Richard H. Schwartz
Vegan, climate change,and social justice activist

My review of “Animal Agriculture Is Immoral”

Animal Agriculture Is Immoral is an anthology of scholarly,  insightful, thought-provoking essays from environmental, social, religious, and spiritual perspectives by leading vegan activists about the very negative effects of animal-based diets and agriculture. As an activist who has read and written extensively about plant-based diets, I welcomed the new information and ideas from the cogent essays.

Consistent with its themes, the book is dedicated “to all the animals with whom we share this beautiful planet and to all the children who will inherit the consequences of our choices.”

     The many valuable components of the book include:

  • Lewis Regenstein, president of The Interfaith Council for the Protection of Animals and Nature, and the author of  Replenish the Earth: The Teachings of the World’s Religions on Protecting Animals and Nature, discusses the Bible’s teachings on environmental sustainability and compassion to animals.
  • Dan Brook, Ph.D, sociology teacher at San Jose State University, editor of the non-profit veg cookbook Justice in the Kitchen, and author of Eating the Earth (in various languages), discusses 12 reasons to be vegan.
  • Rabbi David Rosen, former chief rabbi of Ireland,  points out that “Judaism categorically forbids gratuitous cruelty to sentient beings, but contemporary animal agriculture involves nothing less than the most flagrant gratuitous cruelty.”
  • Karen Davis, Ph.D., President and founder of United Poultry Concerns and author of Prisoned Chickens, Poisoned Eggs and other books, discusses how the ‘livestock’ industry uses euphemisms to mislead people about the very cruel treatment of farmed animals.
  • Jeffrey Spitz Cohan, Executive Director of Jewish Veg,  discusses Jewish teachings about compassion to animals, including, “Just as God is merciful, so shall you be merciful.” (Babylonian Talmud: South 14:a)
  • Judy Carman, author of Homo Ahimsa, Peace to All Beings, and Vegan Soup for the Chicken’s Soul, argues that the world must shift from the concept of people being homo sapiens, which has had such devastating consequences for the world, to humans being homo ahimsa, people of kindness and compassion, in order to end the many negatives of factory farming.
  • Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz, Ph.D., founder and CEO of Shamayim: Jewish Animal Advocacy and author of 18 books on Jewish ethics, explains how “an interfaith compassion movement can change the world.”
  • Stephen Kaufman, MD, chair of the Christian Vegetarian Association and author of two books relating Christianity to veg diets, argues that just as with wars between nations, the first casualty of the “war” between the ‘livestock’ industries and animal rights activists is the truth, with the many abuses of animals and other negatives of the production of animal products largely hidden from the public.
  • Victoria Moran, author of Main Street Vegan, The Love-Powered Diet, and The Good Karma Diet, host of the Main Street Vegan Podcast, and director of Main Street Academy, “which trains and certifies vegan lifestyle coaches and academies,”  discusses the importance of “confronting the the immorality of eating meat in our personal lives.”
  • Will Tuttle, PhD, author of the widely translated popular World Peace Diet, editor of Circles of Compassion and  Buddhism and Veganism, and recipient of the Courage of Conscience Award and the Empty Cages Prize, discusses the very negative “banquet of consequences” associated with animal agriculture.
  • Rabbi Yonatan Neril, founder and director of the Interfaith Center for Sustainable development and co-editor of the recently published Eco-Bible,  discusses the many negatives involved in the production and consumption of eggs.
  • Hope Bohanec, author of The Ultimate Betrayal: Is There Happy Meat? Projects Manager for United Poultry Concerns, and host for the Hope for the Animals Podcast, stresses the urgency of a post-COVID-19  anti-speciesism initiative to create a new normal in the relationship of humans to animals.
  • Sailesh Rao, Ph.D., editor of this book, Executive Director of Climate Healers, and activist with Human Health Animal Liberation (HEAL), summarizes many of the book’s discussions, arguing that animal agriculture “needs to be buried in the trash heap of history, along with colonialism, racism, ableism, patriarchy, casteism, and other such discredited ideologies,” and “the time to do it is NOW.”

     Additional essays supporting the book’s theme are by Pramoda Chitrabhanu, author of Rainbow Food for the Vegan Palate; Bradon Burr, O.D., Food Policy Committee Chair for Animals Wellness Action; Jason Glasson, long time vegan activist; Susan Hargreaves, author, humane educator, and founder of Animal Hero Kids, an all-volunteer kindness education charity empowering youth to compassionate action; and Duke McLeod., a Ph.D student in Social Anthropology, researching the Muslim conceptions of veganism.

     At a time when the world faces a potential climate catastrophe, a devastating Coronavirus, an epidemic of  heart disease, cancer, and other life-threatening diseases, and other negative consequences  of animal-based agriculture and diets, this book is extremely timely and relevant. It has the potential to be a game changer, helping to shift our imperiled planet onto a sustainable path. I urge everyone to read it and heed its valuable messages.

     Because the issues are so extremely important, the book is not copyrighted, and any part of it can be reproduced and transmitted freely.

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     I am grateful for having the opportunity to contribute to this excellent anthology with an essay entitled “Abolishing Intensive Animal Agriculture: A Global Imperative

About the Author
Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D., is the author of Judaism and Vegetarianism, Judaism and Global Survival, Who Stole My Religion? Revitalizing Judaism and Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal our Imperiled Planet, and Mathematics and Global Survival, and over 200 articles and 25 podcasts at JewishVeg.com/schwartz. He is President Emeritus of Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) and President of the Society of Ethical and Religious Vegetarians (SERV). He is associate producer of the 2007 documentary “A Sacred Duty: Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal the World.” He is also a Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at the College of Staten Island, which is part of the City University of New York.
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