For decades it has been nearly universal dogma among environmentalists that livestock--goats, sheep, and others, but especially cattle--are Public Enemy Number One. They erode soils, pollute air and water, damage riparian areas, and decimate wildlife populations. The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization bolstered the credibility of this notion with its 2007 report that declared livestock to be the single largest contributor to human-generated climate-change emissions. But is the matter really so clear cut? Hardly. In her new book, Defending Beef, environmental lawyer turned rancher Nicolette Hahn Niman argues that cattle are not inherently bad for the Earth. The impact of grazing can be either negative or positive, depending on how livestock are managed. In fact, with proper oversight livestock can actually play an essential role in maintaining grassland ecosystems by performing the same functions as the natural herbivores that once roamed and grazed there. She shows how dispersed, grass-based, smaller-scale farms can and should become the basis for American food production. And while no single book could definitively answer the thorny question of how to feed the Earth's growing population, Defending Beef makes the case that, whatever the world's future food system looks like, livestock can and must be part of the solution.
For decades it has been nearly universal dogma among environmentalists and health advocates that cattle and beef are public enemy number one. But is the matter really so clear cut? Hardly, argues environmental lawyer turned rancher Nicolette Hahn Niman in her new book, Defending Beef. The public has long been led to believe that livestock, especially cattle, erode soils, pollute air and water, damage riparian areas, and decimate wildlife populations. In Defending Beef, Hahn Niman argues that cattle are not inherently bad for either the Earth or our own nutritional health. In fact, properly managed livestock play an essential role in maintaining grassland ecosystems by functioning as surrogates for herds of wild ruminants that once covered the globe. Hahn Niman argues that dispersed, grass-fed, small-scale farms can and should become the basis for American food production, replacing the factory farms that harm animals and the environment. The author—a longtime vegetarian—goes on to dispel popular myths about how eating beef is bad for our bodies. She methodically evaluates health claims made against beef, demonstrating that such claims have proven false. She shows how foods from cattle—milk and meat, particularly when raised entirely on grass—are healthful, extremely nutritious, and an irreplaceable part of the world’s food system. Grounded in empirical scientific data and with living examples from around the world, Defending Beef builds a comprehensive argument that cattle can help to build carbon-sequestering soils to mitigate climate change, enhance biodiversity, help prevent desertification, and provide invaluable nutrition. Defending Beef is simultaneously a book about big ideas and the author’s own personal tale—she starts out as a skeptical vegetarian and eventually becomes an enthusiastic participant in environmentally sustainable ranching. While no single book can definitively answer the thorny question of how to feed the Earth’s growing population, Defending Beef makes the case that, whatever the world’s future food system looks like, cattle and beef can and must be part of the solution.
And Other Improbable Ways of Restoring Soil to Heal the Earth
Author: Judith Schwartz
Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing
Category: Technology & Engineering
In Cows Save the Planet, journalist Judith D. Schwartz looks at soil as a crucible for our many overlapping environmental, economic, and social crises. Schwartz reveals that for many of these problems—climate change, desertification, biodiversity loss, droughts, floods, wildfires, rural poverty, malnutrition, and obesity—there are positive, alternative scenarios to the degradation and devastation we face. In each case, our ability to turn these crises into opportunities depends on how we treat the soil. Drawing on the work of thinkers and doers, renegade scientists and institutional whistleblowers from around the world, Schwartz challenges much of the conventional thinking about global warming and other problems. For example, land can suffer from undergrazing as well as overgrazing, since certain landscapes, such as grasslands, require the disturbance from livestock to thrive. Regarding climate, when we focus on carbon dioxide, we neglect the central role of water in soil—"green water"—in temperature regulation. And much of the carbon dioxide that burdens the atmosphere is not the result of fuel emissions, but from agriculture; returning carbon to the soil not only reduces carbon dioxide levels but also enhances soil fertility. Cows Save the Planet is at once a primer on soil's pivotal role in our ecology and economy, a call to action, and an antidote to the despair that environmental news so often leaves us with.
