to this new stewardship, even with modest changes to our lifestyle. In 1999, the UCS wrote: "Just as we don't claim that people need to stop driving their cars completely, we don't argue that they need to stop eating meat entirely. But reductions in both areas - driving and meat consumption - will certainly benefit the environment.”

In view of the many threats to humanity today, I hope that Jews will enhance their commemoration of the solemn but spiritually meaningful holiday of Tisha B'Av by making it a time to begin striving even harder to live up to Judaism's highest moral values and teachings. One important way to do this is by working to shift our precious, but imperiled, planet to a more sustainable path.

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2. Solution to the Global Climate Change Crisis?

Please look for a special JVNA newsletter on this issue soon.

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3. Shocking New Documentary Exposes Factory Farming Abuses

Forwarded message:

[I have seen this movie and I highly recommend it, although it does not consider the major impacts of animal-based agriculture on global warming.]

The new film "Food Inc." is a shocking look at the health, human rights and environmental nightmare that lands on our plate each meal.

It turns out that figuring out the most simple thing - like what's on your dinner plate, and where it came from - is actually a pretty subversive act.

That's what director Robert Kenner found out while spending six years putting together the amazing new documentary, "Food Inc.," which features prominent food writers Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma) and Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation).

Warning: "Food Inc." is not for the faint of heart. While its focus is not on the gory images of slaughterhouse floors and filthy feedlots, what it does show about the journey of our food from "farm" to plate is not pretty.

The story's main narrative chronicles the consolidation of our vast food industry into the hands of a few powerful corporations that have worked to limit the public's understanding of where its food comes from, what's in it and how safe it may be.

But it's also a larger story about the people that have gotten in the way of the stampeding corporate herd - like farmer Joel Salatin (also profiled in Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma), who has bravely bucked the trend to go corporate.

There's also Barbara Kowalcyk, who becomes a tireless food-safety advocate after her 2 1/2-year-old son Kevin died from eating an E. coli-tainted hamburger. And there is the economically strapped Orozco family, which is faced with the difficult decision of whether to save money by buying cheap processed food and spend more later on medical bills, or spring for the more expensive, but healthier food options that stretch its immediate income.

There are also the farmers who appear with their faces blacked out on screen for fear of Monsanto, or the communities ravaged by Type 2 diabetes, or the undocumented workers at processing plants who are recruited from their NAFTA-screwed homelands, illegally brought over the border to work dangerous jobs for peanuts, only to be humiliatingly sacrificed in immigration raids that only criminalize workers and never the employers.

It's really the people that make this film so riveting. If you've read Pollan's or Schlosser's important works, then you already know a lot - but the film is still eye-opening on so many levels. And sometimes, you really just have to see it to believe it.

Both Pollan and Schlosser narrate the film, but it is the ordinary folks in the film that make you realize how critical these issues are to the future of food, health care, the environment and human rights in this country.

If you care about what you eat, then you should see this film - and if you do, you'll likely never walk through the supermarket in the same way again. And that's a damn good thing.

AlterNet recently had the chance to talk with Kenner about whether our food is really safe to eat, why the food industry doesn't want us to know what we're eating, and how we can fight back.

Tara Lohan: So how did this film come about?

Robert Kenner: I read Eric Schlosser's book, Fast Food Nation, and I was struck by the idea that with food, there could be so much we don't know about something we are as familiar with. I began to think about doing a film about how we eat and where the food comes from. Ultimately exploring the idea that - on one level we are spending less of our paycheck on food today than probably at any point in the history of the world - and at the same time, this inexpensive food is coming to us at a high cost that you don't see at the checkout counter.

I thought by being able to talk about all the producers - from the [small farmer] Joe Salatins of the world to big agribusiness - it could be a very interesting conversation. Unfortunately, that conversation never took place [because the agribusiness companies wouldn't consent to be interviewed], so the movie kept transforming into something different. I was very disappointed in the wall and the veil that was placed between us and this conversation about our food.

TL: What was your learning curve like - how much did you know about these issues going into this, and what did you learn along the way?

RK: I'm still learning. I didn't come into this as a food activist, I came into this as a filmmaker who found it an interesting conversation. I didn't want to make a film for the converted, I didn't want to make a film for the true believers; I wanted to make a film for people who hadn't thought about the food they are eating. I thought it was most important to try and get people, not to turn their stomachs but to open their eyes.

