This week, Food Integrity Now spoke with Nicolette Hahn Niman, author of Defending Beef, The Ecological and Nutritional Case for Meat. Hahn Niman, a former 33-year vegetarian, shares her compelling journey from vegetarian to omnivore. She is a former environmental attorney turned rancher and shares a scientific and passionate prospective on the sometimes controversial issue on whether to eat meat or not to eat meat.
In this interview, Hahn-Niman dispels popular myths about how eating beef is bad for our bodies and the planet. The book is filled with scientific data and her personal experience, as a former senior environmental attorney under Bobby Kennedy, Jr. at the Waterkeepers Alliance. She talked about how her experience in working at the Waterkeepers Alliance re-shaped her views on the important roles ruminants play in our ecosystem.
She makes a clear and compelling case why the well-managed cattle model, as opposed to the industrial cattle model, is a critical tool for capturing carbon, turning nonedible plant material into protein and how this supports regenerative farming methods. Hahn Niman offers a scientific yet holistic look at the important role well-raised meet has on our food system and ecosystem function.
In Defending Beef, Hahn Niman passionately separates truth from fiction in the emotional debate about the role of beef in our lives and its production on the planet. She offers scientific evidence on the nutritional benefits of eating well-raised meat. She debunks many of the claims that are used by those who have other agendas to promote, like the lab-based “fake” meat industry. In her delivery, she is thoughtful and isn’t so much trying to change your mind, she is trying to save the world.
If you are a vegan, vegetarian or omnivore, the interview and book will offer you clear scientific research and some food for thought on this very complex issue. Please leave a comment below after you listen to the show. Click on the link below and listen to this fascinating interview.
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Excellent interview: incisive questions and well-supported answers. I bought the first edition of “Defending Beef” but never had time to read it — now I will happily buy the revised edition (once I have set aside time to read it!). The science keeps changing and it is good to know there are people like Nicolette Hahn Niman critically and holistically reviewing the flood of information, misinformation, and disinformation. Thank you!
The paper on the revised interpretation of methane recently adopted by the IPCC: https://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/downloads/reports/Climate-metrics-for-ruminant-livestock.pdf . You’ve got to measure the right thing to set goals and plans that will get you where you want to end up; “ball park” and “right direction” just aren’t good enough anymore on this issue, and the vast majority are focussing on the wrong metric.