"Issues related to the long-term health effects of red meat, saturated fat, sugar, and grains are complex and I see the jury as still out on many of them. While waiting for the science to be resolved, Hahn Niman's book is well worth reading for its forceful defense of the role of ruminant animals in sustainable food systems."
—Marion Nestle, Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University and author of What to Eat
"I have traveled to every state in the U.S. during both summer and winter and have seen the land in extensive rural areas. There are huge land areas in this country that cannot be used for crops. The only way to grow food on these lands is grazing animals. Grazing done properly will improve the land. Defending Beef shows clearly that beef cattle are an important part of sustainable agriculture."
—Temple Grandin, author of Animals Make Us Human and Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University
"I hope this book, which is more about the future of humanity, will be read by every citizen—not just those who feel the need to defend their meat-eating preferences. Biologist, environmental lawyer, and mother Nicolette Hahn Niman has provided a balanced report on the effects of cattle production on our environment, health, and climate change. Openly accepting the damage done by modern-day cattle production—on the land and in factory feedlots—she effectively argues that cattle themselves are not the problem; it is the way they are being managed that is endangering our health, environment, and economy. We can do something about that, and we must for the sake of our children and grandchildren. Key to our success will be an informed citizenry—for whom this book will be an invaluable tool."
—Allan Savory, founder and president, the Savory Institute
"The prosecution will never rest after the case presented here by this unusually well-armed defense lawyer. Exactly how much and in what ways cattle benefit our world—whether or not we eat beef—have never been more thoroughly explained. Cattle are lucky to have such a remarkable rancher gal come to their aid on our behalf."
—Betty Fussell, author, Raising Steaks: The Life and Times of American Beef
"Nicolette Hahn Niman's Defending Beef is as timely as it is necessary. With patience and passion she separates truth from fiction in the emotional debate about the role of beef in our lives and the effect of its production on our planet. Far from being a bogeyman of climate change and other environmental concerns, she argues, cattle, when properly managed, can play an important role in local food systems, land health, and carbon sequestration. The key is treating cattle as an ally, not an enemy, and exploring opportunities instead of simply pointing fingers. In this exploration, Defending Beef leads the way!"
—Courtney White, founder and creative director, Quivira Coalition, and author, Grass, Soil, Hope
"In our collective confusion and desperation about the environment, many zero in on cattle as an unlikely culprit for everything from water pollution to climate change. In Defending Beef, author, rancher and environmental lawyer Nicolette Hahn Niman takes a nuanced look at the impact of livestock on land, water, the atmosphere, and human health. With clarity and eloquence, she puts research in context and shows that the raising of cattle can be destructive or restorative depending on how the animals are managed. Cattle—and common sense—have found their champion."
—Judith D. Schwartz, author, Cows Save the Planet
"Anyone hesitating to eat beef due to environmental or nutritional concerns needs to learn the other side of the story. Defending Beef is both scientifically accurate and highly readable. Kudos to Nicolette Hahn Niman for successfully engaging in one of the biggest environmental tensions of our day."
—Joel Salatin, farmer and author
"Defending Beef clearly and unequivocally connects the dots for us on how vitally important raising pastured beef is to humanity. From increasing the glomalin in soil that helps create healthy grass, to sequestering carbon, battling desertification, enhancing the water supply, mitigating climate change, and promoting biodiversity, Nicolette Hahn Niman carefully draws a constellation for understanding just how our food production systems affect people, culture and our ecosystem—for good or ill. The case is airtight and the jury is in: Cattle on pasture are an integral part of the solution."
