|Enewsletter • September 28, 2001|
There is enough violence;
We have a lot of material to cover since the last "normal" issue.
To be part of a federal employees giving campaign, we have to list activities by members to prove that Vegan Outreach has been active providing services in a majority of states. If you used Vegan Outreach materials between July 1, 2000 and June 30, 2001, please write to us (firstname.lastname@example.org) with as specific a description as possible (date, place, and number of booklets). Such as:
On November 11, 2000, Ross Strader and Eddie Lama handed out 100 copies of Why Vegan on the streets of Manhattan.
We really need these. Thanks a lot!
We now have an improved printing of the bumper sticker: Boycott Cruelty: Go Vegan.
Anyone who received a poorly-aligned version can contact us for a free updated one.
We are basically out of Why Vegan? booklets. We have a delay in printing because we are coming out with a new version. It is our hope that we'll be able to print the next version by the middle of October. Until then, we won't be able to send out large quantities; feel free to order copies of Vegetarian Living in the meantime.
Christian and Jewish Materials
PETA has just produced Christian and Jewish vegetarian cassettes, and a pamphlet on Christianity and vegetarianism. The Christian cassette/pamphlet was done by Fr. John Dear, S.J. As far as we're aware, this is the first time a member of the Catholic clergy has spoken out in favor of vegetarianism in print, and we've certainly never heard such an unequivocal argument from a member of the Catholic clergy.
Recent Research Supports the Longevity of a Healthy Lifestyle
Life expectancies in the Adventist Health Study were published in the July issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. (1) The results showed that white, non-Hispanic Seventh-day Adventists (SDA) live longer than other white Californians (7.28 years longer for men and 4.42 years longer for women). In fact, these SDA appear to be the longest-lived, formerly studied population in the world! Their life expectancies are 78.5 years for men and 82.3 for women. In this group of 34,192 people, 29% were vegetarians and 7-10% of the vegetarians were vegan. (2)
The following variables were shown to increase life expectancy: vegetarian diet, eating nuts regularly, physical activity, lower body weight, and no smoking. The only other variable looked at was hormone replacement therapy for women which possibly contributed to increased life expectancy.
A Dutch scientist says he can create artificial meat in laboratories without killing animals. The meat would be produced using collagen particles and muscle cells taken from "animal donors" who would not be harmed.
Some people may find this repulsive:
by Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D.
Reviewed for Vegan Outreach by Jeremy Yocum
The cover of this book shows, in six frames, carrots being added to one another to form a Star of David. While attractive, this may leave non-Jews wondering how it's relevant to them. In the preface Schwartz outlines the main arguments of the book, and they are all related to Judaism: Jews should make dietary decisions based on "basic Jewish values," Judaism and vegetarianism are not opposed to one another, and vegetarianism is consistent with the Jewish values of being "concerned about both animals and people." (xvii). I, however, found Judaism and Vegetarianism to be an interesting and informative read, and would recommend it to anyone from strict vegans to those just considering vegetarianism regardless of their faith. It is loaded with well-documented information from reliable sources about the health and ecological benefits of plant-based diets, and has an impressive bibliography. The entire first chapter of the book is devoted to the ethical considerations of diet. While many of Schwartz's sources for ethics are Rabbinical authority, he draws a good deal from the Torah, part of the Christians‚ Old Testament. His "vegetarian view of the Bible" (1) may be useful for outreach to those of a Judeo Christian background, which covers a large segment of the population.
Many people reject vegetarian and vegan diets based on Biblical passages in which God grants permission to eat meat. Schwartz counters this with the earliest dietary passages that grant permission only to eat plants: Genesis 2:16 and 3:18. He points out that after permission was granted to eat meat, in Genesis 9:3, the recorded life spans are shortened by hundreds of years. He, along with many Rabbinical authorities, interprets the permission to eat meat as a concession by God to the lust of humankind. Referring to Genesis 9:2, he concludes that with this concession the "previous harmony between people and animals" ceased to exist. (4-5).
The second through sixth chapters are split into two sections, one examining an area of Jewish values and one explaining vegetarianism‚s relevance to those values. This is the main body of the book, and it addresses compassion for animals, health, feeding the hungry, ecology, and peace. While many non-Jewish readers may skip the lengthy discussions of Jewish law and tradition, I found them fascinating glimpses into another culture. Each chapter is also nearly encyclopedic in its description of the modern state of animal agriculture. I considered myself to be a well-read vegan before picking up this book, yet I learned a great deal of important and startling information. I did think that Schwartz drew a little too much information from pro-vegetarian sources, which may damage the credibility of these facts to those who are critical of veganism. While I found that these sources were credible and that their information was in turn gathered from unbiased sources, some readers may not be patient enough to do the homework. To be fair, though, at least half of the sources are non-vegetarian, such as agriculture experts and mathematicians.
The last several chapters consider vegetarian questions related to Judaism, general vegetarian questions, advice on becoming and staying a vegetarian, Jewish vegetarian groups, and biographies of famous vegetarian Jews. The advice chapter even discusses how to handle a marriage where only one spouse is vegetarian, with advice for the meat-eater as well. The appendix includes the author‚s story of converting to vegetarianism in 1978, and ideas for vegetarian activism. The extensive bibliography includes Jewish sources, general sources, health and nutrition sources, vegetarian recipe books, and religious or philosophical books all related to vegetarianism. Then follows an exhaustive index which makes this book great for reference.
This book does focus a lot on the cruelty and health problems related to egg and milk consumption, and many vegan cookbooks are included in the bibliography, but I feel like there is a lack of adequate support for anyone who wishes to go completely vegan. I agree with Schwartz's assessment that lacto-ovo vegetarians are "people who have made an important ethical decision, but who have not yet gone as far as possible" (145). However there is only one vegan organization listed in the appendix, the Vegetarians and Vegans Society. Schwartz lists ten websites, explaining that out of "literally hundreds, if not thousands, of valuable sites related to vegetarian groups" he chose only those that he found "especially valuable" (145). Not a single one is specifically vegan. Schwartz is apparently very supportive of veganism, yet the emphasis of this book is mostly vegetarian.
In all, however, Schwartz makes a strong case for anyone, particularly Jews, to consider vegetarianism as a single step toward positively affecting the world in a number of ways. Far from feeling alienated as a non-Jew I found the book to be culturally educational and even learned something about an issue on which I considered myself an expert. From the eye-catching cover to the quite practical bibliography and index I found this an incredibly useful and interesting read that I would recommend to anyone.
Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D. has a website and can be contacted there.