The Vegan Debate
Four common arguments against choosing vegan (no flesh, dairy, eggs, or honey) frequently surface in Judaism, and they run something like this:
- Scriptures indicate that God gave humans permission to eat anymals products.[iv]
- Scriptures indicate that God prescribed anymal sacrifice.
- Eating anymal products fulfills mitzvot.
- Anymal products are kosher.
Counterpoint arguments show that not even one of these reasons for rejecting a vegan diet holds up to scrutiny in contemporary times. Moreover, the acronym AMORE (anymals, medical, oppressions, religion, and environment) reminds of five key reasons why Jews ought to choose a vegan diet.
It is down-to-earth. It is not primarily about philosophy, spirituality, and dogmas, but about the way one behaves. Correct view, intention, and speech may be important—but correct action is what one is ultimately judged for. In the face of current realities, veganism is correct action.
Yossi Wolfson, co-founder of Animals Now, speaking about Judaism.ii
- 4.3 Diet: The Vegan Debate
- Genesis Diet
- God permits the consumption of animals for food in Genesis 9, so there is no need to be vegan.
- Animal sacrifice is carefully described in scriptures and is indicated as pleasing to God.
- Eating anymals is not justified by scriptural descriptions of anymal sacrifice.
- God does not delight in the smell of burning bodies.
- Scriptures also describe grain offerings.
- Bloodletting rituals were phased out and replaced more than 2000 years ago.
- Scriptures indicate that anymal sacrifice was not Jewish in origin, that these rituals were merely tolerated and were restricted by God, and are not currently permitted.
- Anymals are not ours to give.
- Focus Point
- Eating meat allows fulfilling of mitzvot.
- Genesis Diet
- Anymal products are kosher.
- Vegan Moral Imperative
- AMORE — Five critical reasons to choose vegan
- Featured Sources
Every time we shop or order food in a restaurant - every time we eat - we can choose to help animals. Every time we make the switch from an animal product to a vegan one we are standing up for farmed animals everywhere.
I. Genesis Diet
Among Jews (as with Christians), the most common argument against choosing a vegan diet is that Genesis 9:3 v permits humanity to consume “everything.” There are a handful of strong counter- arguments that rest on a fuller understanding of scriptures, including the vegan imperative established first in Genesis and again in Numbers, and the scriptural presentation of the nature of God.
God permits the consumption of animals for food in Genesis 9, so there is no need to be vegan.
Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and just as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.
Genesis tells us that the Creator strongly dislikes violence/corruption, that omnivory and vegetarianism (both of which include dairy and eggs and therefore entail anymal exploitation) cause fear and dread, and that we are accountable to God for anymals whom we harm or kill. Finally, scriptures indicate (and reaffirm) God’s preference for a peaceful, vegan world.
When I went to the kitchen to do dishes, he would stand intently by the sink and watch me do the dishes, he was so curious about my activity. He would get up on the sofa on cold or rainy days, and give the warning cry to me if he saw a hawk fly over. This bird that most people consider stupid would come if I called him by name, just like a dog. I cannot express how many hours of intense joy and love he gave to me.
God strongly dislikes human violence, which is corruption.
Genesis 6 reminds that God brought the flood because of violence/corruption,viii and these two words are used interchangeably in the passage because violence is a corruption of the peaceful earth created by God:
Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw that the earth was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted its ways upon the earth. And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence because of them; now I am going to destroy them along with the earth. Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence.”
God created a peaceful, harmonious, vegan world (Genesis 1:29) that was soon “filled with violence” (Genesis 6:11), causing the Creator to bring a great flood to destroy all that had been made (Genesis 6:17). This provides a strong indication of how much God disapproves of human violence and how important it is that humans be peaceful and live harmoniously.
Violence is an act that can “hurt, damage, or kill someone or something” and can be physical or mental, intentional or unintentional.ix Nearly everything that happens to anymals in the dairy, egg, and meat industries constitutes physical or mental harm/violence and invariably culminates in premature death. The violence of omnivory (eating flesh, dairy, and eggs) and vegetarianism (eating dairy and eggs) not only harms anymals, but also humanity and the planet. This is contrary to what scriptures indicate the Creator intended for humanity and what God prefers. (For more on violence see 4.3.V. “Vegan Moral Imperative: AMORE—Five critical reasons to choose vegan,” especially 4.3.V.3 “Oppression.”)
They were catching fish, and they were throwing fish against the side of the boat in order to kill them, they [were] flopping around … and it was undeniable that it was brutal, barbaric and horrible . . . . I remember my mum not being [able] to answer when we said, “Why didn’t you tell us that’s where meat came from?”
Joaquin Phoenix at Fish Feel.x
Omnivory and vegetarianism cause fear and dread.
After granting “everything” as food, the language and tone of the Creator indicate how God feels about this change of menu:
The fear and dread of you shall rest on every animal of the earth, and on every bird of the air, on everything that creeps on the ground, and on all the fish of the sea; into your hand they are delivered.
God’s permission to exploit and kill anymals for food in Genesis 9:3 marks “the end of the golden age . . . in which men lived in harmony with the beasts.” xi The language and tone reveal Divine displeasure, reminding that dairy, eggs, and meat are not what God intended us to eat. Rav Kook, the first chief rabbi of pre-state Israel and “one of the most important Jewish thinkers of all time,” xii indicated “a plant-based diet as the biblical ideal”—noting “that the consumption of animal products was a temporary concession” and that “the ideal society, the Messianic age,” is one where “compassion is manifest.”xiii
When questioning the emotional complexity of farmed animals, we need to remember that a farmed animal is essentially a natural animal in captivity. A chicken is a being whose physical environment and bodily deformations imposed by exploiters have not eliminated the fundamental instincts, sensitivities, emotions and intelligence in this bird whose evolutionary home is the tropical forest.
Karen Davis, Ph.D., founder of United Poultry Concerns.xiv
God reaffirms a plant-based diet by providing manna.
Exodus and Nehemiah reaffirm Genesis 1—the Creator provides nothing more than plants and plant products for our sustenance. (For more on the diet God gives to humanity at the time of Creation, see 4.2.I, “Genesis Diet”)
When the layer of dew lifted, there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat. This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Gather as much of it as each of you needs, an omer [measuring volume] to a person according to the number of persons, all providing for those in their own tents.’ ”
For their hunger you gave them bread from heaven, and for their thirst you brought water for them out of the rock.
Manna provided by God—without flesh, dairy, or eggs—is of such importance that Moses instructs people to preserve and remember this food in Exodus 16:31-36: (For more on the diet given humanity in Genesis 1, see 4.2.I, “Genesis Diet.”)
The house of Israel called it manna; it was like coriander seed, white, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey. Moses said, “This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Let an omer of it be kept throughout your generations, in order that they may see the food with which I fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you out of the land of Egypt.’ ” And Moses said to Aaron, “Take a jar, and put an omer of manna in it, and place it before the Lord, to be kept throughout your generations.” As the Lord commanded Moses, so Aaron placed it before the covenant, for safekeeping. The Israelites ate manna forty years, until they came to a habitable land; they ate manna, until they came to the border of the land of Canaan.
Nonetheless, some of the lost wanderers missed familiar foods of home and were unhappy with manna—and this angered God.
The rabble among them had a strong craving; and the Israelites also wept again, and said, “If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we used to eat in Egypt for nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.”
Here, those who are discontent with plant-based food provided by God are among the nonfaithful, referred to as “rabble.”
Importantly, it appears that the Israelites maintained their God-given diet, at least initially, after they arrive in the land of Canaan.
The manna ceased on the day they ate the produce of the land, and the Israelites no longer had manna; they ate the crops of the land of Canaan that year.
God was angry that the people could not be contented without eating anymal products, so angry that he brought a plague against them, leaving behind the “graveyard of lust” (Kibroth-hattaavah). Plant-based manna, provided by God, is another indication (and reminder) of what the Creator intends/prefers for our sustenance, of God’s preference that we share the planet in a state of peace and harmony, and that we be contented with what the Creator provided at the outset.
The Jewish community worldwide should be involved in improving the condition of animals, as the religion dictates. Rabbis should be telling their congregations about Jewish teachings regarding the treatment of animals and should be encouraging them to strive for the ideal.
Nina Natelson, founder and director of Hakol CHAI in Israel and Concern for Helping Animals in Israel (CHAI) in the United States, from Kemmerer, Animals and World Religions.xvi
Scriptures teach that we may eat anymal products but:
- Eating anymal products is violence and God disapproves of human violence.
- Eating anymal products is corruption—a departure from the original and preferred diet.
- Omnivory and vegetarianism cause fear and dread.
- Omnivory and vegetarianism entail bloodshed that requires a reckoning with God.
- At the outset, God prescribed a vegan diet for all living beings.
- Anymals—indeed, all life—belongs exclusively to the Creator.
- God provides a vegan diet (manna) when the Israelites are lost in the desert.
- Moses tells people to commemorate and remember the vegan manna provided by God.
Though we are permitted to eat flesh, dairy, and eggs, scriptures show clearly that living vegan is preferable Therefore, this choice shows respect for God and God’s creation. The teachings are clear. The choice is ours.
Jews (and Christians) sometimes argue that, inasmuch as scriptures accept anymal sacrifice —the killing of anymals for our purposes, including the consumption of their bodies— there is no need to be vegan. There are a handful of counterpoints to this assertion, the most important of which is the notable disconnect between ritual sacrifice and the modern dinner table, but it is also important to take into consideration the history of religious sacrifice and the fact that the latter prophets spoke against this practice.
Animal sacrifice is described in scriptures and is indicated as pleasing to God.
Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And when the Lord smelled the pleasing odor, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of humankind, for the inclination of the human heart is evil from youth; nor will I ever again destroy every living creature as I have done.
Moses said, “You must also let us have sacrifices and burnt offerings to sacrifice to the Lord our God. Our livestock also must go with us; not a hoof shall be left behind, for we must choose some of them for the worship of the Lord our God.”
You shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven.
The Lord summoned Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting, saying: Speak to the people of Israel and say to them: When any of you bring an offering of livestock to the Lord, you shall bring your offering from the herd or from the flock.
If the offering is a burnt offering from the herd, you shall offer a male without blemish; you shall bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting, for acceptance in your behalf before the Lord. You shall lay your hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it shall be acceptable in your behalf as atonement for you. The bull shall be slaughtered before the Lord; and Aaron's sons the priests shall offer the blood, dashing the blood against all sides of the altar that is at the entrance of the tent of meeting. The burnt offering shall be flayed and cut up into its parts. The sons of the priest Aaron shall put fire on the altar and arrange wood on the fire. Aaron's sons the priests shall arrange the parts, with the head and the suet, on the wood that is on the fire on the altar; but its entrails and its legs shall be washed with water. Then the priest shall turn the whole into smoke on the altar as a burnt offering, an offering by fire of pleasing odor to the Lord.
