It is finally springtime and the flowers are popping, birds are singing, and farm stands are starting to have spring veggies, including of course “Spring Mix” of lettuce and other delicious spring veggies, radish and onions among my favorite.
Having just bought a bunch of spring onions, I thought what better thing to do than to make an onion sauce for pasta? It’s incredibly easy and you can add things to it like beans or tofu – or if you want chicken or even sausage! The base is all vegetables and because it is all sautéed slow the flavor is incredible. I make the base sauce and if I decide to add meat – I cook it separate to avoid excess oils and then add it as a topping when serving.
In a large sauté pad add a tad of sunflower or other high heat oil – add 3 spring onions chopped up small (you can sub leeks for this too – make sure they are super clean, they can have a lot of dirt in them). Add 4 or 5 cloves of fresh garlic that is chopped, salted and turned into a paste with the back of your knife by going over it several times.
Then get a pint of cherry tomatoes and cut into small pieces. Heat the oil and add the onions and garlic and heat until the aroma fills the room, add the tomatoes and stir.
Add a handful of fresh chopped parsley and basil and when it is all cooked through – it is done – you may need to add a ½ to a full cup of water while this is cooking so you develop a broth – at this point you can add a can of beans or chic peas, juice included or add your tofu so it all heats through = Boil your favorite pasta or ravioli while this is going on – this whole thing takes 10 to 15 mins tops.
If your memory of Patrick Henry is hazy, ask your kids going to school in the other room for a refresher. He was the Founding Father who wrote the famed “give me liberty or give me death” speech of the American Revolution.
I was reminded of his words last weekend in the place most people go to contemplate gifted orators of the past: the grocery store. Watching people wearing facemasks and gloves lining up 6 feet apart at the meat counter, I was gobsmacked by the irony.
Eating animals is what got us into this mess. It’s believed that the novel coronavirus originated in a “wet market,” where living and dead animals are sold side by side. There are 80 of these live-animal markets, with butchering on the premises, in New York City alone. But while most meat sold in this country comes from filthy factory farms and bloody slaughterhouses, not wet markets, calling them any “safer” would be like Henry calling the war “a bit of a disagreement.”
By now, we all know that the disgusting feces-filled pens and warehouses reeking of ammonia that are the hallmarks of animal agriculture are breeding grounds for disease. As biologist Rob Wallace put it, “Factory farms are the best way to select for the most dangerous pathogens possible.” Just look at SARS, MERS, avian flu and swine flu — they’re all linked to confining animals as closely together as possible and then killing them for food.
We know that when animals are pumped full of antibiotics in order to keep them alive in filthy conditions and to make them grow much larger and faster than they would in nature, pathogens mutate to become antibiotic-resistant. The CDC estimates that about 75% of new infectious diseases affecting humans originated in animals and that 2.8 million Americans are sickened by antibiotic-resistant bacteria every year, with 35,000 of them dying.
So why do we keep eating meat? Well, for one thing — subsidies.
Meatonomic$ reports that the U.S. government spends $38 billion of our tax money every year to subsidize meat and dairy business interests but only a fraction of that amount on fruits and vegetables. Meat and dairy received billions more dollars in response to COVID-19. Subsidies keep prices low and keep people buying. Or now, with slaughterhouses remaining open, it’s more like “keep prices low and keep people dying.”
“But the economy!” some will howl. Yes, of course.
But consider this: A study by Carnegie Mellon researchers found that animal agriculture costs the U.S. economy more in health and environmental damage than it contributes.
The average American now eats a whopping 222 pounds of meat a year. The average for the rest of the world is about 96 pounds — still a large amount. Hundreds of studies draw clear connections between our meat addiction and the fact that we have twice the obesity rate, twice the diabetes rate and three times the cancer rate of the rest of the world. Give me meat and give me death indeed.
To stray from Henry for a moment, though, here’s a thought:
Those billions of government subsidies could be going toward helping slaughterhouses switch to producing healthy, safe vegan meats and nondairy products and helping farmers in the supply chain switch to growing the crops to produce them.