Meat: A Benign Extravagance is a groundbreaking exploration of the difficult environmental, ethical and health issues surrounding the human consumption of animals. Garnering huge praise in the UK, this is a book that answers the question: should we be farming animals, or not? Not a simple answer, but one that takes all views on meat eating into account. It lays out in detail the reasons why we must indeed decrease the amount of meat we eat, both for the planet and for ourselves, and yet explores how different forms of agriculture--including livestock--shape our landscape and culture. At the heart of this book, Simon Fairlie argues that society needs to re-orient itself back to the land, both physically and spiritually, and explains why an agriculture that can most readily achieve this is one that includes a measure of livestock farming. It is a well-researched look at agricultural and environmental theory from a fabulous writer and a farmer, and is sure to take off where other books on vegetarianism and veganism have fallen short in their global scope.
Asked to head up Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s environmental organization's "hog campaign," Nicolette Hahn Niman embarked upon a fascinating odyssey through the inner workings of the “factory farm” industry. What she discovered transformed her into an intrepid environmental lawyer determined to lock horns with the big business farming establishment. She even, unexpectedly, found love along the way. A searing account of an industry gone awry and one woman’s passionate fight to remedy it, Righteous Porkchop chronicles Niman’s investigation and her determination to organize a national reform movement to fight the shocking practices of industrial animal operations. She offers necessary alternatives, showing how livestock farming can be done in a better way—and she details both why and how to choose meat, poultry, dairy, eggs, and fish from traditionally farmed sources.
“Illuminating, a window into the world of pigs and pig farmers that every American omnivore needs to read.” —Ruth Reichl, author of Delicious! Barry Estabrook, author of the New York Times bestseller Tomatoland and a writer of “great skill and compassion” (Eric Schlosser), now explores the dark side of the American pork industry. Drawing on his personal experiences raising pigs as well as his sharp investigative instincts, Estabrook covers the range of the human-porcine experience. He embarks on nocturnal feral pig hunts in Texas. He visits farmers who raise animals in vast confinement barns for Smithfield and Tyson, two of the country’s biggest pork producers. And he describes the threat of infectious disease and the possible contamination of our food supply. Through these stories shines Estabrook’s abiding love for these remarkable creatures. Pigs are social, self-aware, and playful, not to mention smart enough to master the typical house dog commands of “sit, stay, come” twice as fast as your average pooch. With the cognitive abilities of at least three-year-olds, they can even learn to operate a modified computer. Unfortunately for the pigs, they’re also delicious to eat. Estabrook shows how these creatures are all too often subjected to lives of suffering in confinement and squalor, sustained on a drug-laced diet just long enough to reach slaughter weight, then killed on mechanized disassembly lines. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Pig Tales presents a lively portrait of those farmers who are taking an alternative approach, like one Danish producer that has a far more eco-friendly and humane system of pork production, and new, small family farms with free-range heritage pigs raised on antibiotic-free diets. It is possible to raise pigs responsibly and respectfully in a way that is good for producers, consumers, and some of the top chefs in America. Provocative, witty, and deeply informed, Pig Tales is bound to spark conversation at dinner tables across America.
The author reveals a process for bringing solutions to issues that reach beyond grasslands and cows. The individuals he profiles here signal to the reader to follow their example; to set aside differences and work towards a common vision of a green and growing land alive with cultural diversity.
