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Mad Cowboy: Plain Truth from the Cattle Rancher Who Won't Eat Meat

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Told by the man who kicked off the infamous lawsuit between Oprah and the cattlemen, Mad Cowboy is an impassioned account of the highly dangerous practices of the cattle and dairy industries. Howard Lyman's testimony on The Oprah Winfrey Show revealed the deadly impact of the livestock industry on our well-being. It not only led to Oprah's declaration that she'd never eat a Told by the man who kicked off the infamous lawsuit between Oprah and the cattlemen, Mad Cowboy is an impassioned account of the highly dangerous practices of the cattle and dairy industries. Howard Lyman's testimony on The Oprah Winfrey Show revealed the deadly impact of the livestock industry on our well-being. It not only led to Oprah's declaration that she'd never eat a burger again, it sent shock waves through a concerned and vulnerable public. A fourth-generation Montana rancher, Lyman investigated the use of chemicals in agriculture after developing a spinal tumor that nearly paralyzed him. Now a vegetarian, he blasts through the propaganda of beef and dairy interests - and the government agencies that protect them - to expose an animal-based diet as the primary cause of cancer, heart disease, and obesity in this country. He warns that the livestock industry is repeating the mistakes that led to Mad Cow disease in England while simultaneously causing serious damage to the environment. Persuasive, straightforward, and full of the down-home good humor and optimism of a son of the soil, Mad Cowboy is both an inspirational story of personal transformation and a convincing call to action for a plant-based diet - for the good of the planet and the health of us all.


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Told by the man who kicked off the infamous lawsuit between Oprah and the cattlemen, Mad Cowboy is an impassioned account of the highly dangerous practices of the cattle and dairy industries. Howard Lyman's testimony on The Oprah Winfrey Show revealed the deadly impact of the livestock industry on our well-being. It not only led to Oprah's declaration that she'd never eat a Told by the man who kicked off the infamous lawsuit between Oprah and the cattlemen, Mad Cowboy is an impassioned account of the highly dangerous practices of the cattle and dairy industries. Howard Lyman's testimony on The Oprah Winfrey Show revealed the deadly impact of the livestock industry on our well-being. It not only led to Oprah's declaration that she'd never eat a burger again, it sent shock waves through a concerned and vulnerable public. A fourth-generation Montana rancher, Lyman investigated the use of chemicals in agriculture after developing a spinal tumor that nearly paralyzed him. Now a vegetarian, he blasts through the propaganda of beef and dairy interests - and the government agencies that protect them - to expose an animal-based diet as the primary cause of cancer, heart disease, and obesity in this country. He warns that the livestock industry is repeating the mistakes that led to Mad Cow disease in England while simultaneously causing serious damage to the environment. Persuasive, straightforward, and full of the down-home good humor and optimism of a son of the soil, Mad Cowboy is both an inspirational story of personal transformation and a convincing call to action for a plant-based diet - for the good of the planet and the health of us all.

