Jewish Veg launches campaign to prevent future pandemics.
The national nonprofit organization Jewish Veg announced a multi-faceted campaign today to educate people about the causal connection between the COVID-19 pandemic and meat consumption. The campaign will help people transition to plant-based diets as an important step in reducing the likelihood of another, even worse pandemic.
Called Toward a Pandemic-Free World, the campaign features a dedicated website providing information about the imminent threat that another pandemic will emerge from the confinement and slaughter of animals. The website also offers a portal to Jewish Veg’s new Plant Pathways program, which provides free resources and communal support for people inspired by the campaign to transition to vegan lifestyles.
“Almost all of the major epidemics of the past 30 years have been zoonotic in origin, including COVID-19, Ebola, SARS, MERS, the swine flu, and even HIV,” explained Jeffrey Spitz Cohan, executive director of Jewish Veg. “In fact, all of these terrible diseases spilled over into the human population when somebody slaughtered an infected animal for meat.”
Epidemiologists and public health leaders are warning that this list of deadly, infectious diseases could grow in the near future unless animal agriculture is significantly curtailed or eliminated.
“Our society has been devastated, our lives turned upside down, by a pandemic that can be prevented through our collective food choices. Now is the time to make a change,” said Michael Gribov, engagement and development director at Jewish Veg.
The Torah describes plant-based diets as ideal for humankind. In light of current conditions, it’s certainly an imperative, not just an ideal, Spitz Cohan said.
“As Jews, we must set an example and take the lead in creating a pandemic-free world through plant-based eating,” he said.
Toward a Pandemic-Free World will also feature live Facebook and Zoom events, during which people can ask questions of experts in infectious diseases and immunology. In addition, there will be similar online events with owners of vegan businesses.
Jewish Veg speakers will be available to give online presentations to synagogues, JCCs and Hillels and other interested groups about the nexus between Jewish ethics, pandemics and our diets.
The campaign is sponsored by V-Dog, one of the leading manufacturers of vegan dog food. Partnering nonprofits include the U.K.-based Jewish Vegetarian Society, the Interfaith Vegan Coalition, and Million Dollar Vegan.