Howard Lyman, 2003.
Born on September 17, 1938. He is known as the "Cattle
Rancher Who Won't Eat Meat". He is the president
and founder of
for a Viable future. He is well known for his court battle together
with Oprah Winfrey against the cattle industry. You can read more about
this on his website at
this link. He is the author of the books
No More Bull.
His website is
He is a 4th generation family farmer from Montana, who
spend 45 years in the cattle business. He was educated in modern
agriculture and turned a small organic dairy farm into a
large corporate chemical farm with over a thousand range cows and calves, five
thousand head of cattle in a factory feedlot and thousands of acres of
crops. He also raised chickens, pigs and turkeys. He had around 30
employees and was buying a million dollars worth of chemicals a year.
In 1979, a tumor on his spinal cord caused him to be
paralyzed from the waist down. The surgery was successful, but in 19990
he faced health concerns again and decided to become vegetarian. He
became vegan about a year after that. He lost over 100 pounds, his blood pressure went to normal and
his cholesterol dropped from 300 to 135. Since 1991, he has been
traveling the globe year-round, speaking on health, environment and
Quotes by Howard Lyman:
|"I have been to hundreds of
slaughterhouses, probably as many as 50 processing plants. The
animals are terrified at the slaughter plant, and the cruelty
inflicted on the animal in their last moments on earth are
indescribable. I believe if viewing of slaughter was required to
eat meat, most folks would become vegetarians."
|"I’ve seen a lot of animals die. And I
will tell you that once you go into a slaughter plant, once you
see what is happening there, it’s branded on your soul. You are
never gonna walk away from that again. I can tell you vividly
the memories that I have of the looks of the animals at the time
when they were killed."
|"Very few producers actually follow their
animals to the slaughterhouse. ... I would say the number of
times they’ve been in a slaughterhouse—never on the kill
floor—in their entire lifetime, you could count on one hand.
Just the smell of them is something you will never erase for the
rest of your life. We have a system set up so the producer never
has to be involved in that last step, it’s all done with
middlemen. We’re very ingenious how we can remove people from
culpability in the death of animals."
|When asked how cattle ranching
works, he answered:
|"What basically happens is that you have a
cow, you breed the cow for a calf, the calf is raised with the
cow on the grass for somewhere up to seven or nine months, comes
off of the grass, goes into the feedlot and he starts chuffing
concentrates, antibiotics, hormones down the throat,
vaccinations. That animal is raised until it gets to be about
twelve hundred pounds, usually from eighteen to twenty four
months of age. It's taken and slaughtered and turned into meat."
|"I know feedlots from the ground up and
there is no greater opponent of them in the world than me. There
is nothing involved in a feedlot that is good for animals or for
homo sapiens. In fact, what we’re doing to about 95 percent of
the animals in the U.S. today should absolutely never be done."
|"I spent 45 years in the cattle business
always professing that I loved my animals. But it was years
before I was willing to admit I was more interested in profit
than the animals’ health. The fact of it is, we simply raised
them to a point where they became economically beneficial to us
to sell. I finally woke up. Looking in those big old brown eyes,
I realized those animals loved life in their way just as much as
I loved life in mine; there was no way in the world I could ever
put them to death again."
|"In the spring, you’re out there feeding a
herd of cows and their new calves. Well, some cows stay and
baby-sit the calves while others go and eat. The fact is, a cow
always knows which calf is hers. In spending time with them, you
learn they have a hierarchy, a pecking order, a much more
complex society than you’d ever give them credit for. Most of
all, there is no doubt animals enjoy life."
|"The thing that gives me the greatest joy
in the world is to be able to say to you that no animal has to
die for me to live. I feel very, very strongly about that, that
no animal out there is going to experience the terror and the
devastation and the death of slaughter because it is called for
for my lifestyle. I think about all of those animals that I was
part of sending to death and I think that my gift to them today
in retribution is the fact that never is another one going to
have to die for my lifestyle."
|"There’s nobody in the world that loves a
farmer more than I do, because I understand how hard they work,
I know how difficult their lives are."
|"The people I knew involved in animal
production were good people just trying to do the best they knew
how for what they envisioned were the right reasons—feeding a
hungry America. They believed they were providing an absolute
necessity: first-class protein. It was ingrained in them from
the time they were kids, 'eat your meat'."
|"Farmers’ debt is increasing all the time.