30 review for Mad Cowboy: Plain Truth from the Cattle Rancher Who Won't Eat Meat

  1. 5 out of 5

    Deanna

    Oh my. This book has been in our house for a couple years. My husband read half of it. His sister is now a vegan and his mom a vegetarian. I have been meaning to read the book but wasn't sure where it was. But last night while looking for another book, I found it. I have been one of those "kinda" vegetarians who occasionally eats chicken or fish. (Same for the rest of the family) Well, after reading just through chapter 2, I am changed. Now I have read through a few more chapters, and for some r Oh my. This book has been in our house for a couple years. My husband read half of it. His sister is now a vegan and his mom a vegetarian. I have been meaning to read the book but wasn't sure where it was. But last night while looking for another book, I found it. I have been one of those "kinda" vegetarians who occasionally eats chicken or fish. (Same for the rest of the family) Well, after reading just through chapter 2, I am changed. Now I have read through a few more chapters, and for some reason, this book is even more compelling to me than the dvd's I have seen. I guess the dvd's have been more focused on the treatment of animals, which is a lot, but more compelling to me is the devastation of land and water, starvation throughout the world,the greed of corporations, the disease, it goes on and on. I am done with meat. And cheese and butter are the last remaining animal products I use occasionally, and I will have to consider just how important those are to me too. The vegan cheese and butter is not quite as tasty, but I don't think I care anymore. I finished this book already, less than 24 hours after starting it. And I am changed. I admire Howard Lyman for his integrity and courage.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    Until last week, I think I was one of the few remaining vegans in North America who hasn't read “Mad Cowboy”. Lyman and Merzer's book provides an interesting take on the reasons for being vegan, and may be one of the most compelling books on the topic ever written. If you have never read anything about the health and environmental costs of eating meat, this would be a great place to start. If you are already a vegan, or have read lots of books about the reasons for veganism, you might not find m Until last week, I think I was one of the few remaining vegans in North America who hasn't read “Mad Cowboy”. Lyman and Merzer's book provides an interesting take on the reasons for being vegan, and may be one of the most compelling books on the topic ever written. If you have never read anything about the health and environmental costs of eating meat, this would be a great place to start. If you are already a vegan, or have read lots of books about the reasons for veganism, you might not find much new information here. But you will see that information from a different angle than any other book on the market, and I think “Mad Cowboy” makes the case as strongly, or stronger, than any book out there. “Mad Cowboy” starts with the story of Howard Lyman and Oprah Winfrey being taken to court by the cattle industry for “food disparagement”, an absolutely insane law (on the books in 13 US states) that actually allows food producers to sue critics of their agricultural practices for libel. How these laws do not run afoul of the First Amendment is beyond me. But in any case, Lyman and Oprah were sued because Lyman had come on the show and described the common practice of feeding animal byproducts to cows and other farm animals, and discussed his concerns about the risks this practice posed to human health. Although Lyman and Oprah won their case, it had a chilling effect on free speech and many people, including Oprah herself, became more cautious when talking about food. Lyman, with much less to lose than Oprah, wrote “Mad Cowboy”. A former intensive factory farmer himself, Lyman gave up on the cattle industry after he recognized what a deleterious effect it was having on the environment and his own health. While he had inherited a traditional family farm, he had turned his farm into a chemical and pharmaceutical operation that, despite being increasingly reliant on the latest scientific and technological breakthroughs, was losing money and ravaging the land. When he realized this, Lyman became a vegan and became a lobbyist for family and organic farms, as well as vegetarianism. “Mad Cowboy” is his comprehensive expose of the modern farming industry. About a third of “Mad Cowboy” is about the human health risks associated with the factory farming industry as it exists today. Lyman is especially concerned about mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). He details the government mishandling of the BSE outbreak in England that led to dozens of humans contracting the fatal human variant (Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease). Lyman predicted that it was only a matter of time before a similar outbreak occurs in North America. Lyman does a great job discussing the scientific and political issues surrounding Mad Cow Disease (although, having been written in 1996, some of the scientific information in “Mad Cowboy” is a bit dated by now). Government regulators often work closely with, and protect the interests of, food producers rather than consumers, so it is not a huge stretch to suggest that someday there will be a similar outbreak elsewhere in the world. Conversely, Lyman also discusses the many documented health benefits of vegetarianism, and gives some decent advice about making the switch. Another good chunk of the book is concerned with the environmental impact of cattle farming, both with respect to intensive factory farming, and to grazing. I found his perspective on ranching particularly interesting; intuitively it seems like a less harmful method of farming than chemical and antibiotic laced feedlot farming. In actual fact, it is a hugely destructive process that has obliterated huge swaths of ecosystem in the western states, and threatens plains, forests, and even deserts all around the world. The writing style of “Mad Cowboy” is simple and straightforward. There were several times when I laughed out loud at how strongly a statement was worded; Lyman pulls no punches, especially when discussing the links between eating meat and heart disease. Only occasionally does he seem to slip into the somewhat forced “down-home good humour of a son of the soil” that is advertised on the dust jacket. At a few other times, technical words are undefined and overused (the word “riparian” is used half a dozen times on a single page). These are minor complaints about a book that overall is written very well. “Mad Cowboy” is an easy and fast read, and can probably be read in a couple of sittings. One of the things I found most interesting about “Mad Cowboy” is the rhetorical strength of Lyman's argument that comes from the fact that he used to be a Montana cattle rancher. If the exact same information was presented by a lifetime vegan from San Fransisco or New York City, it could be much more easily dismissed. By making clear his farming origins throughout the book, Lyman's arguments seem to carry extra weight. He has been there, seen the effects of contemporary farming with his own eyes, and had the integrity and guts to put his livelihood on the line in an attempt to make the world a better place. I hope that readers of “Mad Cowboy” will try to do the same.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Vegan

