Farmers aren't evil. Now can we have a civil conversation?
September 13th, 2012
02:45 PM ET
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Ryan Goodman is a generational rancher from Arkansas with a degree in Animal Science from Oklahoma State University in Animal Science, and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree at the University of Tennessee, studying beef cattle management. He is one of many farmers using social media to bridge the gap between farmers and urban customers. Follow his story daily at AgricultureProud.com or on Twitter and Facebook.

A few weeks ago, I received a Facebook message out of the blue asking to stop my support of animal abuse. The person behind the message said I may not realize it, but she believes what I do for a living is inherently cruel.

She described things she feels are wrong with animal agriculture - how baby calves are used for veal production, how cows are sucked dry of their milk until they can no longer function, and how pigs and chickens are crammed into crates to the point where they cannot move. She believes that livestock farming needs to end in favor of plant-based diets to feed the world's population.

When I asked where she had witnessed these cruelties or learned of this information, I received a number of links to articles and videos from groups like PETA, Mercy for Animals, Farm Sanctuary, and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS); groups that have a focused agenda to stop animal agriculture with little to no consideration for the farmer.

This is not the animal agriculture I work in. The stories she had were moving and certainly lead people to take action, but they do not represent the agriculture community.

There is nothing more frustrating than being approached by someone who believes I am an evil person for what I do, without ever having a chance to voice an opinion about my experience. This happens time and again in conversations about food and agriculture topics and we are just digging ourselves a deeper hole, but we can find a better avenue to communication.

The discussion continued, and I asked, again, where she had witnessed these cruel circumstances. She pasted several statements filled with statistics and graphic descriptions of the animal housing conditions and treatment standards. A quick Google search found these statements easily copied from the above mentioned group websites.

I shared links to a few blog posts and videos I have created in the past to describe animal care on my family's farm, guidelines farmers follow for better animal care, and a series of posts to detail work in CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations), or what some call "factory farms". I view these as a snapshot of how I perceive modern cattle farming.

No matter the effort or the questions I asked, I continued to receive prepared statements and figures from these organizations. I felt like it was one large brick wall.

Then I had to step back and ask myself, is this how messages are received from farmers and ranchers as we try to use science when discussing modern food and farming? The clash of emotion and science and neither is making headway.

As a whole, our communities of farmers and customers need to approach these conversations and be more respectful of others’ opinions. Food will always be a difficult subject to discuss. Everyone has different expectations for their food; how it tastes, how it should be grown, and how much it should cost. We definitely have skewed perceptions of how our wants and needs should be accepted by the other side of the table, even though we share a common ground – eating food.

When we approach these conversations, I want to encourage us all to take a few steps for better communication and dialogues.

First, we have two ears and one mouth. We all need to listen first before we speak. Everyone possesses their own opinions and when we can hear the other viewpoints, we can better respond to the issues at hand.

Second, leave your first impressions at the door. Assumptions need to be laid aside. Ask questions. What is the other person really asking? The better you understand and are willing to listen to what the other side of issue has to say, the better you will understand your own beliefs.

Finally, understand the world is not out to burn you. Haters will abound, latch on to the most emotional, exciting aspect and blow it out of proportion. These folks will often stand on the most prominent soapbox, seeking the most attention. This by no means qualifies them as right or their stance any more substantial. Many more people mean well and stay much less vocal.

Conversations require cooperation from both sides to be productive. I am no communications professional, but I do know that both sides need to evaluate their approach and listen more.

So here is my challenge, what questions do you have about modern farming? And are you willing to consider asking them in a way that makes it easier to engage a conversation rather than an accusation?

Instead of "Why do you poison our food supply with chemicals and GMOs?” maybe someone not on the farm could ask a farmer, "How does your use of chemicals and technology affect the safety of food and our environment?" I know it takes a mind shift and I am trying to make one on my end too, but if both sides shift toward openness rather than assumption.

So think about it: if you could ask a farmer of any crop, almonds to zucchinis, where would you start? I’ll do my best to find farmers to help with the answers in a similar spirit.

