August 13, 2009

8/13/2009 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

1. Many New Podcasts at the JVNA Web Site

2. Blog Relates Animal-Based Agriculture to Global Climate Change

3. More on Dan Brook's Article on Jewish Vegetarianism in Tikkun Magazine

4. Efforts to Get Dietary Changes Onto the Agenda at the Copenhagen Climate Conference

5. More On Efforts To Get Support for One Meatless Day in Many Countries

6. Global Climate Change as a National Security Threat

7. Insightful Pictorial Description of How Animals Are Mistreated on Factory Farms

8. More On Israel's Worst Drought Ever

9. A Sacred Duty” Now on Facebook

10. Effort To Provide Support For Needs of Elderly Vegans

11. New Jewish Environmental Web Site Set Up

12. The Return of the Animals Voice Magazine

13. Veganism as a Solution to the Current Health Care Crisis

14. Vegan Solutions in Response to Swine Flu

15. More on Getting Vegan Meals Into Schools

16. Feelings of Animals Ignored in Report on US Meat Plant Being Cited for Mishandling Cows

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. Many New Podcasts at the JVNA Web Site

During October, 2008, while in Israel, I audio-taped many Israeli environmentalists and vegetarian activists. With the wonderful, much appreciated help of Joseph Puentes and Maida Genser, these are now at the Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) web site at:

Please take a look. Comments and suggestions are very welcome, as always. Thanks.

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2. Blog Relates Animal-Based Agriculture to Global Climate Change

The Meat of the Problem

By Ezra Klein
Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Washington Post blog

The debate over climate change has reached a rarefied level of policy abstraction in recent months. Carbon tax or cap-and-trade? Upstream or downstream? Should we auction permits? Head-scratching is, at this point, permitted. But at base, these policies aim to do a simple thing, in a simple way: persuade us to undertake fewer activities that are bad for the atmosphere by making those activities more expensive. Driving an SUV would become pricier. So would heating a giant house with coal and buying electricity from an inefficient power plant. But there's one activity that's not on the list and should be: eating a hamburger.

If it's any consolation, I didn't like writing that sentence any more than you liked reading it. But the evidence is strong. It's not simply that meat is a contributor to global warming; it's that it is a huge contributor. Larger, by a significant margin, than the global transportation sector.

According to a 2006 United Nations report, livestock accounts for 18 percent of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. Some of meat's contribution to climate change is intuitive. It's more energy efficient to grow grain and feed it to people than it is to grow grain and turn it into feed that we give to calves until they become adults that we then slaughter to feed to people. Some of the contribution is gross. "Manure lagoons," for instance, is the oddly evocative name for the acres of animal excrement that sit in the sun steaming nitrous oxide into the atmosphere. And some of it would make Bart Simpson chuckle. Cow gas -- interestingly, it's mainly burps, not farts -- is a real player.

But the result isn't funny at all: Two researchers at the University of Chicago estimated that switching to a vegan diet would have a bigger impact than trading in your gas guzzler for a Prius (PDF). A study out of Carnegie Mellon University found that the average American would do less for the planet by switching to a totally local diet than by going vegetarian one day a week. That prompted Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, to recommend that people give up meat one day a week to take pressure off the atmosphere. The response was quick and vicious. "How convenient for him," was the inexplicable reply from a columnist at the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. "He's a vegetarian."

The visceral reaction against anyone questioning our God-given right to bathe in bacon has been enough to scare many in the environmental movement away from this issue. The National Resources Defense Council has a long page of suggestions for how you, too, can "fight global warming." As you'd expect, "Drive Less" is in bold letters. There's also an endorsement for "high-mileage cars such as hybrids and plug-in hybrids." They advise that you weatherize your home, upgrade to more efficient appliances and even buy carbon offsets. The word "meat" is nowhere to be found.

That's not an oversight. Telling people to give up burgers doesn't poll well. Ben Adler, an urban policy writer, explored that in a December 2008 article for the American Prospect. He called environmental groups and asked them for their policy on meat consumption. "The Sierra Club isn't opposed to eating meat," was the clipped reply from a Sierra Club spokesman. "So that's sort of the long and short of it." And without pressure to address the costs of meat, politicians predictably are whiffing on the issue. The Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill, for instance, does nothing to address the emissions from livestock.

The pity of it is that compared with cars or appliances or heating your house, eating pasta on a night when you'd otherwise have made fajitas is easy. It doesn't require a long commute on the bus or the disposable income to trade up to a Prius. It doesn't mean you have to scrounge for change to buy a carbon offset. In fact, it saves money. It's healthful. And it can be done immediately. A Montanan who drives 40 miles to work might not have the option to take public transportation. But he or she can probably pull off a veggie stew. A cash-strapped family might not be able buy a new dishwasher. But it might be able to replace meatballs with mac-and-cheese. That is the whole point behind the cheery PB&J Campaign, which reminds that "you can fight global warming by having a PB&J for lunch." Given that PB&J is delicious, it's not the world's most onerous commitment.

It's also worth saying that this is not a call for asceticism. It's not a value judgment on anyone's choices. Going vegetarian might not be as effective as going vegan, but it's better than eating meat, and eating meat less is better than eating meat more. It would be a whole lot better for the planet if everyone eliminated one meat meal a week than if a small core of die-hards developed perfectly virtuous diets.