If your gift for a burnt offering is from the flock, from the sheep or goats, your offering shall be a male without blemish....
If your offering to the Lord is a burnt offering of birds, you shall choose your offering from turtledoves or pigeons.
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: When an ox or a sheep or a goat is born, it shall remain seven days with its mother, and from the eighth day on it shall be acceptable as the Lord's offering by fire. But you shall not slaughter, from the herd or the flock, an animal with its young on the same day. When you sacrifice a thanksgiving offering to the Lord, you shall sacrifice it so that it may be acceptable in your behalf. It shall be eaten on the same day; you shall not leave any of it until morning: I am the Lord.
Some assert that the presence and acceptance of ritual anymal sacrifice in the Torah justifies the choice to eat meat, eggs, and dairy today, but this conclusion does not follow. A closer look at scriptures in conjunction with an awareness of the history of religious sacrifice in that particular region, speaks against anymal sacrifice altogether.
Eating anymals in the 21st century is not justified by scriptural descriptions of anymal sacrifice.
Ritual sacrifices described in scriptures have nothing to do with the ethics of diet in the 21st century and cannot legitimately be used as a moral or religious argument in favor of eating flesh, dairy, or eggs. Obviously, the eating of flesh does not qualify as a ritual sacrifice. Moreover, the contemporary complications of factory farming and threats to humanity and creation must be taken into consideration. Even if the landscape had not changed significantly, ritual sacrifice simply has nothing to do with contemporary omnivory or vegetarianism.
In condoning empty rituals and standing silent in the face of immoral deeds, we make a mockery of Judaism.
Nina Natelson, founder and director of Hakol CHAI in Israel and Concern for Helping Animals in Israel (CHAI) in the United States, from Schwartz, Vegan Revolution.xviii
Does God delight in the smell of burning bodies?
It is not reasonable to read Genesis 8:21 literally—to believe that it was actually the smell of burning flesh that pleased the nose of God, as if God had a sense of smell akin to that of humans. xx Moreover, divine pleasure in a dead and roasted body is inconsistent with scriptures that tell of God creating a vegan world, of a God of mercy and compassion, and of a God who is invested in the life and wellbeing of every living creature.
It is, however, reasonable to understand the Creator’s pleasure (described in scripture), as stemming from the human act of remembering God and giving thanks: The Creator finds the smell of flesh pleasing not because God has a nose and finds the smell of burning bodies pleasing, but because God recognizes that “the inclination of the human heart is evil from youth” (Genesis 8:21) and yet Noah has remembered God and given thanks. Given the nature of God as revealed in scriptures, it would seem an unavoidable truth that the Creator would be much more pleased if, rather than destroy creation, we showed our thanks to God by doing what we have been commanded to do in Genesis 2—caretaking creation.
Scriptures also describe grain offerings.
The descriptions of anymal sacrifice in Leviticus 1 are followed by descriptions of grain offerings in Leviticus 2.
When anyone presents a grain offering to the Lord, the offering shall be of choice flour; the worshiper shall pour oil on it, and put frankincense on it, and bring it to Aaron's sons the priests. After taking from it a handful of the choice flour and oil, with all its frankincense, the priest shall turn this token portion into smoke on the altar, an offering by fire of pleasing odor to the Lord. And what is left of the grain offering shall be for Aaron and his sons, a most holy part of the offerings by fire to the Lord.
When you present a grain offering baked in the oven, it shall be of choice flour: unleavened cakes mixed with oil, or unleavened wafers spread with oil. If your offering is grain prepared on a griddle, it shall be of choice flour mixed with oil, unleavened; 6break it in pieces, and pour oil on it; it is a grain offering. If your offering is grain prepared in a pan, it shall be made of choice flour in oil. You shall bring to the Lord the grain offering that is prepared in any of these ways; and when it is presented to the priest, he shall take it to the altar. The priest shall remove from the grain offering its token portion and turn this into smoke on the altar, an offering by fire of pleasing odor to the Lord. And what is left of the grain offering shall be for Aaron and his sons; it is a most holy part of the offerings by fire to the Lord.
No grain offering that you bring to the Lord shall be made with leaven, for you must not turn any leaven or honey into smoke as an offering by fire to the Lord. You may bring them to the Lord as an offering of choice products, but they shall not be offered on the altar for a pleasing odor. You shall not omit from your grain offerings the salt of the covenant with your God; with all your offerings you shall offer salt.
If you bring a grain offering of first fruits to the Lord, you shall bring as the grain offering of your first fruits coarse new grain from fresh ears, parched with fire. You shall add oil to it and lay frankincense on it; it is a grain offering. 16And the priest shall turn a token portion of it into smoke—some of the coarse grain and oil with all its frankincense; it is an offering by fire to the Lord.
Grain offerings are clearly acceptable, yet no one argues that we ought to return to this practice or that this is in some way connected to the ethics of diet. Yet, importantly, grain offerings align with core Jewish ethics, while the slaughter of innocents does not.
Bloodletting rituals were phased out and replaced more than 2000 years ago.
In many parts of the ancient world, blood offerings were common and even “human sacrifice appears to have been widespread,” including bloodletting, drowning, strangling, or being burned, cast over a cliff, or cast into a volcano. Over time, offering bodies was replaced with the offering of “effigies made of dough, wood, or other materials.” xxii Sacred writings record this shift. First, anymals replace human beings in blood-letting rituals:
After these things God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains…”
When they came to the place that God had shown him, Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order. He bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to kill his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” And Abraham looked up and saw a ram, caught in a thicket by its horns. Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son.
Two important details emerge: We are all living creatures, and anymals are close/similar enough to humanity to provide a bodily replacement for sacrifice purposes; and God does not prescribe killing the ram.[clxi] Together, these details indicate that, inasmuch as we no longer sacrifice humans to God, we should no longer sacrifice anymals to God.
Descriptions of anymal sacrifice in Leviticus 1 are followed by descriptions of grain offerings in Leviticus 2. Next (more than 2000 years ago), scriptures reveal a shift to internal sacrifice—submission to religious laws and ethics. While scriptures make clear how blood sacrifice rituals were performed, the latter prophets show a definite preference for other forms of supplication, thanking, and remembering God. They emphasize righteousness, teaching that God doesn’t want sacrifice for repentance, but rather right action in the first place (remembrance of God as a lifestyle).
What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices?
says the Lord;
I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams
and the fat of fed beasts;
I do not delight in the blood of bulls,
or of lambs, or of goats.
When you come to appear before me,
who asked this from your hand?
Trample my courts no more;
bringing offerings is futile;...
When you stretch out your hands,
I will hide my eyes from you;
even though you make many prayers,
I will not listen;
your hands are full of blood.
Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
remove the evil of your doings
from before my eyes;
cease to do evil,
learn to do good;
rescue the oppressed,
defend the orphan,
plead for the widow.
Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings,
I will not accept them;
and the offerings of well-being of your fatted animals
I will not look upon....
But let justice roll down like waters,
and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
“With what shall I come before the Lord,
and bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
with calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
with ten thousands of rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”
He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?
This progression finally ended bloodletting altogether aligning with God’s original intention for a peaceful world, with moral teachings of the latter prophets, and with the expectation of a coming Peaceable Kingdom (Isaiah 11, Hosea 2). How is it possible to defend the contemporary exploitation of anymals as food by pointing to religious rituals that scriptures tell us were replaced more than 2000 years ago?
Scriptures indicate that anymal sacrifice was not Jewish in origin, that these rituals were merely tolerated and so were restricted by God, and that they are not currently permitted.
At some point, Jews (like ancient Greeks, Babylonians, and Hindus) started to use fire to burn “human, anymal, grains, or vegetation” as a ritual offering.xxiv Maimonides wrote that these practices were introduced to Jews in Egypt, and that God permitted this only because the practice was widespread and deeply engrained. Importantly, The Ten Commandments do not mention, let alone require, blood sacrifice—or any ritual sacrifices. xxv
Scriptures indicate that idolatry and polytheism were major concerns at the time, so God required that ritual sacrifice be focused on the One God and that they be restricted to one central location—the temple (in preference to easy-access home altars). xxvi Maimonides writes that this approach helped to quell idolatry so that “the truly great principle” of Judaism, “the Existence and Unity of God, was firmly established.”xxvii
Other Jewish theologians support Maimonides on this point. For example, Jewish philosopher Abarbanel xxviii cites midrash to argue that God tolerated blood sacrifice, which was learned in Egypt, because it was a widespread and important practice at the time—and used this foreign introduction (and ingrained habit) to focus human attention on the One God by restricting these rituals to the temple.
According to scripture and tradition, the only place blood sacrifices were permitted was the temple. When the second temple was destroyed, blood sacrifice ended. Some Jews anticipate the rebuilding of the temple and a return to bloodletting, but many Jewish scholars predict that animal sacrifice will never be reinstated, even with a new temple, because human ethics have shifted so far from killing as a religious ritual. Both ancient prophets and contemporary rabbis indicate a replacement with prayer and good deeds. How can we justify eating anymal via a ritual that is no longer permitted, and which at best was imported and optional, especially given the moral complications of eating anymal products in contemporary times?
Does Judaism really need animal sacrifices? Would it not be better off without them? After all, the sacrificial cult compromises Judaism. What does a highly ethical religion have to do with the collection of blood in vessels and the burning of animal limbs on an altar?
Nathan Lopes Cardozo, Orthodox rabbi.xxix
Anymals are not ours to give.
It makes no sense to offer up life to God, to whom all life belongs, especially to a God who created and tenderly caretakes each beautiful life.
I will not accept a bull from your house, or goats from your folds. For every wild animal of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the air, and all that moves in this field is mine.
Tending God’s creatures is an appropriate expression of obedience and devotion to the Creator—this is what we were commanded to do in Genesis 2. (For more on Genesis 2, see 4.2.I.F. “Duties Assigned by God.”)
To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.
Ritual sacrifice in Biblical times is a completely separate topic from the ethics of eating anymal products in the 21st century, and the former therefore does not and cannot justify the latter. Any argument attempting to use ancient ritual anymal sacrifice to defend contemporary omnivory/vegetarianism is generally a red flag for a lack of sincere commitment to Jewish ethics.