Leave your questions in the comment section below or submit your question via the Ask A Farmer page at AgricultureProud.com or send me a message on Facebook and Twitter.

Previously - Praying for rain in the Arkansas drought and What a farmer wants you to know about how beef gets to your plate and Start a conversation with a farmer and Farmer in the know: 5 easy ways you can help us help animals



soundoff (620 Responses)
  1. SteveR

    Mr.Goodman – thank you for this article and the chance for someone like myself (who has never worked on a farm and knows very little about farming and agriculture) to learn more about your farm and your philosophy. For whatever it's worth, my wife and I try to buy our food from local farmers because it tastes (much) better and it supports local family farms in our town and neighboring communities. Even my doctor sells chickens and eggs! Some other things we buy locally are honey, apples, pears, corn, tomatoes, peaches, plums, maple syrup, blueberries, raspberries, onions, cherries, fresh herbs – I could keep going, but my point is that in rural settings, it's easy to find a ton of fresh, delicious food that's often cheaper than in the market. If you're in a major city, then a weekend trip into the country can yield a week's work of great food with very little effort. To borrow a question from your article: what types of chemicals does the average farmer use? If I buy (for instance) apples, what concerns should I have regarding their safety? How should I remove them (washing)? Since I still buy beef, lamb and veal at the supermarket, is there some designation that would describe how it has been grown, processed and treated post-processing (i.e. the idea of grocers spraying carbon monoxide on their beef because it makes it more red and appealing to customers – an urban myth)? Thanks for your time and any info you can share!

    February 20, 2014 at 8:18 pm |
  2. Lindsay Mainer

    Many thanks for the Great Contest. Would love to win!!

    http://www.PqfOiScIob.com/PqfOiScIob

    January 27, 2014 at 9:16 pm |
  3. MK

    Excellent blog post! I am currently a student at Virginia Tech, studying Animal and Poultry Sciences and Dairy Science. Many of the people I come in contact with have very set views of agriculture, often with no factual basis and no experience in the industry. I have an advantage in that I was in fact a vegetarian for several years, and understand that culture. However, after becoming educated concerning modern production techniques I feel 100% comfortable eating meat. More than that, I am extremely passionate in my support of agriculture and hope to educate others about production processes. My favorite thing to do when faced with an attack such as this, is to invite the individual (if possible) to one of the many farms I work at. I give them a tour, let them hold a lamb or stroke a calf. I show them how I go about the day: the care and respect I feel for each animal, and the effort I put into making their lives as happy, healthy, and productive as possible.

    I think this is a great article! We, as producers, should strive to educate. Angry, defensive dialogue only serves to drive others away. We need to focus on education and translucency in the industry.

    November 6, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
    • supermanalexthegreat

      Meanwhile I hope you've curtailed your use of hormones and antibiotics with these animals as the CDC itself pointed out the dangers of these chemicals and the rise of drug resistant bacteria. The rest of the civilized world has already stopped, this country should be no different. Most of our sellers have stopped selling products with these chemicals in them also.

      December 23, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
  4. Tamica Simone

    My dream retirement would most likely be a pair many years in different countries, enjoy and absorbing the entire world around me with a loved a single!

    March 21, 2013 at 7:01 am |
  5. ethicalonezax

    Like everyone, there are good and bad farmers.

    Good farmers – do NOT use chemicals, they have free-roam in their ranch, they treat animals well, they provide quality of life to the animals, they do not use chemicals nor steroids to over-stimulate cows to produce milks.
    They condemn fois gras, they don't abuse chickens nor making them grow abnormally fast.
    They go the old fashion ways by not abusing science such as using chemicals, steroids or other stuff that factory farmers or bad farmer uses.

    Bad farmers – Dump chemicals in the rivers, Look at some rivers in Quebec are soo badly polluted because of them.
    Bad farmers mistreat animals, they put money above all and they pump the cows with steroids w/e to make them produce unnaturally too much milk. Which cause pus in milk, Ewww disgusting.
    They produce fois gras which is animal cruelty.
    They put stuff in chicken so they grow too fast and it breaks their legs.
    They use chemicals.
    Mot just bad for animals but increases the risk of cancer to humans.
    And other unnatural things.

