USA/JVNA: Important benefits from slaughterhouse closings -
less disease, longer lives, healthier planet
November 7, 2008
Richard H. Schwartz,
President of the Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA)
Phone: (718) 761-5876
Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) issued the following statement today:
While many Jews are experiencing shortages of kosher meat and higher prices when they can find it, we see many benefits from the recent closings of three kosher slaughterhouses These include the nation's largest facility in Postville, Iowa, especially if meat production and consumption are reduced for a significant time.
These benefits will result from reduced production and consumption of meat, which is known to cause or contribute to a variety of humane ailments and major environmental problems.
* There will be a reduction in the epidemic of heart disease, several types of cancer and other diseases afflicting many Jews and others;
* There will be a reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases. While the world is increasingly threatened by global warming, a 2006 UN report indicated that animal-based agriculture emits more greenhouse gases (in CO2 equivalents) than all the cars and other means of transportation worldwide combined (18 percent vs. 13.5 percent). And, the consumption of animal products is projected to double in 50 years. If this happens, it will make it very difficult, if not impossible, to reduce greenhouse emissions enough to avoid very severe effects from global climate change.
* Resources will be used more efficiently In an increasingly thirsty and energy-dependent world, animal-based diets require up to 14 times as much water and 10 times as much energy as vegan (all plants) diets.
* There will be a reduction in the number of animals who suffer greatly from cruel treatment on factory farms.
* There will potentially be a reduction in the number of hungry people. At a time when food prices are skyrocketing, food riots are occurring in many areas and an estimated 20 million people are dying annually worldwide from hunger and its effects, over 70 percent of the grain produced in the United States and over 40 percent produced worldwide are fed to farmed animals.
It is essential that our rabbis and other Jewish leaders recognize that a major shift toward plant-based diets is essential to avoid the unprecedented catastrophe that the world is rapidly approaching and to move our precious, but imperiled, planet to a sustainable path.
When we read daily reports of the effects of global climate change, such as record heat waves, severe storms, widespread droughts, and the melting of glaciers and polar icecaps; when some climate scientists are warning that global climate change may spin out of control with disastrous consequences unless major changes are soon made; when a recent report indicated that our oceans may be virtually free of fish by 2050; when species of plants and animals are disappearing at the fastest rate in history; when it is projected that half of the world's people will live in areas chronically short of water by 2050; it is essential that the Jewish community fulfill our mandate to be a "light unto the nations" and lead efforts to address these critical issues.
It is urgent that tikkun olam-the healing and repair of the world -- be a central issue in synagogues, Jewish schools and other Jewish institutions.
Judaism has splendid teachings on environmental conservation and sustainability, and it is essential that they be applied to respond to the many current environmental threats.
JVNA urges rabbis and other Jewish leaders to make Jews aware of how animal-based diets and agriculture violate basic Jewish mandates to preserve human health, treat animals compassionately, protect the environment, conserve natural resources and help hungry people.
http://www.evana. org/index. php?id=38807& lang=en