Archive for the 'Agriprocessors' Category

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

Cross-posted to heebnvegan

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

Let’s Stop Wasting Millions on Food Aid

Originally posted on Food Forever – The AJWS Food Justice Blog.

When I think about international food aid, what comes to mind are the challenges of distribution—who’s getting what and how much of it? But then there are the hidden costs of shipping. A recent IRIN article discusses the results of a Cornell University study that revealed the alarming fact that U.S. taxpayers spend about $140 million every year on non-emergency food aid in Africa. They spend roughly the same amount to ship food aid to global destinations on U.S. vessels.

$280 million. That’s a LOT of money. And the truth? It only benefits a very small constituency at the expense of taxpayers and recipients.

Tza’ar Ba’alei Chayim at AgriProcessors and Local Pride

Following my post last night about the federal sentencing of former AgriProcessors executive Sholom Rubashkin, several comments called into question my claim that there had been inhumane treatment of animals at AgriProcessors. This claim was not a significant focus in yesterday’s post. I offered a comment with a succinct explanation, which apparently provided inadequate evidence for at least one of the skeptics. Because it will require a lengthy response to show why I overwhelmingly believe there was tza’ar ba’alei chayim (unnecessary animal suffering) at AgriProcessors, I have decided to put up a new post rather than a mere comment. This information is not new for many readers of The Jew & The Carrot, but demands for it arising out of last night’s post are.

Sholom Rubashkin Gets 27-Year Jail Sentence

Cross-posted to heebnvegan

Today it was announced that tomorrow, former AgriProcessors executive Sholom Rubashkin will be sentenced to 27 years in prison and ordered to pay more than $30 million in restitution. In November, Rubashkin was found guilty on 86 of 91 federal charges related to financial fraud. Although an appeal is likely and the trial of at least one more AgriProcessors defendant has yet to start, I’d like to think of this sentencing as at least a temporary end to a long-running scandal that has divided the Jewish community.

Postville, Procter & Gamble, And The Problem With Pareve Margarine

The raid on the kosher meat-processing plant in Postville, Iowa, threw us a bone in the shape of a vigorous new debateon whether it is fitting and proper to designate as “kosher” products made without regard for animal welfare, fair wages,and the environment. To these I would add human health. What does it mean to approve the manufacture and distribution of products that are known to compromise the health of those who consume them? Is there a distinction to be made between contaminantsthat do their work quickly, like salmonella, and those whose destructive effects are slow and cumulative, like trans fats?

Weighing in on the Food Production Debate

By Josh Berkman, cross-posted on From the Ground–the blog of American Jewish World Service (AJWS)

Over the last week, an important discussion has emerged in the blogosphere about the best ways for hungry nations to produce food. The debate began with a piece by Wellesley professor Robert Paarlberg, published in Foreign Affairs. Paarlberg argues that sluggish food productionrather than price explosionis responsible for food insecurity in the Global South and that the only way to produce enough food is through advanced technology, increased chemical use and genetically modified seeds. He marginalizes organic farming as quaint and unrealistic as a solution. It’s time to stop rejecting biotech and industrial food production, Paarlberg claims, and realize that it is the only way forward.

On Soy

soy image

I have long harbored misgivings about soy.  It is highly estrogenic. It’s associated with many environmental concerns (fields are clear cut internationally to support it, most of the crop goes toward feeding animals on feedlots, etc.) It’s highly processed (and a non whole food) as milk, frozen entrees, and other products.  And honestly, and this is just my perspective, I don’t enjoy the taste. But I have always respected the fact that many people do not agree with me on all these points, and enjoy soy as a deliberate and integral part of their diet.  Most of these folks have countered my concerns with the fact that it is a healthy, non-animal protein that provides efficient calories at a low cost. 

Mazal tov to the Joshua Venture Fellows!

The recent Joshua Venture Dual Investment Program Applications for 2010 were a wonderful example of Hazon’s impact in the Jewish community. Two of the newly appointed Fellows are directors of the two organizations in which Hazon is a fiscal sponsor:  Nati Passow of the Jewish Farm School and Zelig Golden of Wilderness Torah. A third Fellow is our friend, Eli Winkelman, the founder of Challah for Hunger, which Hazon helped grow when it was part of our food program in 2008-2009.