I've not had the willpower to eliminate bacon from my life entirely, and so I eliminated it from breakfast and lunch, and when that grew easier, pulled back further to allow myself five meat-based meals a month. And believe me, I enjoy the hell out of those five meals. But if we're going to take global warming seriously, if we're going to make crude oil more expensive and tank-size cars less practical, there's no reason to ignore the impact of what we put on our plates.

Ezra Klein can be reached at or through his blog at

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3. More on Dan Brook's Article on Jewish Vegetarianism in Tikkun Magazine

Forwarded message:

In Daniel Brook's exciting new article in Tikkun - a Jewish-born but politically, socially, and religiously broad magazine - Brook writes, "One of the ways to follow our rich tradition while putting Judaism's highest ideals into daily practice is to choose vegetarianism." And I thought this article might be of great interest to you, as someone who has participated in one of our previous kosher slaughter undercover investigations.

"The Planet-Saving Mitzvah: Why Jews Should Consider Vegetarianism" says, "In the words of Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb, 'I see vegetarianism as a mitzvah' - a sacred duty and good deed," then continues with a list of 13 reasons, from spirituality and personal health to conservation of resources, why Jews should consider vegetarianism and embrace a cruelty-free diet. To read the complete article, please follow this link.

If the words of Brook inspire you to try a vegetarian diet today, PETA is here to help with a variety of free online resources. is our hub of information for Jewish vegetarians. The site contains links to free recipes, additional information on why to consider a vegetarian diet, and videos that expose the horror of kosher slaughter.

Please take a few minutes to watch some of these shocking videos today and you'll never see kosher slaughter in the same way again. Check out the investigation inside AgriProcessors (the world's largest kosher slaughterhouse), take a look at kosher slaughter in South America, and watch a video narrated by world famous author Jonathan Safran Foer, titled, "If This Is Kosher …."

Thank you for your compassion toward animals. I hope you'll consider a vegetarian diet today and share this convincing article with all your family and friends.


Philip Schein
Senior Researcher
Policy Department

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4. Efforts to Get Dietary Changes Onto the Agenda at the Copenhagen Climate Conference

Forwarded message from Carolin G., an activist with the Veg Climate Alliance:

Dear friends and supporters of the Veg Climate Alliance,


Here is a recent, informal update on the demo in Copenhagen on December 12th, written with the kind support of Carlos, the local coordinator of FoEI [Friends of the Earth, International]:

FoE is welcoming people and organizations that support the idea of climate justice to the "Flood for Climate Justice" in Copenhagen, Denmark, the 12th of December at 10 AM that will start from Nørrebro train station. From there we will make a colourful celebration of people's empowerment and climate justice. This will be a peaceful non-violent event where people will demand action in a positive but powerful way. The main motive of the demonstration will be that of a flood, and participants are encouraged to express it in a creative way; if you wish you can discuss your ideas with Carlos, so we will have a good theme coordination. His email is:

The demo will consist in a march of about 3 kms that will finish at about 1:00 PM. Afterwards, a 7-and-half-km-march organized by the Danish Climate Movement will start at probably 01:30 PM at Christianborg, the Danish Parliament, at walking distance from where the "Flood for Climate Justice“ ends. FoE is collaborating with them and encourages participants of the flood demo to participate in the Christianborg demo as well, which will go to the Bella Center, where the COP15 climate summit will take place.

If you would like to join, please make your accommodation arrangements in Copenhagen asap, because hotels etc. are already booked. At the moment, accommodation is still available in private homes through New Life Copenhagen, but they will soon run out of spaces:

Climate-friendly transportation by train or bus will be in arranged by the national groups of FoEI (like Belgian FoE, FrenchFoE, BUND Naturschutz in Germany). Please get in touch with your local group for further info.

More detailed information will be provided by FoEI later. Keep checking their website at:

Further infos on the Christianborg demo and what else is going on:

If you would like to cooperate with the Veg Climate Alliance ( regarding the demonstration [and help get dietary changes onto the agenda], contact Carolin at

Please take note that the weather in Copenhagen at this time is generally cold and windy and it might be humid as well.

We are looking forward to seeing you in Copenhagen!

Thank you so much for your continuous support and the good cooperation and all the best!!!


Additional information about the demonstration:


We are proud to announce that the Veg Climate Alliance now got more than 100 members, benefactors, partners and supporters. You are cordially invited to join us on our new Facebook Group ( and on Green2Cool ( - go to "Social" - "Groups" - "Veg Climate Alliance").

Warm greetings and thank you for your support,

on behalf of the Veg Climate Alliance

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5. More On Efforts To Get Support for One Meatless Day in Many Countries

Forwarded message from Leron R.

Site for many petitions:

In addition to emailing all your contacts -"veg heads" or not - consider spreading the message of our "green grassroots" movement by:

a. Approaching local veggie/vegan restaurants, heath food shops, etc. as a concerned citizen wanting to share this page - just click “Print&Post” visit

b. Writing an article and using the digg/buzz options in the share button above

c. Reaching out to environmentalists, animal rights activists, and/or people who have already adopted the veggie diet lifestyle; after all this issue affects us all.

d. Know any NGO's, student run associations or other committees? Let them know about us too.

You can also join our ever-growing group on Facebook
Thank you,
Leron Rabinowiz

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6. Global Climate Change as a National Security Threa

Forwarded message from Rabbi Arthur Waskow, director of the Shalom Center and main organizer of the “Global Climate Healing Shabbat”:

This past Friday night, I was speaking at a synagogue on the Jewish obligation to reduce the danger of global scorching. One of the congregants asked why I, who had spent so much of my life working for social justice and against war, was now working "instead" on healing the earth.

