A lawyer and vegetarian for 33 years who lives on the farm with her cattle rancher husband tasted beef for the first time two years ago, saying it is not whether or not one is a meat-eater, it is how they are eating meat that really matters for the planet.
Nicolette Hahn Niman is an animal welfare and environmental activist, who rails against how livestock get treated before she met her husband 18 years ago while working for Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s charity, Waterkeeper Alliance, The Guardian reported.
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Hahn Niman has made it her career as a lawyer to campaign against pollution caused by industrial meat production, especially how cattle farms cause soil erosion and water and air pollution.
But as she delved deeper into farming, she came to believe that meat itself was not the issue but how it is being produced.
“The most important thing I learned was that in the two years I’d been working on agricultural issues as an environmental lawyer, I just scratched the surface in terms of understanding the real daily issues of agriculture,” she told The Guardian.
“It’s not the cow, it’s the how,” she said, sloganed on a T-shirt.
She and a host of activists, including Gabe Brown, Charles Massy, Simon Fairlie, and Allan Savory, are proposing better cattle farming.
She is the author of “Defending Beef,” and in her book, Hahn Niman explains how naturalistic cattle grazing adds manure and organic matter to the soil and supports plants as opposed to traditional crop cultivating by bulldozing the soil and releasing carbon.
She also believes that cows should be freed from barns and feedlots, allowing them to roam and eat diverse natural grasses and shrubs as their wild ancestors did, in which case they can restore soils, enhance natural diversity and help capture carbon, she says.
As for Hahn Niman, she said her advocacy has returned to eating meat on a daily basis.
“When I started eating meat again, I was reconnecting with my whole upbringing, my culture and the foods that I’ve grown up with,” she told The Guardian. “I’ve felt physically and emotionally good. It’s been surprising how much joy that has brought me.”
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Woman who was vegetarian for 33 years now meat’s biggest champion – The Hill