May 5. 2008
For Immediate Release
Contact person: Richard H. Schwartz, President of the Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA),,
Phone (718) 761-5876; web sites: and


The Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) today released the following statement:

A major shift toward veganism would be a major step in effectively responding to the current food crises and other societal problems. Please consider:

* At a time when food prices are soaring, when there have been recent food riots in at least a dozen countries, when an estimated 20 million of the world's people die annually due to hunger and its effects, over 70 percent of the grain produced in the United States and over 40 percent of the grain produced worldwide is fed to animals destined for slaughter.
It takes up to 16 pounds of grain in a feedlot to produce one pound of beef.

* At a time of increasing droughts and with over half of the world's people expected to be living in areas chronically short of water by the middle of this century, it takes up to 14 times as much water to produce a typical western animal-centered diet than a vegan diet.

* At a time when energy prices are soaring and it is expected that we will soon start running out of oil, it takes up to ten times more energy on an animal-based diet than a vegan diet.

* At a time when the world is heading toward an unprecedented catastrophe from global warming, a 2006 UN Food and Agricultural Organization report indicated that animal-based agriculture emits more greenhouse gases (in CO2 equivalents) than all the world's cars, trucks, ships, planes and other means of transportation combined (18% vs. 13.5%).

Making the situation even more critical for each of the above issues, the same UN FAO report projects a doubling in the amount of animal products consumed globally in 50 years, and this would negate the effects of many other positive changes that are currently being considered.

An additional important factor is that the production and consumption of meat and other animal products violate basic Jewish mandates to preserve human health, treat animals with compassion, protect the environment, conserve natural resources and help hungry people.

For all of the above reasons, JVNA will respectfully urge rabbis and other Jewish leaders to actively  address the many moral issues related to animal-based diets. It hopes that Jewish religious leaders will engage in a respectful dialogue/debate on "Should Jews Be Vegetarians Today?"

Putting these issues squarely on the Jewish agenda would save many lives, move our imperiled planet to a more sustainable path, and show the relevance of Judaism's eternal teachings in addressing current critical issues, and thus help revitalize Judaism.

Because the issues are so urgent and are generally not being sufficiently addressed, the JVNA has produced a one-hour documentary A SACRED DUTY: APPLYING JEWISH VALUES TO HELP HEAL THE WORLD. It can be viewed in its entirety at JVNA will send a complimentary DVD to people who contact JVNA ( and indicate how they might help promote the movie.

Further information about the JVNA and its campaign to get vegetarianism onto the Jewish and other agendas may be obtained by contacting Dr. Schwartz or the JVNA (;

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 (