Some note that consuming anymal products allows fulfilling mitzvot, but the vegan diet also permits the fulfilling of mitzvot —many more mitzvot.
Eating meat allows fulfilling of mitzvot.
A vegan life fulfills many important mitzvot (and aids in the observance of food laws).
Choosing vegan allows fulfilling many mitzvot, including acting compassionately, preserving health, protecting the environment, and helping to feed the hungry. (For more on how a vegan diet fulfills mitzvot, see all of 4.3.V. “Vegan Moral Imperative: AMORE—Five critical reasons to choose vegan.”) Additionally, the vegan life removes the possibility of “violating several prohibitions of the Torah, such as mixing meat and milk, eating non-kosher animals, and eating forbidden fats or blood.”xxxi Finally, being vegan makes it easier and less expensive to keep kashrut: Vegans don’t need to wait between eating flesh/dairy—and they don’t need to buy and keep four separate sets of dishes—all of which encourages and assists in the maintenance—or adoption—of these practices.xxxii Moreover, rice and beans, lentils and potatoes, pasta and vegetables, peanut butter/humus and bread—all tend to be less expensive than flesh or dairy, despite heavy government subsidies for the latter.)
The Torah mandate of tza’ar ba’alei chayim is being grotesquely violated in modern animal agriculture, making the method of slaughter a moot point. . . .
In Judaism, a mitzvah cannot be enabled by an aveirah, a sin. So, no matter how careful a shochet is, it just doesn’t matter. A grievous sin, actually many sins, were committed to get the animal to that point. Meat nowadays cannot be considered truly kosher.
Jeffrey Spitz Cohan, Executive Director of Jewish Veg.xxxiii
Still others argue that anymal products are kosher xxxv and there is no need to avoid kosher foods. However, anymal products in contemporary societies are not necessarily kosher.
Anymal products are kosher.
While there are restrictions, like shechita restrictions that require minimizing suffering in slaughter, anymal products are kosher.
Anymal products from contemporary industries are not likely to be kosher.
Rabbi Cardozo writes, “any meat eating person seems to run the risk to eat treifa (non-kosher) and helps an industry which is violating the most basic Jewish religious values.” xxxvi Rabbi Yanklowitz (PhD.), president and dean of Valley Beit Midrash, founder and president of Uri L’Tzedek, and founder and CEO of Shamayim: Jewish Animal Advocacy, who has written six books on Jewish ethics, writes that he “cannot pretend anymore that kosher meat, poultry and dairy is any [more] ethical than nonkosher food.” xxxvii
Is this a kosher meal? While there is a halachic case for veganism, for me the case is in the words of Isaiah: “Is this not the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?” (Isaiah 58:6). Change “fasting” to “feasting” and you will have veganism as the new kashrut.
Yossi Wolfson, co-founder of Animals Now in Tel Aviv, Israel.xxxviii
There is a general Torah mandate to reduce suffering in the world. While Jewish law certainly permits the consumption of animal products, within kosher guidelines, it’s not clear that permission would apply to the horrific conditions of factory farming today. And it’s also not clear that it would apply under any conditions when we have alternative food sources, as we do today.
Shmuly Yanklowitz, Rabbi, Ph.D., president and dean of Valley Beit Midrash, founder and president of Uri L’Tzedek, and founder and CEO of Shamayim: Jewish Animal Advocacy.xxxix
V. Vegan Moral Imperative
(This subsection of the website is the original work of Dr. Lisa Kemmerer).
To understand why many Jews consider omnivorous and vegetarian diets non-kosher[xli] it is necessary to examine food choices with a wide-angle lens, measuring these findings against the larger body of Jewish laws, ethics, and religious ideals. The acronym AMORE is helpful in this process.
AMORE—Five critical reasons to choose vegan
The acronym AMORE (“love” in Italian) reminds of five key religious/moral concerns that point to the importance of choosing a vegan diet:
- A nimals
- M edical
- O ppression
- R eligion
- E nvironment
Anymals: Compassion, Mercy, Not to Harm
In choosing to eat meat, dairy, or eggs, we support the exploitation and slaughter of living creatures. Farmed animals suffer physically and mentally (especially in industrialized farming) and are sent to slaughter in adolescence.
For us to avoid consumption of animal products is a relatively small concession, while such continued consumption . . . means the continuation of lives of indescribable suffering from birth to death.
Yael Shemesh, Ph.D., professor in the Bible Department at Bar-Ilan University.xliii
Cows in the dairy industry are impregnated year after year to force them to give milk. Consumption of dairy has created and now sustains the veal industry, by which calves are taken from their mothers at birth and killed either right away or within six months. Their mothers generally live less than five years (as opposed to about 25) and are forcibly impregnated to perpetually produce calves and nursing milk so that humans can consume dairy products. xliv
Then calving started. I knew, logically, that cows need babies to produce milk, but I’d never really thought about the fact that those babies are almost immediately taken away from their mothers. On my first morning, I stood in the freezing pens with tiny babies who [had been taken from their mothers and] looked absolutely shattered; still wet with afterbirth, bloody umbilical cords dangling. . . .
Mothers were birthing outside my window and I was listening to their labour pains all night, then watching them loving and cleaning their babies until my partner came with the tractor and the cage and took those babies away from them forever. . . . I couldn’t believe what I had been so complicit in, and what evil I had been closing my eyes and heart to.
Jessica Strathdee writing of what she witnessed while working on a dairy farm.xlv
Chickens are tightly confined, denied their most basic inclinations, including stretching their wings and scratching/pecking for food, dusting, nesting, and raising young. Hens are manipulated (both genetically and environmentally) to lay some 300 eggs every year, while their wild ancestors, who live in the jungles of India, produce only 10-15 eggs per year. And factory farmed hens never see their young—and their young never see their mothers.xlvii
A chicken in the meat industry is deprived of all the bliss this world can provide. Her animality taken away, she becomes the raw material for an industrial complex she will never understand. This is tyranny, injustice, and torture. Veganism is the simple action one cannot avoid in the face of this.
Yossi Wolfson, co-founder of Animals Now in Tel Aviv, Israel.xlviii
They taught me love and responsibility and to struggle for justice and against injustice. Without ever talking about it, I learned from them never to stand by when evil is being done, not to fear the price, because the price is always higher when we do nothing. . . .
Again I am documenting at the Nordia hatchery. Again: a garbage container full of day-old chicks. Some of them hatching within the container. All of them dying, some of them crushed by the weight of others, all trying to breath, some still able to cheep, stench of death.
Adi Winter, activist for Animals Now in Tel Aviv Israel.xlix
While practicing Jews do not eat pigs, many Jews live in nations and communities that do. Like hens, sows exploited for meat production are generally kept in extreme confinement (farrowing and gestation crates), where they cannot so much as turn around, and where they are repeatedly impregnated in order to maximize piglet “production” (otherwise referred to as “birth” by those outside of food industries). li As with all farmed anymals anywhere in the world, they are killed while still young, though not before they are forced to produce about seven groups of piglets for fattening and slaughter, all taken from their mothers prematurely.lii
I don't know a place on earth as depressing as an industrial pig facility. We found Okja at a pig farm, dragging himself over the slatted concrete floor with both hind legs paralyzed. Yael, the director of Let the Animals Live, persuaded them to give up the piglet.
After a long process of hydrotherapy Okja learned to walk and was moved to a sanctuary, where he lives as a pig should—give him a watermelon and he will blast with joy; give him a plastic water pool and he will lounge with obvious gratification. He has developed complex relationships with ducks, dogs, and others whom he meets at the sanctuary.
Every animal should have what Okja now has—the track to animal liberation passes through our diets.
Yossi Wolfson, co-founder of Animals Now in Tel Aviv, writing of Okja the pig.liii
When the truck arrived and the piglets were unloaded, this one little animal somehow managed to hide. Molly loves being around people, especially if she can convince someone to give her a belly rub. She enjoys being outdoors during the day, but evenings usually find her in the cozy barn, snuggled up with her best friend, Stella . . . .
It can be helpful to focus on just one of these animals and to realize that your choices make a difference. Every single time you pass up a hotdog or omelet or glass of milk, you are taking a stand against the abuse of an animal like Molly.
If you are able [visit] a farm animal sanctuary to have the opportunity to know these animals.
Jack Norris and Virginia Messina in Vegan for Life.lv
Legal anymal agriculture practices raise many moral concerns and illegal acts of cruelty are exposed whenever undercover investigators penetrate the increasingly thick walls designed to conceal and protect anymal agriculture from public scrutiny. “Kosher” products are produced on these properties.
Tza’ar ba’alei chayim is the Torah mandate to prevent and alleviate animal suffering. Sadly, a kosher hechsher on a package of meat does not mean the animal was treated humanely. The issue here is not whether shechita, kosher slaughter, is better or worse than any other type of slaughter. The issue is that the kosher meat companies do not raise their own animals. They buy their animals from the same cruel industry that supplies Oscar Meyer and Tyson—in other words, the secular meat industry.
Jeffrey Spitz Cohan, Executive Director of Jewish Veg.lvii
Choosing to eat hunted and fished animals also causes suffering and premature death, terrorizes anymals in their homes and causes drawn-out deaths from wounding.
I cannot comprehend how a Jew could even dream of killing animals merely for the pleasure of hunting.
Yechezkel Landau, Rabbi, 18th century.lviii
The fish swam by me and around me and then I noticed one particular fish who was staying still about two feet away. He or she might have been a lion fish as these beautiful, long feathering fins were waving in the sea all around her. I slowly reached out my hand and stroked the edges of the top fins and the fish just continued to watch me. She wasn’t afraid and seemed to enjoy the interaction.
I was so entranced by this and the thought occurred to me: why did I buy fish at the store to eat when I would never dream of eating these beautiful fishes with whom I snorkled? Because one was decorated with beautiful colors and fins and the ones in the store were plain? . . . why was I still eating these creatures with whom I had just had a magical experience that convinced me of a fish’s personality, curiosity and enjoyment of being touched? I stopped eating fish at that very moment.
Jamie Cohen, writing about snorkeling in the Red Sea.lix
For more on dietary choice and anymal suffering (including hunting), see this endnote: lx
Medical: Caring for Humanity
The World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control (and many other sites) report that top killers, especially in wealthier nations, are linked to the consumption of anymal products. Here is some of what they say:lxii
- The biggest killer (by far) is heart disease, which is caused largely by dietary choices (low fruit and vegetable intake) and inactivity, which also lend to high blood pressure (hypertension), high blood glucose (diabetes), obesity, and high cholesterol. Rooted largely in dietary choices coronary artery bypass surgeries are “the most commonly performed cardiac surgery procedure worldwide.” lxiii
- The second largest killer is stroke, which is also linked with omnivorous and vegetarian diets, and tends to align with elevated blood pressure, glucose levels, cholesterol, and body weight.