But this system is a treadmill; they don’t know how to get off.
Even though they know organic would be better, they don’t know
how to get from where they are today to where they need to be.
It’s the same problem I had on my farm in 1983, how do I get
where I should be without financial backing?"
|"The overwhelming majority of profits made
in agriculture today are being achieved by the sectors that are
growing food for people – that are feeding people, not animals.
... Rather than having hundreds of thousands of acres losing
money, some of the most profitable things I’ve ever seen in my
life are five-acre vegetable gardens that are growing vegetables
|"I would say to farmers that are out there
today: Figure out a way, with the tools that you have, of
producing food for humans – controlling it – whether it is
individually, or by cooperative, or whatever mechanism you can –
controlling that product until you sell it to the consumer.
Growing grain and stuffing it down the throat of an animal so
that you can sell the animal to a multinational corporation
below what it costs you to produce it, to me is suicidal."
|"What we’re doing today is
non-sustainable. We’re basically ruining the environment,
destroying the water, and all of this with the unbelievable
characterization that we’re trying to feed a hungry world. And
that's just not true."
|"There’s enough food produced in the world
today to feed every living human on the planet – which is over
six billion – if we quit feeding our food to livestock. For
example, it takes 16 pounds of grain to put a pound of meat on
your plate. Sixteen pounds of grain will feed 32 humans. We have
about 1.25 billion people on the planet today that are going to
bed hungry. We also have 1.25 billion people that are going to
bed at night overweight and obese."
|"For every pound of feed in the front end
you end up with a pound of manure out the back end and most of
it ends up in great piles. When it rains, it runs off into the
aquifer. Agriculture ends up to be the number one cause of
pollutant in the United States in the acquifer."
|"I don't think that there's any doubt
about it that the reason that most rainforest is cut down today
is so that you can get the trees out of the way and plant grass.
Grow the grass and produce beef. The problem is that rainforest
soil is so poor that it will only support grass for about three
years and then they have to cut down more rainforest to grow
more grass and the issue is ongoing."
|"Every time you reach into your pocket and
you spend a dollar, you're voting on what kind of a future you
want to live in. ... If you don’t like the way things are
happening, go out and support the people that are trying to make
a change. Go out and buy organically grown food, go out and buy
a product that is energy efficient. If there are too many cars
out there, then walk, ride a bicycle, or take a bus."
|When asked his opinion about
Whole Foods' Animal Compassion Standards, he answered:
|"Whole Foods, has done a masterful job of
roping people in, saying, we’re not perfect, but we’re sure
better than those other guys. Sure, certain methods of
production are more ‘humane’ than others, but never forget,
there’s no such thing as humane slaughter. There is always fear
in their eyes. They know exactly what’s going to happen. So for
anyone to claim there is such a thing as humane slaughter, well
that’s the greatest oxymoron in the world."
|When asked his opinion about
cage-free eggs, he answered:
|"If I go out and buy cage-free eggs, is
that better than buying the industry standard eggs? Absolutely.
But is an egg necessary for a healthy lifestyle? Absolutely not.
The end product is still killing the animal and the consumption
of those animals is killing us. ... So let’s quit bullshitting
ourselves about this, ‘I’m part of the solution by buying
cage-free or free-range eggs,’ mentality and become part of the
only real solution—buying no eggs."
|"When we’re involved in confining the
animals, when we’re involved in killing the animals, we’re part
of the problem. We become part of the problem when we put our
money into the industry by buying or support the buying of
animal products produced better than some other ways. I try to
never allow any of my limited dollars to end up in the till of
those I consider to be the bad guys."
|"I'm convinced that, with the shape the
planet is in environmentally, we don't have time to fool around
and just become a part time vegetarian. For me, the sooner folks
become vegan, the happier I am."
Quotes are from his
1997 interview by One-Off Productions, his
2003 interview with The Aquarian, his
interview with Satya and his
2011 Guest Chat on ARZone.