"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)


My Interview About Judaism and Vegetarianism on Our Hen House's Podcast

My interview from earlier this month was featured on Our Hen House's podcast this weekend. We talked about Torah teachings about compassion for animals, how well Judaism and vegetarianism mesh together, kosher slaughter, the new Jewish food movement, and vegan versions of traditional Jewish foods.

To listen to the podcast, click here. My in-depth interview starts about a third of the way into the podcast. I encourage this blog's readers to listen to the whole interview, but here's an excerpt:
There is a lot of foundation for compassion for animals and vegetarianism and veganism in the Jewish faith. And I feel proud to be Jewish knowing that Judaism is one of the forebears of animal welfare in Western civilization.

And I feel that my views on whether you want to call it animal rights, animal welfare, animal protection, what have you, can really be summed up by a Jewish term, it's in Hebrew, called tza'ar ba'alei chayim, which means unnecessary animal suffering. That is, we should prevent causing animals any unnecessary suffering.

How you interpret that could be deemed, on the one hand, as treating animals humanely with animal welfare and just trying to minimize their pain. Or it can be, in my case, saying that if we don't need animals for meat or for other ways in which they are exploited, we're better off without meat and without circuses and rodeos and leather and fur, etc. So if that kind of animal use is unnecessary and suffering is inherent in causing those products to be produced, then, in my mind, it's tza'ar ba'alei chayim, or unnecessary animal suffering.


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