Join Us!

 
Like this book? Digg it!


Book Data

ISBN: 9781603585361
Year Added to Catalog: 2014
Book Format: Paperback
Dimensions: 6 x 9
Number of Pages: 288
Book Publisher: Chelsea Green
Release Date: October 17, 2014
Web Product ID: 809

Also in Food & Health

The Color of Atmosphere
Drinking In Maine

Genetic Roulette (DVD)
The Gourmet Butcher's Guide to Meat (with CD)

Taste, Memory

Defending Beef

The Case for Sustainable Meat Production

by Nicolette Hahn Niman

Reviews, Interviews, & Articles

  • “Serious thinking about food and agriculture fills Defending Beef: The Case for Sustainable Meat Production (Chelsea Green, softcover, $19.95).The beef Nicolette Hahn Niman defends is unprocessed, raised outdoors using humane methods on pasture or range. A lawyer, married to a rancher, she started with an anti-meat bias and remains a vegetarian (seemingly from habit). She answers criticism that cattle-raising contributes to desertification, world hunger, and global warming. She presents the ecological importance of trampling by hooves — natural grasslands are a product of wild-animal grazing. The key for ranchers is well-timed pauses to let plants regrow. Problems come when grazing land is left to “rest” too long. Real environmental damage, she argues, comes from plowing up grasslands to plant crops. … Most of her assertions come with references to scientific studies pro and con. Niman believes red meat is healthful, taking an Atkins-esque view that animal fat is not responsible for making people fat. In contrast to her own diet, she tentatively proposes: “We should eat what our bodies evolved to eat” — mainly meat and wild plants. And she ties benign methods to the highest quality beef, giving her rancher husband’s view that the best taste comes from the meat of British breeds; the cattle are at least two years old and fattened on the year’s best grass. Beef is ideally a seasonal meat, she argues, although she doesn’t believe it harms cattle to feed them some grain.”

    —The Art of Eating

  • “In response to the ecological objection that cattle production produces more harm than good, biologist, environmental lawyer, long-time vegetarian and rancher, Nicolette Hahn Niman presents the case that raising cattle can in fact have many environmental benefits. These benefits, she argues, include helping to sustain grassland as well as producing nutrient efficient products for human consumption. Using scientific data, Niman argues how small-scale, grass-fed cattle operations are actually part of a long-term sustainability solution.”

    —Food Tank, "Top 10 Books About Food in 2014"

  • “[T]he former environmental lawyer and now rancher Nicolette Hahn Niman … has now collected her thoughts in the elegant, strongly argued Defending Beef.”

    —Corby Kummer, The Atlantic, Best Food Books of 2014

  • “Using a potent mix of scientific data and neoteric theories about health and environment, Ms. Niman makes a convincing case that grass-fed cattle should be a part of a sustainable food culture. If I were not already a consumer of grass-fed beef (I buy it frozen), I would be upon reading this book. … The problems with beef today ‘are problems of land management, water resources, pollution, animal welfare, and food safety,’ Ms. Niman writes. She honors the cattleman culture, hoping the industry will self-correct, and to that end she shares the techniques that her husband developed to produce great-tasting grass-fed beef. Some of the author’s observations touch on larger topics, like the gross amount of food waste in this country (a whopping 50% of all food produced) and how our system of food subsidies ‘leads us to eat an abundance of unhealthy foods.’ These problems actually suggest pathways by which you and I might drive change, but they are not explored here. That may be because ‘Defending Beef’ is true to its title: It seeks to persuade, not inflame.”

    The Wall Street Journal

  • “If you are looking for a book to inspire fisticuffs at the Thanksgiving table, you've found it. Her "manifesto" calls for a revolutionized food system — one that requires cows. … One after another, Hahn Niman skewers the, ahem, sacred cows of the anti-meat orthodoxy. Eating meat causes world hunger? No, livestock are critical food (and cash) for 1 billion global poor, many living where plant crops cannot be grown. Deforestation? Forests are cleared primarily for soy, almost none of which goes to feed cows. Red meat and animal fat are the cause of the current epidemic of cardiovascular disease? The 1953 Keys study that spawned this belief actually showed no causation between the two and pushed us into the deadly grip of trans-fats and the true killer: sugar. Overgrazing ruined the American West? No, it was improper grazing and, in some cases, not enough cattle. … She's not trying to change your mind; she's trying to save your world. And if you're an eater trying to pick your way through this divisive debate, you're cheering the information on every page.”