The answer came Sunday morning, on the front page of the New York Times:--

"Recent [Defense Department] war games and intelligence studies conclude that over the next 20 to 30 years, vulnerable regions, particularly sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and South and Southeast Asia, will face the prospect of food shortages, water crises and catastrophic flooding driven by climate change that could demand an American humanitarian relief or military response."

The same Jewish organizations, the same churches, the same Muslim networks that claim to care about the poor of Africa, Asia, and (especially!) the Middle East still see the climate crisis as a side issue that is somewhere down in the middle of their long priority lists. And anyway, it's all 20 years away or more. Why worry now?

Actually, it isn't 20 years off. It's in the present, NOW. Most of the sound and fury expended on "ending the genocide" in Darfur has ignored the underlying causes of the violence there. But the same NY Times article reports that [Senator John] Kerry said the continuing conflict in southern Sudan, which has killed and displaced tens of thousands of people, is a result of drought and expansion of deserts in the north. “That is going to be repeated many times over and on a much larger scale,” he said.

What's the connection? Formerly flourishing crops withered and died under the baleful heat of planetary climate "change." When there's not enough food, people will kill to feed their families. And whole ethnic groups will kill other ethnic groups to make sure their own folks get to eat.

You can proclaim "Never again!" as loud as you like, and insist the UN and the US send peacekeepers, but as long as the food is withering away, the killing will continue. As long as the oil and coal keep pouring CO2 into our planet's atmosphere, the food will wither, the ice will melt, the oceans will flood, and people will die - and kill.

George Bernard Shaw once wrote (in his play Saint Joan), "Must Christ be crucified in every generation for the benefit of those who have no imagination?"

Substitute whatever metaphor fits your own worldview: "Must Dr. King be murdered in every generation …" "Must Auschwitz recur in every generation . . ."

Use your imagination!! If you care about Israelis, about Palestinians, about Ugandans and Kenyans and Bangla Deshis, either because you care about all who suffer or you care about your own kinfolk who suffer, USE YOUR IMAGINATION! Turn your imagination to political action - to stop global scorching.

This fall, prophetic voices like Bill McKibben have called for public actions on October 24 to demand that governments take vigorous action to curb global scorching. A wide swathe of the American Jewish community has called for making that day, the Shabbat when Jews read the biblical story of Noah, the Flood, the Ark, and the Rainbow, into "Climate Healing Shabbat," with political action during the week before or after and prayer, sermons, discussions, Torah-nature walks, on Shabbat itself.

To register your own intention to take on this commitment, please register your community at both these places:

The international observance of "Global Climate Healing Shabbat Noach" is not the end - but a beginning, or a deepening. It points toward the crucial United Nations conference on the climate crisis scheduled for Copenhagen in December, 2009.

For more information on what you can do, please click to ---

On our Website at
are a number of items that may be of use to you:

SNIP (for space considerations)

I hope this will jump-start your thinking. Please write me what has begun to percolate for you, and I'll pass the ideas around.

Shalom, salaam, shantih --- peace, Arthur

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7. Insightful Pictorial Description of How Animals Are Mistreated on Factory Farms

Thanks to “A Sacred Duty” producer and JVNA advisor Lionel Friedberg for sending us this link.

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8. More On Israel's Worst Drought Ever

Article in the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz:

Report: Unusually low rainfall last winter left Kinneret, aquifers thirsty
By Zafrir Rinat
Tags: Israel News

Last winter Lake Kinneret only received about 56 percent of the water it receives in an average rainy season, the Water Authority said in a report released this week.

Precipitation was slightly greater than the winter before, but cumulatively speaking it is the fifth year in a row of less-than-average rainfall.

The Kinneret has dropped more than two meters in the past two years. In addition, the water has become increasingly more saline for the fifth year running, because less low-saline water (rainwater) is coming into the lake. Since the water is used for irrigation, this endangers crops sensitive to high salt concentrations.

The Water Authority said the southern part of the lake is below the dam keeping the water from flowing south into the Jordan River and on to the Dead Sea. Even if the dam were opened, no water would flow southward. The level of the Dead Sea has been dropping at the rate of about 90 centimeters a year.

The heavy rains in February increased last winter's overall precipitation, with some areas experiencing rainfall amounts that are seen only once every fifty years. However, in January Jerusalem had its lowest rainfall since 1895, and in the Kinneret region the rainfall was the lowest since the 1920s.

The Water Authority has minimized the amount of water being pumped from the Kinneret, which means it is forced to make up the difference by pumping from the coastal and mountain aquifers.

The mountain aquifer, where the water is considered to be of high quality, dropped sharply toward the red line, below which this source faces the risk of leakage of saline water. In the central aquifer (a well in the Petah Tikva area) the water level is only 10 centimeters above the red line, Water Authority measurements show. North of that point, at the present rate of pumping, the water level in the mountain aquifer will dip below the red line in a few months.

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9. “A Sacred Duty” Now on Facebook

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10. Effort To Provide Support For Needs of Elderly Vegans

Forwarded message from long-time animal rights activist Batya Bauman:

I am of the age where I have been looking at assisted living facilities -- just looking in case I should ever need it. I have been visiting a number of them in Western Massachusetts, where I include lunch in my visits. My big concern is food - that good vegan food be available.

