Book: Mad Cowboy

by Howard F. Lyman

I had blinders on during the first 47 years of my life until I decided to go vegan. I always knew in the back of my mind that something wasn’t quite right about eating meat but just decided not to think about it. When the day came for me to explain to my kids that the chicken on their plate really was a piece of a dead chicken, they were obviously appalled and refused to eat it. I foolishly told them (like my parents told me) to just not think about it. Kids like animals. Humans naturally like animals. We override nature and convince them to ignore their natural instinct and follow tradition instead. How stupid is that?! Let’s ignore nature and become carnivore wanna-be’s.

I can only image how surreal it must have been for Howard F. Lyman who grew up on a cattle farm in Montana. After earning a B.S. in Agriculture, he returned home and became the fourth generation to take over the operations of the family farm. It was the early 60’s when traditional farms like his were still predominant. While in college Lyman learned many new methods and techniques which would make his farm much more efficient. These new methods were backed by science and numbers and often contradicted what he had learned from his father and grandfather. Production increased but he began to notice that is came at a heavy price.

After a life-changing brush with cancer, he decided to undo the damage he had done. While doing so, he also became involved in the politics behind the meat and dairy industries. While working as a lobbyist in Washington, he realized he and everyone else had been duped. Meat and dairy was destroying our health but it had become such a huge part of our lives that we couldn’t stop consuming it.

This was when we turned his focus toward fighting the industry which he had been raised to be a part of. His crusade eventually landed him on the Oprah show. Oprah Winfrey was so alarmed by what Lyman was telling here that she claimed that she would never eat another hamburger. The show caused such a reaction that the cattle industry tried to sue the Oprah show. They lost and Oprah took up Lyman’s crusade.

This is an alarming book. I always knew that process of turning a living animal into cooked stuff on your dinner plate wasn’t pretty but Lyman sheds a whole new light on the subject. He doesn’t delve on the hideous process of slaughtering of animals. Instead, he tells us about what goes into raising the animals, how it is affecting our health and how cattle farming is destroying our planet at an alarming rate. Unlike many other environmental scares, this ain’t politics, this shit is real.

If you don’t want to read this book, please, please, please try to realize how many of the worlds problems are directly related to what is on the end of your fork.