International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
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34th World Vegetarian Congress 2000
Toronto, Canada

Reports originally from by Tiffany Refior
July 17, 2000

Howard Lyman

Howard Lyman, a former cattle rancher turned vegan, addressed standing-room-only crowds at the Toronto Colony Hotel last week during the 34th World Vegetarian Congress.

The well-known speaker -- who was recently sued, along with Oprah Winfrey, by cattlemen -- discussed the meat and dairy industries from his background as an insider. Referring to the dairy industry's advertising campaigns, Lyman said that he "used to think drinking three glasses of milk a day actually did a body good." But, after conducting research on his own, he found that the countries consuming the greatest amounts of dairy products have the most osteoporosis. He addressed key players in the dairy industry with this information, and was told it wasn't about health; it was about selling milk. "We're not talking about facts," he warned the audience. "We're talking about advertising."

Then he launched into a variety of facts:

"7 out of 10 bushels of grain [produced today] being stuffed down the throat of animals."

"If everybody on the planet ate as we do in North America, one of every two people would go to bed hugnry...But if we reduced our consumption by 10%, there would be enough food to feed every person on earth."

"A large bovine feedlot today will produce more waste than a large American city."

He, like Rae Sikora, urged people to turn off their television sets. He suggested a simple exercise to illustrate why TV should be avoided: Draw a line down a piece of paper, with one column for good and one column for bad. With every image and commercial, ask yourself "if it's good for you, the environment, and the animals. At the end of the night, you'll have a long list on one side -- and you're realize, 'I participated in that.'"

Lyman is an interesting study in transformation. He was once a farmer who raised cattle and milked cows -- and he still looks every bit the part. But, after a tumor was found on his spinal cord, he recognized the need for change. He now travels around the world speaking passionately and dynamically about his belief that the only hope for the survival of our planet is vegetarianism.

During his recent trial in Texas, the cattlemen's lawyer asked him, "Are you proud of dragging everybody through this?" Mr. Lyman replied, "Do you know what I'm proud of? The thing I am proudest of today is that no animal has to die for me to live." And the jury nodded their heads in understanding.

Photo ©2000 by Tiffany Refior.