- Cancers are also a leading cause of death worldwide, especially in wealthier nations. Several cancers are linked with omnivorous and vegetarian diets, particularly liver cancer (from aflatoxins in dairy products) and colorectal cancer, but also pancreatic and prostate cancer, and to a lesser degree, stomach cancers. Red and processed meats are medically linked with cancers.
- Respiratory diseases, another major killer worldwide, are aggravated by animal agriculture, which is a primary cause of air quality reduction. (For more on air pollution and factory farming, see 4.3.V.5. “Environment.”)
- Mercury is among the top ten chemicals that pose a major public health concern and exposure is almost always through eating fish and shellfish.
- According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, “Seventy percent of U.S. antibiotics are fed to anymals” because they are kept in unhealthy conditions; this practice contributes to “the rise of pathogens that defy antibiotics.” lxiv
- E. coli, shigella, and other bacteria spread by fecal matter of farmed anymals, harm and kill human beings and can contaminate even vegan foods (because manure is spread as a fertilizer). lxv
- Finally, anymal enterprises allow diseases to jump from animals to humans, creating such outbreaks as AIDS, SARS, and Swine and Bird Flu, which have killed hundreds of thousands of people. COVID-19, also the product of animal abuse and exploitation, has killed millions and disrupted civilization as we know it. lxvi
Health affects our lives and the lives of others: Partners and children are harmed when someone they love or depend on has a paralyzing stroke or suffers medical problems associated with diabetes or obesity; our health also effects communities beyond emotional suffering, such as through lost productivity and medical costs: Somewhere between 200,000 and 500,000 coronary artery bypass surgeries are performed each year in the United States, and each one costs about $123,000. lxvii
Studies show that being around anymals helps to lower our heart rate lxviii and that a balanced whole-food vegan diet promotes optimal health and protects anymals, the earth, and human communities.
Judaism emphasizes that people should carefully preserve their health and their lives. (Richard Schwartz, Ph.D.) lxix
For more on dietary choice and health, see this Endnote: lxx
While flesh, dairy, and egg industries tend to feed the comparatively privileged (harming their health in the process), these unhealthy food choices harm marginalized peoples in a handful of ways: The consumption of anymal products contributes to world hunger, creates miserable jobs for the underprivileged, and (in a variety of ways) contributes to isms such as racism, sexism, ableism, heterosexism, and ageism.
A large portion of the Jewish community today does not ask ethical questions with regard to kashrut. Their primary concerns when it comes to food purchases relate to health and finances. A growing number of Jews are gaining inspiration from the notion that kashrut [lxxi] helps create communities committed to justice. Veganism leads the way in this regard.
Shmuly Yanklowitz, Rabbi, Ph.D., president and dean of Valley Beit Midrash, founder and president of Uri L’Tzedek, and founder and CEO of Shamayim: Jewish Animal Advocacy.lxxii
World Hunger and Sharing
While one hen consumes very little grain, there are about 26 billion chickens on the planet; the world’s flock consumes about 6.5 billion pounds of grain daily, enough to feed more than 2 billion people for a complete year. A lactating dairy cow eats more than 50 pounds of grain each day: In one week a dairy cow eats more grain than a single human in an entire year. (One human being consumes about 300 pounds of grain per year.) Not only are we breeding, raising, and therefore feeding farmed anymals instead of hungry people, we waste calories and nutrients in the process. Much of the grain consumed by a cow, for example, is lost (to growing horns, hooves, viscera, bones, and hair, and also in moving about and generating heat in the process of living); less than half of a cow’s body is eatable. Meanwhile, according to the United Nations, more than 800 million human beings currently suffer from chronic undernourishment: If we adopted a plant-based diet, all who are hungry could be fed many times over.lxxiii We are not entitled to drink milk while others do not have water or eat meat while others do not have bread.
Mathematical analyses demonstrate that a vegan diet requires much less land and many fewer resources—cycling food through anymals is land-intensive (and wastes both calories and nutrients). lxxv A vegan nation does not need to produce more grain and vegetables, but only to produce different crops—ones that feed people and not farmed anymals. We can feed many more people on much less land when we choose vegan.
Pirkei Avot, Avot 1:5
Let the poor be members of thy household.lxxvi
When I consider Judaism and its highest ideals, I realize how consistent it is with veganism: being respectful and compassionate, protecting life and resources, guarding and increasing health, pursuing peace and justice, living by one’s values.
Dan Brook, Ph.D.lxxvii
Love and service require those who care about cattle, and those who care about people, to quit breeding billions of cattle, hens, turkeys, and hogs, so that we can quit feeding billions of tons of available grains to anymals, and instead feed those grains to human beings who are chronically hungry—who are starving to death. If we care about those who are hungry, we will maintain a plant-based diet, eating grains directly. Our dollars decide what sort of industries will flourish. Our dollars decide where grains will go. Our dollars decide whether or not there will be enough food to go around.
Lisa Kemmerer, Ph.D., in Animals and World Religions.lxxviii
The Labor Force
Slaughterhouses and “meat”-processing facilities symbolize suffering and death for animals and exploitation for workers. Fortunately, we can choose not to support this cycle of exploitation and suffering by simply adopting a vegan lifestyle.
The Food Empowerment Project.lxxix
In Slaughterhouse, Gail Eisnitz exposed slaughterhouse jobs as among the worst—dangerous and physically exhausting, low paying and devoid of unions, and requiring repetitive acts for long hours (hours that are steeped in blood and suffering, in killing and dismembering). lxxx It is not uncommon for workers to be crushed by cattle, burned by chemicals, stabbed by poking knives, or to lose limbs and body parts in the mechanisms of machinery. Eisnitz discovered that “with nearly thirty-six injuries or illnesses for every one hundred workers, meat packing is the most dangerous industry in the United States.” lxxxi She found in slaughterhouses “a system that places nearly as little value on human life as . . . on animal life.” lxxxii It is not surprising that these jobs are largely filled by marginalized and disempowered who have few jobs to choose from. Our dollars create their jobs.
Amputations, fractured fingers, second-degree burns and head trauma are just some of the serious injuries suffered by US meat plant workers every week, according to data seen by the Guardian and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. US meat workers are already three times more likely to suffer serious injury than the average American worker, and pork and beef workers nearly seven times more likely to suffer repetitive strain injuries.
Andrew Wasley, Christopher Cook, and Natalie Jones in The Guardian.)lxxxiii
For centuries philosophers have understood that cruelty to anymals begets cruelty to humanity.lxxxiv Eighteenth century philosopher Immanuel Kant wrote, “He who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his treatment of men.”lxxxv Contemporary research connects cruelty to animals with violence toward people, including a number of serial killers, demonstrating that those who work in slaughterhouses sometimes become desensitized to harming and killing, sometimes exhibiting overt cruelty toward anymals that sometimes carries over into homes and communities, expressed in high incidences of violence, particularly domestic abuse and assault. lxxxvi Our food dollars decide what sorts of jobs are available in human communities.
Though comparatively quite dangerous, these jobs pay poorly and are boring, requiring long hours of repetitive action—all while awash in blood, emersed in killing and dismembering individuals. [clxii]
It is not surprising that slaughterhouse jobs are taken largely by those who have no other work options—those who are marginalized and disempowered. Food choices determine available jobs, which is to say, what we eat decides what other people do for a living, whether people (especially the underprivileged) will stand in blood and body parts, killing and dismembering living creatures all day, or stand vegetables, processing leaves, fruits, and grains
For centuries humans have known that cruelty begets cruelty—that cruelty to anymals begets cruelty to humans. [clxiii] Eighteenth century philosopher Immanuel Kant wrote, “He who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his treatment of men.” [clxiv] Contemporary research has provided a clear link between cruelty to animals and violence toward people, including the dreadful violence of some of the world’s most brutal serial killers.
Studies show that those who work in slaughterhouses sometimes become desensitized—and violent—both toward anymals and human beings. This desensitization has been noted in high incidences of domestic abuse and assault in communities where slaughterhouses are located[clxv] Consumer food choices determine whether communities will be employed in slaughterhouses or vegetable processing plants.
One time I took my knife and sliced off the end of a hog’s nose, just like a piece of salami. The hog went crazy for a few seconds. Then it sat there looking kind of stupid. So I took a handful of salt and rubbed it on the wound. Now that hog really went nuts. It was my way of taking out frustration. Another time, there was a live hog in the pit. It hadn’t done anything wrong, wasn’t even running around. It was just alive. I took a three-foot chunk of pipe and I literally beat that hog to death. It was like I started hitting the hog and I couldn’t stop. And when I finally did stop, I’d expended all this energy and frustration, and I’m thinking what in God’s sweet name did I do.
Gail Eisnitz in Slaughterhouse.lxxxvii
A diet of flesh, dairy products, and eggs feeds several forms of oppression.
Racism and Classism
Because slaughterhouse work tends to be dangerous, low-paying, and gruesome, providing little or no security or benefits, it is almost always the marginalized who take these jobs—undocumented immigrants in particular, who do not have legal protections guaranteed citizens. Factory farms—invariably located in disempowered communities (particularly communities of color in nations like the United States)—reduce air quality and damage local environments in predictable ways, endangering residents (particularly the unborn and children) in equally predictable ways.lxxxix
An unknown percentage of workers are undocumented. Many employers knowingly hire undocumented workers in an effort to satisfy the extremely high turnover rate of the industry, which often exceeds 100% annually. In some cases, they provide incentives for current workers to recruit family and friends and even help new workers to create fake social security cards. Undocumented workers are constantly faced with the threat of deportation – either by their employer or by federal raids.
The Food Empowerment Project.xc
The ethos of Judaism that I was raised on was the pursuit of justice, suspicion toward power, and intolerance toward oppression. Abraham, Jeremiah, Rosa Luxemburg—the shadows of such Jewish heroes could be seen through the lenses of this version of Judaism, marching behind Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in March 1965.
