November 19, 2009

11/18/2009 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

1. “Turning Copenhagen Into CopenVegan”

2. Essential Veg Message on Climate Change/Please Help Spread It

3. More on Rabbi Eric Yoffie’s Suggestion that Reform Jews Eat Less Red Meat

4. Carriage Horses Banned in Tel Aviv/Kudos to CHAI

5. Vegan Plaintiffs for a Law Suit to Get Vegan Options into Schools Sought

6. Animal Rights Group Builds Case and Sets Up a Web Site Based on World Watch Article

7. World Fur Free Friday (WFFF) Being Organized

8. Update On Postville Kosher Slaughterhouse Case

9. UK Jewish Group Promotes Tikkun Olam/Justice

10. Interesting Vegan Video

11. European Parliament to Host Major Climate Change Event

12. Sarah Palin Critical of Vegetarians in Her Book

13. NY Times Article re the World Watch Article and the 51% Claim

14. Should Meat Be Taxed?

15. Responding to the Recent Controversy Re Mammography

16. Comprehensive Report Paints Bleak Picture Re Climate Change in Europe

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.




Note: Help With the JVNA Newsletter Very Welcome

Wanted: a volunteer with good computer skills to be assistant editor, to help enliven the newsletters with pictures, graphics, etc. Probably would not take more than an hour or so per week, and you would be doing us a great service.

Suggestions for improving the newsletters and for promoting vegetarianism more effectively very welcome. Thanks.

1. “Turning Copenhagen Into CopenVegan”

I am still working with very dedicated people in increasing awareness in Copenhagen about the urgency of a major shift to plant-based diets in order to avoid a global climate-catastrophe. Unfortunately, it looks like the US Congress will not pass a bill before the climate conference in December, and it looks like Copenhagen will at best be a stepping stone toward hopefully a more successful conference in Mexico City next year. But we still hope to get our messages out and have as much of an impact as possible. More in the next newsletter, as plans are still taking place.


Forwarded article re Copenhagen

ANALYSIS - Farms on the radar at Copenhagen climate talks

... farm livestock account for 51 percent of all global greenhouse gases....

13 Nov 2009

U.N. negotiators will next month put farming onto the radar of climate regulations for the first time, but governments face aggressive lobbies and gaps in the science proving the extent of agricultural emissions. [Why our efforts are so important.]

Farming is both a likely victim of climate changes including more droughts and floods, and a cause, through the release of greenhouse gases from fertilisers and cattle. The sector also has a wide impact through soil management(...)

"They're lucky to have got away with it this far, it should be included in a U.S. climate bill and in Copenhagen," said Robert Goodland, formerly of the World Bank and co-author of a report which last month caused a stir by estimating that farm livestock account for 51 percent of all global greenhouse gases.

The estimate included carbon emissions from burning trees to clear land for cattle, and cows' respiration as well as their methane-rich burps, and took account of new research suggesting methane is a stronger greenhouse gas than previously thought...

Return to Top

2. Essential Veg Message on Climate Change/Please Help Spread It


1. The world is rapidly approaching an unprecedented catastrophe from global warming and other environmental threats.

2. The threats are now, not 50 or 100 years from now, or even 5 years from now.

3. Everything possible must be done to avoid the impending catastrophe. Saving the global environment must become “A central organizing principle for society today."

4. An essential step in avoiding an unprecedented climate-catastrophe is a major societal shift to plant-based diets.

5. There are many additional reasons for a shift to plant-based diets, related to health, reduced abuses of animals, more efficient use of resources, reduced hunger, and reduced deforestation, species extinction, soil erosion, desertification, water pollution and other environmental problems.

6. In view of the many negative effects involved, animal-based diets are madness and sheer insanity today.

7. Everything possible must be done to increase awareness of the above points and to move governments, corporations and individuals to take actions to effectively respond to global warming and other environmental threats. We should try to mobilize as many people as possible to help spread these basic messages.

Return to Top

3. More on Rabbi Eric Yoffie’s Suggestion that Reform Jews Eat Less Red Meat

Reform Leader Urges Jewish Dietary Practice

November 10, 2009


Sue Fishkoff

JTA Wire Service

When Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, delivers his Saturday-morning sermon at the group’s biennial conference, he sets the movement’s priorities for the coming two years.

His message this month in Toronto: Let’s eat like Jews.

He was not asking Reform Jews to observe kosher laws. Rather, acknowledging America’s increased interest in food choices in general, and pointing to Jewish values concerning stewardship of the earth, sustainable agriculture and treatment of workers, Yoffie urged Reform Jews to develop consciously Jewish and ethical food policies for themselves and their congregations.

“This is not about kashrut,” he said as he outlined the main points of the Reform movement’s new Green Table/Just Table Initiative. “We need to think about how the food we eat advances the values we hold as Reform Jews.”

That, he said, is how Reform Jews can eat food that is “proper and appropriate”—the literal meaning of the Hebrew word kosher.

Among Yoffie’s specifics: Eat 20 percent less red meat; it’s good for the environment and for your health, he said. Plant synagogue gardens. Join community-supported agriculture programs. Pay attention to how meat animals are raised and how food workers are treated. Develop a consciously Jewish dietary policy for your synagogue. Eat slower and together, suggesting that synagogues hold regular communal Shabbat meals.