Sadly, I have not found any assisted living facilities that can provide this minimal requirement. Of course, some tell me that the cook will make for me anything, but that's not good enough. We need vegan facilities or at least facilities that include and integrate vegan meals on their menus.


We have to do something about this... and, while we are at it, we have to encourage vegan "Meals on Wheels" when we need that from our communities. A couple of years ago, when I returned from the hospital and needed MOW for a couple of weeks, I could not even get vegetarian meals... I was forced to get what they made available (which always included meat of all manner, plus the ubiquitous pint of milk probably demanded by the dairy industry lobby) and had to eat around it... the salads and vegetables (not of the best quality).

So, my friends, let's organize around this issue, especially those of us who are of the age where we may soon have to avail ourselves of these services. Younger folks will, hopefully, also reach our age and have our concerns, too, so I welcome folks of all ages to join in the quest.


Please ask all interested to be in touch with me:
I am hoping to form a group which might eventually embrace all issues of aging vegans/animal advocates with issues beyond what I stated before. Such as, what will happen to our animals when we are no longer able to care for them. Hopefully [I will] get 501 c.3 status and go after grant funding for projects.


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11. New Jewish Environmental Web Site Set Up

Forwarded message from Susan Kaplan, Chair of SAZ COEJL [South Arizona chapter of the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life:

The correct link is

Susan Kaplan, Chair

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12. The Return of the Animals Voice Magazine

Dear Animals Voice Supporter,

I announce The Return (again) of The Animals Voice Magazine...

The July/August 2009 issue features a cover story about the plight of the world's frogs (with input from The Guardian, Discovery News, Save the Frogs! and the Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting). It also features articles about the animal rights movement itself (with articles by Steven Best, Will Tuttle, and Arun Gupta), about the egg, pork and factory farming industries (with articles by Ezra Klein and Brenda Shoss), about primate research (by Michael Budkie/SAEN), and a whole lot more.

Click here to purchase your copy now:

For those of you wary of this new "round" of magazines and its long-term sustainability, allow me to explain how we can stay in print this time.

It's called print-on-demand publishing. You demand it. We print it. Per copy per issue. Meaning... instead of having to find tens of thousands of dollars in advertising revenue, grants and donations, subscriptions and bequests all year long, we don't have to raise a single cent to produce a magazine issue. You demand it. We print it. Per copy per issue. Simple as that.

How, specifically, does that work? Well, we produce the magazine - which we do purely with a volunteer staff (and right now, that means just me) - and we upload the finished file to an online third-party. You then go to that third party and buy your copy of the latest issue of the magazine. Then THEY print it and mail it to you at no cost to Animals Voice. They take their share and give us a percentage of the sale - which we use to promote the magazine, to keep our site online, and to broaden our outreach.

And because you're buying our 48-page bi-monthly magazine one issue at a time, you don't have to come up with the $30 or $45 (depending on which country you live in) per year in subscription money at one time, either. You just buy the magazine issue for $9.00 (plus shipping) and be done with it - till next issue. You can choose to purchase each issue as it becomes available - or not buy it. If you give your email address during your checkout, you'll automatically be notified when the next issue is available. You also have the opportunity to preview the magazine online before you purchase it.

The only drawback at this time is that the magazine can only be purchased online by those of you living in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. If you live elsewhere, you'll need to contact me for a copy so I can mail it to you directly (for a handling fee). Our third-party service is working to add countries, but in the meantime, it's limited.

And don't forget: the magazine you buy isn't just for you. Pass it around. Leave it in a vet's or dentist's office, give it to your friends and family, send it to a legislator or newspaper. Print-on-demand can also be pass-it-around-on-demand, too.

But, in a nutshell, that's how we will stay in print this time. You can also advertise with with us: a quarter page ad is only $25 (if you send it camera-ready; half page is $50, 2/3 page is $75, and a full page is $100; back cover is $250). You can't beat those prices! Contact me for advertising:

I realize the cost to buy the magazine per issue is high (that's the nature of the print-on-demand beast, unfortunately). As I pick up advertisers, however, I'll be able to lower the cost per issue. But, for now, this is the only way Animals Voice can be produced in print.

Click here to purchase your copy now:

Thank you for your support - then, now and in the future!

-Laura Moretti
Founder and Editor
The Animals Voice

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13. Veganism as a Solution to the Current Health Care Crisis

Resuscitating Health Care Reform

Dr Dean Ornish

[This is a very important op-ed article arguing that plant-based diets are essential to help solve the current health-care crisis. Please share it widely. Thanks.]

Health reform is in danger of failing because the focus has been too much on who is covered and not enough on what is covered. Health care reform is primarily about health insurance reform, with the main battle being over coverage and the payment system.

Of course, we need to provide coverage for the 48 million Americans who do not have health insurance. It is morally indefensible that we have not already done so.

But we also need to transform what is covered. If we want to make affordable health care available to the 48 million Americans who do not have health insurance, then the fundamental causes of many chronic diseases need to be addressed -- which are primarily the lifestyle choices we make each day -- rather than only literally or figuratively bypassing them.

If we just cover bypass surgery, angioplasty, stents, and other interventions that are dangerous, invasive, expensive, and largely ineffective on 48 million more people, then costs are likely to increase significantly at a time when resources are limited. As a result, painful choices are being discussed -- rationing, raising taxes, and/or increasing the deficit -- and these are threatening the public acceptance and thus the viability of health reform.