—Mary R. Cleaver, owner/executive chef, The Cleaver Company and The Green Table, New York City
"Defending Beef is an important book. Nicolette Hahn Niman had me at the chapter, 'All Food Is Grass,' where she unpacks the complex clash of views over animal rights, ecology, and the legacy of human impact upon bioregions. The more I read, the more I came to value the passion and insight of someone who (like me) does not herself consume meat but recognizes that it rests at the center of what's troubling with our food system and how we might set it right. At Slow Food, we believe that better, less meat should become a rallying cry for a shift in our relationship to animals and each other. Scale, biodiversity, and rural economies get ample attention in this comprehensive yet easy-to-digest manifesto. If we ever hope to challenge the prevailing culture of confinement that defines the industrial meat system today then we need to make this book required reading for butchers, bakers and policymakers."
—Richard McCarthy, executive director, Slow Food USA
"Creating healthful, delicious food in ecological balance is among humanity's greatest challenges. In this insightful book, Nicolette Hahn Niman shows why cattle on grass are an essential element. Every chef in America should read this book."
—Alice Waters, executive chef, founder/owner, Chez Panisse, Berkeley, CA
"Defending Beef is a brave, clear-headed, and necessary addition to the discussion about sustainable food systems. Using hard data and solid scientific research, Nicolette Hahn Niman, a lawyer turned rancher, presents a convincing case that everything we thought we knew about the environmental and human health damage caused by beef is just plain wrong."
—Barry Estabrook, author Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed our Most Alluring Fruit
"In this remarkable book, Nicolette Hahn Niman proves herself to be a true environmentalist&mdashone who is willing to dig deeply, challenge orthodoxies, and get to the truth. You should read Defending Beef not only for the compelling case she makes for sustainable meat production but also as an example of critical thinking at its finest."
—Bo Burlingham, editor-at-large of Inc. magazine and author of Small Giants and Finish Big: How Great Entrepreneurs Exit Their Companies on Top.
"Anyone who doubts that beef can be part of a sustainable food system and healthy diet should read this book. Defending Beef proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that we can feel good about eating beef that's raised the right way."
—Steve Ells, founder and CEO, Chipotle Mexican Grill
"A breakthrough book that reclaims our relationship with farm animals and nutritious food. Comprehensive and insightful, Defending Beef delivers a compelling description of a food system that works with nature and wildlife, supports humane animal husbandry, and builds strong local economies. With a keen mind and passionate love of life, Nicolette Hahn Niman provides an insightful solution to feeding our growing world population and shows us a way of life that is both beautiful and sustaining."
—Judy Wicks, founder of White Dog Cafe and the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies and author of Good Morning, Beautiful Business
"It is so important that we free our minds of conventional beef wisdom and open up to the solution set that uses nature's wisdom as well as the smart agricultural practices of the future. In Defending Beef, Nicolette Hahn Niman gives us an exacting and compelling defense of land management that solves for environmental resiliency, human health, climate change mitigation, and prosperity. How could we not listen?"
—Kat Taylor, CEO and co-founder, Beneficial State Bank; co-founder and director, Tomkat Ranch Educational Foundation
"As a chef, I am concerned with not just the flavor of my ingredients, but also their ecological, economic, social, biodiversity, and health implications. In Defending Beef, Nicolette Hahn Niman delves deeply into the many impacts of beef production. Through both scholarly research and her own personal journey, she shows how, again and again, the 'conventional wisdom' has missed the mark, while making an extremely convincing case for well-raised cattle having a necessary place in our global agriculture system and on our plates. Simply put, this book doesn't just make me a better chef, but also a better person."
"Nicolette Hahn Niman just became beef's most articulate advocate. In Defending Beef, she pivots gracefully between the personal and the scientific, the impassioned and the evenhanded. It's a deeply compelling and delicious vision for the future of food."
—Dan Barber, chef/co-owner, Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns
"Nicolette Hahn Niman, a lawyer, vegetarian and cattle rancher, serves up a well-argued defense of an American icon: the hamburger. Passionate and persuasive, Hahn Niman delivers a tough-minded critique of industrial animal operations along with an eloquent case on behalf of pasture-raised beef. The good news? It's safe to eat steak again--so long as you know where it comes from."
—Marc Gunther, editor-at-large, Guardian Sustainable Business US