“Above all,” Yoffie said, “let’s avoid the temptation to do nothing.”

For much of its history, the Reform approach to Jewish dietary practice was standoffish at best. In its founding Pittsburgh Platform of 1885, Reform Judaism declared Jewish rituals of dress and diet outmoded, including kashrut. But over the past generation or so, hostility toward these observances has lessened, particularly among younger Reform Jews.

A 2007 movement survey of 14,000 Reform activists and clergy revealed that 58 percent of those older than 40 brought shellfish into their homes, compared to 39 percent of the younger crowd. Forty-three percent of the older group ate pork at home, compared to 29 percent of those 39 and younger; and 16 percent of younger Reform Jews ate only kosher-certified meat, compared to 9 percent of their elders.

“The younger generation is more ritually comfortable across a wide range of practices, from kashrut to prayer,” said Rabbi Daniel Freelander, senior vice president of the Union for Reform Judaism.

Cautioning that the new focus was not about kashrut, Yoffie referred to last year’s scandals at the Agriprocessors kosher meatpacking plant.

“We do not accept the authority of the kashrut establishment, and its problems are for others to resolve,” he said.

Some Reform Jews who do not keep kosher think their institutions should.

An unpublished survey in 2000 of Reform synagogues in North America revealed that 10 percent have a kosher kitchen. Kosher-style policies are much more prevalent: 80 percent do not permit pork or shellfish in the building, and nearly half do not serve milk and meat on the same dishes.

Deborah Cohn, a member of Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple in Highland Park, N.J., says her congregation “is doing more and more to accommodate people who keep kosher.” Non-dairy creamer is served with meat meals, and catered events have a vegetarian option or are completely vegetarian.

“There are always people who object and say, ‘We’re Reform,’ ” she said. “Those are usually the older members.”

Some Reform Jews believe the growing embrace of Jewish ritual represents a betrayal of core Reform principles.

“Kashrut is a visceral issue for many Reform Jews—in the negative sense,” Yoffie said. “It has been seen by many Reform Jews historically as something we rejected—ritual without ethical content.”

Harold Eichenbaum, 70, of Temple Beit Torah in Colorado Springs is one of many older Reform Jews who feel under siege. He complains that not only are pork and shellfish not permitted in his synagogue, there is now a move to make the kitchen kosher.

Eichenbaum says he comes from a long line of activist Reform Jews, none of whom kept kosher.

“It’s part of being a Reform Jew,” he said. People “think you have to be kosher to be true Jewish people. I disagree.”

Largely for this reason, Yoffie said, he was careful not to promote kashrut in his talk. While a guide to Reform Jewish dietary practice that has appeared on the Union for Reform Judaism Web site for the past two years presents kashrut as one of the options Reform Jews might consider in developing a conscious dietary practice, it is noticeably absent from the Green Table/Just Table initiative.

“My central objective was putting food issues on our religious agenda, and in our movement, kashrut is not the vehicle to open that discussion,” Yoffie told JTA. “I intentionally put the focus on the ethical and communal dimension, which is central to who we are. If I’d talked about kashrut it would have had the opposite impact.”

Reaction to the initiative was generally positive.

“I think the recommendations are well founded,” said Michael Holberg, president of Congregation Sha’arai Shomayim in Mobile, Ala.

Holberg groaned when Yoffie first mentioned cutting back on red meat, but Holberg seemed more persuaded once Yoffie explained his position.

“I’m not in favor of advocating not eating meat, but a reduction not only has health benefits, it’s a wise Jewish decision,” Holberg said.

Sha’arai Shomayim planted a synagogue garden last year, one of a growing number of Reform congregations to do so.

Irene Rothschild, president of Congregation Emanu-El Israel in Greensburg, Pa., says she’s been encouraging her synagogue to adopt ecological practices, such as long-life light bulbs and recyclable dishware, but hadn’t made the same Jewish connection between environmentalism and food consumption.

“Food has not been a focus in our congregation, but after listening to him, I think I can push for it now,” she said.

In a conference workshop on Jewish dietary practice, Rabbi Mary Zamore of Temple B’nai Or in Morristown, N.J., said the Reform movement needs to reclaim and redefine kashrut rather than shy away from the term.

Kashrut, she said, is more than the laws outlined in halachah, or Jewish law, but can be understood “as a wholeness, a ‘shlemut,’ ” she said, using the Hebrew word.

“When we talk about kashrut, we are asking: What is our Jewish relationship to our food? The person who fasts on Yom Kippur or who eats matzah on Passover is functioning within the world of kashrut. Dayenu,” she said, using the Hebrew word for enough. “It’s a wonderful thing to celebrate. We can use our Reform approach to Judaism and mix the best of our tradition with trends in the modern food world.”

This story reprinted courtesy of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.