Meaningful health reform needs to provide incentives for physicians and other health professionals to teach their patients healthy ways of living rather than reimbursing primarily drugs and surgical interventions. If lifestyle interventions proven to reverse as well as prevent many chronic diseases are reimbursed along with other strategies for improving cost-effectiveness across the U.S. healthcare system, then it may be possible to provide universal coverage at significantly lower cost without making painful choices, and the only side-effects are good ones.

The U.S. "health-care system" is primarily what Senator Harkin [D-Iowa] calls "a sick-care system." Last year, $2.1 trillion dollars were spent in this country on medical care, or 16.5% of the gross national product, and 95 cents of every dollar were spent to treat disease after it had already occurred.

Heart disease, diabetes, prostate/breast cancer, and obesity account for up to 75% of these health care costs, and yet these are largely preventable and even reversible by changing diet and lifestyle.

Our research, and the work of many others, have shown that our bodies often have a remarkable capacity to begin healing, and much more quickly than we had once realized, if we address the lifestyle factors that often cause these chronic diseases. Medicine today focuses primarily on drugs and surgery, genes and germs, microbes and molecules, but we are so much more than that.

Many people tend to think of breakthroughs in medicine as a new drug, laser, or high-tech surgical procedure. They often have a hard time believing that the simple choices that we make in our lifestyle -- what we eat, how we respond to stress, whether or not we smoke cigarettes, how much exercise we get, and the quality of our relationships and social support -- can be as powerful as drugs and surgery, but they often are. Often, even better.

These choices are especially clear in cardiology as an example of this larger issue. Large-scale studies have shown that changing lifestyle could prevent at least 90-95% of all heart disease. 1 Thus, the disease that accounts for more premature deaths and costs Americans more than any other illness is almost completely preventable, and even reversible, simply by changing lifestyle.

In contrast, many people are surprised to learn that bypass surgery and angioplasty don't work very well. In 2006, for example, according to the American Heart Association , 1.3 million angioplasties and stents were performed at an average cost of $48,399 each, or more than $60 billion. In addition, 448,000 coronary bypass operations were performed at a cost of $99,743 each, or more than $44 billion -- i.e., more than $100 billion for these two operations.

Despite these costs, a major randomized controlled trial found that angioplasties and stents do not significantly prolong life or even prevent heart attacks in stable patients (i.e., in most patients who receive them). 3 Earlier randomized controlled trials of coronary bypass surgery found that this procedure prolongs life in only a small fraction of patients -- those with left main coronary artery disease or equivalent and left ventricular dysfunction (ejection fraction less than 30%). A recent randomized controlled trial in diabetics found that neither bypass surgery nor angioplasty prolonged life or prevented heart attacks. 4

Lifestyle changes also can be reframed not only as preventing chronic diseases but also as reversing the progression of these illnesses -- i.e., as intensive non-surgical, non-pharmacologic interventions.

What we eat, how we respond to stress, whether or not we smoke cigarettes, how much exercise we get, and the quality of our relationships and social support may be as powerful as drugs and surgery in treating (not just preventing) many chronic diseases.

Our studies showed that people with severe coronary heart disease were able to stop or reverse it by making intensive lifestyle changes, without drugs or surgery, and these findings have now been replicated by several others. 5 There was some reversal of heart disease after one year and even more improvement after five years, and there were 2.5 times fewer cardiac events when compared to a randomized control group. 6

Almost 80% of patients eligible for bypass surgery or angioplasty were able to safely avoid it by making comprehensive lifestyle changes instead, saving almost $30,000 per patient in the first year when compared to a matched control group. 7 In a second demonstration project with Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, these comprehensive lifestyle changes reduced total health care costs in those with coronary heart disease by 50% after only one year and by an additional 20-30% in years two and three when compared to a matched control group.

Thus, the disease that accounts for more premature deaths and costs Americans more than any other illness is almost completely preventable, and even reversible, simply by changing lifestyle. We don't have to wait for a new breakthrough in drugs or surgery; we just need to put into practice what we already know.

Reimbursement is a major determinant of how medicine is practiced. When reimbursement changes, so do medical practice and medical education.

Some question whether or not prevention saves money, asking whether these approaches actually prevent or only delay the onset of disease. Part of the reason that preventive approaches are usually scored by the Congressional Budget Office (which estimates the overall costs of any legislation) as significantly increasing costs is that lifestyle changes are viewed only as primary prevention -- paying money today in hopes of saving money later.

But even primary prevention saves money, although the cost savings per person are not as high as when intensive lifestyle changes are offered as treatment to those who are already sick. For example, three years ago, Steve Burd (CEO of Safeway) realized that health care costs for his employees were exceeding Safeway's net income--clearly, not sustainable. I consulted with him in redesigning the corporate health plan for his employees in ways that emphasized prevention and wellness, provided incentives for healthful behaviors, and paid 100% of the costs of preventive care.

Overall health care costs decreased by 15% in the first year and have remained flat since then. Many other worksite wellness programs have shown cost savings as well as a happier and more productive workforce. This approach is bringing together Democrats and Republicans, labor and management.

In each of these studies, significant savings occurred in the first year -- medically effective and cost effective. Why? Because there is a growing body of scientific evidence showing how much more dynamic our bodies are than had previously been believed.

