I was under the influence of a nerdy-cute camp counselor in high school when I decided to give up meat for Lent.  By going vegan, one person can save more than 100 animal lives a year, help conserve vital natural resources and drastically reduce his or her participation in a system that exploits immigrant and impoverished families.

Go Vegan for Lent and the Red Meat War


Let’s Make a Real Difference

Sarah Withrow King’s emotional rant from a Christian/PETA perspective was over-the-top, unsubstantiated psychobabble.  Her point was that Lent wasn’t about us, it’s about restoring “a deeply troubled world.”  That morphed into recommending choices for Lent that are against animal cruelty, starving one billion people, worker exploitation in the livestock/meat industry, and combating climate change.

Her answer to those problems was that everyone should be vegan!  How very far she errs from the truth.

Her examples of animal cruelty are out of proportion to reality.  For her to imply her abuse claims are the norm in meat processing is absurd and borders on violating Florida Statutes Title XLVI Crimes, Chapter 865, Violations of Certain Commercial Restrictions.  This law is known as a “Veggie Libel Law” because radical vegans are famous for their unscientific disparaging remarks that are similar to screaming “fire” in a crowded theater.

She listed several practices she considers cruel.  But instead of focusing on livestock and meat production let me turn the tables and apply her logic to cats and dogs.  She implied that shearing (giving haircuts), castrating and neutering, declawing, docking tails, and cropping ears are cruel.  How about children?  Are piercing ears, giving haircuts, circumcising, giving shots, getting tattoos, or taking out tonsils cruel?

I’ve been raising livestock for 45 years and during the past 15 years I’ve been selling grass-fed meat.  I’ve heard radical Christian/PETA rants so often you can say I’ve heard them all.  But comparing sheep shearing with c-sections is a new one!  In response to the rants, I recently posted an article on the Internet titled “The Insane War on Grass-Fed Beef.”  It’s quite popular.

The article’s emphasis is environmental sustainability and human health.  In a nutshell, grass-fed meat and fat are man’s most nutritious food and best for the environment.  Grass-fed meat is easy to digest, zero glycemic, nutrient dense, and provides a perfect balance of Omega-6 and Omega-3 essential fatty acids.  It’s the only food a person can eat exclusively and still maintain superior physical and mental health.  That’s because the green plant is the foundation food for animal life and needs to be at the bottom of the food chain.  Animals become super health food by eating green leafy material that humans are incapable of digesting.  This is God’s design.

Ruminants have a symbiotic relationship with plants and the soils.  That evolved with the beginning of sustainable life – the one celled green plant.  Animals breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide.   Plants reverse that process.  The grazing of plants recirculates nutrients for the benefit of soil microbes and plant regrowth.  Livestock requires very little water compared to growing crops.  Most importantly, the relationships between livestock and plants are what prevents desertification of the planet!  (See the Allan Savory’s TED Talk, “How to Fight Desertification and Reverse Climate Change.”)

In terms of the environment grasslands, rangeland, and pastures are huge carbon sinks that help slow global warming.  When grasslands are plowed up to plant crops, the exposed soils release tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.  There is nothing natural about ripping open the soil and laying it bare for months at a time.  Before the advent of commercial farming as we know it today, America had an abundance of large forests and vast grasslands in rich soils that supported some 250 million ruminants and untold numbers of other critters.  It was a sustainable system.

Farming on the other hand requires huge resources to support.  It requires incredible amounts of water.  Farming’s primary crops are the seeds of the green plant, not green vegetative plants.  These seeds (grains) host anti-nutrients (look up “anti nutrients in grains and legumes”).  Grains  are high glycemic and have highly skewed essential fatty acid profiles that are inflammatory and cause autoimmune diseases in animals and humans.  They are low in nutrients and difficult to digest.  Consequently, farming destroys soil, contributes to global warming, and consumes more resources than raising grass-fed cattle.  And most of the products produced by farming are not even nutritious, such as sugar, corn, wheat, soybeans, etc.

Her suggestions are the same failed timeworn ones John H. Kellogg started promoting 120 years ago, and are the same ones our government has promoted since the mid 1950s.  The result has not been good considering 18% of our GNP now goes to healthcare that mostly grapples with chronic diseases caused by the Omega-3 deficiency, sugar, and other anti-nutrients.  How can doing the same thing over and over again achieve a different result?  Isn’t that insanity?

Bottom line: Ms. King’s suggestion for Lent would only accelerate the world’s desertification and increase chronic disease while lowering living standards for billions of people.

Ted Slanker
Posted February 24, 2015