A blog entry: (sorry, but I do not now have the URL)

Rabbi Yoffie lays out some of the reasons for meat reductionism:

My proposal is this: let’s make a Jewish decision to reduce significantly the amount of red meat that we eat.?[...]?[M]eat consumption in North America has doubled in the last fifty years, and we can easily make do with far less red meat than we currently eat. And contrary to what many think, Jews are not obligated to eat meat on Shabbat and holidays. The Talmud suggests that fish and garlic are the foods that we should serve to honor Shabbat (Shabbat 118b); it also instructs us to eat meat in modest quantities (Hullin 84a). Remember too that in biblical Israel, the common diet consisted of barley bread, vegetables, and fruit, along with milk products and honey. My point is this: for the first 2,500 years of our 3,000 year history, Jews consumed meat sparingly, and we can surely do the same.

And we must. The meat industry today generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that are accelerating climate change throughout the world. According to a U.N. report, animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gas than all transportation sources combined. And the preparation of beef meals requires about fifteen times the amount of fossil fuel energy than meat-free meals.?[...]?Professor Gidon Eshel of the Bard Center has suggested that the effect of reducing our collective meat consumption by twenty percent would be comparable to every American driving a Prius instead of a standard sedan. And this twenty percent reduction is something that every one of us - every Jew, every family, every synagogue - can do.?[...]?Perhaps we can begin by offering some Shabbat dinners and Passover Seders that will delight with their variety, creativity, and taste, and that will be a model for our members of healthy, festive, meat-free meals.


My letter in response:

As president of Jewish Vegetarians of North America, I was pleased to see rabbi Eric Yoffie's call for Reform Jews to eat less meat, and I hope other Jewish groups will join in with similar messages. However, at a time when animal-based diets are causing an epidemic of many diseases in the Jewish community and animal-based agriculture is contributing significantly to global warming and many environmental problems that threaten humanity, I think calling for a reduction of only 20 percent of red meat is far from enough.

Also, why isn't the Jewish community considering the ways that the production and consumption of meat and other animal products violate basic Jewish mandates to preserve human health, treat animals with compassion, protect the environment, conserve natural resources, help hungry people and pursue peace.

Further information at JewishVeg,com/schwartz, where I have over 140 articles and 265 podcasts of talks and interviews and, where you can see our acclaimed documentary "A Sacred Duty: Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal the World."

Return to Top

4. Carriage Horses Banned in Tel Aviv/Kudos to CHAI

The press release below is from Concern for Helping Animals in Israel: Congratulations are in order for all their hard work.

November 10, 2009

Tel Aviv Bans Horse-Drawn Carts!

CHAI's 10-year campaign to get the use of horse-drawn carts banned from the streets of Tel Aviv achieved success in November 2009, when the city announced that, at long last, it has banned the practice.

Highlights of CHAI's campaign: [CHAI stands for Convern for Helping Animals in Israel.]

Summer 1999 — In response to Tel Aviv officials' continued refusal to take action in response to CHAI's complaints about the problem of abused horses in the city, CHAI rescues and rehabilitates severely abused horses to raise awareness of the plight of these animals, demanding routine inspections and licensing.

November 1999 — CHAI sponsored the first conference in Israel on Animal Shelter Management for veterinarians responsible for municipal pounds, and for heads of shelters and their workers. The two-day event, held at the Koret Veterinary School, attracted an audience from all over the country. Because police officers or municipal veterinarians who were sent out in response to our calls about horse abuse had not received training in what to look for, CHAI included information on how to identify horse abuse in our Animal Shelter Management Manual, which was distributed in Hebrew and in English at the conference and later on our website in Arabic. The information about horses was subsequently distributed as a separate manual, in English, Hebrew, and Arabic: Horses – Standards of Care and of their Work Environment. CHAI also urged the Veterinary Services to provide training to police and municipal veterinarians on this topic, and the first such class was finally held.

2001 — CHAI's sister charity in Israel, Hakol Chai, reports a major abuser of horses in Jaffa to authorities — a man named Nissim, who starved and sold horses, provided no veterinary care, and even hacked them apart with an axe in front of each other and sold their meat in the market as beef. Hakol Chai's undercover video of the killings airs on TV, and Nissim's place is temporarily closed down.

2003 — Nissim reopens his facility and Hakol Chai organizes a raid on his place, exposing horrendous cruelty and shutting him down permanently. Still, the city refuses to investigate the condition of other horses in the city and remove those being abused from their abusers. Hakol Chai determines that regulations will not stop the abuse and calls for a complete ban.

Hakol Chai's footage of abused donkeys pulling heavy loads airs on Kolbotek, a popular TV program. This photo shows a donkey whose ears were cut off.

April 2005 — Hakol Chai's attorney writes to the Ministry of Transportation and Mayors of cities around Israel, urging them to ban the practice of horses pulling heavy carts. Hakol Chai begins pressuring the City Council to issue a ban. Hakol Chai's attorney submits a detailed proposal and recommendations to the City Council, asking it to call a meeting to discuss the problem and its recommendations. In response to Hakol Chai's campaign, cart horse owners begin heavily lobbying the Mayor's office to prevent the enactment of a ban, and the Mayor is reluctant to take action against this special interest group.

