"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)



Update on Proposed Israeli Fur Ban
On Sunday, Israel's Ministerial Committee on Law and Constitution voted to ban the import and export of fur, with the exception of fur used for shtreimels. Haaretz reported:
Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon initiated the bill to expand upon an existing law that prohibits local production, manufacturing, importing, exporting and selling of furs from cats and dogs. . . .

"Wild animals suffer as a result of the fur industry, which is a cruel industry made for the production of luxurious artifacts," Simhon said. "The animals' skin is stripped from them while they are still alive. There is no reason why Israel should continue to strengthen this industry. We should set an example to the rest of the world on this matter."
Veguary is an initiative to try to get people to go vegetarian for the month of February. The Jew & The Carrot recently interviewed Veguary cofounder Andrew Udell, a 16-year-old student at Abraham Joshua Heschel School in New York. Udell explained how Veguary started:
One day at shul, my Rabbi posed a question to our smaller minyan about our effect on the world. One thought led to the next, and I just started thinking about how eating meat affects the world. I decided to do some more research about vegetarianism, and I came across some really daunting facts that were difficult to handle, yet important to know. I wanted to try out being a vegetarian for a little while. I started doing some more thinking, one thing led to the next, and with the help of a few friends, we founded Veguary and built the site in a few months. Veguary refers to the second month of the year, in which those enthusiastic about fighting global warming, improving their health, or making a positive difference in the world commit to reducing or eliminating their meat intake by pledging on our website at www.veguary.org.
Baruch Dayan HaEmet: J.D. Salinger
J.D. Salinger, author of The Catcher in the Rye, passed away last month. It's up for debate whether Salinger was Jewish or vegetarian.

The Jewish Journal noted, "His life was always veiled in ironies and mysteries. His father was Jewish but his mother was not – she changed her name from Marie to Miriam, and he did not learn of her Christian origins until the occasion of his bar mitzvah. So it turns out that one of the most admired Jewish-American writers of the 20th century is not Jewish at all according to Halakha, and Salinger himself reportedly embraced the beliefs of Christian Science. Of course, it is exactly such ambiguities and conflicts that make him an archetypal American Jew no matter what he actually believed and practiced."

The Washington Post noted that Salinger and publisher Roger Lathbury had lunch together in the 1990s. Lathbury recalled, "I said, 'I am a vegetarian' and he said, 'I am largely a vegetarian.' I didn't know what that meant ...."

Interview With Carol Leifer
In an interview with the Miami New Times, Jewish vegan comedian Carol Leifer confirmed that she had purchased Michael Vick's apology note from his dogfighting trial. Said Leifer, "I had heard that the Humane Society had put it up for auction, and I thought this could be a double whammy of what us Jews call a mitzvah. I plan on selling it again when the time is really ripe, and I'll donate the money again to another animal rights group."

When asked whether she gets more "comedic material" from being vegan, Jewish, or gay, she replied, "They're all sources of material. What I love about what I do, the more you talk about your life, there are so many people who have similar experiences."

Hat Tip: Vegetarian Star

Kosher Isn't Necessarily Safer or Greener

Reminiscent of last month's "For Some, 'Kosher' Equals Pure" in The New York Times, The Washington Post ran a column titled "Kosher and Halal Meat Is No Safer or Better for the Environment Than Other Meat" last week. The column notes, "It makes sense that people would link the idea of spiritual purity with such notions as ecological virtue and public health. Unfortunately, those connections are little more than leaps of faith." The column also points out:
By the time a kosher chicken arrives in the supermarket, there's no good evidence that it will be any cleaner than a conventional one. (It will likely be more expensive, though.)

Nor is there much reason to believe that kosher or halal meat is better for the planet than conventional meat, since all three sorts of meat basically come from the same farms. (With animal-based food, raising the livestock usually causes far more environmental damage than any other part of the life cycle.) If anything, all the salt used in the koshering process can make wastewater treatment more of a headache, since it can upset the microorganisms that treatment plants use to purify the water. And, like all niche products, kosher and halal meat lack the economy of scale afforded to conventional products, a fact that probably translates into lower distribution efficiency and more food miles.

Update on Monkey-Breeding Facility
In December, I wrote that a Supreme Court judge in Puerto Rico had stopped construction of a proposed monkey-breeding facility, which had been targeted by both animal advocates and anti-Semites. On January 30, the Puerto Rico Daily Sun reported, "The Appeals Court overturned Friday a Guayama Superior Court order last month that halted construction of the Bioculture Ltd. monkey-breeding laboratory in Guayama’s Pueblito del Carmen sector. The panel of Appeals Court judges ... did not give an explanation for their decision, noting the ruling would hold 'until this court orders something else.'"


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