Yossi Wolfson, co-founder of Animals Now in Tel Aviv, Israel.xci
Sexism (and ageism)
Increases in sex trafficking and high incidents of sexual assault indicate disrespect for—an exploitative attitude toward—women and girls. This is also evidenced and perpetuated in anymal industries in the routine exploitation of female biology and motherhood in sows, cows, and chickens, who are used as reproduction machines for pork, dairy/veal, and eggs. (For more on dietary choice and sexism, see Kemmerer, Sister Species: Women, Animals, and Social Justice (U of IL, 2011). Also see endnote xciii.) Hens are manipulated to lay 30 times the number of eggs they would lay in their natural environment, lending to all sorts of medical complications and suffering. xciv The dairy industry repeatedly impregnates cows, steals and sells newborn calves into the veal industry, then perpetually milks bereaved mothers right through the next forced impregnation. Because females are expected to produce (sex, babies, milk), as they age, their value is perceived as diminishing, linking sexism with ageism. Female cows, pigs, and hens are shipped to slaughter when their production declines, though they would live many more years, given the chance. To maintain integrity, feminists who can choose vegan must do so.
[We] condemn other mothers to a lifetime of exploitation and the most unthinkable loss, all so we can steal their breast milk, their babies’ food, and . . . we steal their babies from them too. Their babies. Their bodies. Their milk. Not ours.
Jessica Strathdee writing of what she witnessed while employed on a dairy farm.xcvi
Angela is considered an old cow for the [dairy] industry, at the young age of 5.5 years. When we met her, she was pregnant with her fourth baby and scheduled for slaughter right after giving birth.
Freedom Farm xcviii
Ableism (and ageism, sexism, homophobia, trans aggression)
Anymal agriculture is rooted in and expresses a conception of living creatures as units of production and reproduction; living creatures as valued based on their productive and/or reproductive capacities. Viewing and handling creation in this light is contrary to scriptures: We are commanded to tend and protect, not exploit for profit.
Valuing living beings based on production/reproduction devalues those who are child free, those in gay and trans relationships, and women beyond their reproductive years. Valuing living beings based on production/reproduction also devalues those labeled “disabled” who are not “productive” by capitalistic/conventional standards. c A capitalistic failure to respect anymals as individuals merges into a failure to respect human beings as individuals.
For more on dietary choice and oppression, see this endnote.ci
I began to see that the Jewish worldview included my ideas about working for a better world. . . . . There was plenty of opportunity for a fulfilling spiritual, socially activist life within my own tradition! In fact, the whole saga of Jewish history involved a struggle to maintain the Jewish people and its ethical teachings in the face of oppression, anti-Semitism, hatred, and violence.
Richard Schwartz, Ph.D.cii
All religions teach humanity that we are not the center of the universe, that we are here only for a short time and that our purpose is to serve a greater purpose. Religions teach people to be humble and respectful, to look after our own health and the planet, to show compassion and mercy—especially for the disempowered, including those suffering from malnutrition and hunger, those working in slaughterhouses, and those who are marginalized, including anymals who fall under the destructive power of a seemingly unfeeling humanity.civ
How did animal exploitation come to exist—even flourish—when core teachings in every major religion center on compassion and respect for the natural world?
Lisa Kemmerer, Ph.D.,Animals and World Religions.)cv
Judaism’s way of life, its dietary practices, are designed to ennoble the human spirit. It is therefore a contradiction in terms to claim that products that come through a process that involves inordinate cruelty and barbarity toward animal life can truly be considered kosher in our world. In our world today, it is precisely a plant-based diet that is truly consonant with the most sublime teachings of Judaism and of the highest aspirations of our heritage.
David Rosen, Rabbi, Director of International Interreligious Affairs for the American Jewish Committee—previously Chief Rabbi of Ireland and the senior rabbi of the largest Orthodox Jewish Congregation in South Africa.)cvi
Chewing on chickens, pigs, cows, or fishes, when we have other food choices, contradicts the core ideals of every major religion.
Lisa Kemmerer, Ph.D., Animals and World Religions.)cviii
For more on dietary choice and religion, see Kemmerer, Animals and World Religions (Oxford UP, 2012). Also see endnote cix.
Breeding and keeping large herds and flocks of cattle, goats, sheep, pigs, turkeys, and chickens as part of our food system damages the planet. Animal agriculture is the leading cause of every major environmental concern, including climate change, deforestation, freshwater reduction, soil degradation, and water pollution (creating dead zones). cxi The anymals are victims and are not to blame—our dietary choices drive the industries that cause these problems.
A vegan diet always works because it always reduces your contribution to animal exploitation and shrinks your carbon footprint. There is no other diet that can make this promise.
Jack Norris and Virginia Messina in Vegan for Life.cxii
Omnivorous and vegetarian diets are the number one source and cause of human induced greenhouse gas emissions. cxiii Agriculture tends to be fossil fuel intensivecxiv —consuming animal products creates ten times more fossil fuel emissions/carbon dioxide per calorie than a plant-based diet. cxv
Turning anymals into human food is stunningly inefficient: Meat from factory farms has an energy input to output ratio of 35:1. cxvii Dairy is worse—a lactating cow consumes about 54 pounds of grain every day—enough to feed a human being for about three months. cxviii This is partly because so many grains are produced for farmed anymals, including 70% of grains in the United States and 60% of grains in the European Union. Petroleum is burned to prepare, maintain, and harvest millions of tons of feedcrops, which must then be transported and kept.
Anymal agriculture is also the largest single source of human-induced methane, which results from the decomposition of manure and the digestion process of the worlds billions of cattle, sheep, and goats. cxix Anymal agriculture is also the largest single source of human-induced nitrous oxide (through decomposition of manure and the use of synthetic fertilizers).cxx Both methane and nitrous oxide are extremely potent greenhouse gases compared (pound for pound) with carbon dioxide. Methane remains in the atmosphere for 9-15 years and has “more than 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide over the first 20 years:”clviii “At least 25% of today’s warming is driven by methane from human actions.”clix Nitrous oxide “molecules stay in the atmosphere for an average of 114 years and trap solar radiation 300 times per unit weight more effectively: “The impact of 1 pound of N2O on warming the atmosphere is almost 300 times that of 1 pound of carbon dioxide.”clx
Two men were fighting over a piece of land. Each claimed ownership and bolstered his claim with apparent proof. To resolve their differences, they agreed to put the case before the rabbi. The rabbi listened to their arguments but could come to no decision because both seemed to be right. Finally he said, “Since I cannot decide to whom this land belongs, let us ask the land.” He put his ear to the ground and, after a moment, straightened up. “Gentlemen, the land says it belongs to neither of you but that you belong to it.”
Shlomo Riskin, Rabbi, Ph.D.cxxi
Anymal agriculture is the number one contributor to water pollution. cxxii Millions of tons of manure is dumped into water systems without any treatment process: In the United States, about 13 times more manure is dumped into water systems than the total amount of all human waste produced. cxxiii This has caused the exponential growth of dead zones, which destroy water ecosystems.cxxiv
Gigantic herds of farmed anymals, raised for those who consume flesh, dairy, and eggs, drink just under 82 billion liters (22 billion gallons) of water collectively. cxxv Add to that the billions of gallons of water taken from the world’s water systems in order to grow billions of tons of crops that are squandered by cycling them through “livestock” rather than feed them directly to humans. cxxvi
Anymal agriculture is also the number one cause of deforestation. The single largest contributor to Brazil’s rapid deforestation is the nation’s lucrative cattle industry, cxxvii but land is converted not only for grazing, but also to produce feed such as corn and soy, implicating all farmed anymal industries. cxxviii This exposes another environmental concern stemming from anymal agriculture—human appropriation of otherwise natural lands, through which not only trees are lost, but entire ecosystems, including habitat for endangered species. cxxix This is made worse by “wildlife control,” government programs that systematically destroy free ranging anymals (grazers or predators) who are considered a threat to the profits of anymal agriculture (including aquaculture) in many nations. Governmental programs target such wide-ranging species as prairie dogs, wolves, coyotes, cougars, and bears, but of course individuals from many other species are killed incidentally by traps or poisons that have been set for target species. cxxx
Overgrazing is the norm. Unprecedented numbers of cows, sheep, and goats are destroying the surface of the earth and causing erosion, turning previously productive land into wastelands that are difficult if not impossible to restore.cxxxii As human populations grow, the sheer number of farmed anymals necessary to feed vegetarians and omnivores is unsustainable on this planet. Core Jewish values indicate that going vegan “should be a priority” on behalf of anymals, “our collective health,” and the planet. cxxxiii
Because of all the fishes that humans eat, 91 million metric tons of sea lives are fished from the seas annually. As a result, 80% of fisheries have reached or exceeded maximum yields and 90% of large predatory fishes have been destroyed. Meanwhile, anymals dependent on sea ecosystems for survival are perishing for want of food, including whales, sea lions, and penguins. cxxxvi
Industrialized fishing has depleted and destroyed vast sea ecosystems—and continues to do so daily. cxxxviiProblems are enhanced because fishing methods are indiscriminate—they hook or net billions of sea lives unintentionally (called bykill or bycatch), including endangered fishes, turtles, and whales. cxxxviii Only a few hundred vaquitas (a species of porpoises) remain on the planet, decimated by fishing nets that claim at least a couple dozen vaquitas each year. This prevents species recovery, likely dooming this species to extinction.cxxxix Humans choosing to buy fishes and shrimp are responsible for the decimation and likely disappearance of the vaquita[clxvi] and innumerable other underwater species. [clxvii]
Aquaculture pollutes waters and causes biological contamination (when domesticated species escape) and leads to further deaths and ecological destruction through the killing of local predators who are viewed as a threat to profits. Perhaps most egregiously, farms that raise predatory fish (like salmon) results in a net loss of fish because many of these fish are fed on fish.cxlii
Hunting is responsible for both depletions and extinctions—across centuries—including the forever-loss of the trusting dodo bird and the gentle Steller’s sea cow. cxliii Extinctions are the worst of moral failings, the epitome of religious irresponsibility—we were tasked with serving God by tending creation.
Other disconcerting yet common environmental problems are inherent in contemporary hunting. Perhaps most notably, governmental programs in many nations manipulate natural ecosystems to enhance hunted (and fished) species, thereby gunning down, trapping, and poisoning a host of anymals, including sea lions and wolves. cxlv
Do we really believe that overpopulation is best solved with bullets? Do we really believe that deer, ducks, and pheasants are dangerously overpopulated in comparison with human beings? What is the most dangerously overpopulated species on the planet?
Lisa Kemmerer, Ph.D., in Animals and World Religions.cxlvi
What we choose to eat is “the number one determinant” of our environmental footprint.cxlviii What we choose to eat has a tremendous effect on God’s good creation, which we have been commanded to serve and protect, and on which we depend for survival.