Hakol Chai and CHAI organize an international letter-writing campaign, asking that appeals be sent to the Chairperson of the Education, Culture, and Sports Committee in the Knesset, the Minister of Education, Culture, and Sports, the Minister of Transportation, and the Mayor of Tel Aviv-Jaffa asking them to ban the use of horse-drawn carts to haul heavy loads through busy city streets.

Two more years of pressure follow.

Spring 2007 — Hakol Chai makes presentations in Tel Aviv schools to raise awareness among students about the suffering of cart horses and the need to protest their treatment. At an annual conference for Tel Aviv schools participating in the "Breakthrough" program, in which students work to make a difference on a social or environmental problem of their choosing, students of the Democratic School show a film shot by Hakol Chai documenting the horse/donkey abuse problem in the city and promote the cart horse case to a panel of local authorities, including the Tel Aviv municipal veterinarian.

Fall 2007 — Hakol Chai mounts posters throughout Jaffa, the old part of Tel Aviv where these animals are used as beasts of burden, announcing "A horse is not a truck! Hundreds of miserable horses and donkeys live around us. Don't be indifferent! If you see a horse or donkey in distress, demand that the city act!"

December 2007 — For the first time, as a result of Hakol Chai's campaign, the Tel Aviv City Council calls a special session to address the problem of horse abuse in the city. At that meeting, Tel Aviv's municipal veterinarian agrees with Hakol Chai that abuse cannot be prevented through regulations, especially since the city has neither the funds to regularly inspect the horses nor a facility to house them if they remove them from their abusers. Still, the Mayor refuses to ban the practice, saying he will make greater efforts to enforce existing regulations.

Outside the meeting, at the entrance to City Hall, Hakol Chai activists demonstrate, joined by the Green Party and other organizations.

December 2008 — 350 people crowd into a popular Tel Aviv venue in support of Hakol Chai's campaign, where popular singers Asaf Amdurski, Ram Orion, and Billy Levi have volunteered to perform. CHAI / Hakol Chai's campaign in Israel is now part of an international coalition of organizations throughout the world called orses Without Carriages International, which seeks to end horse-drawn carts and carriages.

June 2009 — Hakol Chai stages a civil disobedience demonstration at the entrance to City Hall. Dozens of Hakol Chai protestors carrying signs saying "Horses and donkeys are not vehicles," "Animals are not cars," "Carriages and carts are a dead trend," "They're hurting; don't you care?" and "Stop Animal Abuse" block the entrance to Tel Aviv's City Hall to protest the Mayor's continued refusal to ban horse-drawn carts. The protesters distribute hundreds of pamphlets explaining the plight of the horses to pedestrians on one of the city's busiest streets, which runs in front of City Hall, and to city employees as they enter and exit the building. Some of the protesters lay on the ground as if they were dead to depict what becomes of the abused animals.

November 2009 — Tel Aviv's Mayor finally bans horse-drawn carts from the city.

Says CHAI's Director, Nina Natelson "We are pleased that, at long last, there will no longer be sights of thin, injured, beaten cart horses in Tel Aviv, and we will continue pressing Mayors of other cities in Israel to issue similar bans."

With your support, we are making a difference. Please continue to support CHAI's efforts on behalf of Israel's animals, in particular, the development, publishing, and translation of our humane education curriculums for secular and religious schools.

Send your tax-deductible contributions to CHAI at

POB 3341, Alexandria, VA 22302, USA, or

donate through our website:

Yours for a more compassionate world,

Nina Natelson

CHAI - Concern for Helping Animals in Israel
PO Box 3341, Alexandria, VA 22302
Phone: 703-658-9650

The link below is to an article about the ban.


Another article about the ban:

They Save Horses, Don't They?

by Hana Levi Julian Cart horses will be able to step a little lighter around the Tel Aviv area after the CHAI (Live) and HaKol Chai (They All Live) animal rights groups won a long-fought battle to ban horse-drawn carts from Tel Aviv streets.

For more than a decade, the two groups have pressured the Tel Aviv municipality to regulate -- and then later ban -- the practice of horses pulling heavily-laden carts through city streets. "These animals are often starved, beaten, and made to work in the hot sun without water, and not provided with veterinary care," charged a spokesman for HaKol Chai.

The group first approached city officials with their concerns in 1999, the spokesman said, with little progress to show for their efforts. In response, CHAI repeatedly exposed incidents of horse abuse in Yafo (Jaffa), rescuing and rehabilitating the abused horses along the way.

One of the worst cases of abuse was documented in 2001 and again in 2003 in two reports about a man named Nissim, who starved and sold the beasts of burden. Nissim was filmed hacking his animals with an axe in front of each other, and selling their meat in the market as beef. The undercover video of the abuse by Nissim shot by Hakol Chai was shown on Israeli television, forcing authorities to close his place down.

Other cases of abuse of donkeys forced to pull heavy loads, including one who had his ears cut off, led the organization's attorney in 2005 to demand that the Transportation Ministry and City Council ban cart horses and donkeys altogether.

Years of grassroots organizing followed. Cart horse owners lobbied the mayor's office to counter enactment of a ban, letter-writing campaigns by Hakol Chai activists pressured city hall, and finally, a concert supporting Hakol Chai's cause in December 2008 raised awareness still further.