    I really admire people who make huge changes in their lives, and Howard Lyman is one of them. He's an ex-multi-generational cattle rancher who became vegan after developing medical problems. He's since made it his mission to talk and write about the cattle & dairy industry, as well as the benefits, to both people and animals, of going vegan = giving up animal product foods. He gives the reader a lot of information with which to make their decisions about whether to consume animal products. I really admire people who make huge changes in their lives, and Howard Lyman is one of them. He's an ex-multi-generational cattle rancher who became vegan after developing medical problems. He's since made it his mission to talk and write about the cattle & dairy industry, as well as the benefits, to both people and animals, of going vegan = giving up animal product foods. He gives the reader a lot of information with which to make their decisions about whether to consume animal products.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay

    The best way to describe this book is a that it is "Skinny Bitch" for men, with the added bonus of the rancher perspective. Lyman, who was once a rancher in Montana, tells his story of growing up as a dairy farmer, dealing with bovine growth hormones, mad cow disease, and all of the challenges of surviving as "cowboy" in the modern dairy industry. He comes to the realization that the farming practices that he has adopted are ruining the soil, parching his land, and is morally questionable in the The best way to describe this book is a that it is "Skinny Bitch" for men, with the added bonus of the rancher perspective. Lyman, who was once a rancher in Montana, tells his story of growing up as a dairy farmer, dealing with bovine growth hormones, mad cow disease, and all of the challenges of surviving as "cowboy" in the modern dairy industry. He comes to the realization that the farming practices that he has adopted are ruining the soil, parching his land, and is morally questionable in the way that it forces animals to live. His book delves into the way that growth hormone and (meat -filled) cattle feed came to be common, and how they have affected cattle and humans alike. Lyman ends up becoming a vegetarian, but his reasons are mostly environmental and health related than for any ethical reasons. Overall, this is an easy read packed with lots of good environmental and health-related reasons to cut out the "bull" from your diet.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kristen Freiburger

    Such an important read. While Andrew’s been a vegan for years, I’ve been flirting with a vegetarian diet. No more! Also highly recommend watching The Game Changer if you live with boys. Thanks J-9 for another home run both on Netflix and this book.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jessaka

    I don't remember much about this book since I read it years ago. Just that pesticides and other chemicals had destroyed this rancher's land as well as his health. he then became an activist and a vegan.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Dee

    I stopped eating meat when, one morning in 1979 I woke up to the aroma of bacon being cooked. In that instant I realized I couldn't eat meat anymore. I don't know what happened. It still smelled good, I just had no desire to eat it. I still ate fish and foul, although I really wanted to be vegetarian, I just wanted it to be as "organic" (if that's what it was for me) as my relationship to meat. In the summer of 2000 I spent a week's vacation with my vegan daughter and decided to not eat fish or I stopped eating meat when, one morning in 1979 I woke up to the aroma of bacon being cooked. In that instant I realized I couldn't eat meat anymore. I don't know what happened. It still smelled good, I just had no desire to eat it. I still ate fish and foul, although I really wanted to be vegetarian, I just wanted it to be as "organic" (if that's what it was for me) as my relationship to meat. In the summer of 2000 I spent a week's vacation with my vegan daughter and decided to not eat fish or fowl -- just to see if I could do it. After 5 days I had no desire for fish or fowl -- I could drive past KFC and my mouth didn't water. My daughter urged me to go vegan, but I didn't think I could maintain a balanced, nutritious diet. In the Fall of 2000 I went to a vegan-organization's event during which Howard Lyman spoke. He shared the story of his journey from cattle rancher to vegan. Then I read his book. This is the book that catapulted me into being vegan. I still miss the taste of some cheeses and scrambled eggs but I realize what I'm missing is a memory -- like the way I miss my mother -- no more. What's more important to me is what goes into my body and this book made it quite clear that I was unexpectedly ingesting all kinds of drugs I didn't want. This book was the beginning of my journey towards better health and I thank you Howard Lyman!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jarrod

    Be prepared to love tofu. This former rancher explains what goes on in the beef industry and exposes the risks of eating beef, not only to consumers, but also to the earth. It took me 6 months after reading this book to feel okay about eating a hamburger again. And now that I think about it, I don't want another one. The author does rant at times, and seems to have an axe to grind with various diet fads (such as Barry Sears' ZONE diet)for which I subtracted 2 stars.

