Mad Cowboy

Mad Cowboy

Plain Truth From the Cattle Rancher Who Won't Eat Meat

Book - 1998
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When former cattle rancher Howard Lyman appeared on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in 1996 to share his insider view of the danger of Mad Cow Disease spreading to this country, his revelations about the beef industry prompted a group of Texas cattlemen to file a lawsuit charging Lyman and the talk show host with "food disparagement." That wasn't enough to silence Howard Lyman, and in this stirring account of his journey from meat-loving cowboy to vegetarian environmental activist, he tells the "whole" truth about the catastrophic consequences of an animal-based diet.

Lyman is well aware of what goes into our livestock -- high doses of pesticides, growth hormone, and the ground-up remains of other animals. A fourth-generation Montana farmer, he regularly doused his cattle and soil with chemicals. It was only when he narrowly escaped paralysis from a spinal tumor that Lyman began to question his vocation and the effect it was having on people and on the land he loved. The questions he raised and the answers he found led him, surprisingly, to adopt a vegetarian diet. As a result, he lost 130 pounds and lowered his cholesterol by more than

Publisher: New York : Scribner, c1998
ISBN: 9780684845166
Call Number: 613.2 L989m
Characteristics: 223 p. ; 23 cm
Additional Contributors: Merzer, Glen


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Nov 27, 2017

If you weren't active in organics, free speech or social justice back in the 1990's, you likely have no idea how much things have changed (for the worse) since then when it comes to freedom of speech and the role that the media play in educating the public about important issues.
1996 was the year when Oprah Winfrey and Howard Lyman were sued for 20 million dollars by wealthy Texas cattle ranchers, simply for telling the American people the truth about how Cows were being ground up and fed back to cows and how that was likely to cause and spread Mad Cow Disease.
Though the trial went on for 6 years with appeals -- it was finally settled in favor of Howard and Oprah, but the legal costs were enormous and it had a chilling impact on the media and food activists around the country. I personally witnessed a shocking change in the media being unwilling to inform people about the real facts about Mad Cow Disease --- for example some studies suggested that 1/4 of alzheimers is really the human form of Mad Cow Disease, yet every time reporters covered this topic, they would always say there was no evidence that Mad Cow existed in the US. Each time I saw this, I would contact the reporter, and tell them that published science suggested otherwise. They always sounded suprised to hear this and assured me that they would look into the issue and if in fact such studies existed, they would print a correction. I would then give them the citations for the studies. When I did not hear back from them and followed up, they would confirm that they had read the studies and discussed them with their editor who decided against printing a correction. No other explanation was ever given and I have yet to see any mainstream newspaper mention the existence of the evidence I kept pointing the reporters to.
The study was by Yale University Professor Laura Manuelidis, and it looked at people who died in nursing homes in the US after presumably being diagnosed with Alzheimers and reported that upon autopsy, it turned out that 13% of them actually had CJD (the human form of Mad Cow Disease. This was in the 1980s I think...Then a similar study looked at this issue again a few years later, and it found an even larger percentage...strangely these studies are hard to find now. But here is the citation:
Manuelidis, Elias E. and Laura Manuelidis
Alzheimer Disease and Associated Disorders_ 3 (1989): 100-109
I can't help but wonder which is having the bigger impact -- the fact that the major advertising dollars for newspapers come from the agricultural and pharmaceutical industry, or the fact that the newspapers attorneys are advising they steer clear of Mad Cow Disease after seeing what happened to Oprah and Howard.
This book should be required reading for all Civic's classes and anyone who values activism and being a good citizen. Told with engaging story telling, it will draw you in quickly. Howard is an amazing man, who was also a lobbyist for the Organic Consumers Association and then waged a hard fought battle for a senate seat -- almost winning until big-ag interests stepped in to defeat him.


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