My previous film was called Two Days in October, and it was a story about Vietnam told from all different points of view, and I found I learned more from the people whose opinions were different than mine, and I thought that was great - unfortunately, this was the opposite. The people who were different wanted to put up a wall. I didn't realize how subversive the world of food was.

I went to a hearing on whether we should label cloned meats. When the lady who represented the industry spoke and said, "I really think it is not in the consumer's interest to be given this information because it's too confusing," I got goose bumps and thought, "this is scary."

Then I realized that this is happening time and time again, and I hadn't been aware of it - whether it's GMOs that these corporations say are really good and will save the world but then they'll fight like hell to make sure you don't know it's in your food.

Then there is [food-safety advocate] Barb Kowalcyk, who can't tell me what she eats because of the veggie libel laws. And I'm thinking something is off. If you live in a free society and are going to have free trade, it has got to be based on information; and if we are being denied that information we can't make the right choices. I didn't realize I was making a film about First Amendment rights. There is a lot to the story about our food.

TL: You mentioned not being able to have the conversation you wanted because there were so many corporations that wouldn't go on camera with you, but there were also ordinary people who were afraid to talk.

RK: You know, if you talk, and you're involved in this world of food production, you do so at great peril. And you pay the price. It is amazing how vulnerable you can be if you step forward and enter this conversation.

TL: One of the startling things in the film was the industry connections that so many of the people had who were in positions of power at the FDA and the USDA.

RK: One thing we say in the film is that we are not opposed to people going from industry to government, that is OK. The problem is when they go from industry to government, rule on things they are involved in in industry and then go back to industry with great bonuses. That seems a conflict of interest.

And it wasn't only in the Bush era. In a funny way this crosses boundaries between Democrats and Republicans. On some of the levels, Monsanto has gotten a free ride because people think they are going to save the world with GMOs and their seeds. It has cut across party lines. It feels like tobacco research. Unfortunately, the ag schools have been taken over by industry, and they are now publishing reports.

I think the parallels to tobacco are really true. Eric [Schlosser] has a line that sums it up: that they are huge, powerful, rich corporations thoroughly connected to government issuing misleading statements about their products, saying they are not unhealthy - ultimately, there are real parallels, and I think as we start to see how unsafe this food is, like tobacco, we are going to change it.

TL: Are you seeing any changes in the first few months of the Obama administration?

RK: Well, I think this wasn't a high priority because, obviously, there are huge crisis situations that have to be solved, but I don't think you can solve health care without changing the food system, when 1 out of 3 Americans born after the year 2000 is going to get early-onset diabetes; it is going to bankrupt the health care system. And I think there is a direct connection between food and health.

I don't think you can deal with the environment without dealing with the food system when 20-25 percent of your carbon footprint involves growing and transporting food.

I think these issues are coming to the surface and are becoming more important, there has just been some movement on food safety where the FDA will have the power to recall food (which they do not have now), such as Nestle's cookie dough, which has E. coli in it.

TL: So, right now, the FDA doesn't have the power to recall food?

RK: The hamburger that killed Barb's son prompted her to help create Kevin's Law to get the USDA, which is in charge of meat, to be able to recall food. It's a complex situation - the USDA oversees meat, but if it's a cheeseburger, then it's the FDA, because it's dairy. But neither of them have the power to recall food. The hamburger that killed Barb's son sat on the shelves for 12 days after he died when they knew where it came from, but the government couldn't recall it - it was up to the corporation. Hopefully that one will start to be changed.

But we are subsidizing food that is making us sick in an even bigger way than E. coli, and that's obesity and diabetes. And I think that we have to figure out a way to turn the farm bill into the food bill.

TL: What does that mean?

RK: To start representing eaters' interests, not agribusiness. Unfortunately, that bill doesn't come up again until 2012. When we screened the film for [USDA head Tom] Vilsack, he said "we need a movement to follow. If there is a movement, we can help follow, but we can't change farm subsidies without people demanding it." Because he's up against agribusiness, and they're very powerful.

TL: To me one of the shocking numbers in the film were the figures for diabetes, which you mentioned - 1 in 3 Americans born after 2000 and 1 in 2 who are minorities - are there people in the health community who are drawing these connections?