  9. 5 out of 5

    James

    This book was an eye opener, strangely because I approached it knowing alot about the issues Lyman discusses. It became apparent within just a few pages that, as we often discover about this "great country" things are alot worse then I imagined. I knew what a renderer was, but had no idea how diverse its processing contents really were. I knew about Mad Cow disease but not how much the real threat of it has been covered up by the same people that were too cowardly to do anything about it. I knew This book was an eye opener, strangely because I approached it knowing alot about the issues Lyman discusses. It became apparent within just a few pages that, as we often discover about this "great country" things are alot worse then I imagined. I knew what a renderer was, but had no idea how diverse its processing contents really were. I knew about Mad Cow disease but not how much the real threat of it has been covered up by the same people that were too cowardly to do anything about it. I knew the dangers of a meat based diet, but didn't know how dangerous. This book made me feel really good about my current diet and only confirmed my general disdain for the political factions that are supposed to be bettering our lives but are too busy trying to make as much money as possible that they turn a blind eye to the poisoning of this country in just about every angle. With any book like this there comes skepticism. Many of us don't want to believe things are as bad as they are (I'm a pessimist and thus a believer). A number of things set this book apart. 1) Lyman is a man who ran a 5 million dollar a year cattle ranch and used all the standards and practices deemed safe by the FDA and USDA until he nearly died from his diet and chemical exposure. This man knows everything there is about cattle and the industry, he is a very legitimate source. 2)All the info is based on historical and scientific fact. There is nothing claimed true that isn't backed up by evidence, and even the hypotheses and predictions of the author are identified as such, hunches. The scary part is that the book was written about ten years ago and more than half of Lyman's predictions have come true. 3) Lyman was a doubter himself. He lived off the industry and made a fortune. He denied anything being wrong even though he was doing the wrong. He mocked health nuts. When he finally had to accept things were wrong, he was forced to make changes. Selling his farm and falling on the hardest times of his life, having to give up his cowboy image. Even dealing with the internal, and extremely convoluted belief that being a vegan was making him less of a man. This is a great book for those who don't know about this industry and how it is one of the sole culprits in the destruction of our ecosytems. Its also a great book for those who are already health conscience and want to know more. This was a great book and a real eye opener and I came to it with a pretty firm understanding of the issues (or so I thought). If you come through this book and still doubt, then the brain wash affect is stronger then anyone realized.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Erinn

    Another book I went out an bought after seeing the author on Oprah. Remember when Oprah was sued by the meat industry for saying that she would never eat another burger? Yeah, that was this guy, the cattle rancher who wouldn't eat meat. A fabulous book, not only about the evils of the meat industry, but about self discovery and making a change in yourself and then helping others to change too. The author goes through a huge life change in the book. Does he want to continue to raise his cattle in Another book I went out an bought after seeing the author on Oprah. Remember when Oprah was sued by the meat industry for saying that she would never eat another burger? Yeah, that was this guy, the cattle rancher who wouldn't eat meat. A fabulous book, not only about the evils of the meat industry, but about self discovery and making a change in yourself and then helping others to change too. The author goes through a huge life change in the book. Does he want to continue to raise his cattle in the conventional way, with hormones and antibiotics, while extending their feed with other dead cattle and watching his land wither away, or does he want to take the plunge and turn the farm that was once Organic back into a thriving, green, natural livestock and crop farm? He has just been diagnosed with Cancer, his houseplants die when he walks past from all the pesticides on his clothing and his dry land is screaming for some nutrients. He has a decision to make.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Shel