The straw that broke the cart horse's back, however, was a civil disobedience demonstration at the entrance to Tel Aviv city hall in June 2009, with dozens of protestors waving signs saying "Animals are not cars," "Horses and donkeys are not vehicles," "They're hurting; don't you care?" "Stop Animal Abuse" and "Carriages and cars are a dead trend."

CHAI, an acronym for "Concern for Helping Animals in Israel", was formed in 1984 to improve the condition and treatment of Israel's animals. Hakol Chai, the group's Israeli sister charity, came later, in 2001.

"Israel, with its security and economic problems, has only recently turned its attention to animal protection issues," the group observed in a statement on its web site. "Concerned Israelis are now working hard to make the Jewish principle of tzaar baalei chaim, the mandate not to cause 'pain to any living creature,' a part of daily life in the country. However, many others see the need to help animals as a very low priority."

CHAI director Nina Natelson said the fight has just begun, however. "We are pleased that, at long last, there will no longer be sights of thin, injured, beaten cart horses in Tel Aviv, and we will continue pressing mayors of other cities in Israel to issue similar bans."

The Israeli group has meanwhile become part of an international coalition of organizations called Horses Without Carriages International, which seeks to end the practice of horse-drawn carts and carriages.

Return to Top

5. Vegan Plaintiffs for a Law Suit to Get Vegan Options into Schools Sought

Forwarded message:

Do you know of any vegan students and or parents that because of their religious faith are vegans and do not eat animals who may be interested in being plaitiffs in a law suit against the federal government funded school lunch program which offers no vegan alternatives in schools?

Please let me know ASAP.

Defend Animals Coalition

Alfredo Kuba, President



Return to Top

6. Animal Rights Group Builds Case and Sets Up a Web Site Based on World Watch Article

Forwarded statement from the Society for the Advancement of Animal Well Being

Subject: 51 percent of ghg emissions

To whom it may concern,

In the run up to the Copenhagen climate change conference, it is vital the following information be disseminated to the public as well as to our political leaders.

A widely cited 2006 report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Livestock's Long Shadow, estimates that 18 percent of annual worldwide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are attributable to livestock….however recent analysis by Goodland and Anhang co-authors of "Livestock and Climate Change" in the latest issue of World Watch magazine found that livestock and their byproducts actually account for at least 32.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year, or 51 percent of annual worldwide GHG emissions!

The main sources of GHGs from animal agriculture are: (1) Deforestation of the rainforests to grow feed for livestock. (2) Methane from manure waste. – Methane is 72 times more potent as a global warming gas than CO2 (3) Refrigeration and transport of meat around the world. (4) Raising, processing and slaughtering of the animal.

Meat production also uses a massive amount of water and other resources which would be better used to feed the world’s hungry and provide water to those in need.

Based on their research, Goodland and Anhang conclude that replacing livestock products with soy-based and other alternatives would be the best strategy for reversing climate change. They say "This approach would have far more rapid effects on GHG emissions and their atmospheric concentrations-and thus on the rate the climate is warming-than actions to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy."

The fact is that we are being informed of the dangerous path we are on by depending greatly on animal flesh for human consumption. We still have the opportunity to make the most effective steps in saving ourselves and this planet. By simply choosing a plant based diet we can reduce our carbon foot print by a huge amount.

We are gambling with our lives and with those of our future generations to come. It's madness to know we are fully aware of the possible consequences but yet are failing to act.

Promoting a plant based diet to the public is would be the most effective way to curb deforestation, we hope this will be adopted as a significant measure to save the rainforests and protect the delicate ecology.

Thank you for your consideration.

Yours Sincerely

Society for the Advancement of Animal Wellbeing

Return to Top

7. World Fur Free Friday (WFFF) Being Organized

Subject: The countdown for the WFFF has just started!

Forwarded message


International Anti-Fur Coalition is pleased to inform you that Worldwide Fur Free Friday (WFFF) is happening again!

Fur Free Friday is officially held on the first Friday after Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. and the event falls on November 27th this year.

Organizations across the globe are planning events and demonstrations against fur-selling shops. This is a great opportunity to focus on international companies that support the fur sale ! Last year about 120 demos took place worldwide!

We hope for the same success this year. The fact that anti-fur events are simultaneously taking place around the world is solid proof of global solidarity and a strong stand against the fur industry.

Please do not hesitate to contact us for more information concerning the WFFF on November 27th.

Let's stay united for the animals,

International Anti-Fur Coalition


Good luck to all of us, on behalf of animals!

Jane Halevy

International Anti-Fur Coalition

Return to Top

8. Update On Postville Kosher Slaughterhouse Case

Thanks to JVNA Secretary/Treasurer John Diamond for sharing this information with us.

Sholom Rubashkin has been found guilty on 86 out of 91 Counts in the first of two Federal Trials. (See URL below)


My comments:

When Postville first made the news after the underground footage was made public, I feared that there would be little effect on the eating habits of Jews and others. I though that there would be publicity, some changes would be made, people would assume that the problem was solved and keep eating meat. I argued in press releases and letters that the Postville scandal should be considered a wake-up call to consider the many moral issues related to typical Jewish diets.

