Mad Cowboy Essay, Research Paper
?Even if animal testing produced the cure for Aids, we?d be against it? This rhetoric notion was stated by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and summarizes the fanatical doctrine animal rights activists preach to their followings. These activists preach a doctrine of hate calling for the end of all meat eating, wearing of fur, use of animals in experiments regardless if they are beneficial or not, and even push for the end of all pets as we know of it. Howard Lyman author of ?Mad Cowboy? has not only aligns himself with this rambunctious group of man haters, but supports their nazi like doctrine in his book. On further review of mad cowboy one must dig deep to find any useful knowledge, and when you do find it, one sees that the knowledge has been twisted to fit Lyman?s own agenda. Long dead are the days when knowledge was first gathered then conclusions derived, now statistics and data is twisted and molded to grant validity to ones own agenda.
I will first show the lack of validity and soundness to Howard?s claim that A) a vegan lifestyle is a healthier choice and B) his claim that one must switch to that lifestyle to enjoy these said benefits. To the claim made in A, Howard uses his own health problems he endured on his meat diet, and uses it as a constant variable comparing it to his now relative healthy lifestyle as a vegan. On first glance anyone who eats a calorie-laden, unbalanced diet and ends up weighing 300 pounds, as Lyman himself admitted, will have health problems regardless of his orientation to meat or vegetables. With this said his comparing analogy is inertly flawed and must be disregarded from the argument he presents. On march 8 before the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, Mary K Young, MS.,R.D,NCBA Director of Nutrition Research and Information, presented the benefits of eating meat. Using Data from the 1995 USDA Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals (CSI) she confirms that red meat enhances one overall diet quality. Young goes on to point out that red meat is the number one source for protein, B12, and zinc, number 2 source for B6 and third greatest source for iron, niacin and potassium. She also pointed out that red meat alone has the greatest concentrates of iron and zinc together. Also included cited in Young?s report was the research recently published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association showing that red meat is a main factor to ones energy, protein and micronutrient intake for older people. As one can see a person can eat meat and enjoy a healthy life as long as they exercise moderately and stay away from an excessive amount of saturated fats. The problem with the Lyman?s premise B is he overlooks the impossibility of all 6 billion people on this planet transferring to a vegan lifestyle. Only 3% of earths land is suitable for crop production, 10% of that is land based. Roughly 2/3 of the land is not suitable for crop production due to cites, swamps, snow, deserts etc. Of the 35% that can be donated to crop production less than 1/3 can be cultivated to produce products that can be digested by humans, leaving the rest to be covered by shrubs, grass etc. It is for this reality that the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) promotes the use by humans of both plants and animals. ?Domestic farms are crucial for food and agriculture, providing 30 to 40 percent of the agricultural sector?s global economic value. Around 2 billion-one third the global population-depend at least partly on farm animals for their livelihoods.(FAO press release, Dec 5, 2000)? The benefits of livestock animals is evident when one looks at how they convert all the inedible plants into food we can eat. As the human populations increases we are going to be more dependent of ruminant animals to meet the increased demands for food. I would conclude this section with a rebuttal to a response Howard Lyman made once at one of his seminars, ?If I live as long as I hope, the worlds population will have quadrupled in my lifetime. There is no way the food supply will quadruple? To that claim I will let the facts do the speaking. Since 1936, Lyman?s birth year, the world cereal yields have come close to quadrupling itself from 1200 to 4500 kilograms per hectare. In the US alone, corn production has quadrupled and its wheat production has increased 6 fold. Obvious Howard was too busy to look at the facts before he made such a ridiculous statement.
I will give Lyman some credit in his explanation of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) and it?s supposed connection between the human strain called Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD). Yet here again Lyman opinionated version intercedes with the fact and helps portray a doomsday picture comparing this disease to the AIDS epidemic. To really understand Howard?s fallacy let me explain to you the logistics of the disease. Both CJD and BSE are transmissible spongiform encepethlopathies(TSE) which are fatal neurodengenarative disorders characterized by deposits of protein aggregates in the brain. The prion proposed to be the culprit can exist in two structural conformations, the normal(prion protein cellular PrPC) and an abnormal form(PrPSC). Recent studies have made drastic results showing that strains of BSE can turn ones PrPC into PrPSC yet the reason for this transformation is inconclusive. This is were Lyman starts making mistakes when he asserts that the starting of this epidemic in cows was due to the rendering process of the cows and sheep, who had scrapie, into a protein supplement. I do not disagree that this process help spread the disease, and has been banned, but there is no evidence that this process helped create the disease. Molecular Biology Professor Charles Weissmann of the University of Zurich states ?I don?t believe this view is correct( that rendering of sheep infected with scrapie causing BSE), and it was certainly never proven. I think it is more likely that BSE arose spontaneously in cattle, just as CJD arises in humans, and was then spread by bone and meat meal.? Yet there are many researchers out there that do not entertain the fact that prions replicate, infect animals, and cause disease in absence of specific DNA or RNA, and they point to the fact that there does not exist any definitive data on the nature of prions. At a more basic level researchers still are trying to understand how the PrPC to PrPSC conversion works, the molecular mechanism of PrPSC toxicity, and the relationship between TSE?s and other neurodengentative diseases. Next UK?s Sixth Annual National CJD Surveillance Unit reported that rates in Great Britain are consistent with CJD rates in other countries around the world including those that are free of BSE, further straining the connection between these two diseases. In addition there is no evidence that the prion believed to be the cause of BSE exists in muscle tissue of cows, and has only been found in the brains. Without a single verified case of an individual eating meat from a BSE- infected animal and subsequently contradicting any form of CJD, doubts will remain. The problem that Lyman committed was omitting all these oppositions and unanswered questions about the connection between BSE and CJD and presented what he had as definitive proof. To the notion that CJD will become an epidemic worse than AIDS I must laugh. There has never been a case of BSE of CJD ever in the US, and even in the BSE Heyday 1997 there was only 12 reported cases of CJD that year. You have a higher rate of dieing walking down the streets then you do from CJD. Since then cases of BSE have been on a rapid decline, and now researchers and even the CJD surveillance group are questioning if the influx of CJD was due to the rise in the disease itself or caused by the improvements in diagnoses, techniques and concluding.