    Written in 1998, this book has a chapter on cows as a cause of drought that's as informative as the documentary "Cowspiracy (2014)," a chapter on pesticide use as cautionary as Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" (1962), and a chapter on health similar to Dr. Joel Fuhrman's "Eat for Health (2008)." What's unique here is the perspective of a Montana cattle rancher, the touches of memoir and his personable down home language as he tells the story of turning from chemical to organic farming and from a h Written in 1998, this book has a chapter on cows as a cause of drought that's as informative as the documentary "Cowspiracy (2014)," a chapter on pesticide use as cautionary as Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" (1962), and a chapter on health similar to Dr. Joel Fuhrman's "Eat for Health (2008)." What's unique here is the perspective of a Montana cattle rancher, the touches of memoir and his personable down home language as he tells the story of turning from chemical to organic farming and from a heavy animal product to plant-based lifestyle. Quoteable:"The question we must ask ourselves as a culture is whether we want to embrace the change that must come, or resist it. Are we so attached to the dietary fallacies with which we were raised, so afraid to counter the arbitrary laws of eating taught to us in childhood by our misinformed parents, that we cannot alter the course they set us on, even if it leads to our own ruin? Does the prospect of standing apart or encountering ridicule scare us even from saving ourselves? That prospect intimidated me once, and I can only wonder now what I was frightened of. It's hard to imagine, now that I'm a hundred and thirty pounds lighter, infinitely healthier, more full of life and energy, much happier. Now that I have vegetarian friends wherever I go, and feel a part of a movement that is not so much political as it is a march of the human heart."

  12. 5 out of 5

    Megan Jones

    Although not a work of literary genius, I think the author did an outstanding job making his claim for a plant-based diet - something the entire world needs to realize and embrace if we care about saving the planet for future generations. I absolutely love how this isn't an animal rights book in the least but more of a calling to save the earth and save ourselves, our health - a unique perspective as compared to most vegetarian/vegan reads. He also took time to address common misconceptions abou Although not a work of literary genius, I think the author did an outstanding job making his claim for a plant-based diet - something the entire world needs to realize and embrace if we care about saving the planet for future generations. I absolutely love how this isn't an animal rights book in the least but more of a calling to save the earth and save ourselves, our health - a unique perspective as compared to most vegetarian/vegan reads. He also took time to address common misconceptions about the meat-industry and a carnivorous diet, including touching on evolution. A very well-rounded argument that deserves everyone's attention. I'm recommending this to anyone that cares about health and the environment!!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rae

    I just disagreed with a lot of this man's philosophies. I learned some things, though, and it was worth reading. I'm glad he found a lifestyle (vegan) that works for him. He just seemed too extreme to me. Like he has a bit of a chip on his shoulder... I still like my meat. I just make sure it's grass-fed with no hormones or antibiotics. He wrote as though there were no alternatives to factory meat at all. And, quite frankly, some of his medical information and stats just don't jive with other thi I just disagreed with a lot of this man's philosophies. I learned some things, though, and it was worth reading. I'm glad he found a lifestyle (vegan) that works for him. He just seemed too extreme to me. Like he has a bit of a chip on his shoulder... I still like my meat. I just make sure it's grass-fed with no hormones or antibiotics. He wrote as though there were no alternatives to factory meat at all. And, quite frankly, some of his medical information and stats just don't jive with other things I have read. I guess everyone has to find what works for them as individuals.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Magali

    I did not learn a lot reading that book, but it's mostly because I've already read a lot about vegetarism/veganism, the meat industry and all that. It's still a very good book with a lot of research and compelling arguments. It's pretty scary to see that it was written 20+ years ago, and how so little we've changed as a society about all those issues.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Beverly

    Howard Lyman was once a factory dairy farmer. After suffering a heart attack, he looked into what was different about how the food he and farmers like him farmed was different from what his father who did things more naturally grew. I've seen much of what he's discovered before. The vegetarian diet is much healthier for you than one that includes animal protein of any sort. I actually thought fish and chicken were actually better for you than beef, but eating them is like cutting back from smoki Howard Lyman was once a factory dairy farmer. After suffering a heart attack, he looked into what was different about how the food he and farmers like him farmed was different from what his father who did things more naturally grew. I've seen much of what he's discovered before. The vegetarian diet is much healthier for you than one that includes animal protein of any sort. I actually thought fish and chicken were actually better for you than beef, but eating them is like cutting back from smoking two packs a day to one. I had already heard organic vegetables were better for you than conventionally grown ones, but I didn't know why. Lyman explains about the soil and the trace minerals. He also revealed something I had never given any thought to. The cows and sheep that have overgrazed our land are not native to this country, so their overgrazing has pushed out the native wildlife. I already knew about the world's agricultural land being able to feed everyone if only we raised the crops for human consumption vs. bovine consumption. And the fact that tearing out forest land to create grazing pastures will ultimately and inevitably make our planet uninhabitable. The outline and pattern of the book itself is very formulaic; the author tells his personal story, then recounts lots of scientific studies, medical facts, environmental impacts. After reading it, you might actually put more vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes into your diet. Still, stay away from GMOs.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Harris Morrison

    he's no t.s. eliot, but howard lyman tells here a powerful story, with a bunch of humor and plain talk.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Taran Hewitt