It is not only about ethics, moral conviction, and religious teachings. Modern science is as clear as a bell on the terrifying cost of clinging to a non-vegan diet. Whole tracts of virginal land, from the Amazon rainforest to the verdant plains of the Americas, are being plowed over to grow genetically modified soybeans to feed cattle who are injected with poisonous chemicals to cause excessive and rapid growth, merely to provide us with a cheap hamburger. The world’s oceans are rapidly becoming devoid of life as overfishing trawls and sucks the last remaining organisms from the depths. . . .
It is up to every single one of us to help make a difference and right these awful wrongs. And it begins at a very simple place . . . on the dinner plate. That is not difficult to accomplish. And that is why I am a vegan.
Lionel Friedberg, award winning author and film director and producer.cxlix
For more on dietary choice and environment, see Kemmerer, Eating Earth: Environmental Ethics and Dietary Choice (Oxford UP, 2014) and Animals and Environment: Advocacy, Activism and the Quest for Common Ground, edited by Kemmerer (Routledge, 2015). Also see endnote cl.
A vegan diet is the world’s most simple solution to a host of complex problems.
Jack Norris and Virginia Messina in Vegan for Life.cli
When encouraged to adopt a vegan diet, Jews are likely to note permission to eat anymals in Genesis 9, scriptural acceptance of anymal sacrifice, eating anymal products fulfills mitzvot, and all that is kosher is permissible. Examining scripture exposes the problematic nature of these arguments and exposes a Jewish moral imperative to adopt a vegan diet.
Jewish teachings about treating animals with compassion, guarding our health, sharing with hungry people, protecting the environment, conserving natural resources, and seeking peace are all best applied through vegan diets.
Richard Schwartz, Ph.D.clii
Those who choose a vegetarian or omnivorous diet also choose to harm and destroy anymals, people, and the planet. Where other options are available, when informed of these weighty moral concerns, it would seem impossible for a sincere Jew to defend the choice to eat meat, dairy, or eggs.cliii
Kosher must not just be the end product, but it must be the result of how a whole process has been conducted.
David Rosen, Rabbi, Director of International Interreligious Affairs for the American Jewish Committee; previously Chief Rabbi of Ireland and the senior rabbi of the largest Orthodox Jewish Congregation in South Africa.cliv
With nearly 15 percent of the Israeli population choosing a plant-based diet, Israel may be on track to becoming the first vegan country in the world. Such an achievement would be a global Kiddush Hashem (sanctification of God’s name) that would cause the image of the State of Israel to skyrocket.
Asa Keisar, Rabbi.clvi
Appendix B of Vegan Revolution: Saving Our World, Revitalizing Judaism by Richard H. Schwartz (NY: Lantern Publishing & Media), 2020. 153-162.
“The Jewish Basis of an Animal-Free Diet Concisely Explained.” Jewish Veg (https://www.jewishveg.org/infographics)
“Judaism.” Jewish Vegetarian Society.
A Sacred Duty: Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal the World, produced by Jewish Vegetarians of North America, one hour documentary (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9RxmTGHZgE).
Chapter Five of Animals and World Religions by Lisa Kemmerer.(Oxford: Oxford UP), 2012.
[ii] Yossi Wolfson in Schwartz, Richard. Vegan Revolution: Saving Our World, Revitalizing Judaism. NY: Lantern Publishing & Media, 2020. 149.
[iii] Courtesy of Shutterstock.
Courtesy of Adi, Or. “From Tel Aviv to Your Table: Top 5 Israel-inspired Vegan Dishes.”
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When referencing and exploring core Jewish and Christian texts, this website uses the English translation generally
preferred by scholars, the New Revised Standard Version, which can be accessed
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Courtesy of Kathryn King, “Peeper: A Story of Unending
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Corruption is “a departure from the original plan or from
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[xi] Buttrick, George Arthur, ed. and trans. The Interpreter’s Bible. 12 vols. New York: Abingdon, 1956. 1:549
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[xiii] Schwartz, Richard. Vegan Revolution: Saving Our World, Revitalizing Judaism. NY: Lantern Publishing & Media, 2020. xv.
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[xvi] Nina Natelson in Kemmerer, Lisa. Animals and World Religions. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2012. 203-04.
Courtesy of “Animal Advocacy & Sanctuaries: Israel: Middle East: Freedom Farm Sanctuary.”
Pacific Roots Magazine. Sept. 4, 2019.
[xviii] Nina Natelson in Schwartz, Richard. Vegan Revolution: Saving Our World, Revitalizing Judaism. NY: Lantern Publishing & Media, 2020.
Courtesy of Freedom Farm Facebook page.
“What Does Genesis 8:21 Mean?” BibleRef.
Courtesy of Freedom Farm Facebook page.
“Theories of the Origin of Sacrifice.” Encyclopedia Britannica.
Courtesy of We Animals Media.
“Theories of the Origin of Sacrifice.” Encyclopedia Britannica.
[xxv] Cohen, Reverend A. The Teaching of Maimonides. New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1927. 178-79.
[xxvi] Cohen, Reverend A. The Teaching of Maimonides. New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1927. 178.
[xxvii] Cohen, Reverend A. The Teaching of Maimonides. New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1927. 178-79.
[xxviii] Fifteenth century philosopher with commentaries on scripture.
[xxix] Nathan Lopes Cardozo in Schwartz, Richard. Vegan Revolution: Saving Our World, Revitalizing Judaism. NY: Lantern Publishing & Media, 2020. 7.
Courtesy of Altshuler, George. “Jews take part in growth of
local vegan scene.” Washington Jewish Week. Sept. 28, 2016.
[xxxi] Schwartz, Richard. Vegan Revolution: Saving Our World, Revitalizing Judaism. NY: Lantern Publishing & Media, 2020. 159.
[xxxii] Schwartz, Richard. Vegan Revolution: Saving Our World, Revitalizing Judaism. NY: Lantern Publishing & Media, 2020. 159.
[xxxiii] Jeffrey Spitz Cohan in Schwartz, Richard. Vegan Revolution: Saving Our World, Revitalizing Judaism. NY: Lantern Publishing & Media, 2020. 137-38.
Courtesy of We Animals Media.
[xxxv] Kosher foods satisfy the requirements of Jewish food laws, collectively called Kashrut.
[xxxvi] Schwartz, Richard. Vegan Revolution: Saving Our World, Revitalizing Judaism. NY: Lantern Publishing & Media, 2020. 7.
[xxxvii] Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz (Rabbi). “Why This Rabbi Is Swearing Off Kosher Meat: The Reality of Industrial Slaughter is too far Removed from Traditional Jewish Ethical Values.” May 29, 2014. The Wall Street Journal: Opinion. A13.
[xxxviii] Yossi Wolfson in Schwartz, Richard. Vegan Revolution: Saving Our World, Revitalizing Judaism. NY: Lantern Publishing & Media, 2020. 149-50.
Shmuly Yanklowitz (Rabbi). Jewish Food Hero.
Courtesy of “Two New Kosher Vegan Restaurants in Center City
Philly.” YeahThat’sKosher. Jan. 29, 2020.
To learn about the few ways that vegan food might not be kosher,
see Teichman, Yakov (Rabbi). “Keeping Kosher When
Vegan.” OK.org: Kosher Certification: Kosher Spirit:
[xliii] Yael Shemesh in Schwartz, Richard. Vegan Revolution: Saving Our World, Revitalizing Judaism. NY: Lantern Publishing & Media, 2020. 148.
[xliv] For more on cows and the dairy industry, see:
Milk Future Museum.
Animal Equality, “Suffering in the Dairy Industry.
PETA “The Dairy Industry”
Mothers Against Dairy.
“Cow Longevity Economics: The Cost Benefit of Keeping the
Cow in The Herd.”
“To Keep or to Cull.”
“Dynamics and Strategies for Culling in a Dairy Herd.”
“Culling Decisions and Dairy Cattle Welfare During
Transport to Slaughter in the United States.”
“Facts on Veal Calves.”
Strathdee, Jessica. Mothers Against Dairy.
Courtesy of We Animals Media.
[xlvii] For more information about poultry see United Poultry Concerns:
[xlviii] Yossi Wolfson, co-founder of Animals Now, in Schwartz, Richard. Vegan Revolution: Saving Our World, Revitalizing Judaism. NY: Lantern Publishing & Media, 2020. 149.
[xlix] Adi Winter, from her Facebook page. Provided by Yossi Wolfson, co-founder of Animals Now, in a personal e-mail.
Courtesy of We Animals Media.
[li] See examples of this approach to sows and productivity at:
“How Many Piglets Do Sows Produce throughout Their Lives?”
“Making 30 Pigs Per Sow Per Year Dream Come True.”
See “Swine Production and Management Home Study Course: Breeding Management” at
[liii] Yossi Wolfson. Personal Email.
[liv] Courtesy of Yossi Wolfson. Personal Email.
[lv] Norris, Jack and Virginia Messina. Vegan for Life. NY: Hachette Books, 2020. 15.
[lvi] Courtesy of Yossi Wolfson. Personal Email.
[lvii] Jeffrey Spitz Cohan in Schwartz, Richard. Vegan Revolution: Saving Our World, Revitalizing Judaism. NY: Lantern Publishing & Media, 2020. 137.
[lviii] Yechezkel Landau (Rabbi) in Schwartz, Richard. Judaism and Vegetarianism. NY: Lantern, 2001. 25.
Jamie Cohen at “Fish Feel: Your Page.” Fish Feel.
[lx] For more on diet and anymal suffering, see:[lx]
Jewish Vegetarian Society.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
Mercy for Animals.
Also, search online sites for undercover investigations, which always expose cruelty.
For more on diet, ethics, and hunting and fishing, see
- Eating Earth: Environmental Ethics and Dietary Choice. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2014.
- Kheel, Marti. Nature Ethics. Rowman & Littlefield, 2007.
Courtesy of We Animals Media.
“The Top 10 Causes of Death.” World Health Organization. Dec. 9, 2020.
[lxiii] Melly, Ludovic et al. “Fifty Years of Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting.” Journal of Thoracic Disease 10.3 (2018): pages 1960-1967.
Kristof, Nicholas. “Our Water-Guzzling Food Factory.” The New York Times. May 30, 2015.
“E. Coli.” Mayo Clinic.
[lxvi] For more on zoonosis, see:
The World Health Organization.
Ciment, Ethan. “Cancel the Kaporos Chicken Slaughter Once
and for All: It’s Irresponsible, Especially During the COVID Pandemic.”
“Emerging Zoonotic Diseases.”
Animal Legal Defense Fund.
“Eating Animals Causes Pandemics.”
