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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
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