"I've noticed that quite a lot of people who are prominent in the animal liberation movement are Jews. Maybe we are simply not prepared to see the powerful hurting the weak." --Peter Singer (Author, Animal Liberation)


Happy Mardi Gras Against Foie Gras!

I have good news and bad news to share about foie gras, the oversized, cruelly force-fed, commonly outlawed fatty liver of ducks and geese.

The good news is that Israel's High Court affirmed its foie gras ban last week. The ruling should give Israel--formerly the world's third-leading producer of foie gras--motivation to actually enforce the ban. Until now, foie gras force-feeding has continued at two dozen farms across the country, at the expense of some 50,000 geese.

The bad news is that in Pittsburgh, a restaurant chain that previously committed to stop selling foie gras has gone back on its word. The Big Burrito Restaurant Group, which owns Mad Mex, Kaya, and Casbah, pulled foie gras from its menus in 2004 after learning about the horrors of foie gras production. Big Burrito recently started serving the delicacy of despair at its restaurants again. Please send a polite e-mail to Big Burrito reminding the company that torture is not a delicacy and that cruelty to animals is bad business and bad for business.


Tu B'Shvat: A Vegan-Friendly Holiday

During my freshman year of college, I went to Chabad House one seemingly random Friday night and was delighted to find 44 different types of fruits and nuts instead of the typical chicken carcass at the center of the table. From that moment on, Tu B'Shvat was my favorite Jewish holiday!

Last night, I gathered with friends to celebrate this Earth Day/Arbor Day hybrid, the New Year for trees. The holiday is known for its environmental connections, but of course, Tu B'Shvat is very vegan-friendly in that it invites us to embrace the natural cuisine of the Garden of Eden. More information about the connections between Tu B'Shvat and environmentalism and vegetarianism can be found here.

To the right is a photo of our beautiful spread of food from last night, which included coconut, starfruit, papaya, strawberries, blueberries, grapes, peanuts, pistachios, olives, plums, apples, peaches, figs, dates, and persimmons. To read more about last night's Tu B'Shvat celebration, check out David's blog post.


Something's Not Kosher Here

The Forward this week talks about Mike and Paula Barber, who run a breeding kennel with up to 130 dogs in Pennsylvania, the puppy mill capital of the east coast. In an October article in The New People, I wrote about how people across Pennsylvania are taking a stand against the state's dishonorable reputation for dog-breeding.

Like many Pennsylvanians, the Barbers' neighbors are outraged over the puppy mill, and they are outspoken against its disturbing noise levels. The Barbers, who many community residents didn't even know were Jewish, then claimed to be victims of anti-Semitism--which local police and even the Anti-Defamation League seemed to doubt!

Need proof that the canine pimps can't be trusted? Alleged perseution apparently hasn't done much to strengthen the Barbers' Jewish identity, as the couple has decided to give up dog-breeding in favor of pig-farming. Oy gevalt!

Note: Opponents of PAWS (mentioned in the linked article from The New People) are trying to water down the bill. The bill's cosponsor, Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), is being urged not to allow PAWS to be amended as such.