Ethical Meat and Dairy Consumption

Did you know that Adam and Eve were vegetarians? Of course, we don't conduct our lives quite like they would, but their diets hint at a larger Earth-based Jewish tradition that Jews have largely forgotten. Reducing meat consumption aligns with Jewish values—prohibitions against animal cruelty, wastefulness, and destruction, among others—and has consequences within and beyond the Jewish world. It promotes animal welfare, Jewish authenticity and learning, and health. Vegetarian and reduced-meat diets have lower levels of saturated fat, cholesterol, and animal protein, while having higher levels of carbohydrates, fiber, magnesium, potassium, folate, antioxidants, and vitamins.

Eating lower on the food chain also reduces stress on natural systems, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions that are fueling climate change. We recommend referencing MeatlessMonday.com, the website for the international campaign to cut your meat consumption at least once a week. They've compiled a rich database of the countless health, financial, and environmental arguments for limiting meat consumption.

Tza'ar ba'alei chayim is a key Jewish value found in the Talmud which prohibits unnecessary suffering to animals. Jewish texts teach that animals matter. As a result, there are even Jewish contingents that argue that factory farmed animals should not be considered kosher.

Click ‘save and next’ when you are done (even if you have not selected any of the checkboxes).

Higher-Welfare Animal Products

Purchase grass-fed beef consistently
4 points
Action
Purchase higher welfare poultry consistently
4 points
Action
Educate about sustainable acquaculture
2 points
Education
More info
Witness a shechita (ritual slaughter) of an animal
2 points
Education
Post signage about the environmental impact of raising animals for meat
1 points
Education
Start or join a campaign about farm animal advocacy
3 points
Advocacy
Advocate for higher welfare products at your local stores
3 points
Advocacy
More info
Start or join a campaign for sustainable fishing practices
3 points
Advocacy
Purchase higher welfare eggs consistently
3 points
Action
Purchase higher welfare certified cheese consistently
3 points
Action
Purchase higher welfare certified yogurt consistently
3 points
Action
Purchase sustainably raised fish (both fresh and canned) consistently
3 points
Action
Serve heritage poultry at least once a year
4 points
Action

Plant-Based Alternatives

Serve vegan challah at all Shabbat events
2 points
Action
Provide a vegetarian and vegan entree at every meal
3 points
Action
Serve entirely vegan dishes at least 50% of meals
4 points
Action
Serve entirely vegetarian dishes at least 50% of meals
4 points
Action
Serve exclusively vegetarian or vegan meals
5 points
Action
Educate about animal welfare
2 points
Education
More info
Host an event about factory farms
3 points
Education
More info
Encourage pledge for Meatless Monday
3 points
Action
More info
You must be logged in to save your answers.

Related Resources

Shamayim: Jewish Animal Advocacy

Shamayim is a Jewish animal advocacy organization that works to fight for ethical treatment of animals. The information below comes from their website. Mission Shamayim: Jewish Animal Advocacy is a non-profit organization that educates leaders, trains advocates, and leads campaigns for the ethical treatment of animals.  About Us “Shamayim” means “Heaven” in Hebrew. The goal […]

Food Guide and Audit

This guide is a resource book with ideas, definitions, stories and guidance for Jewish institutions to think about how they can make healthier and more sustainable food choices. The guide also includes an audit with a list of questions for an institution to use to be able to assess where it’s doing well and how […]

Higher Welfare Eggs

This 2 page document can be handed out to your community to inform them about the importance of higher welfare eggs and how they can look for higher welfare eggs in their grocery store. This document provides a good overview of higher welfare eggs if your institution is looking into making the switch from conventional […]

Hazon Seal Webinar: Writing a Food Policy

With Jewish Initiative for Animals (JIFA) – https://www.jewishinitiativeforanimals.org/ Our friends at the Jewish Initiative for Animals (JIFA) are a powerful resource for you to learn about and transition towards a more conscious, compassionate and sustainable consumption of food. Since the Hazon Seal started, Jewish Initiative for Animals has partnered with the program by co-creating the […]

New Year For The Animals

Did you know that Judaism has a New Year for the Animals? It’s called Rosh Hashanah La’Behemot, and it falls on Elul 1. Rosh Hashanah La’Behemot is a time for us to honor our relationships with behemot, the animals in our lives. The holiday has not been celebrated extensively since Temple times. There is room for creativity and interpretation in […]

Animals

Tza’ar baalei chayim, or prevention of unnecessary cruelty to animals, is a core concept in the Torah. The resources below are great tools to explore our relationship to animals, and to discover ways to look at our treatment of animals through a Jewish lens. “Source Sheet: Jewish Perspectives On Animals” provides Jewish texts and rabbinical […]

Vegetables Resources for CSAs

Find resources on how to grow certain vegetables and then what to do with them once harvested. Arugula Beets Bell Peppers Bok Choi Broccoli Rabe Broccoli Brussel Sprouts Cabbage Cauliflower Celery Chives Collard Greens Eggplant Escarole Garlic Scapes Garlic Kohlrabi Leeks Lettuce Mustard Greens Onions Parsley Parsnips Pea Shoots Potatoes Radishes Rutabaga Scallions Summer Squash

The Humane Society

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest and best known animal protection organization.

Sustainable America

Sustainable America is a nonprofit focusing on making food and fuel systems more sustainable. They have many initiatives and campaigns for both individuals and organizations.

Shmita Sourcebook

A 120-page sourcebook that draws on a range of texts from within Jewish tradition and time, tracing the development and evolution of Shmita from biblical, historical, rabbinic, and contemporary perspectives.

Home for Dinner

A middle-school program that uses family dinners as a strategy to reclaim and strengthen Jewish family life.

Sustainable Shabbat Dinner

A guide to help plan Shabbat meals, from thinking about what to serve to bringing insightful Jewish learning to your Shabbat table. In partnership with NEXT: A Division of Birthright Israel Foundation.