RK: Oh yeah, that's why we can't have health care reform without fixing that. Diabetes is going to be so expensive. I really hope that we battle this idea of elitism, that people say that the can only afford bad food. That's why I think that family in the film was so important, because we have people who have a hard time paying for healthier, less-processed food, but meanwhile, they are now paying for it in their health care costs. The invisible costs are becoming very real for them, and how many people in that community have diabetes is astounding. They could not believe I didn't know someone without Type 2 Diabetes.

TL: So, based on everything you've learned in this film, do you think of our food as being safe to eat?

RK: I try not to eat industrialized foods as much. What is the bigger danger, is the idea of how they figure out how to deliver salt, sugar and fat to us. Sixty-four percent of Americans are either overweight or obese. I think, like tobacco they are trying to figure out how to sell you a product that is a bit addicting, and they are using billions of dollars of advertising, and they are training kids to do it at an early age, and they are overwhelming taste buds. So that's the scary part.

TL: One of the things I liked in the film was talking, not just about the environmental and health impacts of the food we are eating, but about the labor laws and the treatment of the workers in some of the processing plants.

RK: For me, one of the shocks of making this film was that at every rural location we went to there were parts of towns that only spoke Spanish and that our food is grown and processed by illegal immigrants, and it is really this hypocritical world that we live in because we are depending on them to deliver this inexpensive food to the supermarket, but yet we also don't want them in our communities because people think it taxes communities - the health care and schools.

But unfortunately, the people who get arrested are the workers who are working hard and doing their part, and the reason they are being hired is because they are doing difficult, dangerous, low-paying jobs, and only people without rights would want to do that work. And that for me was as important as talking about how the animals are mistreated - I tried not to even go there. But people are always shocked by animal mistreatment in the film, and I didn't think I even put it in.

TL: I think there were some pretty gruesome scenes.

RK: God, I was just talking with my editor, and we thought we took them out. What you don't see in this film, and I didn't even want to go there ... you see the chickens, but the fact is that pigs don't move except for the day they are executed, or cows just sit in their own excrement - you know thousands of them in these giant factory feedlots. We've created megafactories, and it's not just the meat, it is the tomatoes and all the way down the line - we've created a machine of great efficiency that produces the food rather inexpensively, but it comes with great consequence.

TL: One of the lighter scenes in the film is where the Wal-Mart reps go out to this small organic dairy farm that is selling its milk to Stonyfield Farms.

RK: Oh yes, this happened right at the end of the film, and we were trying to get Wal-Mart in, and all of a sudden they said yes, we'd like to come. Whoever was willing to appear in the film, I wanted to present them in the best possible light. It is very easy to say a lot of negative things about Wal-Mart, and we wouldn't be the first to do it, but I also thought that I wanted to use that section of the film to show that consumers have power and that we are not out to make a film about how terrible every corporation is, because I do think there is a role in corporations helping to change the system, and we have to talk about that.

TL: What's so funny is when the farmer meets the Wal-Mart reps ...

RK: Yeah, she says, "I've never been in your stores - we boycott you - and I've been doing it for so long, I can't even remember why." She was great.

TL: It makes you realize how complex the food system is, when small organic farmers are also dependent on Wal-Mart to sell what they are producing. What do you think people should be doing - shopping locally and organically is good - but what else?

RK: I think the big thing is that we're not going to be perfect, so if you can change one meal a day, you're going to have a huge impact. Go to takepart.com - that lists things we can be doing and organizations to get involved with to help make change.

We say, we vote three times a day - breakfast, lunch and dinner - but we also vote with our vote. When it comes to our meals, there is local, which I think is the best, it affects things on so many levels. There is organic - I was in fields where people had to wear spacesuits, and I don't think we should be eating food when people need spacesuits to grow it. When you go to the supermarket, start to read labels. All those funny words are corn and soy, and they are going to not be good for you. And know you have power - talk to people, ask for things you want. But don't feel bad if you're not perfect.

People think if they can't do it all the time they don't have to do anything. Change one meal. But then we have to stop subsidizing food that is making us sick, we have to change the national school-lunch program. If we supported local farms and got that to the school systems and spent a dollar there, we'd save a a fortune in medicine and train kids to eat right, and we'd have better communities.

