Rabbi Yoffie Encourages Reform Jews to Eat Less 'Red Meat'
Jewschool talks about Rabbi Yoffie's speech in much greater depth here. Click here to read Sue Fishkoff's JTA article.
My proposal is this: let’s make a Jewish decision to reduce significantly the amount of red meat that we eat. . . .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.
[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. ... [F]or the first 2,500 years of our 3,000 year history, Jews consumed meat sparingly, and we can surely do the same.
Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) issued a press release stating:
JVNA commends Reform leader Rabbi Eric Yoffie’s call to Reform Jews to eat less meat so as to be more consistent with the values of the Reform movement. ... We hope it will lead to an increased dialog on the many moral issues related to our diets and will encourage other Jewish leaders to speak out. . . .Of course, total abandonment of all meat, not just cutting back on red meat, would be preferable. But this revelation is a welcome step in the right direction.
We believe that it is essential that our rabbis and other Jewish leaders increase awareness that a major shift toward plant-based diets is essential to avoid the unprecedented climate-catastrophe that the world is rapidly approaching and to move our precious, but imperiled, planet to a sustainable path.