Mark Bittman on Soda and Obesity

Soda.  Pop.  Coke.  S.S.B. (sugar-sweetened beverage).  Whatever you wanna call it, it’s bad for you.  Or so argues Mark Bittman, the New York Times‘ “Minimalist” columnist and prominent foodie in this Sunday’s New York Times.  This phenomenal article poses the question of whether soda may be the next tobacco.  He interviews proponents calling for a special excise tax on soda to fund obesity prevention programs, as well as other measures to curb the intake of these empty calories in a can (or bottle).  The article comes after Michelle Obama’s appointment to lead a national campaign against childhood obesity, which some believe is linked to an excessive consumption of soda and candy.

Aftershocks: Haitian Rice

Image courtesy of vitasamb2001

Image courtesy of vitasamb2001

As I have watched the horrors of Haiti unfold from my safe and comfortable living room, I am continually saddened by a sense of ineffectiveness, of wanting to do more than write another check or say another prayer. I wish I could have an impact, do something to directly improve their lot, participate in a more meaningful way. I started to do some research to see if I could purchase goods from Haiti, and subsequently and came across information that was as familiar as it is disturbing. Despite adequate natural resources, Haiti cannot feed itself, much less produce many exports to support their own trade.

Rubashkin Convicted on 86 Charges

On Friday, Sholom Rubashkin, the former owner of an Iowa kosher slaughterhouse, was convicted of 86 out of 91 fraud charges.  It has been over a year since the the Pottsville, Iowa slaughterhouse, Agriprocessors was raided by federal authorities arresting hundreds of workers.  Since the raid, vigorous debate has ensued regarding the treatment of the workers, the animals and even what it means to eat kosher meat.  The Jew and the Carrot hopes to continue this important debate.

Click here for the Jew and the Carrot’s coverage of the story including interviews, commentary and even a terrific video on the lives of the slaughterhouse workers.

Rubashkin Fraud Trial Begins Today in SD

As I sit and listen to Edgardo Reyes of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers speak of the struggles of farm workers in Florida and across the country, at the Community Food Security Coalition conference in Des Moines, the trial of Sholom Rubashkin is beginning today in Sioux Falls, SD.

Photo 6

The Des Moines Register, headquarters located a few blocks away, has reported that despite Mr. Rubashkin’s 163 charges and maximum life sentence, his son Getzel has said that [Rubashkin] has prepared for trial “intensely, but also with the peace of mind of a man who knows he will be, G-d willing, fully exonerated…He has been the source of strength and encouragement for those around him, instead of the other way around.” Mr. Rubashkin maintains that he is innocent of the 91 fraud-related charges for his first trial, which begins in Sioux Falls, SD, moved from Cedar Rapids, IA to account for any media to which potential jurors would have been exposed, according to the NY Times.

The (Food) Court Jew?

Here’s an uncomfortable intersection between Jews and food ethics — the Jewish spokesman for food lobby American Council on Science and Health, Jeff Steir, appeared on the Daily Show last week to receive a royal roasting.

I presume the days when people don’t know they’re on a parody show are past, surely Steir knew what he was getting into. Presumably he thought this was the only way to get a hearing out there. But the entire segment me cringe. How embarrassing:

Little Crop of Horrors

Lacto-ovo-Vegetarian vs. Carnivore


I am in a mixed marriage.  I am vegetarian and my husband and children are not.  If only I could have a plain old vegetarian kitchen life would be so good.  I could give away my fleishig things and have tons more space and much less confusion in the kitchen, not to mention I’d never have to wash another fatty greasy dish again.  I abhor buying and cooking meat and the times when I am alone cleaning up in the kitchen I view the mess like it is insult to injury.  You are probably thinking why is she doing it?  My plain answer is out of love for my family.

How could that be?  Well, when Shabbat rolls around chicken is what my hard working husband wants to eat.  For years I declined buying or cooking meat and then I was worn down when family and guests would grace our table and I would feel that sadly they preferred and were more satisfied when there were animals on the table.