If they had decided to write articles and send out press releases expressing their opposition I wouldn’t have held it against them. If they had taken the opportunity to set up a debate about the ethics of animal slaughter I would have applauded them. But instead JVNA decided to mount a protest; instead of engaging in intelligent and meaningful dialogue they decided to scream and yell so loud that the other side would have no recourse. According to JVNA’s director Jeffrey Cohan they did attempt to engage in dialogue with Urban Adamah in order to avoid this process. But sadly this effort for dialogue seemed to be little more than an ultimatum for them to give the hens to a sanctuary or else. This demonstration was not slated to take place at a huge poultry plant which could easily operate during such an event but rather at a small urban farm that would have little to no chance of continuing with its workshop in the face of such an outcry.
To add insult to injury, JVNA Facebook followers used the JVNA Facebook page to organize ways to publicly humiliate and injure Urban Adamah in order to bully them into canceling the class. While the JVNA never directly encouraged that these steps be taken they also did nothing to stop it and refuse to apologize or show remorse for their role in the defamation. The JVNA did take down the Facebook events page on which these comments were posted but this was too little too late as Adamah's facebook rating space was already filled with one star ratings and malicious attacks from animal rights protesters that had never once stepped foot inside the farm. After all this hostile action, JVNA even had the gall to commend and thank Urban Adamah for cancelling the class when it was largely because of their aggressive tactics that the class was canceled in the first place.
I am utterly disappointed by these actions but there is a way that the JVNA can make amends. There exists another very important value in Judaism, that of tshuvah, which means repentance or return. The JVNA needs to commit to the fostering of intelligent and thoughtful dialogue rather than the path of forceful intolerance that they’ve chosen. While intolerance and negative publicity is what many have come to expect from some animal rights groups, until now the JVNA were always the ones to take a higher road. I expect much less from the JVNA than I once did but I hope that in the future I’ll be able to hold them up to a high level of behavior once again.