We have to vote with our votes and our forks. I am really optimistic that it's going to change. I feel a sense of real growth - it might not be quick, but it is going to change, there is a real growing movement. The question is when. This is an unsustainable system, it can't go on.

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4. Update re Possible Fur Ban in Israel


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5. Media Article on Judaism and Vegetarianism

For some local Jews, kosher isn't enough

Ethics of food production is key part of 'ethical kashrut.'

By Joshunda Sanders


Sunday, June 28, 2009


Malka Dubrawsky and her husband, Robert Trent, decided to go vegetarian after she heard a radio show about mad cow disease, she said.

By keeping a vegetarian diet, she and her husband are also keeping kosher, a Jewish dietary law spelled out in the Torah that prohibits mixing meat with dairy and requires that birds and mammals be slaughtered in a way that ensures they do not suffer.

"Eating that way makes you more mindful," Dubrawsky, a freelance textile designer, said. "Just like in Judaism, what you say to and about people is very important; it's really bad to deride people or insult them. What you put in your mouth is as important as what comes out of it."

Dubrawsky and Trent, both 42, are part of a trend among Jews to combine their religious views with the goal of consuming local, organic food. Called ethical kashrut, it's the idea that adherence to Jewish dietary laws is as important as the ethics and social justice involved in the creation and processing of food.

In the past, "the idea of how you would slaughter an animal was connected to the idea of appreciating that the animal was God's creation, and you're lucky enough to have the sustenance from eating it, but you are required to kill it as humanely as possible," Dubrawsky said. "It's an old idea that fits into the new idea" of ethical kashrut, she said.

A major catalyst for Jews who now practice ethical kashrut was a scandal at Agriprocessors Inc., the largest provider of kosher meat in the United States.

May 12 marked the anniversary of federal immigration raids at the Postville, Iowa, company, where 389 immigrants were arrested in the Bush administration's largest crackdown on illegal workers at a single site. For years, the company faced allegations of worker abuse and violations of labor laws. It was also criticized over code violations and slaughtering practices not in line with kosher rules to minimize animal suffering.

"I was horrified because those people know what Jewish law says about that," Dubrawsky said. "They, of all people, who put forward this righteous face, should have known better."

The Agriprocessors raid and allegations of violations reverberated at the Kosher Store at the H-E-B off Far West Boulevard, Cross said. It's the grocery chain's only dedicated kosher store statewide, and it has relied on Agriprocessors for the bulk of its meat products for years. The 2008 raid caused a flurry of questions, said Frank Efrayim Brock, the food supervisor at the store.

"People in Texas are curious about where food comes from now," he said.

The discussions prompted by the raid created "a growing pain in the kosher community, the first big moment in kosher," Brock said. "Now, kosher has to reflect the values in society. Ultimately, this was going to happen, and it's for the good because we can have relatively inexpensive meat that doesn't have a stigma attached to it."

Cross said the store stopped doing business with Agriprocessors in November. "But there was no one to fill the void," he said, so he had to search for new suppliers.

He selected Wise Organic Pastures in Pennsylvania, which supplies kosher meat both to the H-E-B Kosher Store and to Central Market stores in Austin. He also chose meat suppliers in Minnesota and South Dakota.

Rabbinical authorities in charge of kosher standards, referred to as mashgichim, are developing a seal for ethical foods. The new and traditional stamps are called hekhshers. Even before the raid, Rabbi Morris Allen of Mendota Heights, Minn., started work on an ethical kashrut symbol - called Magen Tzedek, which means seal of justice. He is director of the Hekhsher Tzedek Commission, which has worked to get the seal placed on products since 2006. He said that the commission hopes to have the seal on at least three products before Rosh Hashana in September.

Adoption of the proposed seal would be one way to make ancient Jewish practices fit a more modern society, said Lisa Goodgame, 37, the director of the Jewish Community Relations Council with the Jewish Community Association of Austin.

"Ethical kashrut may make keeping kosher relevant again for my generation because it helps blend how we eat with spirituality, which is very important," Goodgame said.

The seal benefits everyone involved, Allen said. "More people will be buying kosher products, because they're kosher, they're ethical or for both reasons," he said. "It will be a win for food producers, the workers who will be treated better, the animals that will be treated better and the environment. Our product is ultimately the antidote to the horrific tragedy in Postville."

jsanders@statesman.com; 445-3630

Copyright 2008 The Austin American-Statesman. All rights reserved.