    Many's the time I've considered the idea of going vegetarian and now, after reading this fascinating book, I think I've found the incentive to take the plunge. Howard Lyman is the first person I have read who knows intimately both sides of the vegetarian fence. An ex-cattle farmer, he went from being a conscientious old-fashioned fourth-generation dairyman with a belief in crop-rotation, open pasture feeding and honest animal husbandry to a high-tech animal abuser using every chemical that came Many's the time I've considered the idea of going vegetarian and now, after reading this fascinating book, I think I've found the incentive to take the plunge. Howard Lyman is the first person I have read who knows intimately both sides of the vegetarian fence. An ex-cattle farmer, he went from being a conscientious old-fashioned fourth-generation dairyman with a belief in crop-rotation, open pasture feeding and honest animal husbandry to a high-tech animal abuser using every chemical that came his way. Finally, after experiencing a life threatening health problem, he came to see the error of his ways, turned vegetarian and started to question the whole business of meat production and consumption. This book is an eye-opener in so many ways and, not being written by a died-in-the wool environmentalist, it has provided me with the most convincing arguments yet to follow his example. I believe that I will succeed, which may come as a surprise to many of my friends, and I thoroughly recommend this book to everyone who, like me, has had difficulty in doing what he or she knows to be right, but hasn't yet received that final prod to go over to the other side (of the fence!). [Footnote: I still have many happy memories of working on my friend Jeff's beef farm a few years ago, a very humane operation, lots of green grass and fresh hay, and minimal use of chemicals. So I still believe that if the world can't totally stop eating beef, then at least minimise that consumption and let the animals lead the better life Jeff showed them before they head off to the slaughterhouse!]

  18. 5 out of 5

    Josepha

    I was utterly disappointed in this book but I guess it could be useful to persuade people who don't give a hoot about animals to become vegan (or vegetarian). Lyman wrote this book only from a human-centrist view; focusing on health and the environment. He advocates the HCLF thingy that is very popular right now. He writes passionately about the damage to our health done by animal products like heart disease, osteoporosis etc. And the destruction of the environment by animal agriculture leading I was utterly disappointed in this book but I guess it could be useful to persuade people who don't give a hoot about animals to become vegan (or vegetarian). Lyman wrote this book only from a human-centrist view; focusing on health and the environment. He advocates the HCLF thingy that is very popular right now. He writes passionately about the damage to our health done by animal products like heart disease, osteoporosis etc. And the destruction of the environment by animal agriculture leading to soil erosion, deforestation, water pollution etc. But nowhere any mention of the suffering of animals for human taste buds. Perhaps I shouldn't have expected that since to be a cattle rancher you have to have some psychotic detachment from the pain of animals. Sure it's a perk that veganism is healthier but I find it pretty unimportant compared to the massive abuse and murder of animals for our food. Enjoy your peanut butter and avocado, maybe even make some dairy-free macaroni and cheese, and don't forget to take your B12 supplement! And read some Regan or Francione.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Dee

    I was going to give this book four stars because it tends to bog down in places, but the message is so powerful I went ahead and gave it the full five stars. I'll let the following quote speak for itself: "I knew that while a billion people went to sleep hungry, the overfed part of the world was busy feeding sixteen pounds of grain to cattle in order to make one pound of beef. I'd seen countless friends suffer from heart attacks or require heart surgery. I'd seen the cancer rate in America increa I was going to give this book four stars because it tends to bog down in places, but the message is so powerful I went ahead and gave it the full five stars. I'll let the following quote speak for itself: "I knew that while a billion people went to sleep hungry, the overfed part of the world was busy feeding sixteen pounds of grain to cattle in order to make one pound of beef. I'd seen countless friends suffer from heart attacks or require heart surgery. I'd seen the cancer rate in America increase dramatically . . .We were as a civilization making one big mistake, a mistake that was understandable because we had been raised to make it. We had been culturally indoctrinated to believe it to be not a mistake at all, but rather a normal and healthy habit. But this mistake was killing us as individuals just as it was destroying our land and our forests and our rivers." And that's just the tip of the iceberg!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Morna