    The Los Angeles Times

  • “Niman (Righteous Porkchop), previously a senior attorney for the Waterkeeper Alliance, has a simple premise: 'We should eat what our bodies evolved to eat.' This title lays out her arguments in two sections. The first deals with cattle and how intensive factory farming has had a deleterious effect on certain environmental aspects of raising beef, but the author contends that these have been overstated. The link to climate change has been exaggerated, according to Niman, who claims that if cattle were permitted to graze on grass as they were evolutionarily designed to do, alteration to the earth’s temperature might be mitigated, as this would promote carbon sequestration. Traditional cattle farming has other benefits, such as connecting people to the land and to the rhythms of the seasons. The book’s second part enumerates the health benefits of beef. Niman contends that bad science from the 1960s has led us to believe that fat and cholesterol should be avoided. We have switched to a diet that is heavy in sugars and carbohydrates and this has resulted in an increase in many chronic health conditions. The author maintains that a switch to less-processed foods and meats would reverse this trend. VERDICT As a vegetarian, Niman is an intriguing spokesperson for the beef industry. Her arguments seem sound and well researched. Recommended reading for those interested in the links between diet and health.”

    Library Journal

  • “After learning from her rancher husband the benefits of raising and eating beef, Niman (Righteous Porkchop) delivers a head-on attack against everything negative that has been said about the cattle industry. An environmental lawyer and vegetarian, Niman is a force of nature when it comes to debunking the untruths about how raising beef effects global warming, the connection between eating beef and heart disease, and that eating beef is the reason Americans are fatter than ever. Reading Niman's pointed and convincing prose, like when she states: 'compared with other ways of producing food, the keeping of grazing livestock, when done appropriately, is the most environmentally benign,’ one can only imagine challenging her combination of intelligence, passion, and thoroughness. Despite the title, Niman isn't always on the defensive. In fact, she continually proposes ideas how to make meat production better by promoting the land- and animal-friendly practices of free-range, grass-fed ranching as a safer, more ecological, and healthier alternative to BigAg and industrial meat farming. Niman saves some of her most convincing and damning criticisms for her own vegetarianism as she demonstrates how raising livestock is not only a better option for the world's hungry masses, but also a better option for the planet's health. It sounds hard to believe, but Niman is almost impossible to disagree with.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “The irony could not be more acute, for this vegetarian makes as forceful and compelling a case for rational livestock husbandry as could be imagined. … A wealth of personal experience percolates through her case, giving it detail, color and emotional logic. … The trick to telling this kind of story has to do with rendering reams of data into a relatively swift narrative without oversimplifying it. Whether telling the story of Allan Savory and mob grazing or recapping the findings of the late John Yudkin—author of Pure, White and Deadly that fingered sugar for crimes against health 40 years ago—Hahn Niman never misses a step. … Defending Beef gives advocates of sustainable livestock a powerful weapon.”

    Acres U.S.A

  • "A longtime critic of industrial agriculture and a lawyer by training, Niman mounts a lawyerly case for pasture-based beef production. She does so from an interested position. She's the wife of Bill Niman, one of the nation's most celebrated grass-based ranchers. But critics who want to dismiss Niman's advocacy on economic-interest grounds have to grapple with the mountains of evidence she brings to bear. The main ecological question that haunts grass-fed beef involves climate change. Cows emit methane, a greenhouse gas far more potent than carbon, when they burp, which is often. But by grazing, they also promote healthy, flourishing grasslands, which suck carbon from the atmosphere and store it in soil. In doing so, they convert a wild vegetation that people can't digest into a highly nourishing foodstuff. So on balance, do cows contribute to or mitigate climate change? The conventional view holds that the burps win. Niman casts more than reasonable doubt on that verdict. Citing loads of research, she argues that enteric emissions (methane from burps) are likely overstated and can be curtailed by breeding and techniques like abundant salt licks, and more than offset by the carbon-gulping capacity of intensive grazing (where farmers run dense herds through a pasture for a short time, and then give the land plenty of time to recover). She also shows that healthy pastures also provide plenty of other benefits, including habitat for pollinating insects and birds, which are declining rapidly as industrial grain farming—mostly for grain to feed confined animals—expands.”

    —Tom Philpott, Mother Jones, Best Food Books of 2014

  • "I have long wished for a single compilation with all the scientific evidence that counters the charges of the anti-beef propagandists. Well, now we have it. It’s Defending Beef, The Case for Sustainable Meat Production by Nicolette Hahn Niman.”

    —Allan Nation, The Stockman Grass Farmer

Articles


Price: $19.95
Format: Paperback
Status: Available to Ship
Ships: Next day


Online for US Orders Only
International orders can be placed by phone (802-295-6300) or email

Nicolette Hahn Niman's Upcoming Events

  • Nicolette Hahn Niman at Natural Grocer's Vitamin Cottage
    12612 W Alameda Parkway , Denver CO 80228
    June 3, 2015, 5:30 pm
  • Nicolette Hahn Niman at 2015 Slow Meat Symposium
    Curtis Hotel and Auraria Higher Education Center, Denver CO
    June 5, 2015, 10:00 am
  • Nicolette Hahn Niman at Savory Institute International Conference
    1333 Bayshore Hwy , Burlingame CA 94010
    October 2, 2015, 12:00 pm

GET YOUR NEWS FROM CHELSEA GREEN

Sign up for our e-newsletter today and get 25% off your next purchase in our bookstore. Please note that discount codes do not combine with other offers or books already on sale.