Cox Newspapers, Inc.

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6. Is Failure to Address Global Climate Change Betraying the Planet?

Betraying the Planet


Published: June 28, 2009

So the House passed the Waxman-Markey climate-change bill. In political terms, it was a remarkable achievement.

But 212 representatives voted no. A handful of these no votes came from representatives who considered the bill too weak, but most rejected the bill because they rejected the whole notion that we have to do something about greenhouse gases.

And as I watched the deniers make their arguments, I couldn't help thinking that I was watching a form of treason - treason against the planet.

To fully appreciate the irresponsibility and immorality of climate-change denial, you need to know about the grim turn taken by the latest climate research.

The fact is that the planet is changing faster than even pessimists expected: ice caps are shrinking, arid zones spreading, at a terrifying rate. And according to a number of recent studies, catastrophe - a rise in temperature so large as to be almost unthinkable - can no longer be considered a mere possibility. It is, instead, the most likely outcome if we continue along our present course.

Thus researchers at M.I.T., who were previously predicting a temperature rise of a little more than 4 degrees by the end of this century, are now predicting a rise of more than 9 degrees. Why? Global greenhouse gas emissions are rising faster than expected; some mitigating factors, like absorption of carbon dioxide by the oceans, are turning out to be weaker than hoped; and there's growing evidence that climate change is self-reinforcing - that, for example, rising temperatures will cause some arctic tundra to defrost, releasing even more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Temperature increases on the scale predicted by the M.I.T. researchers and others would create huge disruptions in our lives and our economy. As a recent authoritative U.S. government report points out, by the end of this century New Hampshire may well have the climate of North Carolina today, Illinois may have the climate of East Texas, and across the country extreme, deadly heat waves - the kind that traditionally occur only once in a generation - may become annual or biannual events.

In other words, we're facing a clear and present danger to our way of life, perhaps even to civilization itself. How can anyone justify failing to act?

Well, sometimes even the most authoritative analyses get things wrong. And if dissenting opinion-makers and politicians based their dissent on hard work and hard thinking - if they had carefully studied the issue, consulted with experts and concluded that the overwhelming scientific consensus was misguided - they could at least claim to be acting responsibly.

But if you watched the debate on Friday, you didn't see people who've thought hard about a crucial issue, and are trying to do the right thing. What you saw, instead, were people who show no sign of being interested in the truth. They don't like the political and policy implications of climate change, so they've decided not to believe in it - and they'll grab any argument, no matter how disreputable, that feeds their denial.

Indeed, if there was a defining moment in Friday's debate, it was the declaration by Representative Paul Broun of Georgia that climate change is nothing but a “hoax” that has been “perpetrated out of the scientific community.” I'd call this a crazy conspiracy theory, but doing so would actually be unfair to crazy conspiracy theorists. After all, to believe that global warming is a hoax you have to believe in a vast cabal consisting of thousands of scientists - a cabal so powerful that it has managed to create false records on everything from global temperatures to Arctic sea ice.

Yet Mr. Broun's declaration was met with applause.

Given this contempt for hard science, I'm almost reluctant to mention the deniers' dishonesty on matters economic. But in addition to rejecting climate science, the opponents of the climate bill made a point of misrepresenting the results of studies of the bill's economic impact, which all suggest that the cost will be relatively low.

Still, is it fair to call climate denial a form of treason? Isn't it politics as usual?

Yes, it is - and that's why it's unforgivable.

Do you remember the days when Bush administration officials claimed that terrorism posed an “existential threat” to America, a threat in whose face normal rules no longer applied? That was hyperbole - but the existential threat from climate change is all too real.

Yet the deniers are choosing, willfully, to ignore that threat, placing future generations of Americans in grave danger, simply because it's in their political interest to pretend that there's nothing to worry about. If that's not betrayal, I don't know what is.

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7. Sweden Leads Efforts to Reduce Meat Consumption


animals should not be reared in factory farms


In a visionary move, Sweden's authorities have set out draft guidelines asking people to reduce their carbon footprint by eating less meat. The guidelines are quoted as saying: "Try to exchange one or two meat dishes a week against vegetarian meals or decrease the quantity of meat."