    I was initially very put off by his Golly Ma'am, I'm Just a Dumb Ole Cowboy approach, but he kind of grew on me; also, he got less folksy once he got into the meat of the book (sorry, couldn't resist the stupid pun). The book is dated, but it's still a good read, with important information. It helps that it is a quick read. If you are interested in the subject matter - veganism, our food supply, factory farms, the impact of meat eating on individual health and the world environment - then it's w I was initially very put off by his Golly Ma'am, I'm Just a Dumb Ole Cowboy approach, but he kind of grew on me; also, he got less folksy once he got into the meat of the book (sorry, couldn't resist the stupid pun). The book is dated, but it's still a good read, with important information. It helps that it is a quick read. If you are interested in the subject matter - veganism, our food supply, factory farms, the impact of meat eating on individual health and the world environment - then it's worth picking up at your library (not a book you will feel compelled to own). Possibly a really good book to give to someone who is somewhat clueless about what is going on in the meat industry - because it is so easy to read, gets its message across without requiring much effort on the part of the reader. I guess that's a successful book!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Cindi

    This is a five star book for the great information and for the perspective of an ex-rancher gone vegan. I had to dock it a star for the diet information at the back of the book. Skip that and instead read Eat to Live or a couple of books by Andrew Weil. I really think all people should read this and learn what goes on in the production of their hamburgers. I also think people ought to know what raising cattle is doing to the earth. And, to those of you who think the solution is to drink only org This is a five star book for the great information and for the perspective of an ex-rancher gone vegan. I had to dock it a star for the diet information at the back of the book. Skip that and instead read Eat to Live or a couple of books by Andrew Weil. I really think all people should read this and learn what goes on in the production of their hamburgers. I also think people ought to know what raising cattle is doing to the earth. And, to those of you who think the solution is to drink only organic milk and eat only range fed beef, I have news for you, that is not sustainable. The earth is shrinking under the treatment we give her. This book is not written in an alarmist way at all. I found it to be very matter-of-fact, a kind of take it or leave it attitude (but you or your children will be revisiting this topic!!)

  22. 5 out of 5

    Clare

    I felt that this book, while eye-opening for someone who might not know about the meat industry, and rather humorous for the rest of us, totally disregarded some of the other omnivorous options humans have. His argument for veganism was close-minded and naive. He failed to take a good look at what grass-fed cattle can do for the environment, and barely grazed over what 100% veganism would do to the economy. We would wipe out all of the huge factory farms (at least those that control the meat we I felt that this book, while eye-opening for someone who might not know about the meat industry, and rather humorous for the rest of us, totally disregarded some of the other omnivorous options humans have. His argument for veganism was close-minded and naive. He failed to take a good look at what grass-fed cattle can do for the environment, and barely grazed over what 100% veganism would do to the economy. We would wipe out all of the huge factory farms (at least those that control the meat we eat) which would be great, but we'd also wipe out all of the family farms that Lyman promoted throughout the book. How would that solve anything? I'd recommend that anyone who's been brainwashed into veganism by this author go out and read some much more intelligently written books...Pollan's "The Omnivore's Dilemma" or Kingsolvers "Vegetable, Animal, Miracle" to start.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Linda Petersen

    Mr. Lyman was involved in the Oprah, "I'll never eat another hamburger" lawsuit. Also, just so you know, Mr. Lyman pulls no punches in the first chapter. No dipping the toe in to test the waters. Nope. He throws you in head-first. Caveat: first chapter on an empty stomach (there should be an advisory to that effect, Mr. Lyman!) I also found it interesting that when he went to his bank and tried to get a loan in order to farm in such a way as to make reparations to the land damaged by his factory Mr. Lyman was involved in the Oprah, "I'll never eat another hamburger" lawsuit. Also, just so you know, Mr. Lyman pulls no punches in the first chapter. No dipping the toe in to test the waters. Nope. He throws you in head-first. Caveat: first chapter on an empty stomach (there should be an advisory to that effect, Mr. Lyman!) I also found it interesting that when he went to his bank and tried to get a loan in order to farm in such a way as to make reparations to the land damaged by his factory farming, the banker refused. had he wanted the loan to continue cattle ranching, the banker told him that he would have gotten the money. Interesting. I was vegan before I read this book, and after reading it, I feel even more assured that I am making the right decision.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lauri

