Meat Will Kill You

...Just More Good News

By Daniel Van Riper

Howard Lyman was a 4th generation rancher and feedlot operator from Montana. Once, he had 7000 head of cattle and 30 employees, wrote million dollar checks, and was named farmer of the year. Today he is the Director of the Eating With Conscience Campaign of the Humane Society of the United States. His job is to "travel around talking to people" trying to convince them to "use zero percent animal products."

More than 60 people showed up to hear Mr. Lyman speak at the Feb. 26 Save the Pine Bush lasagna dinner at First Presbyterian Church in Albany. Everyone sat riveted during Mr. Lyman's inspirational talk, not a single person got up to leave while he was speaking. Several listeners afterwards described him as resembling an evangelist in his manner and delivery, and a few became instant vegetarians.

"I want to talk about the real world," he said, "which is different from what you get from newspapers, radio and TV." In 1979 Mr. Lyman was paralyzed by a spinal tumor, from which he made a "one in a million" recovery. During his illness he began to re-examine his life and work, and came to the conclusion that "the way we do agriculture in America is all wrong," that current methods of farming, while producing high yields, are destroying our land, perhaps beyond repair. Most of the food available to us is poisonous, devoid of nutrition and thus shortening our lives.

Deciding that his "agri-education was brain washing," Mr. Lyman resolved to do business as an organic farmer, and show others the way. Immediately he ran into resistance from the banks, which refused to loan money to an organic farm. By 1983 he had sold most of his ranch and set out to share his revelations with the public.

Of particular concern to Mr. Lyman is the widespread practice of using renderings in feed, that is, feeding animal parts to animals, turning herbivores into cannibals. This transmits prions, which are a simple form of life that acts as an infectious agent that causes mad cow disease, scrapies and other degenerative spongiform nerve diseases in animals and humans. Prions may cause a whole range of other diseases with no cure, such as Cruetzfeld-Jakob disease and alzheimers.

Mr. Lyman feels we are headed for disaster, and that there is a "less than 20% chance that humans will survive." But, he said, "It is important to keep good humor, and to move forward." He recommends that we can avoid 91% of carcinogens and toxins by not eating animal products and eating organic vegetables.

Mr. Lyman is facing a showdown with the Cattlemen's Association, which is suing both him and Oprah Winfrey for $20 million over "libelous" remarks he made on Winfrey's TV show. Apparently, the beef futures market crashed the day after the show was aired. "The cattlemen will rue the day they sued us," he rumbled ominously.

Save the Pine Bush was lavished with praise by Mr. Lyman. "I hope you are successful," he said. "You are a credit to the species."

The Eating With Conscience Campaign of the Humane Society can be contacted at 2100 L. Street. NW Washington, DC 20037 or at 1-800-444-8359.

Printed April/May 1997


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