“Coronary Artery Bypass.” Texas Heart Institute.
https://www.texasheart.org/heart-health/heart-information-center/topics/coronary-artery-bypass/; “Coronary artery bypass grafting.” HonorHealth.
https://www.honorhealth.com/medical-services/cardiac-care/treatment-options/coronary-artery-bypass-grafting; Hargrave, Lauren. “The Costs of Bypass Surgery.” March 26, 2019.
“Having a dog can help your heart—literally.
”Sept. 1, 2015. Harvard.edu: Staying Healthy.
https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/having-a-dog-can-help-your-heart--literally. Also, see Fields, Lisa. Medically Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD. “6 Ways Pets Can Improve Your Health.” Oct. 24, 2013. WebMD.
[lxix] Schwartz, Richard. Vegan Revolution: Saving Our World, Revitalizing Judaism. NY: Lantern Publishing & Media, 2020. 1.
[lxx] For more on Diet and health, see
Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine.
https://veganhealth.org/ (including books). https://veganhealth.org/books-on-nutrition/.
Vegan dietitian Matt Ruscigno.
Norris, Jack and Virginia Messina. Vegan for Life.
[lxxi] Jewish laws that provide the foundation for a kosher dietary pattern are collectively referred to as kashrut.
[lxxii] Shmuly Yanklowitz (Rabbi) in Schwartz, Richard. Vegan Revolution: Saving Our World, Revitalizing Judaism. NY: Lantern Publishing & Media, 2020. 151.
[lxxiii] For mathematical assessment and statistics of diet and environmental costs, see Haley, John. “So You Want to Stop Devouring Ecosystems? Do the Math!” Animals and the Environment: Advocacy, Activism, and the Quest for Common Ground. Ed. Lisa Kemmerer. Routledge, 2015. 151-162. Also, see Kemmerer, Lisa. Eating Earth: Environmental Ethics and Dietary Choice. Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 2014. (Published in Italian, 2016.)
Courtesy of A Well-Fed World.
For more on diet and waste, see A Well-Fed World:
Avot 1:5. Pirkei Avot. Sefaria: A Living Library of Jewish Texts.
[lxxvii] Dan Brook in Schwartz, Richard. Vegan Revolution: Saving Our World, Revitalizing Judaism. NY: Lantern Publishing & Media, 2020. n.p.
[lxxviii] Kemmerer, Lisa. Animals and World Religions. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2012. 220.
“Slaughterhouse Workers.” The Food Empowerment Project.
Eisnitz, Gail. Slaughterhouse: The Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect, and Inhumane Treatment
Inside the U.S. Meat Industry. New York: Prometheus, 1997. Also, see Newkirk, Ingrid.
“Slowing Down Slaughter Speeds is a Step Forward, but we can do far Better.” Daily World. June 9, 2021.
[lxxxi] Eisnitz, Gail. Slaughterhouse: The Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect, and Inhumane Treatment Inside the U.S. Meat Industry. New York: Prometheus, 1997. 271.
[lxxxii] Eisnitz, Gail. Slaughterhouse: The Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect, and Inhumane Treatment Inside the U.S. Meat Industry. New York: Prometheus, 1997. 273.
Wasley, Andrew, Christopher Cook, and Natalie Jones. “Two
Amputations a Week: The Cost of Working in a US Meat Plant.” The Guardian. July 2018.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jul/05/amputations-serious-injuries-us-meat-industry-plant. Also, see “Slaughterhouse Workers” at the Food Empowerment Project:
[lxxxiv] Hoff, Christina. “Kant’s Invidious Humanism.” Environmental Ethics 5 (1983): 63–7 on p. 63–64.
Kant, Immanuel. “Lectures on Ethics.”
[lxxxvi] For more on dietary choice and violence, see
- Eisnitz, Gail, Slaughterhouse: The Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect, and Inhumane Treatment Inside the U.S. Meat Industry. New York: Prometheus, 1997.
- Marsh, Peter. The Supremacist Syndrome: How Domination Underpins Slavery, Genocide, the Exploitation of Women, and the Maltreatment of Animals. NY: Lantern, 2021.
- Amy Fitzgerald. Animal Abuse and Family Violence: Researching the Interrelationships of Abusive Power. Mellen Press, 2005.
Fitzgerald. Amy (et al).
- “Slaughterhouses and Increased Crime Rates” in Organization and Environment, 22 (158-184) and
- “Animal Maltreatment in the Context of Intimate Partner Violence” (in Violence against Women).
For stories of people who have transitioned to other forms of employment, see
[lxxxvii] Eisnitz, Gail. Slaughterhouse: The Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect, and Inhumane Treatment Inside the U.S. Meat Industry. New York: Prometheus, 1997.
Courtesy of We Animals Media.
[lxxxix] For more on dietary choice and racism, see:
The Food Empowerment Project.
https://foodispower.org/environmental-and-global/environmental-racism/ and various pages at
- Kim, Claire Jean. Dangerous Crossings: Race, Species, and Nature in a Multicultural Age. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2015.
“Racism.” Brave Birds.
- Ko, Aph and Syl. Aphro-Ism: Essays on Pop Culture, Feminism, and Black Veganism from Two Sisters.
- Marsh, Peter. The Supremacist Syndrome: How Domination Underpins Slavery, Genocide, the Exploitation of Women, and the Maltreatment of Animals. NY: Lantern. 2021.
To read stories from Mothers Against Dairy linking sexism and dietary choice, visit
“Slaughterhouse Workers.” Food Empowerment Project.
[xci] Yossi Wolfson in Schwartz, Richard. Vegan Revolution: Saving Our World, Revitalizing Judaism. NY: Lantern Publishing & Media, 2020. 149.
Courtesy of Parks, Forest. “Did You Know There Are Black Vegan Jews In Israel?” UrbanIntellectuals: Modern History. Dec. 2, 2015.
[xciii] For more on dietary choice and sexism, see
Mothers Against Dairy.
Feminists for Animal Rights.
- Sister Species: Women, Animals, and Social Justice by Lisa Kemmerer. Urbana-Champaign: U of IL, 2011.
Fitzgerald Amy (et al).
- “Animals, Women and Weapons: Blurred Sexual Boundaries in the Discourse of Sport Hunting.” Society & Animals 12. 237-251.
- “The Compounding Feminization of Animal Cruelty Investigation Work and Its Multispecies Implications.” Gender, Work, and Organizations. 2018.
- The Pornography of Meat by Carol Adams (NY: Continuum, 2003).
- The Milk Future Museum (https://www.milkfuture.com).
Capps, Ashley. “Eggs: What Are You Really Eating?” Free from Harm. Feb. 12, 2014.
Courtesy of We Animals Media.
[xcvi] Strathdee, Jessica. Mothers Against Dairy, https://mothersagainstdairy.org/dairy-farming-mother/.
[xcvii] Strathdee, Jessica. Mothers Against Dairy, https://mothersagainstdairy.org/dairy-farming-mother/.
“Angela’s Story.” Freedom Farm Sanctuary: Rescued Animals.
Courtesy of Freedom Farm: Rescues.
For more on ableism and anymal exploitation, see Beasts of Burden by Sunaura Taylor. NY: The New Press, 2017. For an excerpt:
[ci] For more on dietary choice and oppression, see.
Jewish Veg: Jewish Values in Action: Feeding the World's Hungry.
“Redefining Agricultural Yields.”
A Well-Fed World: Issues: Hunger.
https://awellfedworld.org/global-hunger/. Also, at A Well-Fed World, see “research” and then “hunger.”
- Taylor, Sunaura. Beasts of Burden. The New Press, 2017.
- Kim, Claire Jean. Dangerous Crossings. Cambridge UP, 2015.
- Ko, Aph and Syl. Aphro-ism: Essays on Pop Culture, Feminism, and Black Veganism from Two Sisters. Lantern, 2017.
- Adams, Carol. The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory. Continuum, 1990.
- Jones, Pattrice. The Oxen at the Intersection. Lantern, 2014.
- Kemmerer, Lisa, Ed. Sister Species: Women, Animals, and Social Justice. U of IL, 2011.
[cii] Schwartz, Richard. Vegan Revolution: Saving Our World, Revitalizing Judaism. NY: Lantern Publishing & Media, 2020. xxv.
Courtesy of We Animals Media.
[civ] See Kemmerer, Lisa. Animals and World Religions. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2012. Also, visit other religions covered on this website (http://animalsandreligion.org).
[cv] Kemmerer, Lisa. Animals and World Religions. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2012.
Rosen, David (Rabbi). “Rabbinic Statement.” Jewish Veg.
“Chief Rabbi David Rosen.” KAICIID: Board of Directors.
[cviii] Kemmerer, Lisa. Animals and World Religions. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2012
[cix] For more on Diet and religion, see
- Kemmerer, Lisa. Animals and World Religions. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2012.
Courtesy of We Animals Media.
[cxi] Kemmerer, Lisa. Eating Earth: Environmental Ethics and Dietary Choice. Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 2014. (Published in Italian, 2016.)
[cxii] Norris, Jack and Virginia Messina. Vegan for Life. NY: Hachette Books, 2020. 23.
[cxiii] Kemmerer, Lisa. Eating Earth: Environmental Ethics and Dietary Choice. Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 2014. 5-17.
[cxiv] Steinfeld, Henning, et al. Livestock’s Long Shadow: Environmental Issues and Options. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2006. 272.
[cxv] Oppenlander, Richard A. Comfortably Unaware: Global Depletion and Food Responsibility . . . What You Choose to Eat Is Killing our Planet. Minneapolis: Langdon Street, 2011. 12.
Courtesy of We Animals Media.
[cxvii] Kemmerer, Lisa. Eating Earth: Environmental Ethics and Dietary Choice. Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 2014. 8-11. Also, see Cassuto, David N. “The CAFO Hothouse: Climate Change, Industrial Agriculture, and the Law.” Animals and Society Institute Policy Paper, 2010. 4.
“U.S. Eats 5 Times More than India Per Capita.” May 4,
2008. Times of India.
Also, see Kemmerer, Lisa. Eating Earth: Environmental Ethics and Dietary Choice. Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 2014. 9.
[cxix] Oppenlander, Richard A. Comfortably Unaware: Global Depletion and Food Responsibility . . . What You Choose to Eat Is Killing our Planet. Minneapolis: Langdon Street, 2011. 6. Also, see
- Steinfeld, Henning, et al. Livestock’s Long Shadow: Environmental Issues and Options. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2006. 82, 95, 112.
- Kemmerer, Lisa. Eating Earth: Environmental Ethics and Dietary Choice. Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 2014. 14-15.