    Also the USDA are bioterrorist and scumbags.
    USDA are responsible for using chemicals to make these birds mysteriously die and causing people to panic because they did not know why the birds died etc.
    They are worser than the farmers using chemicals.

    Nuff said.

    February 21, 2013 at 3:16 am |
    • Ryan Goodman

      Thanks for sharing your opinion and views of good vs bad farmers @ethicalonezax. It's interesting how these views differ based on one's experience.

      February 28, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
  6. thoughts

    Thank you for inviting all into your discussion and for the food and thus means for survival that all farmers, etc. provide.

    I have a question if you do not mind.

    How is iodine replaced in soil in USA?
    What will be the effects on the atmosphere by making the soil more iodine rich – vs. – what it is now?
    What are major sources of natural iodide in USA today – since USA has more of a land based agriculture and diet?

    I read that bromine based fertilizers were used – and wondered when the label says organic – what type soil, pesticides, insecticides does that mean? Are there standards so the consumer can purchase based on their individual health needs with full knowledge of what they are actually purchasing for consumption based not only on the food item – but the actual chemicals used in the diet or soil to create the product? Where is this information located on the labels?

    I ask this – and will share this so you understand better – but for someone who is truly negatively affected by the 'poison' you all are sometimes accused of – it is only because the effects are so deadly or traumatic or truly 'ruins' theirs or others they care for lives – that they might get adamant or at least very sensitive to the issue. So, like one poster commented something about a PETA getting killed over a chicken a joke type example – but to someone who has witnessed the actual death and/or similar disability or trauma of people negatively affected by these poisons – they would just think – that's why they are complaining – it has killed the PETA or similar member and/or non-members.

    However, a lot of the harm is done by the chemicals that are added for packaging and promotion, and the processed food ... so – of course – everyone appreciates what you bring to the table. Thank you again.

    The chemicals make just as much difference to the people who consume the animals – as they do to the animals. Other concerns abound of course, but you probably already know that. Not trying to accuse, and truly, i am stil upset at the chemicals myself – they are hard to get over if they are always there.

    Thank you for reading – and perhaps even answering. Thank you again for the healthy food.

    February 6, 2013 at 6:45 am |
    • supermanalexthegreat

      Dont worry, many of our local stores will not sell meat or dairy that has hormones or antibiotics so unless these farmers want to go out of business, they will stop using them.

      December 23, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
      • Sarah

        Of course they don't sell it because hormones are not used in poultry at all. The "hormones" used in dairy and meat production are negligible compared to one's own production of the same hormone. Regardless there is a withdrawal period where the farmer has to make sure the animal does not receive any hormones for a certain period of time (often 3 weeks or a month) before it goes to market so that there is no residue left over in the product. Same goes for antibiotics. So, farmers can still use hormones and antibiotics freely without having them in their product. The more you know.

        February 19, 2014 at 10:24 am |
        • supermanalexthegreat

          This is completely untrue....and it's exactly why the USDA has a warning up on its main page about antibiotics and research showing a strong link between rBGH and metabolic disorders, read up recent research and maybe you'll understand better.

          May 3, 2014 at 10:37 pm |
  7. Jess

    Meat & Dairy Waste Millions of Gallons of water- less than 1% of water is drinkable. No wonder the drought is killing off livestock farmers like Ryan Goodman.

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/39312043?__source=vty|liquidassets|&par=vty

    Glass of Milk
    Water Cost: 62.5 gallons
    It takes an average 1,000 gallons of water to produce a gallon of milk.
    A Hamburger
    Water cost: 634 gallons just to produce the beef. By comparison, an average hot tub holds between 450 and 500 gallons of water.

    September 25, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  8. Jess

    Now that they have veggie burgers & soy milk that taste as good as meat and dairy and dont use 1 million gallons of water per cow, are livestock becoming obsolete? Why go bankrupt raise cattle when they all die from permanent drought?