The same intensive lifestyle changes that may reverse the progression of coronary heart disease may also slow, stop, or even reverse the progression of early-stage prostate cancer 8, whereas conventional treatments such as radical prostatectomy and radiation may not prolong life except in the small percentage of patients who have the most aggressive disease. 9

These lifestyle changes also may beneficially affect gene expression in only three months, turning on genes that prevent disease and turning off genes that promote heart disease, prostate cancer, breast cancer, and other illnesses. 10 Often, people say, "Oh, it's all in my genes, there's not much I can do about it." For many people, it captures their imagination to know that changing lifestyle changes their genes for the better.

Last year, my colleagues and I published the first study showing that these intensive lifestyle changes significantly increase telomerase, and thus telomere length, in only three months. 11 (Even drugs have not been shown to do this.) Telomeres are the ends of your chromosomes that help control aging -- as your telomeres get longer, your life gets longer. (Like all research, these relatively small studies need to be replicated in larger randomized controlled trials.)

Lifestyle changes are not only as good as drugs but often even better. For example, a major study showed that lifestyle changes are even more effective than diabetes drugs such as metformin in reducing the incidence of diabetes in persons at high risk, with lower costs and fewer side-effects. 12

"Prevention" often conjures up false choices -- "Is it fun for me or is it good for me? Am I going to live longer or is it just going to seem longer if I eat and live healthier?" Because these mechanisms are so dynamic, most people find that they feel so much better, so quickly, it reframes the reason for making these changes from fear of dying (which is too scary) or risk factor modification (which is too boring) to feeling better.

Many patients say that there is no point in giving up something that they enjoy unless they get something back that's even better -- not years later, but days or weeks later. Then, the choices become clearer and, for many patients, worth making. They often experience that something beneficial and meaningful is quickly happening.

The benefit of feeling better quickly is a powerful motivator and reframes therapeutic goals from prevention or risk factor modification to improvement in the quality of life. Concepts such as "risk factor modification" and "prevention" are often considered boring and they may not initiate or sustain the levels of motivation needed to make and maintain comprehensive lifestyle changes.

In our experience, it is not enough to focus only on patient behaviors such as diet and exercise; we often need to work at a deeper level. Depression, loneliness, and lack of social support are also epidemic in our culture. These affect not only quality of life but also survival. Several studies has shown that people who are lonely, depressed, and isolated are many times more likely to get sick and die prematurely than those who are not. In part, this is mediated by the fact that they are more likely to engage in self-destructive behaviors when they feel this way, but also via mechanisms that are not well-understood. For example, many people smoke or overeat when they are stressed, lonely, or depressed.

What is sustainable is joy, pleasure, and freedom, not deprivation and austerity. 13 When you eat a healthier diet, quit smoking, exercise, meditate, and have more love in your life, then your brain receives more blood and oxygen, so you think more clearly, have more energy, need less sleep. The latest studies have shown that your brain may grow so many new neurons that it may get measurably bigger in only a few months -- this was thought to be impossible only a few years ago. Your face gets more blood flow, so your skin glows more and wrinkles less. Your heart gets more blood flow, so you have more stamina and can even begin to reverse heart disease. Your sexual organs receive more blood flow, so you may become more potent -- the same way that drugs like Viagra work. For many people, these are choices worth making -- not just to live longer, but also to live better.

In other words, the debate on prevention often misses the point: the mortality rate is still 100%, one per person. So, it's not just how long we live but also how well we live. Making comprehensive lifestyle changes significantly improves the quality of life very quickly, which is what makes these changes sustainable and meaningful.

Unfortunately, anything involving lifestyle changes gets held to a different standard. Drugs and surgery are not required to show that they save money in order to be covered, only that they work. Lifestyle changes often work even better, and at lower cost.

Finally, it's worth pointing out that what's good for your personal health is good for the planet's health; what's personally sustainable is globally sustainable. For example, eating a diet high in red meat increases the risk of heart disease and many forms of cancer. It also increases global warming: livestock cause more global warming than all forms of transportation combined due to methane production, which is 21 times more powerful a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. 14

As Senator Harkin said, "To date, prevention and public health have been the missing pieces in the national conversation about health care reform. It's time to make them the centerpiece of that conversation. Not an asterisk. Not a footnote. But the centerpiece of health care reform."

If we don't, then the escalating costs and resulting painful choices -- rationing, raising taxes, and/or increasing the deficit -- are threatening the public acceptance and thus the viability of health reform.

# Yusuf S, Hawken S, Ôunpuu S, et al. Effect of potentially modifiable risk factors associated with myocardial infarction in 52 countries (the INTERHEART study). Lancet. 2004; 364: 937-52.

1) Lloyd-Jones D, Adams R, Carnethon M, et al. Heart disease and stroke statistics 2009 update. A report from the American Heart Association statistics committee and stroke statistics committee. Circulation. 2009;119:e1-e161.

2) Boden WE, O'Rourke RA, Teo KK, et al. Optimal medical therapy with or without PCI for stable coronary disease. N Engl J Med. 2007;356:1-14.

3) The BARI 2D study group. A randomized trial of therapies for type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease. N Engl J Med. 2009;360:2503-15.

4) Ornish DM, Brown SE, Scherwitz LW, et al. Can lifestyle changes reverse coronary atherosclerosis? The Lifestyle Heart Trial. Lancet. 1990; 336:129-133.

5% Ornish D, Scherwitz LW, Billings JH, et al. Intensive lifestyle changes for reversal of coronary heart disease. JAMA. 1998;280:2001-2007.