The untold story of how meat made America: a tale of the self-made magnates, pragmatic farmers, and impassioned activists who shaped us into the greatest eaters and providers of meat in history "Ogle is a terrific writer, and she takes us on a brisk romp through two centuries of history, full of deft portraits of entrepreneurs, inventors, promoters and charlatans.... Ms. Ogle believes, all exceptions admitted, that [the food industry] has delivered Americans good value, and her book makes that case in fascinating detail." —Wall Street Journal The moment European settlers arrived in North America, they began transforming the land into a meat-eater’s paradise. Long before revolution turned colonies into nation, Americans were eating meat on a scale the Old World could neither imagine nor provide: an average European was lucky to see meat once a week, while even a poor American man put away about two hundred pounds a year. Maureen Ogle guides us from that colonial paradise to the urban meat-making factories of the nineteenth century to the hyperefficient packing plants of the late twentieth century. From Swift and Armour to Tyson, Cargill, and ConAgra. From the 1880s cattle bonanza to 1980s feedlots. From agribusiness to today’s “local” meat suppliers and organic countercuisine. Along the way, Ogle explains how Americans’ carnivorous demands shaped urban landscapes, midwestern prairies, and western ranges, and how the American system of meat making became a source of both pride and controversy.
Drawing on research in plant science, systems ecology, environmental philosophy, and cultural anthropology, Andrew F. Smith shatters the distinction between vegetarianism and omnivorism. The book outlines the implications that these manufactured distinctions have for how we view food and ourselves as eaters.
Jonathan Safran Foer spent much of his teenage and college years oscillating between omnivore and vegetarian. But on the brink of fatherhood-facing the prospect of having to make dietary choices on a child's behalf-his casual questioning took on an urgency His quest for answers ultimately required him to visit factory farms in the middle of the night, dissect the emotional ingredients of meals from his childhood, and probe some of his most primal instincts about right and wrong. Brilliantly synthesizing philosophy, literature, science, memoir and his own detective work, Eating Animals explores the many fictions we use to justify our eating habits-from folklore to pop culture to family traditions and national myth-and how such tales can lull us into a brutal forgetting. Marked by Foer's profound moral ferocity and unvarying generosity, as well as the vibrant style and creativity that made his previous books, Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, widely loved, Eating Animals is a celebration and a reckoning, a story about the stories we've told-and the stories we now need to tell.
Unlike other barnyard animals, which pull plows, give eggs or milk, or grow wool, a pig produces only one thing: meat. Incredibly efficient at converting almost any organic matter into nourishing, delectable protein, swine are nothing short of a gastronomic godsend—yet their flesh is banned in many cultures, and the animals themselves are maligned as filthy, lazy brutes. As historian Mark Essig reveals in Lesser Beasts, swine have such a bad reputation for precisely the same reasons they are so valuable as a source of food: they are intelligent, self-sufficient, and omnivorous. What’s more, he argues, we ignore our historic partnership with these astonishing animals at our peril. Tracing the interplay of pig biology and human culture from Neolithic villages 10,000 years ago to modern industrial farms, Essig blends culinary and natural history to demonstrate the vast importance of the pig and the tragedy of its modern treatment at the hands of humans. Pork, Essig explains, has long been a staple of the human diet, prized in societies from Ancient Rome to dynastic China to the contemporary American South. Yet pigs’ ability to track down and eat a wide range of substances (some of them distinctly unpalatable to humans) and convert them into edible meat has also led people throughout history to demonize the entire species as craven and unclean. Today’s unconscionable system of factory farming, Essig explains, is only the latest instance of humans taking pigs for granted, and the most recent evidence of how both pigs and people suffer when our symbiotic relationship falls out of balance. An expansive, illuminating history of one of our most vital yet unsung food animals, Lesser Beasts turns a spotlight on the humble creature that, perhaps more than any other, has been a mainstay of civilization since its very beginnings—whether we like it or not.
Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market
Author: Eric Schlosser
Category: Social Science
New York Times Bestseller: The shadowy world of “off the books” businesses—from marijuana to migrant workers—brought to life by the author of Fast Food Nation. America’s black market is much larger than we realize, and it affects us all deeply, whether or not we smoke pot, rent a risqué video, or pay our kids’ nannies in cash. In Reefer Madness, the award-winning investigative journalist Eric Schlosser turns his exacting eye to the underbelly of American capitalism and its far-reaching influence on our society. Exposing three American mainstays—pot, porn, and illegal immigrants—Schlosser shows how the black market has burgeoned over the past several decades. He also draws compelling parallels between underground and overground: how tycoons and gangsters rise and fall, how new technology shapes a market, how government intervention can reinvigorate black markets as well as mainstream ones, and how big business learns—and profits—from the underground. “Captivating . . . Compelling tales of crime and punishment as well as an illuminating glimpse at the inner workings of the underground economy. The book revolves around two figures: Mark Young of Indiana, who was sentenced to life in prison without parole for his relatively minor role in a marijuana deal; and Reuben Sturman, an enigmatic Ohio man who built and controlled a formidable pornography distribution empire before finally being convicted of tax evasion. . . . Schlosser unravels an American society that has ‘become alienated and at odds with itself.’ Like Fast Food Nation, this is an eye-opening book, offering the same high level of reporting and research.” —Publishers Weekly
Kids love fast food. And the fast food industry definitely loves kids. It couldn’t survive without them. Did you know that the biggest toy company in the world is McDonald’s? It’s true. In fact, one out of every three toys given to a child in the United States each year is from a fast food restaurant. Not only has fast food reached into the toy industry, it’s moving into our schools. One out of every five public schools in the United States now serves brand name fast food. But do kids know what they’re eating? Where do fast food hamburgers come from? And what makes those fries taste so good? When Eric Schlosser’s best-selling book, Fast Food Nation, was published for adults in 2001, many called for his groundbreaking insight to be shared with young people. Now Schlosser, along with co-writer Charles Wilson, has investigated the subject further, uncovering new facts children need to know. In Chew On This, they share with kids the fascinating and sometimes frightening truth about what lurks between those sesame seed buns, what a chicken ‘nugget’ really is, and how the fast food industry has been feeding off children for generations.
From leading ecology advocates, a revealing look at our dependence on cows and a passionate appeal for sustainable living. In Cowed, globally recognized environmentalists Denis and Gail Boyer Hayes offer a revealing analysis of how our beneficial, centuries-old relationship with bovines has evolved into one that now endangers us. Long ago, cows provided food and labor to settlers taming the wild frontier and helped the loggers, ranchers, and farmers who shaped the country’s landscape. Our society is built on the backs of bovines who indelibly stamped our culture, politics, and economics. But our national herd has doubled in size over the past hundred years to 93 million, with devastating consequences for the country’s soil and water. Our love affair with dairy and hamburgers doesn’t help either: eating one pound of beef produces a greater carbon footprint than burning a gallon of gasoline. Denis and Gail Hayes begin their story by tracing the co-evolution of cows and humans, starting with majestic horned aurochs, before taking us through the birth of today’s feedlot farms and the threat of mad cow disease. The authors show how cattle farming today has depleted America’s largest aquifer, created festering lagoons of animal waste, and drastically increased methane production. In their quest to find fresh solutions to our bovine problem, the authors take us to farms across the country from Vermont to Washington. They visit worm ranchers who compost cow waste, learn that feeding cows oregano yields surprising benefits, talk to sustainable farmers who care for their cows while contributing to their communities, and point toward a future in which we eat less, but better, beef. In a deeply researched, engagingly personal narrative, Denis and Gail Hayes provide a glimpse into what we can do now to provide a better future for cows, humans, and the world we inhabit. They show how our relationship with cows is part of the story of America itself.
Part memoir, nutritional primer, and political manifesto, this controversial examination exposes the destructive history of agriculture—causing the devastation of prairies and forests, driving countless species extinct, altering the climate, and destroying the topsoil—and asserts that, in order to save the planet, food must come from within living communities. In order for this to happen, the argument champions eating locally and sustainably and encourages those with the resources to grow their own food. Further examining the question of what to eat from the perspective of both human and environmental health, the account goes beyond health choices and discusses potential moral issues from eating—or not eating—animals. Through the deeply personal narrative of someone who practiced veganism for 20 years, this unique exploration also discusses alternatives to industrial farming, reveals the risks of a vegan diet, and explains why animals belong on ecologically sound farms.