Unfortunately, there was no wake-up call for most people, and few people changed their diets much. The Jewish establishment is still generally ignoring the issues and unwilling to address the questions "Should Jews Be Vegetarians?"

Hence, we have to continue our respectful challenges.

Return to Top

9. UK Jewish Group Promotes Tikkun Olam/Justice

Thanks to JVNA founder and first president Jonathan Wolf for forwarding this message:

From: "Tzedek - Jewish Action for a Just World" <>

Date: November 12, 2009 12:30:29 PM EST

ubject: Tzedek's Big Green Jewish email

Dear Jonathan,

The Jewish Community's Climate campaign launches TODAY.

Read on to find out more...

Ed Miliband and the Age of Stupid

Yesterday evening, Ed Miliband addressed the Jewish Community at a special showing of The Age of Stupid to launch the Jewish Community's Climate campaign. The event was sold out and highlighted the enthusiasm of the UK Jewish community to make a difference to the planet. Read more here.

Launching the Big Green Jewish website

Make a Green Promise, discover Jewish sources, find out how green you are, learn how to be greener, and even commit to making your synagogue greener...all this can be done on the interactive Big Green Jewish website launching here today.

A Green Education

Tzedek has produced an educational resource for teaching in the build up to the UN's Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen.

If you want to educate about our Jewish responsibility to act in the face of climate change, click here. You'll find examples of activities for young people of all ages, and ideas for simple actions which can be used as pledges on The Big Green Jewish website.

Tzedek's own Green Promise

Tzedek knows that climate change will impact the poor and marginalised communities the greatest and addressing climate change through our own activities is essential if we are to be successful in our goal of sustainably eradicating poverty. Tzedek is dedicated to leading the way in environmental efforts. To find out more about our own green promise, click here.

Join Tzedek in the Jewish Climate Campaign on a national and international level. It's not too late to make a difference to our planet...yet.

Want to find out more about Tzedek? Visit

Return to Top

10. Interesting Vegan Video

God's Pharmacy:

Return to Top

11. European Parliament to Host Major Climate Change Event

Global Warming Hearing with Sir Paul McCartney and Dr Rajendra K. Pachauri

Environment - 10-11-2009 - 14:35

The European Parliament will host a major event on global warming and food policy on 3 December where Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Dr Rajendra K. Pachauri and environmental activist Sir Paul McCartney will urge legislators and experts to focus on what an individual can do to fight climate change, for example by eating less meat.

The "Global Warming and Food Policy: Less Meat = Less Heat" hearing takes place on 3 December, in Parliament's plenary chamber, in Brussels, from 10.00 to 12.30, chaired by Vice-President Edward McMillan-Scott. The opening speech is to be delivered by Parliament's President Jerzy Buzek. It will be followed by a press conference.

?The UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) produced a major report ‘Livestock’s Long Shadow’ in 2006 which demonstrated that meat production is much less efficient in the use of various inputs and very intensive in emissions of greenhouse gases and water use as compared to equivalent vegetarian food production.

?On the eve of the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen the event reflects a perception that climate change needs to be addressed at all levels – especially individual but also at local, regional, national, across Europe and worldwide.

?As a legislative body, Parliament votes on the EU laws that help to slow climate change. Parliament has thoroughly examined climate change issues with respect to agriculture, food and development policies and will present its views to the heads of governments meeting in the Danish capital from 7 - 18 December 2009.

?Practical information

?Press conference with EP Vice-President Edward McMillan-Scott, Dr Rajendra K. Pachauri and Sir Paul McCartney at 12.30, PHS 0A050, Anna Politkovskaya room.

?Photo opportunity with EP President Jerzy Buzek, Dr Rajendra K. Pachauri, Sir Paul McCartney and Vice-President Edward McMillan-Scott at President's office, at 10.50 hours (limited access).

Return to Top

12. Sarah Palin Critical of Vegetarians in Her Book

Sarah Palin takes aim at vegetarians in Going Rogue

November 15, 9:59 AMCleveland Vegetarian Food ExaminerDaelyn Fortney

Sarah Palin’s highly anticipated memoir, Going Rogue: An American Life, will hit the bookshelves November 17. In the book, Palin traces her experiences from small town Alaskan girl to being on the national stage as the GOP vice presidential nominee.??Besides addressing her views on the McCain campaign and the media, Palin, a passionate Alaskan hunter, takes aim at vegetarians. Palin states, “If any vegans came over for dinner, I could whip them up a salad, then explain my philosophy on being a carnivore: If God had not intended for us to eat animals, how come He made them out of meat?” ??The accommodating host went on to explain, “I love meat. I eat pork chops, thick bacon burgers, and the seared fatty edges of a medium-well-done steak. But I especially love moose and caribou. I always remind people from outside our state that there's plenty of room for all Alaska's animals -- right next to the mashed potatoes.”??Unfortunately Palin’s viewpoints on vegetarianism is not only narrow minded but is also widely shared. The cliché portrait of a vegetarian meal predominately includes a huge bowl of salad flanked only by a glass of water and carrot wedges. The plethora of food options available to those who have forgone meat is endless but mostly ignored by the masses.

