Newsletter - Animal Writes sm
From  Issue
22 September 2002
Millions in Legal Fees to Defend a Principle

By Robert Cohen - [email protected] 

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 "unsafe."

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 Supreme Court.

Who is Howard Lyman? Who is that Mad Cowboy?


He walks to the microphone and is greeted with a standing ovation. Howard Lyman is an ex-cattleman rancher-turned vegetarian.

"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.


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 hamburger."


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.


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."



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 youth.

If you would like to receive the free weekly Mad Cowboy newsletter, please visit: 

Go on to
Return to 22 September 2002 Issue
Return to Newsletters

** Fair Use Notice**
This document may contain copyrighted material, use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owners. I believe that this not-for-profit, educational use on the Web constitutes a fair use of the copyrighted material (as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law). If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Home Page




Your comments and inquiries are welcome

This site is hosted and maintained by:
The Mary T. and Frank L. Hoffman Family Foundation
Thank you for visiting

Since date.gif (991 bytes)