Nielsen reports that sales of fresh vegan meats have been growing 158% year-on-year and have shot up 454% during the coronavirus crisis. Oat milk sales surged 686% last year and another 476% because of COVID-19. Bills being introduced in the House and Senate would phase out factory farms by 2040, and there is strong bipartisan support for a global shutdown of live-animal markets.
For now, we’re stuck with the consequences of meat addiction: failing businesses, unemployment, shuttered churches, and many, many terrible deaths — for pigs, chickens, cows and humans alike.
Watching the mask-and-glove crowd at the meat counter, I wondered: Would Patrick Henry call this “liberty”? Maybe our next American Revolution should revolutionize how we eat.
These Facts About Tigers Will Have You Ordering ‘Animalkind’ Today!
Before you begin your next Netflix binge, tigers have a bone to pick with humans who think they know everything about their striped brothers and sisters. The docuseries Tiger King has focused the public’s attention on big cats living in deplorable conditions at roadside zoos across the U.S. But you may also be wondering about these animals’ natural instincts, abilities, needs, and personalities
Fortunately, PETA founder and President Ingrid Newkirk and bestselling author Gene Stone have just the book to scratch the itch of curiosity!
In Animalkind: Remarkable Discoveries About Animals and Revolutionary New Ways to Show Them Compassion, they present awe-inspiring examples of ways in which animals create deep connections, develop communication networks, and possess various remarkable abilities. For a taste of the book’s thorough study of animals, below are some tiger facts that demonstrate their emotional and intelligent nature.
🐯Fact: tigers play in water
Tiger Facts That Inspire Compassion
When tigers mate, they perform a courtship ritual in which a male and a female circle each other while growling or roaring. The two will continue this “circle of love” until they have established trust and will then commit to grooming each other.
A cat who loves water? Tigers can swim up to 18 miles a day, and they enjoy luxurious baths in ponds, lakes, and rivers. While cubs play by splashing in the water, adults relax in the heat of the day.
🐯Tigers are happily introverted and prefer to be on their own, except when females are raising their cubs.
Tigers have their own territories and choose to visit each other on their way to hunt or when looking for mates. When they do band together, the group is called a “streak” of tigers.
🐯Tigers’ front legs are shorter than their hind legs, which helps them leap great distances—up to 10 meters forward—to tackle prey or pounce on their playmates.
🐯Female tigers protect their cubs alone, as single mothers, until their children are around 2 years old. That’s when the cubs can start fending for themselves.
🐯Tigers communicate with other animals through tasting pheromones. Once their upper lips pick up a scent, they inhale. A pouch-like organ on the roof of their mouth then identifies another being so that they can decide whether they’re friend, foe, or food.
🐯A tiger’s stripes are like a fingerprint — no two have the same pattern. Their stripes are more than a fur pattern — they even appear on their skin. Tigers’ stripes help them hide in the shadows when they hunt at night.
🐯A “keystone species,” tigers protect their local ecosystems by hunting prey who would otherwise destroy an area’s vegetation, which is actually a vital part of keeping streams and air clean.
Tiger sleeping in grass♥️
Learn More About Other Animals in Animalkind!
Whether you order a digital, physical, or audiobook version of Animalkind, you’ll have the information needed to see animals in a more compassionate light and you’ll learn simple ways to help dismantle speciesism. The book is an empathy compass for even the most seasoned animal rights folks, with nearly a five-star rating on Amazon. Get a copy and discover for yourself this fascinating study, which demonstrates why our fellow sentient beings deserve our respect. ♥️A percentage of each purchase also funds PETA’s groundbreaking work to end animal exploitation!
Did you know there are more captive tigers in America than in the wild?😢😢😢😢😢😢:
Please! LET US ALL WORK TO BAN EXOTIC ANIMAL ACTS AND EXHIBITS FROM WORCESTER – and Massachusetts!
