Monday, January 05, 2015

Between the Lines: Defending Beef

by Zinta Aistars
Airing on WMUK 102.1 FM
January 6, 2015

New on WMUK - Zinta Aistars' "Between the Lines" will be airing every Tuesday: 7:50 a.m., 11:55 a.m., and 4:20 p.m. It's a show about books and writers. This Tuesday, January 6, is the launch with a conversation with Nicolette Hahn Niman about her newest book, Defending Beef: The Case for Sustainable Meat Production. Zinta Aistars is WMUK's resident book expert.

Nicolette Hahn Niman on BN Ranch (Photo courtesy of Hahn Niman)

Why would a vegetarian defend beef? Nicolette Hahn Niman, environmental lawyer, rancher, food activist, and vegetarian, does just that in her controversial new bookDefending Beef: The Case for Sustainable Meat Production, The Manifesto of an Environmental Lawyer and Vegetarian Turned Cattle Rancher, published by Chelsea Green in October 2014.
Hahn Niman’s first bookRighteous Porkchop: Finding a Life and Good Food Beyond Factory Farms (William Morrow, 2009), paves the path to her current work. Porkchopis an exposé of what ails "Big Ag," or big agriculture, the factory farms that Hahn Niman points out as major polluters across the planet, contributing to climate change, to the detriment of everyone’s health. It is also her love story, as vegetarian meets cattle rancher, Bill Niman, joining forces in marriage and business.
Defending Beef cover
Defending Beef cover
Defending Beef takes a further step. As Hahn Niman began her new life on the Bolinas, California, cattle ranch (the Nimans also raise heritage turkeys), she found herself drawn deeper and deeper into the lifestyle and the business. If at first she merely stood nearby and held out the tools for her husband to do his work, Hahn Niman gradually found herself in love with ranch life and fully involved with it. Her research into all things beef led her to write her manifesto.
“Environmentalists and health advocates have long blamed beef and cattle ranching, but it’s just not that simple,” she says.
With meticulous research, Hahn Niman addresses every concern commonly associated with beef: health issues, climate change, water supply, biodiversity, overgrazing, world hunger, the morality of eating meat.
“Meat, especially red meat, has been perceived as elitist,” she says. “It’s a strange way to view beef when about a billion of the world’s poorest people are dependent on livestock.”
Beef, Hahn Niman argues, can in fact ...

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