    September 25, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  9. Jess

    Ryan Goodman = Will say ANYTHING to justify killing 90% animals & using 90% of water for MONEY MONEY MONEY.
    Thanks for speeding up human extinction for MONEY MONEY MONEY

    September 24, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  10. Ask An Aussie Farmer

    We love Agriculture Proud and think it's a great initiative. We have a similar facebook page for Australian Farmers which creates a platform for anyone to come on and ask a question for a response from a real farmer or industry professional. Its an idea grown by real Aussie farmers so you can have your food and fibre questions answered by those who produce it for you. We'd love if you'd come and pay us a visit! http://www.facebook.com/askanaussiefarmer

    September 20, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
  11. Amanda Stewart

    First off- this is a fantastic article! I had an opportunity to volunteer for an organization that support farmers this summer at a few festivals including the Oakville Ribfest. Oakville is my home town and certainly not a "farm town" so most people only get their information from the media which obviously does not make the agricultural sector look so good. I am currently studying Food and Agricultural Business at the University of Guelph so I am pretty knowledgeable when it comes to farming. There were numerous people who came up to me or the other volunteers and were angry about GMOs, animal cruelty, pesticides etc. As a volunteer I am supposed to make the organization look good but it got really hard sometimes when people were pointing fingers and getting upset at me, while I had to stay civil. Most of these people "facts" came from something they say on tv but nobody understand that these are the extreme cases. As a city girl going into agriculture, I can honestly say that farmers or "Aggies" (as other UofG students call us) are some of the kindest bunch of people I have ever met. It is a real shame most of the general public points fingers and blames them for quite simply being evil. I hope that one day these barriers will be broken and people will see that our farmers do an awesome job at what they do.

    September 20, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  12. Note to Ryan Goodman

    Ryan, I realize it's a bit of a risk, but you might want to just freely allow comments on your blog too. I see that comments are moderated there. (If I'm mistaken, I apologize.) The nature of having a blog and comments ability is to encourage the free exchange of ideas (and yes, you will get hostile comments too, of course). I do realize you're probably trying to stem tons of hostile comments, based on what you're receiving in person, but it's just a thought. I'd like to see more comments action on your blog, quite frankly, so I can learn more from both sides!

    September 20, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • Ryan Goodman

      Thank you for the suggestion. I do have the comment settings on my personal blog so that I must approve comments the 1st time for each user. I do approve most comments and would love to have open settings, but unfortunately due to a number of threatening comments that have been received, I believe it is best for my page settings and will approve most all blog comments if they are sincere and not threatening.

      September 20, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Jess

      Ryans Truth = Anything that will make him more money. We feed livestock free food, but force billions of poor to starve. In America, Money = Morality.

      September 24, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  13. AnActualQuestion for Ryan Goodman

    Ryan, I first would like to give you props for trying to be so open and honest about your production methods. I am passionate about food education and believe that the key for our society is that people realize the effect of what they are eating on the rest of the world. People should be aware of the sources of their food and how it's grown. I truly appreciate what you are doing because unlike the infamous "Jess" I do not have access to a CSA (all the ones in my area currently have a 1-2 year waiting list) and I would like to know more about the producers of my meat and produce.

    My questions are simple, why are more farmers not open like you? Are you struggling to find people who want to share their methods? Are larger production companies willing to share? Are any producers willing to give tours of their facilities to an average person like me?

    I have read many books, watched a ton of documentaries (let's us FoodInc. as an example here...) and written a thesis as well as several papers on the topic of food production etc. and most of the time it seems the general public runs into a wall when trying to ask a question to producers about their food. Food Inc. interviewed several chicken farmers for example (for either Tysons or Perdue, I can't remember) and I know a few of them lost their contracts with those production companies because they participated in the film. Why shouldn't we know how animals are raised? I mean we are putting this stuff in our bodies, and it is our right to know. This obviously goes for produce too.