It is reported that Sweden is sending its guidelines to other European countries to gauge their reaction - it will be very interesting indeed to see what reaction they get!

Our modern massive scale of meat and dairy production and consumption has harmful consequences for farm animals, the environment and for human health:

We already slaughter 60 billion sentient farm animals a year for our food and that figure is predicted to double by 2050. The majority of the world's pigs and chickens are already confined in factory farms. If we insist on increasing production, we condemn many more farm animals to lives of misery.

Animal agriculture produces nearly a fifth of the global greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activity - more than all the world's transport. It is a heavy polluter and user of the world's precious resources of grain and water.

Increasingly, health experts are saying that a plant-based diet is better for your health. The World Cancer Research Fund advises a mainly plant-based diet low in red meat and avoiding processed meats.

A clear and positive solution is for wealthier countries to eat less meat and dairy. But until now, national authorities have been reluctant to give their populations this kind of message.

Sweden's move follows the recent announcement of 'Veggiedag' in Ghent, Belgium, where residents are encouraged to have a meat free day on Thursdays.

In September 2008, leading climate change expert, Dr Rajendra Pachauri, gave Compassion's annual Peter Roberts Memorial Lecture, where he asked people to reduce their meat consumption starting with one day per week. You can see film clips and Dr Pachauri's presentation at www.ciwf.org/lecture.

Compassion in World Farming believes that cutting your meat and dairy consumption - and of course buying only high welfare products - is definitely the way forward for farm animals, people and the planet.

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8. New Book Relates Religion to Vegetarianism

Forwarded message:

US publication date: 23rd July 2009

UK publication date: 17th September 2009


Contact: Purdy
christian.purdy@oup.com http://us.mc835.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=christian.purdy@oup.com


Philosophy, Theology, and Practical Ethics

By Rev. Andrew Linzey

Oxford / $29.95 / 206 pgs. / Hardback / July 23, 2009 / ISBN13: 9780195379778

“This book, I believe, ranks as one of [Andrew Linzey's] finest works - perhaps even the finest. It is original, engaging, and impressive, and comprises a skilful interweaving of theological and ethical argument, systematic analysis and (mercilessly destructive) criticism of hugely significant public documents on hunting with dogs, fur farming and commercial sealing, underwritten by a form of Chomskyan social criticism..”
Mark Rowlands, Professor of Philosophy, University of Miami

“This is a well-written, challenging, and important study of a subject that should have a wide readership, not only by academicians, but more so, by the vast majority of readers who are involved with and concerned about animals in one way or another.”

Library Journal

Lots of people are disturbed by animal suffering, but hard pressed to say why it really matters. It is still sometimes supposed that caring for animals is just an 'emotional' issue with no rational basis. Our exploitation of animals rests on a range of 'differences' that are supposed to justify their inferior treatment. But when analyzed, these very differences, so often regarded as a basis for discriminating against them, are the very grounds for discriminating in favor of them.

When reconfigured, these considerations include

· The inability of animals to give or withhold their consent

· Their inability to verbalize or represent their interests

· Their inability to comprehend

· Their moral innocence or blamelessness

· Their relative defenselessness and vulnerability

When these considerations are taken fully into account, it becomes as difficult to justify the infliction of suffering on animals as it is to do so in the case of human infants. In WHY ANIMAL SUFFERING MATTERS Andrew Linzey offers a radical new paradigm for our treatment of animals, maintaining that animals, like young children, should be accorded a special moral status. The argument is buttressed by a detailed analysis of three practical issues: hunting with dogs, fur-farming, and commercial sealing. After reading this book, it will be difficult for anyone to argue that any of these practices is morally defensible.

About the Author:

Andrew Linzey is Director of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, and a Member of the Faculty of Theology in the University of Oxford . He has published more than 20 books including: Animal Theology, Creatures of the Same God, and The Link Between Animal Abuse and Human Violence.