6) Ornish D. Avoiding Revascularization with Lifestyle Changes: The Multicenter Lifestyle Demonstration Project. American Journal of Cardiology. 1998;82:72T-76T.

7) Ornish D, Weidner G, Fair WR, et al. Intensive lifestyle changes may affect the progression of prostate cancer. J Urol 2005;174:1065-1070.

8) Barry MJ. Screening for Prostate Cancer -- The Controversy That Refuses to Die. N Engl J Med. 2009;360:1351-4.

9) Ornish D, Magbanua MJ, Weidner G, et al. Changes in prostate gene expression in men undergoing an intensive nutrition and lifestyle intervention. Proc Nat Acad Sci USA 2008;105:8369-8374.

10) Ornish D, Lin J, Daubenmier J, et al. Increased telomerase activity and comprehensive lifestyle changes: a pilot study. Lancet Oncol 2008;9:1048-1057.

11) Diabetes Prevention Research Group. Reduction in the incidence of type 2 diabetes with lifestyle intervention or metformin. N Engl J Med. 2002;346:393-403.

12) Ornish D. The Spectrum. New York: Random House/Ballantine Books, 2008.

13) United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization's report, Livestock's Long Shadow. Accessed on April 16th, 2007.

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14. Vegan Solutions in Response to Swine Flu

Thanks to vegetarian activist Leron Rabinowicz for the following:


Here are 3 veggie-solution videos to the swine flu as requested by the USA government? It it wins the USA government will promote it for free on their websites and on mainstream media coverage.

2 new ones
60 seconds - New

15 seconds - New

Approved by USA Government
The 30 second commercial can get on the mainstream media!

if we can ask people to view, vote, leave a comment as well as "favorite" the video and click on "share" all that will help in giving it a better ranking. And they should also subscribe and befriend the channel so when the next video comes out they can be informed instantly.

MAKE SURE to hover over the RIGHT most star (i.e. the 5th star, see attachment) and then click it (if you click on the other stars you can not change your vote) then you will see a message to the right of the 5th star "thanks for rating"

Please let me know if you have any questions as my explanations might not have been very clear.

Toda Raba,

You can also join our ever-growing group on Facebook

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15. More on Getting Vegan Meals Into Schools

Forwarded message from Leron Rabinowicz:

Subject: Here's revised template for the Schools/Captive Eating Situations recommendation; y'all look it over please.


Recommendation: Redesign Food Menus in Institutional Captive Easting Situations. Alter food availability at Cincinnati Public Schools to switch to mostly plant-sourced foods in cafeteria provided meals, eliminate beef and most dairy, and establish food growing classes with school gardens (while eliminating high carbohydrate, preservative filled and artificially colored foods in vending machines). Encourage the same at private and parochial schools, penal institutions and hospitals.

Estimated Annual GHG Reduction: 13,600 - 16,100 metric tons CO2-eq per year (for CPS) to 74,000 tons (all Cincinati schools) to 100,000 tons (Hamilton Co. included) [and perhaps an additional 10,000 tons including Cincinnati hospitals and correctional institutions].

Summary of specific issues - Meat and dairy production accounts for over 20% of the planet's greenhouse gas emissions (by contrast, all transportation accounts for 13%, and the planet's buildings generate only 8%). The Green Cincinnati Action Plan calls for Cincinnatians to reduce their consumption of meat by at least 5%. At its April 22, 2008 meeting the Environmental Advisory Council (EAC) passed a motion to recommend that Cincinnati set a goal of a reduction in consumption of meat by one day a week (a nearly 14% reduction) by 2012 and two days a week by 2028. Dairy is also a significant contributor to global warming and should have been included in the original recommendation.

Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, head of the Nobel Prize-winning United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently declared people should eat less meat to control their carbon footprints, that “the most attractive” near-term solution to global warming is for everyone simply to “reduce meat consumption.” He also acknowledged that the percentage meat production contributes to global warming is likely much higher than the initially calculated 18%. The Lancet medical journal and groups like the Food Ethics Council in Britain have supported his suggestion to eat less red meat to control global emissions, noting that Westerners eat more meat than is healthy anyway. February 2009 Scientific American agreed: “Individuals can reduce the effects of food production on planetary climate... By choosing more wisely, we can make a difference... in the U.S. and the rest of the developed world, people could eat less meat, particularly beef. The take-home lesson is clear: we ought to give careful thought to diet and its consequences for the planet if we are serious about limiting the emissions of greenhouse gases.”

Strategy/action plan - Remove vending machines or stock with water and fruit juice (ususally distributors are willing to do this). Serve a fruit-based drink (with flax) each morning to energize and stabilize brain chemistry. Make school meals essentially plant-sourced, and entirely beef and dairy free. Substitute turkey or TVP and soy cheeze (or similar) in lasagna, for example. Don't not automatically put milk on students' trays. Make fresh fruit available at all times.

Estimated greenhouse gas reduction to be achieved - A beef heavy diet increases CO2-eq emissions per person by more than a ton over the Standard American Diet (SAD), while the SAD diet increases these emissions by 1.485 metric meters over a plant-based diet per person per year. Therefor, I am estimating the reduction in CO2-eq accomplished by a diet substituting turkey or TVP for beef and soy cheese and fruit juice for dairy, and increasing the plant-based content, for 10 of each week's meals for nine months, at about .5 metric ton reduction per person per year. I am presently unable to estimate the CO2 savings accomplished by eliminating soft drinks and other high-carb snack foods in the vending machines, so will use only the previous estimate. As some of these persons are younger, I'm assuming 20% less food consumed, and so reduce the the individual contribution to .4 metric tons rather than .5. for a total reduction of greenhouse gases across the CPS student population of 34,000 students to 13,600 metric tones. CPS employs about 5,000 people; if teachers and staff eat the same way, an additional 2,500 ton reduction is achieved.

