PRESS RELEASE (For immediate release)

For Immediate Release:
November 27, 2007
Richard H. Schwartz, President of the Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA)        Phone: (718) 761-5876

Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) today announced that it sharply condemns plans by Hazon to slaughter goats at its upcoming food conference on December 6-9 at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in Falls Village, Connecticut.

JVNA has long supported Hazon's environmental bike rides and its efforts to increase awareness of environmental and food-related issues in the Jewish community and has often placed announcements of Hazon events in its newsletter. JVNA also appreciates Hazon's objective of increasing awareness of the slaughter process, but feels that its objective can far better be carried out by showing videos of slaughterhouse practices.

“In addition to violating tsa'ar ba'alei chaim, the Torah mandate to avoid causing unnecessary cruelty to animals, Hazon is ignoring the very negative effects that animal-based diets are having on human health and the environment;” stated JVNA president Richard Schwartz. “They are also ignoring the fact that the production and consumption of meat and other animal products is inconsistent with basic Jewish mandates to preserve human health, treat animals with compassion, protect the environment, conserve natural resources, help hungry people and pursue peace. Hazon would do far more good by a thorough consideration of these issues at its conference than by slaughtering some of G-d's defenseless creatures. We challenge Hazon to engage with us in a respectful dialogue/debate on 'Should Jews Be Vegetarians?'”

JVNA also stated that at a time when the world is so imperiled by global warming and other environmental threats, dietary concerns should be considered in terms of environmental impacts. Rabbi Barry Silver, a JVNA advisor, stated: “In view of the many current environmental threats to humanity, it is scandalous that the world is not only trying to feed 6.6 billion people, but also over 50 billion farmed animals; that animal-based agriculture emits more greenhouse gases (in CO2 equivalents) than all the world's forms of transportation; that 70 percent of the grain produced in the United States and over a third produced worldwide are fed to animals raised for slaughter; and that the standard American diet (SAD) requires up to 14 times as much water as a vegan diet.”

To increase consideration of such issues in the Jewish community and other communities, JVNA has just released a one-hour documentary A SACRED DUTY: APPLYING JEWISH VALUES TO HELP HEAL THE WORLD ( They will send a free DVD to anyone who contacts them ( and indicates plans to consider using the movie to help increase awareness of environmental and food-related issues.

Further information about these issues can be found at JVNA welcomes opportunities to dialogue and work with others to increase awareness of Jewish teachings on dietary concerns.

Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus, College of Staten Island
Author of "Judaism and Vegetarianism," "Judaism and Global Survival," and "Mathematics and Global Survival," and over 130 articles at
President of Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA)
and Society of Ethical and Religious Vegetarians (SERV)
Associate Producer of A SACRED DUTY (
Director of Veg Climate Alliance (