This volume collects twelve new essays by leading moral philosophers on a vitally important topic: the ethics of eating meat. Some of the key questions examined include: Are animals harmed or benefited by our practice of raising and killing them for food? Do the realities of the marketplace entail that we have no power as individuals to improve the lives of any animals by becoming vegetarian, and if so, have we any reason to stop eating meat? Suppose it is morally wrong to eat meat--should we be blamed for doing so? If we should be vegetarians, what sort should we be?
The Simple Doctor-Proven Solution for the Health and Life you Deserve
Author: CJ Hunt
Publisher: Morgan James Publishing
Category: Health & Fitness
The Perfect Human Diet, companion book to the number one film, is a game changer in the world of health and nutrition. The result of broadcast journalist C.J. Hunt’s unprecedented global exploration for a solution to our exploding epidemic of obesity and diet-related disease– the #1 killer in America. It’s a fascinating treasure hunt - the unexpected discovery of the authentic human diet - and The Perfect Human Diet’s doctor proven solution for achieving optimal human health and longevity. Inside, you get exclusive access to the world’s foremost authorities on evolutionary anthropology and the emerging field of “human dietary evolution.” You will bypass current dietary groupthink and see for yourself the exciting proof that ends dietary confusion. And join the thousands of film viewers worldwide who say they finally understand the full human story, gaining a new confidence to take charge of their own health and wellbeing. Fascinating and compelling, you get the secrets about the perfect human diet that were previously unknowable - No more dietary theories from diet guru’s to misguide you - The Perfect Human Diet gives you the facts. Uniquely easy to put into use, C.J. Hunt explains a new method of eating to optimize your health based on these breakthrough scientific facts, including detailed grocery shopping advice and great tasting recipes. Described as “irrefutable” and “the answer to the obesity epidemic” The Perfect Human Diet will forever change the way you think about food - and guide you to the health and life you deserve.
“Offal” has the same pronunciation as “awful”—an appropriate homophone, given that offal comprises the whole spectrum of an animal’s glands, essential organs, skin, muscle, guts, and every unmentionable in between. Yet as Nina Edwards shows in this intriguing history, offal has been consumed and enjoyed across ages and continents, often hidden by the rich variety of terms—like fois gras and sweetbread—that have evolved to veil their origins. Edwards dissects the complicated relationship we have with offal and the extreme reactions it inspires, asking if we can enjoy a pig’s heart, a cow’s eyes, or a sheep’s brain when it reminds us so viscerally of our own flesh and blood. She explores the offal dishes that are specific to regional cuisines and holidays, such as Scottish haggis, Jewish chopped liver, and Southern states’ chitterlings. As she reveals, offal is a food of contradictions—it is high in nutrients but also dangerously high in cholesterol, and it can range from expensive haute cuisine to a cheap alternative for the impoverished. From tongue in Sichuan and gizzard stew in Rio de Janeiro to spicy cartilage in Calcutta, Offal sheds new light on the sometimes stomach-churning foods we consume.
Sustainable Medicine is based on the premise that twenty-first century Western medicine—driven by vested interests—is failing to address the root causes of disease. Symptom-suppressing medication and “polypharmacy” have resulted in an escalation of disease and a system of so-called “health care,” which more closely resembles “disease care.” In this essential book, Dr. Sarah Myhill aims to empower people to heal themselves by addressing the underlying causes of their illness. She presents a logical progression from identifying symptoms, to understanding the underlying mechanisms, to relevant interventions and tests and tools with which to tackle the root causes. As Myhill writes, “It’s all about asking the question ‘why?’” Sustainable Medicine covers a wide range of symptoms including inflammation (infection, allergy, autoimmunity), fatigue, pain, toxic symptoms, deficiency symptoms, and hormonal symptoms. And Dr. Myhill includes a toolbox of treatments for specific illnesses and ailments, as well as a general approach to avoiding and treating all disease. Finally, she offers a series of case histories to show how people have successfully taken control of their health and healed even in the face of the most discouraging symptoms—all without the harmful interventions of 21st century Western medicine.