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.

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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
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