Non-CPS schools (private and parochial) should be encouraged to adopt similar dietary programs. Cincinnati has 154,000 K-12 students. If all Cincinnati schools enrolled in the program, the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions achieved by the students could be 470% the amount stated above, or 61,600 tons annually! If faculty and staff (estimated in similar proportions to public schools) also eat this way, the reduction could be 74,000 tons. If all Hamilton County schools participate the amount jumps to more than 100,000 tons per annum. [Hamilton County corrections institutions serve 7,000 meals daily, offering the potential for an additional reduction in GHG emissions of 3,500 metric tons CO20eq. While difficult to assess the number of patients in Cincinnati hospitals, it seems safe to claim a number of 3-4,000; without counting staff, this suggests an additional reduction of 4,500 - 6,000 tons yearly.]

Implementation responsibilities/assignments - CPS (and other schools) and food preparators.

Cost to implement/net savings from implementation - $20,000 the first year is what a similar program cost a public school in Wisconsin. Some of this was new food but most was the cost of two dietitians who initially prepared the food and trained others to prepare it. For schools with a high percentage of poorer students the federal government's programs provide nearly all the necessary food for free. Probably it would be best to prepare an on-line recipe booklet and have some teams of trained food preparators going from school to school throughout the year. After the first year, extra costs should drop to zero or below, as plant-based food is generally less expensive than meat. So, a wild guess is $100,000 as a one-time expense to launch the program at CPS schools (or less than $2,000 per school). Ideally, schools will invest in school gardens and students will learn how to grow and harvest healthy food, supplying food to the school cafeteria and further reducing costs.

Multiple benefits anticipated (in addition to greenhouse gas reductions) - Moving to a plant-based diet is a much quicker way to affect global cooling than virtually any other, as the turnover rate for farm animals (esp. factory produced animals) is much greater than that for cars, busses, planes, buildings, power plants etc. And, while CO2 can remain in the air for more than a century, methane cycles out of the atmosphere in just eight years, producing a further potential for quicker planetary cooling.

Deforestation will be reduced by millions of square feet per year and billions of gallons of water will be saved annually (eating a pound of beef consumes more water than a year's worth of showers). Plant-based protein and caloric sources are enormously more efficient than animal ones. Livestock production engages 30% of the land surface of the earth and 70% of its agricultural land (80% in the US). World plant-based diets could eliminate global hunger.

The benefit to human health of plant-based diets is widely demonstrated and includes reducing cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, many common cancers, diverticular disease, other chronic diseases, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, arthritis, appendicitis, gall stones, kidney stones, food allergies and food poisoning. The associated economic benefits are massive. Psychic/spiritual benefits occur as well (when people feel more responsible for the lives of animals, they are less likely to disregard the lives of each other). For children specifically the issues of diabetes, obesity, and food allergies are alleviated. The problem of lactose intolerance alone affects the majority of our children, with greater than two of three children affected whose ethnicity is African American (75%), Ashkenazi Jewish (70%), Central Asian (80%), East Asian (95%), Native American (90%) or Southern Indian (70%).

Finally, plant -based, reduced carbohydrate, fresh food eating programs at schools have been shown to dramatically reduce violence and inattention, while increasing focus, productivity and the pleasure of learning. When the New York City school system, serving 1 million kids, banned foods with synthetic dyes, flavorings and preservatives, CAT Test scores jumped 32%. When Montana's Whitefish Middle School dumped their junk food vending machines and stocked their own vending machines with healthy food, keeping the income from sales, and made their cafeteria food healthier as well, discipline problems were reduced by 75% and the school jumped into the top 25% state ranking.

At Appleton Alternative School in Wisconsin, a school for troubled teens expelled from other schools, with police patrolling the halls, a program nearly identical to the above proposal was implemented in 1997. Almost immediately students became interested in learning and teachers, previously seeking early retirement, decided to keep teaching. A mandatory report filed with the State by the school's principal detailing categories of behavior including drop outs, expulsions, vandalism, fighting, drug use, weapons brought to school, and even suicides was able to be filled out for the five years of the food program's implementation with zeros in every category. After the second year the entire Appleton school district of over 200 schools adopted the program.

Timeline for implementation - The coming school year (September, 2009). Let's get on it.

NB.- Similar programs should be introduced not only for the populations of local adult correctional facilities, but substance abuse treatment hospitals, juvenile facilities and hospitals generally. Cincinnati Police should be eating this way. Local companies should be encouraged to adopt similar menus in their cafeterias (also for a healthier, more focused and productive work force).

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16. Feelings of Animals Ignored in Report on US Meat Plant Being Cited for Mishandling Cows

Thanks to JVNA advisor and “A Sacred Duty” producer Lionel Friedberg for sending the following article (only link given, for space reasons), and for his strong comment below. Unfortunately, the feelings of animals are seldom if ever considered, as ten billion animals are mistreated and slaughtered still in the US annually.

Associated Press
US meat plant cited for cow handling problems
By GARANCE BURKE , 08.11.09, 07:02 PM EDT



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