Palin’s view on animals as being just meat is also shared by a considerable portion of our country. Her statement will surely receive a chuckle and thumbs up from many avid hunters and steak house patrons. It is a sad statement on our society when we applaud those who refer to animals as the centerpiece of their dinner plate.

A “carnivore”, as Palin refers to herself, does not have to change their lifestyle for a vegetarian but tolerance would be greatly appreciated. Needless to say PETA will not be sending the former vice presidential candidate a Christmas card this year. Article contributor: Eric Fortney

Return to Top

13. NY Times Article re the World Watch Article and the 51% Claim


Published: November 16, 2009

With the approach of the U.N. Climate Conference in Copenhagen next month, the livestock industry is coming under renewed scrutiny for its contribution to greenhouse gases.

Methane, which is a byproduct of digestion by cud-chewing animals, is a gas 23 times more warming to the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. A 2006 report by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization attributed 18 percent of the greenhouse gases produced each year to livestock.

But a more recent report for the World Watch Institute, by Robert Goodland, former environmental adviser to the World Bank, and Jeff Anhang, environmental specialist at the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corp., estimates this figure to be much higher: 51 percent, when the entire life cycle and supply chain of the livestock industry is taken into consideration.

Their report — “Livestock and Climate Change: What if the key actors in climate change are ... cows, pigs and chickens?” — factors in emissions from the tens of billions of animals exhaling CO2 annually, as well as deforestation for feed production and grazing, which prevents the reduction in greenhouse gases that would normally result from photosynthesis.

As things stand, global meat and dairy consumption is projected by the F.A.O. to more than double by 2050. Reversing the role of livestock in climate change is “even more important than the urgent transition to renewable energy,” Dr. Goodland wrote in an e-mail message.

In the World Watch report released last month, Dr. Goodland and Mr. Anhang wrote that “livestock (like automobiles) are a human invention and convenience, not part of pre-human times, and a molecule of CO2 exhaled by livestock is no more natural than one from an auto tailpipe.”

Their solution to livestock’s global warming effect is simple: eat less animal products, or better still, none at all.

The researchers propose revenue-neutral carbon taxes on products that are greenhouse gas intensive, so that foods like pork and beef would pay for their high environmental cost.

But their wider proposal, however, is to find “better alternatives to livestock products,” like foods made with soy, seitan and mycoprotein, the ingredient in Quorn products made by the British company Marlow Foods.

“Meat and dairy analog companies have been working on continuous improvement of their products, and further improvement can be expected,” Dr. Goodland said. “This contrasts with meat and dairy companies, which sell products whose quality is practically impossible to improve, and which many believe has deteriorated in recent years with decreased regulation and increases in zoonotic diseases.”


Return to Top

14. Should Meat Be Taxed?

Forwarded article from JVNA advisor Charles Patterson:

Make meat-eaters pay: Ethicist proposes radical tax, says they're killing themselves and the planet


Sunday, October 25th 2009, 4:00 AM

New York Daily News

Taxes can do a lot of good. They pay for schools, parks, police and the military. But that’s not all they can do. High taxes on cigarettes have saved many lives – not only the lives of people who are discouraged from smoking as much as they would if cigarettes were cheap, but also the lives of others who spend less time passively inhaling smoke.

No reasonable person would want to abolish the tax on cigarettes. Unless, perhaps, they were proposing banning cigarettes altogether – as New York City is doing with transfats served by restaurants.

A tax on sodas containing sugar has also been under consideration, by Governor Paterson among others. In view of our obesity epidemic, and the extra burden it places on our health care system – not to mention the problems it causes on a crowded New York subway when your neighbor can’t fit into a single seat – it’s a reasonable proposal.

But in all these moves against tobacco, transfats and sodas, we’ve been ignoring the cow in the room.

That’s right, cow. We don’t eat elephants. But the reasons for a tax on beef and other meats are stronger than those for discouraging consumption of cigarettes, transfats or sugary drinks.

First, eating red meat is likely to kill you. Large studies have shown that the daily consumption of red meat increases the risk that you will die prematurely of heart disease or bowel cancer. This is now beyond serious scientific dispute. When the beef industry tries to deny the evidence, it is just repeating what the tobacco industry did 30 years ago.

Second, we have laws that ban cruelty to animals. Unfortunately in the states in which most animals are raised for meat, the agribusiness lobby is so powerful that it has carved out exemptions to the usual laws against cruelty.

The exemptions allow producers to crowd chickens, pigs and calves in stinking sheds, never letting them go outside in fresh air and sunlight, often confining them so closely that they can’t even stretch their limbs or turn around. Debeaking – cutting through the sensitive beak of a young chick with a hot blade – is standard in the egg industry.

Undercover investigations repeatedly turn up new scandals – downed cows being dragged to slaughter, workers hitting pigs with steel pipes or playing football with live chickens. We may not be able to improve the laws in those farming states, but taxes on meat would discourage people from supporting these cruel practices.

Third, industrial meat production wastes food – we feed the animals vast quantities of grains and soybeans, and they burn up most of the nutritional value of these crops just living and breathing and developing bones and other unpalatable body parts. We get back only a fraction of the food value we put into them.