My major problem with Lyman and his animal rights activist friends is the hypocrisy of their ideals. People like PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), HSUS (Human Society of the Unites States) or ALF (Animal Liberation Foundation) use misinformation, terror and intimidation to achieve there ends. An example of this hypocrisy is HSUS whose spends nothing of its 40 Million annual budget on animal shelters but rather on protesting. PETA during 1999 euthanized 1,325 of the 2,103 animals it took in that year. I find that pretty sad that it refused to do nothing with its media or finical influence to help these 1,325 pets that they killed. Eleven million animals are destroyed annually due to lack of funds for its facilities yet PETA spent 3,955 of its 12 Million budget in 1995, 6,100 of its 10.9 million budget for 1996 for animal shelters.. In fact in 1999 when it killed 1,325 of these animals its budget reached 17 million dollars. The propaganda that they print has repeated fallen foul of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). In some cases whole pamphlets were found to be lies, a quick example of this would be Plan 2000, or PETA claim that Thalidomide passed animal testing with flying colors. This misleading material tends to be the rule rather than the exception, leading to the conclusion that it is a deliberate tactic rather than an unfortunate accident. June 1st this year the National Animal Interest Alliance instructed Attorney General John Ashcroft to initiate an official investigation to determine if the activities of some animal rights groups violate the US tax code governing charitable organizations. They believed that such groups are not true charities but rather action groups that use misinformation and intimidation to create fundraising opportunities. One must question group?s activities if a law was created for the sole purpose to stop that group?s terrorist actions. The Animal Enterprise Protection Act makes it a federal Offense to cause physical disruption to the functioning of an animal enterprise. There was even a report to congress on the extent and effects of domestic and international terrorism committed by animal activist. Groups like ALF are nothing more than underground groups dedicated to liberate animals by any mean necessary. In there use of sophisticated terrorism and that of bombing there are intentionally following the tactical example established by the Irish Republican Army(IRA). ALF and other underground action groups maintain connections with legitimate, above ground animal rights advocacy group?s who not only support them ideologically but also is believed to actually help run them finically. Since 1993 these groups have committed 313 reported acts ranging from size, burning down buildings at UC-Davis costing 4.5 million in repairs, death threats, vandalism, or even mail bombs. The worst case was in February 1990 when Dr. Hyram Kitchen, Dean of the Veterinary school of the University of Tennessee, was shot and killed. Various sources including mail sent to the school before the murder indicated that animal activist had threatened to assassinate a veterinary dean within the next 12 months. To this day no one has ever been arrested or have formally claimed responsibility. This hatred transcends age as seen when a 6th grade student threatened to firebomb the headquarters of the Gillette company do to their use of animals for their products. These man hating views can best be summed by PETA ?Mankind is the biggest blight on the face of the earth?, I do not believe that a human being has a right to life?; ?I would rather have experiments done on my children than my animals?. This fanatic approach is too far for some such as John Newton, formerly of Meower Power, a local organization that cares for stray cats. He uses the term cult like to describe PETA ?their brutal on their people, if your not radical enough they drive you out.? There have been numerous cases of PETA employees who quit the company citing the tension and hostility or even lack of caring for other opinion. PETA view is best summed up when they went to college campuses with their ?Got Beer? ads, which suggest that based on nutritional value people where better of drinking beer than milk. I Have but one question to all these Vegan groups on how they plan to recycle all the billions of tons of synthetic clothing they endorse, fibers which take hundred of years to decompose. Overlooking all of these examples even their premises on which their argument rests on is invalid. It is basically this, man feels pain and has rights; animals feel pain so they too must have rights. Yet mans rights is not based upon his ability to feel pain but depend on his ability to think. Rights and ethical principles can only apply to beings capable of rational thought and can make choices. Rights protect men from the abuses of other men. Animals on the other hand survive by instincts, not by rational thought. They have inborn refluxes and sensory-perceptual association on top of that they cannot reason or even learn a code of ethics. Only man has the ability to deal with other members of his own species by voluntary means, though ethics or persuasion in an attempt to diffuse violence. To even state that mans use of animals is immoral, and to claim that we have no right over our lives and must sacrifice our welfare for the sake of beings that cannot even think or grasp the concept of morality is ridicules. We would be elevating amoral animals to a moral level that is higher than our own, thus granting animals rights is not only fictional but wrong. In the words of Mat Block ?Cows or cats would eat us to if they had a chance. Do not mistake a cats respect for one that is dominate for love, they are killers plain and simple and if you do not believe me ask their friends the birds?
In conclusion one can see that their convictions closes their eyes to the facts present. I find a little humor that the first nation to grant animals rights was Nazi Germany, showing that animal right activist and Nazis have more in common than their fanatical approach to their ideals. The problem with Lyman and all the rest is their lack of empathy for others approach. There are numerous animal groups who respect others opinions and are not radical at all. But when you state that there is only one way in life and that way is your own, you have a problem.