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9. New Environmental and Vegetarian Podcasts on the Internet

Forwarded message from Joseph, podcast coordinator:

This time we have three new Audio Presentations for the VSSE podcast:

1) Richard Schwartz "An Alternative US Foreign Policy": http://h2opodcast.com/vsse.html#afp

2) Mike Hudak "Violence and Social Harassment": http://h2opodcast.com/vsse.html#vsh

3) Ken Midkiff "Repetition Of A Lie": http://h2opodcast.com/vsse.html#rol


The VSSE podcast has a Facebook presence. You can send me your friend suggestions (http://www.facebook.com/VeganEnvironmentalSolutions) and join the group here: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=40863727638 Please spread the word that the podcast exists and share with your "Environmentalist" friends. Also we have a FB Event at: http://www.facebook.com/VeganEnvironmentalSolutions#/event.php?eid=123387841347&ref=mf

I NEED 5-10 people to help me Veg-Evangelize to Environmental Groups on Facebook (and off facebook too). Here is what I need. We'll each send out a short message (I can supply the message) to 4 FB Environmental Groups per week/per month/or just as often as you'd like. The problem is that I've already had my FB account suspended a few weeks ago for being too "aggressive" in trying to spread the word about transitioning to a plant based diet and the next time it might be permanent. I've already gained two more warnings and feel like I'm walking on thin ice. So the plan is to gather a "Few" good folks to send out these messages with the goal being to FORCE the conversation in the direction of "The single most important thing an individual can do for the environment is to go Vegan."- email me: NoMeat@h2opodcast.com and I'll give more details - Please Help!


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 Genealogy)

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10. Another Article Discusses Judaism and Vegetarianism

Article: Organic is the True Kosher


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11. The Only Healthcare Reform That Would Solve Our Health Care Crisis


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12. Speaking “Truth to Power” in Religious Communities

[Perhaps this might serve as an example about how we might “'peak truth to power” in the Jewish community.

Forwarded message from Steve kaufman, director and co-founder of the Christian Vegetarian Association (VCA):

1. Report from the United Church of Christ General Synod

Rev. Lisa Hadler and I (Steve Kaufman) attended the 2009 UCC General Synod in Grand Rapids, MI from 6/26-6/30. We were busy, “speaking truth to power” and encouraging our fellow UCC members to move toward plant-based diets. We had an information booth where we had a steady stream of visitors with good questions and comments.

Regarding a resolution dealing with world hunger, we recommended that the resolution identify consumption of meat and other animal products as major contributors to the problem. Eventually, our wording was incorporated into the resolution! The next day, a daily report from the Synod discussed the world hunger resolution and focused considerable attention on how our diets significantly impact the problem.

In addition, I was able to deliver a one-minute “Speak-Out,” and I said the following:

The UCC has been a leader for social justice…for humans. When it comes to the billions and billions of animals who live and die under horrendous conditions of unremitting pain and suffering each year in factory farms, in the fur industry, and in many other abusive activities, our denomination and our churches have been virtually silent.

However, our faith teaches that the animals belong to God. When we mistreat animals, we show disrespect for God. Further, animal and human welfare are closely linked. For example, animal agriculture is a leading cause of global warming; it contributes to world poverty and hunger by consuming much of the world's harvest; and the amount of animal products in the typical American diet contributes to heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and certain cancers.

Animals can feel pain and suffer similar to ourselves. Therefore, this is a fundamental justice issue. Where does the UCC stand on the evil of animal abuse? Can we call ourselves a “just peace church” and simultaneously ignore the animals?

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13. Unique Conference for Jewish Environmental Educators Scheduled

July 1, 2009

Forwarded message from Nili Simhai, director of the Teva Center:

Shalom friends,

This August you have the opportunity to join Teva at a unique conference for Jewish educators at the Siegal College Summer Institute in Cleveland:

Moreh L'Morim: An Educator's Guide to Perplexing Times

From August 9-12, 2009

The conference features outstanding educators from the Teva Learning Center, who will be joining Vicky Kelman, Naomi Less, and the full resources of Siegal College and the Cleveland Jewish community. Participants can choose intensive tracks of study or pick from a wide variety of workshops and discussions. Participants can also elect to join in a single day of Jewish learning and professional development. Evening cultural and recreational activities will be available, as well as ongoing opportunities to network with Jewish educators from communities across the country.