That puts unnecessary pressure on our croplands and causes food prices to rise all over the world. Converting corn to biofuel has been criticized because it raises food prices for the world’s poor, but seven times as much grain gets fed to animals as is made into biofuel.

Fourth, agricultural runoff — much of it from livestock production, or from the fertilizers used to grow the grain fed to the livestock — is the biggest single source of pollution of the nation’s rivers and streams, according to the EPA. A meat tax would be an important step towards cleaner rivers. By reducing the amount of nitrogen that runs off fields in the Midwest into the Mississippi, it would also stop the vast ’dead zone’ that forms in the Gulf of Mexico each year.

The clincher is that taxing meat would be a highly effective way of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and avoiding catastrophic climate change.

Here’s just how bad eating meat is for global warming.

Many people think that buying locally produced food is a good way to reduce their carbon footprint. But the average American would do more for the planet by going vegetarian just one day per week than by switching to a totally local diet.

In 2006 the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization surprised many people when it produced a report showing that livestock are responsible for more emissions than all forms of transportation combined. It’s now clear that that report seriously underestimated the contribution that livestock — especially ruminant animals like cattle and sheep – are making to global warming.

As a more recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has shown, over the critical next 20 years, the methane these animals produce will be almost three times as potent in warming the planet as the FAO report assumed.

Meat-eaters impose costs on others, and the more meat they eat, the greater the costs.

They push up our health insurance premiums, increase Medicare and Medicaid costs for taxpayers, pollute our rivers, threaten the survival of fishing communities in the Gulf of Mexico, push up food prices for the world’s poor, and accelerate climate change.

Red meat is the worst for global warming, but a tax on red meat alone would merely push meat-eaters to chicken, and British animal welfare expert Professor John Webster has described the intensive chicken industry as “the single most severe, systematic example of man’s inhumanity to another sentient animal.”

So let’s start with a 50% tax on the retail value of all meat, and see what difference that makes to present consumption habits. If it is not enough to bring about the change we need, then, like cigarette taxes, it will need to go higher.

Singer is professor of bioethics at Princeton University, the author of “Animal Liberation” and the author, with Jim Masion, of “The Ethics of What We Eat.”

Read more:

Return to Top

15. Responding to the Recent Controversy Re Mammography

Why isn't it stressed that a switch to a well-balanced vegan diet would sharply reduce the risk of getting breast cancer?

My letter:

November 18, 2009

Dear editor,

It is surprising that, in all the discussions about when women should have mammograms, there is very little if any consideration of how we can sharply reduce the risk of getting breast cancer through well-balanced plant-based diets.

Most breast cancers are found in countries, such as the United States, Great Britain, Australia, Argentina, and Canada, where people eat large amounts of animal fat. An American woman who eats meat daily instead of less than once a week, increases her risk of breast cancer by a factor of 3.8. In countries where little animal fat, especially beef, is consumed, breast cancer rates are significantly lower. For example, in Japan, where fat consumption is far lower than it is in the United States, their breast cancer rate is only one-fourth that of ours. Genetics don't seem to be the reason; when Japanese women move to the United States and adapt typical American diets, their breast cancer rates rise sharply and approach that of American women.

The Surgeon Generals' Report on Nutrition and Health (1988) noted, "A comparison of populations indicates that death rates for cancers of the breast, colon, and prostate are directly proportional to estimated dietary fat intakes. After analyzing epidemiological, migration, wartime, and other studies, Robert Kradjian, M. D., a cancer surgeon for 30 years, concluded that animal-based diets are the prime cause of breast cancer.

Hence, a shift to a well-balanced plant-based diet can dramatically reduce the risks associated with breast cancer and other degenerative diseases. It would also have very positive effects for animals, our natural resources, our ecosystems, our climate, and the world’s hungry people.

Return to Top

16. Comprehensive Report Paints Bleak Picture Re Climate Change in Europe

Met Office paints bleak climate picture for Europe

EU-backed analysis of climate impacts warns of heatwaves, floods and rising insurance costs

James Murray, BusinessGreen, 17 Nov 2009

Climate change has the potential to devastate large areas of Europe over the next 90 years, resulting in falling food production, increased risks of heat stress and forest fires, and higher insurance premiums, according to a major new EU-backed study from the Met Office.

Released today at a symposium hosted at the Met Office's headquarters in Exeter, the findings from the five-year study warn that Europe is currently on track to experience a rise in average temperatures of 4C by the end of the century. It argues that global CO2 emissions will have to be cut to almost zero by the end of the century if there is to be a reasonable chance of limiting temperature increases to the two-degree level deemed "safe" by scientists and policymakers.

The study, which was undertaken as part of the EU's Ensembles project, is the most comprehensive assessment to date of the impact of global warming on Europe, drawing on work from 66 scientific institutions and for the first time combining a number of complex climate models on supercomputers to predict the most likely climate outcomes.

Its findings provide an overview of how climate change will impact Europe's capital cities, and back up a raft of recent studies that warn warming is happening faster than has been previously anticipated and will have more devastating consequences.

Return to Top

** Fair Use Notice **

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