Please! MAKE YOUR MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND BBQ MEATLESS! STOP FACTORY FARMING IN AMERICA! Shut down live markets in NYC and San Francisco – BREEDING GROUNDS FOR CORONAVIRUSES!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO AN AMERICAN MASTER🎶🎶! Outa UMass Boston – WUMB.ORG is playing A TON OF DYLAN today, tomorrow and Sunday! 🎶🎶Songs sung by our writer♥️HERO and COVERS of his songs SUNG BY ARTISTS PAST AND PRESENT!
May marks Mental Health Awareness Month, an opportunity to recognize that millions of Americans are suffering in silence during the COVID-19 outbreak. Not only are Americans sharing in the collective anxiety of a viral pandemic and the negative effects of a prolonged quarantine, tens of millions are also experiencing the shock and mounting stress arising from a sudden loss of income and, importantly, employer-provided health insurance.
Even before the current crisis, a staggering number of Americans suffered with mental health challenges. According to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than 17 million people 18 years and older had had at least one episode of major depression in the previous year. And in the years 2011–2014, nearly 13% of those 12 and older reported having taken antidepressants in the previous month. The importance of adequate, effective, available mental health treatment has never been more acute.
So what is the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the “lead federal agency for research on mental disorders,” doing to address this? It’s spending millions of dollars on experiments that hurt animals. This is money wasted on atrocities, and it needs to stop now.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals obtained videos shot by NIMH experimenters in which they forced mice to swim for their lives in inescapable beakers of water to keep from drowning. The videos also show mice suspended upside down by their sensitive tails, which were taped to a bar, and others in a chamber with an electrified floor that gave them repeated shocks to the feet.
Experimenters call these pathologically cruel experiments on mice the “forced swim test,” the “tail suspension test” and the “foot shock” test. They’re designed to induce or measure extreme fear, panic, despair, terror, trauma and a sense of helplessness in the animals—all in pursuit of mental health treatments for humans. Joshua Gordon, NIMH’s director, has personally subjected mice to these tests and to another experiment called “social defeat,” in which one animal is repeatedly attacked by another.
The tests are scientifically flawed. Forcing animals to swim in a beaker of water or hang by their tail does not recreate the complex interplay of psychological, physiological and social conditions that give rise to human depression. The data indicate that these tests have failed to identify new treatments for humans. Foot shock and social defeat are thought to mimic human life stressors, but the types of stress experienced by most humans—including financial struggles, job dissatisfaction and familial problems — don’t involve physical pain like being electrically shocked.
Experimenters at NIMH also torment monkeys, purportedly to shed light on human neuropsychiatric disorders. In one set of experiments, led by NIMH’s Elisabeth Murray, staffers carve out a section of a monkey’s skull and inject toxins into the brain, causing grievous and permanent damage. Each monkey is then put in a small metal cage. A guillotine-like door at the front is suddenly raised to reveal a realistic-looking snake or spider, some of which can slither or jump. Monkeys, like all primates, innately fear snakes. Some respond defensively — freezing and looking or turning away. Others shake their cages. Some show signs of submission by grimacing or smacking their lips.
PETA has released video footage of these bizarre fright sessions, which have gone on for more than three decades and have cost taxpayers $36 million in the last 13 years alone. Unsurprisingly, they have not produced a single treatment for humans in 30 years.
Neither mice nor monkeys are humans. Species differences make applying information from other animals to humans entirely unreliable. This hurdle is reflected in the disappointing failure of more than 95% of clinical trials.
Mental health treatments are needed now more than ever before but are being demonstrably hindered by animal experiments that overwhelmingly fail to produce results for humans. Tax dollars should be spent on modern, human-relevant research methods that offer real hope, not on senselessly terrorizing animals.
No City of Worcester spray parks open this summer … so far. ICT: file photos
As a former City of Worcester School principal (Belmont Community School) and now as a Worcester School Committee member, I have been a strong advocate of partnerships between the home and the school. Research has found that the best predictors of students’ achievement in school are when families:
♥️Create homes that encourage learning
♥️Express high yet realistic expectations for their children
♥️Become involved in their children’s education at school and in the community
Now, with the global pandemic upon us and all schools in Massachusetts and in most states in America closed for the school year, it is imperative that parents step up and do all that they can to assist their children at home.