    I'm not particularly comfortable with a lot of production methods that are currently in existence (not just in our nation–worldwide as well), however most often I do simply purchase my meat/produce from the grocery store due to convenience-just as the majority of Americans. It would be nice to know more about who is feeding us, maybe it would make me more comfortable. Maybe not.

    In addition, I just want to make a blanket statement to the crowd. As someone mentioned before, Mr. Goodman specifically asked that the comments section be used to ask questions. He has graciously opened himself up to being a transparent operation, and has also made the commitment to the public to try to find us answers. If you have ever tried to get answers from producers before you would know how difficult that can be. So seriously, if you have this many problems and concerns why not use this opportunity to ask questions? If you want to change the system yelling and writing nonsense and offensive statements (Yes Jess, I'm talking to you) is not always the way to go. It's education. Education for farmers and producers that you don't like what's happening, and education for the public that maybe we have a few misconceptions. I'm willing to put my personal beliefs and opinions to the side for one brief moment to get the opportunity to ask a question or two. Maybe I'm wrong and if I am then I want to know. But if I'm right, then I want to work WITH Mr. Goodman and other producers to change things.

    September 20, 2012 at 12:19 am |
    • InvasiveSpecies

      This is a great post! I do think you're right that outfits like Perdue, etc. aren't going to welcome visitors, nor will other types of farming operations. But, I agree, we should know what's going on and their lack of transparency tells you something. But, yes, it's good to try to learn from people like Mr. Goodman and hear his side of things. Maybe we can all help each other, rather than attacking each other. I tend to think of my side (the animal welfare side) as the "good guys," but that's not exactly the most productive way to look at it :). We can get passionate and then we can be sanctimonious too. Anyway, I liked your post and wanted to thank you for it.

      September 20, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • Ryan Goodman

      Thank you so much and I greatly appreciate the comment. I wish I could fully respond to the great number of questions in this comments section, but work hours just won't allow me to do that immediately. I'm adding your question to a list I am addressing in upcoming posts.

      Though, I do want to give a short answer to your question. From my experience and talking with several other farmers, there's a fear in the farming community that stems from previous attacks on what we do. Between groups that push an animal rights agenda no matter the cost and a national media system constantly searching for the latest sensational story, sometimes we're honestly afraid of being personally attacked. It's not so much that we have something to hide, but more that it's no longer clear whether a visitor's intentions are sincere or how things may get turned around with media outlets. There's a certain amount of privacy I like to have at my home. And for families like mine, our farm is our home. So it's not always easy to instantly open the doors to just anyone at any time.

      Oops, that is longer than I intended. Here is a blog post that explains a little more about having farm visitors and opening doors to our farms. Be sure to visit the number of blogs listed at the bottom for other farmers' perspectives. http://wp.me/pTIK1-Tr

      September 20, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
      • InvasiveSpecies

        That's understandable. It's your home and you don't necessarily want hostile strangers traipsing through. But it sounds like your operation should be differentiated from, say, a Perdue operation, where they definitely wouldn't welcome visitors, or they put people on three year waiting lists (yeah, um, that's transparent). I'm hoping you also understand how animal welfare people feel and don't believe they're all necessarily angry and militant. They're not all hating people, but hating certain conditions of certain operations. There's been a bit of hostility toward animal welfare folks too on this board. Please believe me when I tell you that I have done careful research of trusted news sources, not just watched a view PETA videos and there are circumstances where we need to be quite concerned about the animals' welfare. Again, not accusing you or your particular operation in any way and I appreciate your article.

        September 20, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
        • What?

          You sound sincere, but I have a question –

          How does one know who is who? I would think it would a be rather difficult proposition to "vet" prospective visitors so that one is certain they are 'entertaining' a truly interested member of the public rather than, say, a member of ALF who would be ready to do who knows what.