Join Nili and the Teva team as they lead the track:

Inspirational Jewish Education for an Ecological Age

How can nature, ecology and the environment encourage students and congregants to connect more deeply to their Jewish identity? How do ancient Jewish mitzvot about caring for the environment remain highly relevant today? How does a connection to nature and environmental issues provide a great way to encourage active involvement and participation in your institution's programs, from religious clubs, adult and childhood education, sisterhood and men's groups, and lay leadership? This intensive will explore core Jewish concepts through an ecological lens. We will focus on rejuvenating your prayer periods and blessings, to help create a more fun connection to the holidays and celebrations. In addition, we will also practice hands-on advice for synagogues seeking to green their institutions, such as establishing a greening team. Classroom time will be supplemented with ventures outdoors. Both informal and classroom educators will receive valuable curricular resources, lesson plans and experiential activities.

Please visit this website http://www.siegalcollege.edu/summerinstitute.phpfor details and registration. Educators from Cleveland and MAHAR partner communities (Akron, Canton, Youngstown and Pittsburgh) are eligible for discounted fees.

Contact conference coordinator Lisa Kollins directly with questions: summerinstitute@siegalcollege.edu or (216) 464-4050.

We hope to see you there!


Nili Simhai


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14. Online Vegan Community Being Organized

Forwarded message:

Dear Vegan Community,

I am presently working on a project entitled Vegan Voices, still in the works, seen here: http://veganpoet.com/veganvoices/

Its purpose is to:

1.) be a resource tool directing people (with activated links) to websites with a strong vegan education stance ,

2.) to unite vegans of all walks and thoughts,

3.) to be a vehicle of an inspiring and enlightening vegan message,

4.) as well as a data base of noted vegans: authors, doctors, dieticians, educators, organization founders, philosphers, website owners, vegan shopping innovators, abolitionist perspective bloggers/advocates, leaders & activists, vegan chefs/cookbook authors/restaurant owners.

I am inviting those who follow a vegan lifestyle to be a part of this project. This data base will only be comprised of those taking a non-violent approach to gaining rights for animals.

To be included in this data base, please send the following:

1.) A brief bio and your website/s address/es.
2.) A link to an online photo of yourself.
3.) 1-2 quotes pertaining to veganism. Some suggestions are: how you became vegan, your role or mission within the vegan movement, or an important message that you want to get out there about being vegan.

I look forward to hearing back from you with your nominations of those who should be included, changes to existing profiles, or additions to the existing profiles.

M. Butterflies Katz

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15. New Vegetarian Book that Explains Vegetarianism to Children Published

Hello Jewish Veg!

My name is Ruby Roth, I'm the author (also Jewish) of the brand new vegan/vegetarian children's book "That's Why We Don't Eat Animals: A Book About Vegans, Vegetarians, and All Living Things" (North Atlantic, Random House, dist.).

This is the first children's book to address the emotional lives of animals, factory farming, the environment, and endangered species in regards to the foods we eat. It has been endorsed by Jane Goodall, Alicia Silverstone, Ingrid Newkirk, Ed Begley, Rory Freedman, and more. Already, it has garnered a heartfelt response- I've heard from people around the world. We
are quite an excitable community!

I came across your site and wanted to reach out to you in case you'd like to share the news of this book's existence with your readers. There are few resources out there for children and it would be an honor to support your followers and their children with this book.

Please find below additional resources for information on my book.

Thank you!

Ruby Roth

Website: http://WeDontEatAnimals.com/
YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ii9VFHfKxQk
Myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/WeDontEatAnimals
Facebook fan page:

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16. Action Idea: Urge US Senator to Stop Blocking Pro-Animal Candidate

Obama Pro-Animal Candidate Blocked by Senator

Can you help?

Dear [animal rights activist},

President Obama has chosen pro-animal candidate, Cass Sunstein, for an influential position inside Washington as Regulation Czar for the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.

Read The Hill article here.

Sunstein wrote in his book published in 2004;

"I will suggest that animals should be permitted to bring suit, with human beings as their representatives, to prevent violations of current law."

Because of this and other very pro-animal positions, Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss has blocked Sunstein's nomination---Chambliss is on the Senate Agriculture Committee. Chambliss' state is a major supplier of chickens and other animals used as food.

Would you consider supporting Sunstein? If so, Senator Chambliss needs to hear from you ASAP! Please call or e-mail Senator Chambliss and express your concern and ask that Sunstein be confirmed for the position. Sen. Chambliss' number is 202-224-3521or 770-763-9090. Click here to e-mail the senator.

Thanks for supporting the primates.

Primate Freedom Project

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