i got the chance to see howard lyman speak yesterday. for those of you not familiar: howard lyman is the guy whose appearance on the oprah winfrey show prompted her to say, "i will never eat another burger," and then she (and howard!) got sued by the beef industry for food slander. i’m paraphrasing, but in any case, maybe that rings a bell for some of you. howard lyman is a former cattle rancher, 4th generation i believe, and he has had experience with everything from raising poultry to organic dairy farming to running a feedlot with 7,000 beef cattle. he knows a whole lot about raising animals for food. he is also vegan.
mad cowboy is a quick read and a neat book; i read it last month and liked it a lot. his style (as you might guess) is very straightforward. he tends to focus much more on the environmental and health arguments for being vegan, and i am much more interested in/concerned with the animal arguments, but it’s still very interesting to hear what he has to say. he is totally a grandpa-type; he gives talks by stringing entertaining anecdotes together, and he’s self-deprecating but authoritative. he seriously kicked ass in the Q&A portion of the night. i really liked him. i bought his new book, no more bull, and i got to meet him (and get my copy of mad cowboy signed. yay!)… that man has a firm handshake, i tell you what.
for the past three years, howard has been working on making a documentary also called mad cowboy (i guess a companion to the book?), and he was involved in shooting 150 hours of video during production. he vetoed several versions of the "final product" before deciding that he would just learn how to edit video and do it himself. he now has a final product that he likes, and a verbal agreement with PBS to have it shown on earth day 2006. keep your fingers crossed!
i have an opportunity to see the documentary tomorrow night. i would like to go, but my sister and brother-in-law (who accompanied me to the talk last night) can’t make it, and i’m trying to decide if i want to go by myself. maybe i can rope a couple of my students (who also came last night) into going with me. if anyone has seen the documentary already, and has any feedback about it, i would love to hear it!