Yes, all schools have on-line learning and are doing all that they can to guide our students, but it is now up to the parents to be that all-important teacher at home. Keep in mind “school” will be out and summer will be upon us. This is NOT a time for learning to stop. If you can sign your child up for on-line SUMMER SCHOOL, do it!
During this crisis many parents have asked me for advice, so here are a few suggestions to go along with what you have received from your child’s teacher:
🌷The single most important activity a parent can do to help promote a child’s success in school is … Make sure that your children read every day. Reading is like riding a bike or playing basketball. It’s a skill. Like other skills, it gets better with practice. The same can be said about writing, so have your child keep a journal and write a paragraph or two about his/her day before going to bed each and every night. Make reading a privilege – you can let your child stay up 20 minutes later if they read in bed.
🌷Above all, model and read to your child or grandchild. If you’re not a good reader, you can still encourage your children by asking them to read to you. Talk about the books your children have read, or ask another member of your household to read aloud to your children.
North High and all City of Worcester schools that were used to care for COVID-19 patients WILL BE DEEP CLEANED before students and staff return.
🌷Provide a quiet, separate environment for your child to do their on-line learning. Be sure to talk to your child about their school work and, if you are having difficulty, be sure to email the teacher back with questions.
Read to your kids!(and pets?!)
🌷Monitor your child’s schoolwork for completion and quality. Remember, you’re his HOME TEACHER, now!
🌷Make learning fun at home … Have your child assist you in putting together a toy or model or in following a recipe. Ask your child to read some of the directions or point to the picture that illustrates the direction you are reading. These activities not only help your child find important details, but emphasize that reading can be very helpful.
🌷Some other fun activities could be bingo, dominoes, card games, board games and clocks with large numbers. All can help familiarize your child with the world of numbers.
🌷 How about card games? Do you have a budding card shark in your family? Take advantage of her/his interest in games by playing a math card challenge! There are only three rules to remember: Remove face cards from the deck.
The Ace represents 1… evenly deal a deck of cards between two players and each player places one card face up. The first person to call out the product (or sum/difference) of the two cards wins the hand. The player with the most cards in the end wins. An example could be a 9 and 8… in addition it’s 17 and if you are multiplying it’s 72. The same can take place in subtracting numbers.
🌷Start a blog – Parents, you can create a blog for your child during this crisis and share it with family and friends. You can also have them email friends and family members to enhance their writing skills.
🌷 Parents if you are reluctant to help your child with homework because you feel that you don’t know the subject well enough or because you don’t speak or read English well, you can still help your child get organized, provide the necessary materials, monitor his on line work to make sure that it is completed, and praise all of your child’s efforts. Most importantly, check to see that your child has completed his work and if he is having difficulty inform the teacher immediately. The one thing that you don’t want to happen is having your child reach the frustration level and not want to do the work assigned to him.
🌷Remember, make learning a priority in your home and always praise you child for the many good deeds that he accomplishes.
😊Need more information or advice? Please feel free to email me, care of email@example.com and I promise to get back to you. Good luck during this crisis and remember more than ever your child needs you to be HIS SECOND TEACHER so do not give up on your teacher role. Stay well and stay safe!
Brown the chick’n over medium heat, according to package directions.
Sprinkle the chick’n with the cumin, the garlic powder, and the Mexican spices before turning. Remove the chick’n to a platter, and allow to cool.
Sauté the onion and the garlic in the same pan until tender. (You may need to add a bit more oil.) Add the corn and chilies. Stir well to combine. Add the canned tomatoes and sauté for 1 minute.
Using your hands, pull the chick’n breasts apart into shredded strips. Add the shredded chick’n to the sauté pan and combine with the vegetables. Dust the mixture with the flour to help set.