Wozniacka, Gosia. “The Greenhouse Gas No One’s Talking About: Nitrous Oxide on Farms, Explained.” Civil Eats. Sept. 2019.
Also, see Kemmerer, Lisa. Eating Earth: Environmental Ethics and Dietary Choice. Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 2014. 16-17.
[cxxi] Shlomo Riskin (Rabbi) in Biblical Ecology: A Jewish View (television documentary). As cited by Richard Schwartz in Judaism and Global Survival. New York: Lantern Books, 2002. 212.
“Sources of Eutrophication.” World Resource Institute.
“What Happens to Animal Waste?” FoodPrint.
Also, see Oppenlander, Richard A. Comfortably Unaware: Global Depletion and Food Responsibility . . . What You Choose to Eat Is Killing our Planet. Minneapolis: Langdon Street, 2011. 54.
“Sources of Eutrophication.” World Resource Institute.
Also, see Kemmerer, Lisa. Eating Earth: Environmental Ethics and Dietary Choice. Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 2014. 18-22.
Kristof, Nicholas. “Our Water-Guzzling Food Factory.” The New York Times. May 30, 2015.
Also, see Schwartz, Richard. Vegan Revolution: Saving Our World, Revitalizing Judaism. NY: Lantern Publishing & Media, 2020. 65.
[cxxvi] Kemmerer, Lisa. Eating Earth: Environmental Ethics and Dietary Choice. Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 2014. 25.
Butler, Rhett A. “Brazil’s Forests.” Mongabay.com. 2020.
[cxxviii] Kemmerer, Lisa. Eating Earth: Environmental Ethics and Dietary Choice. Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 2014. 29.
[cxxix] Schwartz, Richard. Vegan Revolution: Saving Our World, Revitalizing Judaism. NY: Lantern Publishing & Media, 2020. 63.
[cxxx] Kemmerer, Lisa. Eating Earth: Environmental Ethics and Dietary Choice. Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 2014. 30-39.
[cxxxi] Kemmerer, Lisa. Eating Earth: Environmental Ethics and Dietary Choice. Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 2014. 41.
Sauven, John. “Why Meat-Eaters should Think Much More about Soil.” The Guardian. May 16, 2017.
Also, see Schwartz, Richard. Vegan Revolution: Saving Our World, Revitalizing Judaism. NY: Lantern Publishing & Media, 2020. 62.
[cxxxiii] Lisa Apfelberg of Shamayim: Jewish Animal Advocacy. Personal communication by email. August 3, 2021.
[cxxxiv] Norris, Jack and Virginia Messina. Vegan for Life: Everything You Need to Know to Be Healthy on a Plant-based Diet. NY: Hachette Go, 2020.
Courtesy of We Animals Media.
Kreutz Liz. “The State of The Ocean Is in Peril': Inside Bay Area's Marine Mammal Center Working to Help Stranded, Starving Sea Animals.” ABC 7: News:
Marine Mammal Center. Sept. 2, 2019.
- Schwartz, Richard. Vegan Revolution: Saving Our World, Revitalizing Judaism. NY: Lantern Publishing & Media, 2020. 96.
Li, Wanyee. “Global Overfishing Is Starving Penguins and Other Seabirds, Says B.C. Study.” Toronto Star: Vancouver. Dec. 6, 2018.
[cxxxvii] Kemmerer, Lisa. Eating Earth: Environmental Ethics and Dietary Choice. Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 2014. 58-75.
Kemmerer, Lisa and Bethany Dopp. “A Fishy Business.”
Animals and Environment: Advocacy, Activism and the Quest for Common Ground.
Ed. Lisa Kemmerer. Routledge, 2015. 164-68.
Also, see Kemmerer, Lisa. Eating Earth: Environmental Ethics and Dietary Choice. Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 2014. 62-70.
Gerardo Rodríguez-Quiroz, Eugenio Alberto Aragón-Noriega, Miguel A. Cisneros-Mata, and Alfredo Ortega
Rubio (2012). “Fisheries and Biodiversity in the Upper Gulf of California, Mexico.” Oceanography.
[cxl] Kemmerer, Lisa. Eating Earth: Environmental Ethics and Dietary Choice. Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 2014. 58.
Courtesy of We Animals Media.
Kemmerer, Lisa. Eating Earth: Environmental Ethics and Dietary Choice. Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 2014. 70-75.
Also, see Schwartz, Richard. Vegan Revolution: Saving Our World, Revitalizing Judaism. NY: Lantern Publishing & Media, 2020. 97.
Petruzzello, Melissa. “Animals We Ate Into Extinction.” Encyclopedia Britannica.
Also, see Kemmerer, Lisa. Eating Earth: Environmental Ethics and Dietary Choice. Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 2014. 90-93.
Courtesy of We Animals Media.
[cxlv] Kemmerer, Lisa. Eating Earth: Environmental Ethics and Dietary Choice. Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 2014. 90-138.
[cxlvi] Kemmerer, Lisa. Animals and World Religions. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2012. 227.
Courtesy of We Animals Media.
[cxlviii] Kemmerer, Lisa. Eating Earth: Environmental Ethics and Dietary Choice. Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 2014. 144.
[cxlix] Lionel Friedberg in Schwartz, Richard. Vegan Revolution: Saving Our World, Revitalizing Judaism. NY: Lantern Publishing & Media, 2020. 140
[cl] For more on diet and environment, see
- Schwartz, Richard. Vegan Revolution: Saving Our World, Revitalizing Judaism. NY: Lantern Publishing & Media, 2020. 45-82.
Jewish Vegetarian Society: Environment.
- Kemmerer, Lisa. Eating Earth: Environmental Ethics and Dietary Choice. Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 2014.
- Kemmerer, Lisa. Ed. Animals and the Environment: Advocacy, Activism, and the Quest for Common Ground. Routledge, 2015.
A Well-Fed World: Issues: Environment.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals: Environment
Olivia Petter’s “Veganism is ‘single biggest way’ to Reduce our Environmental Impact, Study Finds.”
Vegan Outreach: Environment.
The Vegan Society: Environment.
- Oppenlander, Richard. Comfortably Unaware: What We Choose to Eat Is Killing Us and Our Planet, Beaufort Books, 2012. Also, see Oppenlander, Richard. Food Choice and Sustainability. Langdon Street Press, 2013.
Film: Forks Over Knives.
[cli] Norris, Jack and Virginia Messina. Vegan for Life. NY: Hachette Books, 2020. ix.
[clii] Schwartz, Richard. Vegan Revolution: Saving Our World, Revitalizing Judaism. NY: Lantern Publishing & Media, 2020. 157.
[cliii] For more information from sites that cover several “AMORE topics,” see
YouTube clip, “If Slaughterhouses Had Glass Walls.”
A Well-Fed World.
https://awellfedworld.org/, under the research tab.
The Food Empowerment Project. See “issues” at
“Why Vegan?” Short video (with a short introduction).
For more information on Judaism and “AMORE topics,” see
- Richard Schwartz. Judaism and Vegetarianism. NY: Lantern, 2001.
- Richard Schwartz, Vegan Revolution: Saving Our World, Revitalizing Judaism. NY: Lantern Publishing & Media, 2020.
Documentary (1 hour), A Sacred Duty.
Rosen, David (Rabbi). “Kashrut and Animal Production: Rabbi David Rosen.” JewishEcoSeminars.
Courtesy of We Animals Media.
[clvi] Asa Keisar (Rabbi) in Schwartz, Richard.Vegan Revolution: Saving Our World, Revitalizing Judaism. NY: Lantern Publishing & Media, 2020. 142.
Courtesy of We Animals Media.
[clviii] Methane: A Crucial Opportunity in the Climate Fight.” Environmental Defense Fund. 2022. https://www.edf.org/climate/methane-crucial-opportunity-climate-fight
[clix] Methane: A Crucial Opportunity in the Climate Fight.” Environmental Defense Fund. 2022. https://www.edf.org/climate/methane-crucial-opportunity-climate-fight
[clx] “Overview of Greenhouse Gasses.” Environmental Defense Fund. 2022. https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/overview-greenhouse-gases#nitrous-oxide
[clxi] Eisnitz, Gail. Slaughterhouse: The Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect, and Inhumane Treatment Inside the U.S. Meat Industry. NY: Prometheus, 1997. 271.
[clxii] Eisnitz, Gail. Slaughterhouse: The Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect, and Inhumane Treatment Inside the U.S. Meat Industry. NY: Prometheus, 1997. Also, Newkirk, Ingrid. “Slowing Down Slaughter Speeds is a Step Forward, but We Can do Far Better.” Daily World. June 9, 2021. https://www.thedailyworld.com/opinion/commentary-slowing-down-slaughter-speeds-is-a-step-forward-but-we-can-do-far-better/.
[clxiii] Hoff, Christina. “Kant’s Invidious Humanism.” Environmental Ethics 5 (1983): 63–7 on p. 63–64.
[clxiv] Kant, Immanuel. “Lectures on Ethics.” http://faculty.smu.edu/jkazez/animal%20rights/IMMANUEL%20KANT.htm.
[clxv] For more on dietary choice and violence, see
- Eisnitz, Gail, Slaughterhouse: The Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect, and Inhumane Treatment Inside the U.S. Meat Industry. NY: Prometheus, 1997.
- Marsh, Peter. The Supremacist Syndrome: How Domination Underpins Slavery, Genocide, the Exploitation of Women, and the Maltreatment of Animals. NY: Lantern, 2021.
- Fitzgerald, Amy. Animal Abuse and Family Violence: Researching the Interrelationships of Abusive Power . Mellen Press, 2005.
Fitzgerald. Amy (et al).
o “Slaughterhouses and Increased Crime Rates” in Organization and Environment, 22 (158-184) and
o “Animal Maltreatment in the Context of Intimate Partner Violence” (in Violence against Women).
- For stories of people who have transitioned to other forms of employment, see https://freefromharm.org/humane-farmer/.
[clxvi] Gerardo Rodríguez-Quiroz, Eugenio Alberto Aragón-Noriega, Miguel A. Cisneros-Mata, and Alfredo Ortega Rubio (2012). “Fisheries and Biodiversity in the Upper Gulf of California, Mexico.” Oceanography. cdn.intechopen.com/pdfs/33951/InTech-Fisheries_and_biodiversity_in_the_upper_gulf_of_california_mexico.pdf
“Vaquita Conservation and Abundance: Saving
the world's most endangered marine mammal.”
NOAA Fisheries: Science and Data. Oct. 20, 2021.
Shamayim website: “Programs: Try Vegan.”