"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)


Baruch Dayan HaEmet: Bea Arthur

Bea Arthur, best known for her roles in Maude and The Golden Girls, died from cancer at age 86 yesterday. JTA noted that the Jewish actor, "born Bernice Frankel in New York, played Yenta the matchmaker in the original Broadway version of Fiddler on the Roof."

Arthur was an honorary director of PETA. In a post on The PETA Files, PETA SVP Dan Mathews wrote, "Bea Arthur joined PETA in 1987, when the Golden Girls did an anti-fur episode and Arthur, Rue McClanahan, and Betty White filmed a PETA anti-fur PSA on the set of the show. A tireless advocate for animals, Bea campaigned against the force-feeding of ducks in the foie gras trade, travelling to London with PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk, where she called on Harrod's to stop selling the cruelly made pâté. Bea also called for a boycott of KFC until it improves the way it raises and kills its chickens, campaigned against animal experimentation, spoke out about the abuse of animals on factory farms, and was a vocal opponent of the use of exotic animals in circuses."

In December 2004, Arthur got involved in PETA's campaign against AgriProcessors following the group's uncovering of cruelty to animals at what was the world's largest kosher slaughterhouse. The Associated Press reported:

In a letter to Orthodox Union leaders, Arthur, a Jew and longtime PETA supporter, expressed concern with the agency's reaction to allegations against Agriprocessors.

"The OU has defended the abuse at AgriProcessors, and I am concerned that it has not moved more quickly to publicly affirm that Judaism does not tolerate the kind of cruelty that PETA has documented," Arthur said in the letter, which was provided to The Associated Press late Thursday.

Arthur encouraged the Orthodox Union to adopt the minimum guidelines developed by the Food Marketing Institute. Those standards provide for equipment, employee training and post-slaughter procedures to reduce the discomfort of animals who are killed without prior stunning, she said.

"Applying these standards in all kosher slaughterhouses will ensure that animals killed for food are given quick deaths, as provided for in Jewish law," Arthur said. . . .

PETA spokesman Bruce Friedrich said the star-power of Arthur ... brings attention to the situation at Agriprocessors.

"When Bea Arthur speaks people do listen," he said.


  • At 4/27/2009 6:03 PM, Anonymous Foodeater said…

    I would have thought that with all this animal rights work she did, she would have at least been a vegetarian. I was surprised to see this come out regarding her lamb recipe: http://blogs.laweekly.com/squidink/squid-ink-writers/margy-rochlin/remembering-bea-arthurs-leg-of/How odd that someone who fought against foie gras and for better conditions in factory farms along side PETA would still eat lamb! That article doesn't mention when this lamb incident took place, I keep wanting to believe that it was a long time ago and that she eventually went veg... wishful thinking I guess :)

  • At 4/27/2009 6:06 PM, Blogger heebnvegan said…

    The lamb recipe does surprise me, but Bea Arthur said as recently as 2005 that she wasn't vegetarian:


  • At 6/02/2009 10:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

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