"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)



Swine Flu
In Sunday's "Swine Flu: It Can Happen to Jew, Part Deux" post, I noted that there'd been 94 cases of swine flu in Israel, including three Americans on a Birthright trip. BBC News reported that Israeli President Shimon Peres met with a 5,000-person Birthright group last week and that 20 of the Birthright participants and 18 accompanying soldiers have tested positive for swine flu; President Peres has tested negative. "Swine flu the anti-Semite" was the title of a Los Angeles Jewish Journal blog post on the subject. Israel's number of swine flu cases is up to 219, according to The Jerusalem Post.

Today, the JTA reported that the start of camp was delayed at Camp Newman-Swig in Santa Rosa, Calif., after some staff members got sick. According to CNN, at Camp Ramah Darom in Clayton, Ga., three campers have been diagnosed with swine flu and about 60 more campers and several staff members have shown flu symptoms.

Top photo courtesy of Doris Lin, AnimalRights.About.com

Tav HaYosher Update
I mentioned last month that Uri L'Tzedek had launched a Tav HaYosher ethical seal for six restaurants and one supermarket in New York City. Two restaurants have been removed from the list, and four have been added. (Hat tip: Jewschool)
I'm pleased to point out that two of the additions are entirely vegan. Uri L'Tzedek announced that it had bestowed the Tav HaYosher on Sacred Chow earlier this month. I enjoyed a delightful Tempeh Reuben at Sacred Chow this evening, and I can't say enough great things about this place. The food is consistently delicious, and the restaurant recently featured special menu offerings for Purim and Passover. I have not yet tried Little Lad's, but the restaurant's Web site says it is "built on the principles of making quality food products and providing reliable service to improve the health of our customers and the planet earth with nutrition in food."
The Power of Dialogue
Last week, The Jew & The Carrot featured a hypothetical dialogue between a Jewish vegetarian activist and a rabbi. The post was authored by Jewish Vegetarians of North America president Richard H. Schwartz and noted, "Below is a fictional dialogue that he hopes readers will use ... as the basis of similar dialogues with local rabbis, educators, and community leaders. Richard would also welcome an actual dialog with a rabbi."
Animal Rights Advocacy Holds Back Sunstein
In January, I noted that President Obama had nominated Cass Sunstein, a renowned legal scholar and a Jew, to be the White House regulatory czar. Sunstein has apparently still not been confirmed because of objections to his past animal rights advocacy. On Monday, CongressDaily reported:
In May, nine farm and ranch groups that produce products such as milk and veal -- including the American Farm Bureau Federation -- wrote to Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and others to "express concern" about three academic papers in which Sunstein urged regulation of animals used in industries, including agriculture.

The letter included a paper in which Sunstein raised the possibility of animals winning the right to be plaintiffs in lawsuits. Noting that "the U.S. animal agriculture has long done political and social battle with the animal rights movement," the groups asked senators to seek assurances from Sunstein that he does not plan to regulate animal husbandry.

Roberts said he raised that question in a meeting with Sunstein last week and came away confident Sunstein does not plan such regulations. Roberts said he still might vote against Sunstein but had not placed a hold on the nomination. He also said he has not insisted on a roll call vote, as one Democratic aide tracking the process said.

On May 20, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., cast the only vote against Sunstein in the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee after what aides from both parties said was an uneventful hearing.
Proposed Fur Ban and Shtreimels
In March, I mentioned that a bill in the Israeli Knesset would ban the production, importation, and sale of fur in Israel. Vos Iz Neias noted that one MK was concerned that this would affect shtreimels, fur hats commonly worn by Hassidic Jews. "I request that the law include an appropriate exception stating that import for religious purposes will not be infringed and will not be considered a violation of the law," the MK said. The post said faux-fur shtreimels are most common among Hassidic Jews in Israel, compared to Hassidim overseas.
An update to the original Vos Iz Neias post reported, "The Knesset ministerial committee approved the banning of imported rabbit, dog, and cat fur from eastern Asia due to reports of animal cruelty. And the proposed law will not affect shtreimel fur importers, as the manufacturers use fur from other animals not included in the bill."


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