Microwave the tortillas on high for 30 seconds. This softens them and makes them more pliable. Coat the bottom of 2 13-inch-by-9-inch pans with a ladle of enchilada sauce. Using a large shallow bowl, dip each tortilla in enchilada sauce until lightly coated. Spoon 1/4 cup of the chick’n mixture in each tortilla. Fold over the filling and place 8 enchiladas in each pan with the seam side down. Top with the remaining enchilada sauce and cheese.
Bake for 15 minutes in a preheated 350°F oven until the cheese melts. Garnish with your choice of cilantro, scallions, vegan sour cream, and chopped tomatoes (or anything else your heart desires).
This recipe was adapted from foodnetwork.com.
Two more years of pandemic misery
“The virus is likely to keep spreading for at least another 18 months to two years – until 60% to 70% of the US population has been infected, a team of pandemic experts has warned.
“They recommended that the US prepare for a worst-case scenario that includes a second big wave of coronavirus infections in the fall and winter.
“But even in the best-case scenario, people will continue to die from the virus in the future, they said.”
I’m a homebody, but my voluntary self-isolation and loss of freedom has been a considerable adjustment. Everyone staying home knows how quickly the walls close in on us, but we also know an end to it will eventually come. But for marine mammals in cramped tanks, elephants in chains and primates behind bars, lockdown lasts until the day they die.
How must it feel for social, intelligent, self-aware animals to spend decades inside the same four walls or the same barren tank? Judging by the behavior they typically display, many go insane.
Elephants rock and sway like mindless automatons to try to cope with their daily deprivation. Orcas in marine theme parks destroy their teeth by neurotically gnawing on the metal tank dividers. Captive tigers and bears lucky enough to be provided with some kind of natural substrate (rather than just concrete) make paw impressions in the ground where they repeatedly step with their ceaseless pacing. Birds pluck out their own feathers until they’re bald and bleeding.
Monkeys must be free!
This abnormal, obsessive behavior is called “zoochosis” or “stereotypy.” A study conducted by researchers at Oxford University determined that large, roving predators develop stereotypical symptoms of stress in captivity because they are unable to satisfy their instinct to roam at will. The researchers determined that a typical polar bear’s enclosure, for example, is about one-millionth of his or her minimum home-range size.
Bears must be free!
Boycott zoos and wild animal shows!
Gus, a polar bear at New York’s Central Park Zoo, spent so much of his time swimming figure eights in his pool that he had to be put on antidepressants. At least 14 zoos have used drugs to control behavior considered “undesirable” (upsetting to visitors) in captive gorillas.
On any given day in the ocean, orcas can travel about half the length of the entire Grand Canyon—or more than the distance from Los Angeles to Tijuana, Mexico. In marine theme parks, they’d have to swim the lengths of their tank roughly 4,348 times to cover the distance that they might in the ocean.
As one interminable day passes into the next, many animals find other ways to express their misery and frustration. An octopus in a German aquarium repeatedly shorted out the facility’s lights by climbing up the side of his tank and squirting water at the overhead spotlight. A chimpanzee in a Welch zoo used sign language to implore visitors to unlock the cage and let him out. Many animals make a break for it when the opportunity presents itself, causing widespread panic that often ends in a shooting.
Tiger panting in cage
If your short-term lockdown is triggering feelings of claustrophobia and powerlessness, spare a thought for all those who have no choice in the matter. Just like us, other animals want and deserve their freedom and autonomy. When our lives go back to normal, please remember those who are in permanent lockdown — and show your support for them by steering clear of all enterprises that imprison animals for our “entertainment.”
Obese mountain lion. Mountain lions must be free!
Let’s get this clown outa the White House in November!!!:
A big Thank You♥️ to my art director for sewing me – by hand♥️ – this beautiful facial mask!:
Face Masks are PPE ALL WORCESTER SMALL AND BIG BIZ EMPLOYEES MUST NOW WEAR if they deal with the public – per City of Worcester/City Manager Ed AUGUSTUS. Ed is also recommending all Worcesterites wear facial masks in crowded places where we can’t always social distance – like supermarkets and drugstores.
