The JVS or to give it it’s full title, the Jewish Vegetarian and Ecological Society was founded at a time when vegetarianism was the very height of food ethics (one of our trustees – Michael – remembers that at the time the UK only had 20,000 vegetarians and virtually no vegans). Mass produced dairy and eggs were still in their infancy and the main welfare issues surrounded animals being slaughtered for food, rather than the way they were raised and milked.
As well as concern for animal welfare, our principles have always been rooted in the environment (sustainability) and looking after our bodies (nutrition and healthy diet). We have also extended our interest to a healthy mind with meditation sessions and other holistic approaches.
As a Jewish organisation we value and promote Torah ethics including ‘tsar ba’ale chayim’, which means not causing unnecessary harm to animals and our Rabbinic patrons believe that JVS is doing essential work in this area. Another Jewish value we embody is ‘ba’al tashchit’, which means not wasting resources and corresponds to our environmental ethics.
Over the past 50 years, intensive animal farming has grown to the point where the majority of dairy and egg production involves animal cruelty, which is why we as an organisation now recommend a vegan diet and only cater with vegan foods when we put on our own events.
We strive for a world with no animal cruelty and a sustainable environment, here are some of our principles:
- Less animal cruelty and environmental destruction is BETTER than the current situation – this is why we support everyone, no matter what stage of their journey they are at
- In the same vein, organisations like from ‘Meat free mondays’ (run by our former director) deserve our support as they reduce the ethical and environmental issues and create awareness
- We support and distribute eggs from Hen Nation as they rescue battery hens who would otherwise be killed and support them to have long lives by selling the eggs they produce. All proceeds from sales go to caring for the hens, no profit is made
- Our experience is that promoting the benefits of a more ethical diet leads to better results in the long term than for example criticising people who struggle to cut out all animal products from their diet
We therefore embrace and support all members and others who are committed to saving animal lives, improving animal welfare and the environment, wherever they are on their personal journey.
Spring 2019 update: We are reviewing suggestions of new names that have been sent to us.