          September 20, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
      • AnActualQuestion for Ryan Goodman

        Mr. Goodman, thank you so much for your response, as I said I'm just glad you're taking the time to even attempt to answer the amazing amount of questions I know you must be receiving. It upsets me that someone would take advantage of coming to a farm such as yours and turn it from an educational opportunity into something that could possibly be frustrating and upsetting for your family. I know it probably has happened, but it makes me so angry, people like that are ruining things for the rest of us that simply want to learn more. I get especially upset by the individuals that take advantage of a tour of a farm and skew what is really going on to make a farmer or producer look evil. I know that there are other individuals like myself that respect the privacy of your home, I just appreciate the transparency you are offering for your farm by answering these questions. (Or at least trying to, I know it must be hard!)

        Hopefully you will be able to convince other farmers, large and small, to answer questions about their own farms. And hopefully some of the bigger production companies to allow individuals to see more about what they do.
        I think my biggest concern is that while I feel you are honest and open as an individual farmer, you can only speak for yourself and those you know. While this is amazing and admirable, especially because so many people have skewed opinions of farming and production, I think in order to change the view of the general public larger production companies will need to be involved and participate.

        I do have another question for you, take your time in responding, but I would love to hear the answers whenever you get a chance.
        I just wanted to know more about your farm in general, the article mentions cows but not much more.
        How big is the farm? What livestock do you have? Do you have any produce as well? What's your average output each year? Do your animals get to roam around, or are they mostly indoor? If you do have produce, what type and do you rotate your crops?

        September 20, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
  14. Todd Fitchette

    Ryan: You are to be commended for your ability and desire to promote agriculture through such forums in a civil and educated manner.
    Kudos, my friend.

    September 19, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
  15. Wednesday

    Well, I couldn't resist ... Dr. Hail, I researched Arnold DeVries, the source you quoted about Ghandi. This is from DeVrie's book, Fountain of Youth, paraphrased:
    "All available evidence indicates that a low-protein diet composed of plant foods is most conducive to the best health.
    Muscles can be built from plant foods, which are relatively low in protein content better.
    Meat, eggs, milk and cheese are all unneeded high-protein foods. Their excessive protein acts as a burden to the body and favors the development of disease."
    Hmmmm ...

    September 19, 2012 at 11:23 am |
  16. Wednesday

    Thanks for this interesting article. What I find a bit puzzling is your reference to animal activist sources - that is, PETA, HSUS, Farm Sanctuary, etc. as the only source whereby people interested in animal welfare get their information. Have you not seen the articles/pieces in The New York Times, ABC News, NPR, the Washington Post, and Forbes magazine about animal cruelty in CAFO situations, the effect of industrial farming on the environment, and the debate over meat-eating versus vegetarianism? These news outlets offer lots of information about these topics. And of course, this is how we get information about our world - by news sources. And while I'm sure smaller farmers would be willing to have visitors, somehow I doubt CAFO's are going to open their doors to anyone who wants to pop in. Mr. Goodman, I'm certainly not suggesting that you're a terrible or evil person. You sound like a great person who cares about the issues facing farmers and consumers. But as a person who's interested in animal welfare, I'm a little dismayed that you suggest I merely listen to single sources for information about this issue.

    September 19, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • Dr.Hail

      It doesn't matter who you get your information from, you want something the majority of people do not want and that is an end to eating meat, eggs, and milk. You think its possible for all human beings to survive without eating meat because you might be able to do so for a short period of time. You are attempting to give rights to animals who can give no rights in return. Human rights is a contract between human beings for their mutual benefit. There is no mutual benefit in animal rights. You take away necessary nutrition just by lying about the need for it, but that doesn't stop reality nor the fact that 12 million children die each year from lack of high quality protein. You want to harm other human beings to keep animals alive longer than nature meant them to stay alive. You think its alright for animals to eat other animals, but not for the human being because in in a split mind you say we are no different but to be different we must put on this fake morality regarding the eating of animals because we should not kill or take the life of these so called other sentient beings. But you say we are different but not different. You speak out of both sides of your mouth. You are racists when it comes to animals. They are allowed to eat meat, but the human animal is not allowed to eat meat because according to your demented thinking humans must be more moral than the animal. This is the most irrational of all philosophies because it causes essential harm to the human species. But this type of thinking is because of irrational diets that lack the essential nutrient needed by all human beings and that is ACTIVE VB12 which is only found in meat. Inactive VB12 is found in plants. Lack of ACTIVE VB12 results in irrational thinking because it is required for neural health and without it the brain becomes irrational from the damage to the neurons. MAHATMA GANDHI AND 22 COMPANIONS FAIL AS VEGANS
      by Arnold DeVries