… Wow. Gov. Charlie Baker refuses to give hazard pay to State of Mass hospital workers! (He’s ok’d the pay raise for nurses and medical paraprofessionals in public/state hospitals through out Massachusetts.) But the other folks – often minorities – are left out! Yet these workers are ESSENTIAL, too. Essential workers at UMass, Memorial, Family Health Center and Hahnemann hospital – they sweep the hospital floors, wash the floors, wash the windows, sanitize the inside of elevators, wash stairwells, empty the trash or sit behind the cash registers at the hospitals’ cafeteria (food handlers/cooks work for a subcontractor) or work at the hospital gift stores. These workers RISK THEIR HEALTH, THEIR LIVES, AS THEY WORK TO create a safe and sterile environment for all patients and medical staff – they INTERACT WITH THE DOCS AND NURSES IN THE CAFETERIA, throughout the hospital, during this global pandemic. Why can’t we pay them $5 more an hour? Or at the very least an additional $3? They are making little more than minimum wage now! And they are essential workers – in the thick of COVID 19!! WHY NOT RESPECT THEM FOR DOING VITAL WORK – KEEPING OUR HOSPITALS CLEAN AND SANITIZED. Keeping people safe. Helping to save lives … Gov. Baker: Pay these workers a hazard pay rate DURING this awful PANDEMIC – pay them this rate for four months … six months … a year. Or two.
– Rose T.
A recap, from PETA.ORG:
Tim Stark of ‘Tiger King’ Just Lost a USDA Appeal — We’re Not Surprised
Published February 7, 2020, by PETA. Last Updated April 13, 2020.
Two months after a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) order revoking notorious animal exhibitor Tim Stark‘s license and requiring him and his shoddy facility, Wildlife in Need, to pay a combined $340,000 in civil penalties, Stark just lost his appeal in the USDA administrative lawsuit against him and his roadside zoo.
Abusers – and murderers
PETA applauds the judgment – Stark has encouraged patrons to hit tiger cubs, swing and toss monkeys by their tails and hips during public encounters, and he bludgeoned a leopard to death with a baseball bat. HE SHOULD NOT HAVE a federal Animal Welfare Act exhibitor’s license.
Stark has 60 days to appeal the USDA’s ruling to a federal court, and in the meantime, PETA is continuing to call for the animals in his custody to be transferred to reputable facilities — and urging everyone to stay away from roadside zoos.
Originally published February 7, 2020:
After years of PETA action, another animal abuser is in serious trouble. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) just issued an order to revoke notorious animal exhibitor Tim Stark‘s license permanently and ordered him and his sham “sanctuary,” Wildlife in Need, to pay a total of $340,000 in civil penalties — $40,000 of which was assessed against Stark individually. The issue will go into effect 35 days after the date of the order if Stark and Wildlife in Need don’t appeal.
TIM STARK = ANIMAL ABUSER
Stark is well known to animal advocates and the USDA. The agency filed an administrative lawsuit against Wildlife in Need (based in Charlestown, Indiana), alleging more than 120 willful violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act between 2012 and 2016. These include when Stark instructed patrons to hit big-cat cubs during “Tiger Baby Playtime” events, swung and tossed monkeys by their tails and hips during public encounters, and bludgeoned a leopard to death with a baseball bat.
The court also found that he went months without an attending veterinarian and provided a USDA inspector with an official document bearing the forged signature of a veterinarianwho hadn’t been the facility’s attending vet in years. Numerous animals died at the facility of preventable causes, including a kangaroo and three otters who were denied veterinary care, big-cat cubs who were declawed and later died of their injuries, and 41 animals who died in a fire.
“The USDA has effectively cut Stark off at the knees, preventing him from continuing to torment and exploit vulnerable lemurs, sloths, dogs, and other animals for a quick buck,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “PETA looks forward to seeing this terrible place shut down and the animals moved to reputable facilities where they’ll never again be used for photo ops.”