    Wow. This is singularly the best book I've read on the case for veganism. And I've read a lot of books on the topic!! You're not going to find a lot of animal rights stuff in here -- in fact, I think he spends one small paragraph on it. What you will find is a soul-baring, witty, down-to-earth tale about how this factory farmer gave it all up and became a vegan and why. If this guy can become a vegan, anyone can...and should!!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sheri

    What a great read! I love this guy. He is witty and his first-person knowledge about cattle ranching and the elements of it that drove him to become a vegan are shocking and highly entertaining. This book surprised me by how good a read it was. Great stuff, Mr. Lyman. Anyone - even a rabid meat eater - could enjoy his writing and stories.

  26. 5 out of 5

    dara

    Mega gross out regarding all things meat. A lot of the info I've been exposed to already,--disease, bacteria, environmental destruction-- but it still hits me in the gut, so to speak. Lyman's personal narrative was a welcome addition.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Camilo Rodríguez Gaviria

    Although I turned vegan recently, I've been vegetarian for almost 4 years now, this book shed light on the dark and hidden business of meat and dairy. I'm happy I turned vegetarian and vegan; I see it as the most important decision health-wise I've ever made. I won't be responsible of dead animals.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    One of the best AR books ever written.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Bronwyn

    I was expecting this to be a memoir but it's more of an expose of the beef/dairy industry and very heavy on chemistry and policy. Which is fine, but I tend to absorb narrative much better than layer upon layer of fact. That said, there's some scary stuff in here. I didn't know the rendering industry not only takes dead livestock but also euthanized cats and dogs and feces and the liquid rendered is used in cosmetics, household products etc. and the rest is powdered and used in livestock feed and I was expecting this to be a memoir but it's more of an expose of the beef/dairy industry and very heavy on chemistry and policy. Which is fine, but I tend to absorb narrative much better than layer upon layer of fact. That said, there's some scary stuff in here. I didn't know the rendering industry not only takes dead livestock but also euthanized cats and dogs and feces and the liquid rendered is used in cosmetics, household products etc. and the rest is powdered and used in livestock feed and even pet food. YUCK. There's also lots of scary stuff about how pesticide level is not regulated for crops intended for animal consumption. So livestock is eating this pesticide laden stuff and then we're eating it ... yuck again. And the number of antibiotics and hormones needed to keep cows alive when they're shoved together in tiny pens, fed an unnatural grain diet (they eat grass), exposed to disease upon disease. Not to mention all the POO these guys generate, polluting our water table. All the forest cleared for grazing and the public lands actually leased for super cheap to ranchers so their cows can graze and completely destroy the topsoil/natural ecosystem. I mean ... so many wrong things here. I'm already vegan and this just made me even more queasy about meat. Though, who knows, maybe Canada is better but factory farming is factory farming in the end. Corners get cut. Mostly this book made me want to buy more vegan cosmetics/products because ... rendered euthanized cats and dogs? I hella don't want that in my dish soap. *vomits*

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kenneth

    Warning, this book is a real game changer. If you read this book, and I am serious about this, you very well may change your eating habits like I did. I am sure that many readers have. The two things that really effect you as your reading this is that as Howard Lyman unveils his clarion call to you the reader, you realize that this is not some disgruntled rancher ranting against the machine of industrial farming. This is a common hard working man who is telling you stuff that you already heard, t Warning, this book is a real game changer. If you read this book, and I am serious about this, you very well may change your eating habits like I did. I am sure that many readers have. The two things that really effect you as your reading this is that as Howard Lyman unveils his clarion call to you the reader, you realize that this is not some disgruntled rancher ranting against the machine of industrial farming. This is a common hard working man who is telling you stuff that you already heard, that you probably already know, but that you have been hiding in your subconscious and denying. After hearing it in this book, all of a sudden, you start connecting the dots. Lyman takes you through his personal history of family farming and points out that along the way, his doubts ans questions about the health and wisdom of the trends in modern farming were going. After seeing some his friends dying "with their boots on", and after a health crisis of his own. He takes action, and then goes off to share what he has seen and learned with us. After reading this book, I did not stop eating meat, but I evaluated my own diet and have cut back drastically on the amount of meat that I consume.

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