      CONCLUSION:
      Gandhi was unable to live on a vegan diet
      he finally declared vegan claims fraudulent
      those who insisted that veganism was possible he defined to be "enemies of India"

      "The late Mahatma Gandhi devoted much of his life to the advocacy of strict vegetarian diet, and for years he experimented on his own body to find a suitable selection of plant foods on which to sustain health.

      But all attempts were failures. In 1929, Gandhi and 22 companions went on a diet consisting of a limited selection of uncooked plant foods. Whereas the diet worked out well for a time and led to marked improvement in consumptive cases, it failed to prove adequate on a long-range sustenance basis. One by one Gandhi's companions were forced to depart from the diet, and Gandhi himself had to add goat milk to his fare in order to regain health.

      "For my companions I have been a blind guide leading the blind," declared Gandhi after the experiment was over. Gandhi still felt, however, that "the hidden possibilities of the innumerable seeds, leaves and fruits" of the earth could be explored and found to provide mankind with adequate nourishment. He never stopped trying to experiment along these lines, but he always had to turn back to goat milk to regain his strength.

      In the end he had to acknowledge the necessity for animal food. In 1946 he declared: "The crores of India today get neither milk nor ghee nor butter, nor even buttermilk. No wonder that mortality figures are on the increase and there is a lack of energy in the people. It would appear as if man is really unable to sustain life without either meat or milk and milk products. Anyone who deceives people in this regard or countenances the fraud is an enemy of India."

      These are strong words from a man who devoted most of his life to the search for a satisfactory vegetarian diet. But Gandhi's experience is not unique in the field of nutrition. Many others have also gone through the experience of believing that man could thrive exclusively upon a limited selection of uncooked plant foods, only to find in the end that animal products were necessary for sustenance. ...."
      You wish to force your view into law and to bring death and disease to other human beings. It is as simple as Gandhi says. Things like the media condemning meat by calling it pink slime, putting out false studies that meat kills written and paid for by vegans. Groups that make their money by spinning the the emotions of the public through lies and a philosophy that is intended to end the human race. I truly don't care for this animal activists point of view because it takes away my right to choose what I eat based upon lies about what the human brain needs to survive. Many vegans are abandoning their former all-vegetarian fare because of health problems. Organic has not been proven to be the cure nor has it made anyone more healthy. Eating moderately and keeping your diet varied is the key.

      September 19, 2012 at 10:02 am |
      • Wednesday

        Dr. Hail, you know nothing about me and I'd appreciate you not trying to put words into my mouth. I would also appreciate your not calling me a racist and accusing me of contributing to children starving. You are quoting one source, by the way, Arnold Devries, re Ghandi. It's best to research and learn from multiple and trusted resources. Ghandi was a vegetarian by the way, not a vegan. He refused to eat meat, but was unable to give up butter or milk. Also, B12 was initially found in topsoil not vegetables. Unfortunately our soil has been depleted of B12 and hence vegans may supplement. Again, you know nothing about me and to post these insults and accusations is beyond the pale. Your ilk can't be communicated with, unfortunately, so let's just stop here and now, because I don't have time to respond to the many, many insults and inaccuracies in your post. I don't know what your degree is in, but it sure ain't in manners or good sense.

        September 19, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • Ryan Goodman

      Thanks for pointing out those news sources. Personally, I don't consider these outlets (television, newspaper) as reliable information sources because they are seeking ratings and viewership/readership. My experience with previous food/farming stories is that information can be stretched, out of context, or misrepresented fairly easily when they are seeking an attention-grabbing headline. So when at all possible with these food/farming stories, I try to seek out the sources of the information for more on the story. That's just my opinion on news/media outlets. I know others have their own.

      September 20, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
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