The ruling is a historic victory for animals. PETA is pressing forward with our pending Endangered Species Act (ESA) lawsuit against Stark and Wildlife in Need, aiming to get endangered and threatened animals out of his hands and into reputable facilities.
PETA won a preliminary injunction early in the case that prevents Stark from carrying out abusive activities — including declawing big cats, prematurely separating cubs from their mothers without medical necessity, and holding “Tiger Baby Playtime” events, in which cubs can be subjected to hours of direct contact with the public — while the case is being decided. A second PETA lawsuit against the sham sanctuary’s attending veterinarian resulted in a first-of-its-kind agreed-upon ruling holding that declawing ESA-protected big cats without medical necessity violates the ESA.
We’ll continue working until every animal at Wildlife in Need is in a reputable facility.
TIGERS, ALL BIG CATS, MUST BE FREE IN THEIR NATURAL HABITATS – NOT DISTRESSED IN CAGES OR TORTURED BY TIM STARK. HE’S NO KING. HE’S SH*T!
Another great MICHAEL MOORE-RUMBLE PODCAST episode:
This past Saturday: CAMBRIDGE STREET, empty playground (brand new, too!) and park: pic: Rose T.
Happy Birthday, Loretta Lynn! I saw her with the old beau several years ago in Webster. She was in her 70s – and still sounded INCREDIBLE. She wore this hot red taffetta gown, and when she sat in her chair to sing, it puffed up all around her creating this tomato effect. Beautiful♥️
– Rose T.
Passover—the universal story of dignity, hope, and freedom—teaches that all suffering matters to God. And that means, of course, that it should matter to us as well. It is odd to celebrate freedom if we still dine on the flesh of animals who spend their lives caged in cement stalls no bigger than their own bodies, never able to look up at the sky or feel grass beneath their feet. The very premises that lead many to conclude that it is permissible to eat meat—that animals have no merit beyond how they might taste and that animal suffering is of no consequence—are antithetical to the humanity and compassion of Judaism.
Refusing to have a hand in that suffering is especially timely at Passover, for in commemorating the escape of the Jews from Egyptian bondage, the holiday reminds us of the importance of continuing the battle for freedom. Prayers said on Passover call on us to be kind to those who are now oppressed and to deepen our commitment to liberty today. What better time than Passover to extend our compassion to every living being? And what better way to celebrate the spirit of the holiday than by practicing vegetarianism?
“It appears that the first intention of the Maker was to have men live on a strictly vegetarian diet. The very earliest periods of Jewish history are marked with humanitarian conduct towards the lower animal kingdom. … It is clearly established that the ancient Hebrews knew and perhaps were the first among men to know, that animals feel and suffer pain.”
—Rabbi Simon Glazer
We hope that you will start a new Passover tradition this year by adding kindness to the plate. Traditionally, most Jews include an egg on the ritual seder plate—to symbolize spring and life—but many now replace it with a flower. Using an egg from a chicken who spent her short life in death-like conditions—squeezed inside a tiny, crowded cage, barely able to move—mocks that symbolism. In place of the shank bone set on the seder plate to remind us of “the mighty arm of God,” many Jews use a beet, as allowed in the Talmud. And the cholesterol-laden array of animal foods often found on the Passover table can easily be replaced with delicious, healthful, and humane dishes. Check out our favorite Passover recipes to get started.
Protesting against injustice should lead to a table free of cruelty, as people of all religions begin to recognize that suffering is suffering-no matter who is experiencing it.
HOW TO SET A VEGAN SEDER PLATE (a tad late)
This is traditionally a mixture of chopped nuts, apples, honey, spices, and wine. Check out our delicious, honey-free version.
Red beet is permitted on the Seder plate in lieu of a lamb shank.
The Torah commands that “bitter herbs” be eaten. Romaine lettuce, horseradish, and celery all suffice as bitter herbs.
You can substitute an egg with an avocado, a flower, or a white eggplant (without the stem).
Any green will do, but spring parsley is a popular choice. Dip the green in saltwater or vinegar (depending on your tradition) before consuming.