By Robert Cohen -
Howard Lyman, lead defendant has won!
His co-defendant, Oprah Winfrey has won too.
Nearly six years. Numerous appeals. Only in today's
America is it still against the law to call an agricultural product
Howard and Oprah were sued by cattlemen after Oprah said
"I've eaten my last hamburger." On that day, in front of millions of
viewers, Howard Lyman told America the news about Mad Cow Disease and
other foodborne illnesses that taint meat. It's no baloney, folks.
After the show aired, cattle futures plummeted. Millions
of dollars were lost. Meat producers litigated, blaming Howard & Oprah
for their losses.
This summer, the final appeal heard in Federal Court was
dismissed "with prejudice." The trial will not be appealed to the
Who is Howard Lyman? Who is that Mad Cowboy?
THE MAD COWBOY
He walks to the microphone and is greeted with a
standing ovation. Howard Lyman is an ex-cattleman rancher-turned
"I was raised in Montana, and I when I was growing up I
knew one person who was a vegetarian." He pauses for effect and eyeballs
the audience. "And she was a straaaange lady." His timing is perfect. He
drawls the word "strange" and the audience erupts with laughter.
"I learned better living through chemistry during my
four-year college career," continues Lyman. "Not once during my
education did I hear the word 'vegetarian.' Being from Montana, I would
have rather been caught riding a stolen horse than be called a
vegetarian." The audience roars with delight and applauds. Howard has
them eating tofu out of his enormous hands.
HOWARD AND OPRAH
Nearly six years ago, Howard Lyman appeared as a guest
on "Oprah." The subject that day was meat. Howard discussed E. coli and
salmonella and mad cow disease. Oprah remarked, "I've eaten my last
THE OPRAH SUIT
As American housewives (who comprise the greatest part
of Oprah's audience) heard that message, so too did traders in the
cattle futures market. Word quickly spread. America will no longer eat
beef! Speculators began to sell contracts and cattle futures plummeted.
Fortunes were lost in a few minutes of trading. By the end of the day,
many millions of dollars were lost by panicking options traders either
buying or selling their calls and puts.
A few of the losers got more than angry. They got even.
A suit was filed against Howard Lyman and Oprah. In America, freedom of
speech is merely an illusion. There are now laws making it illegal to
criticize an agricultural product.
AGRICULTURAL DISPARAGEMENT ACTS
It is still illegal in thirteen states to criticize an
agricultural product. Howard and Oprah learned this the hard way. Texas
is one of those thirteen. They sued the wrong people. Oprah has very
deep pockets. This was one case that she could not afford to lose. This
was much more than just hamburgers. This was about an industry attempt
to muzzle the press. Would the media even be tempted to ever tell the
truth if Oprah Winfrey lost to the cattlemen?
The case went to trial, the jury came in with a verdict:
not guilty! Howard and Oprah won and the cattlemen lost. The case was
appealed. Howard and Oprah won again. And again. And again.
I've read "Mad Cowboy," and books do not get much better
than this one. Howard's account of how rich the soil used to be on his
farm, with earthworms in rich loam, is written with great emotion. One
college education and hundreds of chemicals later, Howard managed to
turn that soil into an asbestos-like artificial fiber.
"Mad Cowboy" picks up where Rachel Carson's "Silent
Spring" left off. The book is brilliantly written and filled with
details of the toxins in our foods. Read this book and you'll soon be
buying organic fruits and vegetables. The alternatives are simply not
worth it. Howard is often asked about the difference in price between
organically grown vegetables and those treated with chemical fertilizers
and pesticides. His response? "Can you afford the cost of cancer?"
Howard Lyman's cancer was a one-in-a million. He blames
it on the dangerous chemicals and even more dangerous lifestyle. Howard
says, "When I was younger, I never found an animal product that I didn't
want to stuff down my throat." The tumor removed from his spinal column
should have put Howard in a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
Instead, he is now the symbolic leader of the vegan movement in America.
"If 5 people go to dinner and one is a vegetarian, who
do you think is the one to pick the restaurant?"
"It takes 70 calories of energy to produce one calorie
of meat. Sixteen pounds of grain are used to produce one pound of meat.
Sixteen pounds of grain can feed 32 people . . . or one Rush Limbaugh."
"One-third of Americans will get cancer and one-quarter
will die from it. There are 600 chemical compounds in our bodies that
did not even exist 50 years ago."
I LOVE HOWARD!
Howard and I often lecture together. I have learned
quite a bit from this man. Long before I was traveling across America,
warning people about the dangers of milk and dairy products, Howard was
speaking to small and large groups doing just that. A month after I
learned about Monsanto's genetically engineered hormone, I received a
tape of Howard speaking in a Chicago area library. There were about six
people in the audience.
Howard would corner an audience of one in a phone booth
to get out his very important message.
Recently I received a great compliment from my good
friend, Howard. I had given a talk to a standing-room only audience at
the University of Pittsburgh. Howard attended, sitting in the back of
the room. An hour later, we sat down for a vegetarian lunch in the
college cafeteria. I mentioned to Howard that I saw him sitting in the
back of the room.
He asked, very seriously, "Know what I was doing there?"
I shook my head and he continued, "Stealing material!"
Howard, you've led the way and my hat is off to you!
Just for the record, there is one person who I give credit to for
inspiring me to eat a plant-based diet. That man is Howard and he has
taught me and thousands of others the right and wrong ways to treat a
human body. Combine my NOTMILK campaign and Howard's NOTMEAT campaign
and you'll possess a valuable roadmap to discovering the fountain of
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