Dude Looks Like . . . Howard Lyman?

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is back at it again with its billboards, this time with its “Dude Looks Like a Lady” billboard. A company in Knoxville, Tennessee ran this billboard for awhile along I-40 until it received too many complaints and was relocated.

The billboard features a neck-down picture of an overweight man wearing only underwear, with the text, “Dude Looks Like a Lady: Lose the Boobs—Go Vegetarian.” In a PETA press release, Bruce Friedrich said,

This should put to rest the myth that thereÂ’s anything macho about eating meat. If unspeakable animal suffering, environmental degradation, and dreaded diseases haven’t scared devout male carnivores, the prospect of growing an unwanted set of boobs might have them racing for the salad bar.

Oddly enough, the obese man bore a striking resemblance to well-known vegetarian Howard Lyman.


PETA Billboard Being Relocated due to Complaints. Wate.Com, January 7, 2004.

Billboard Showing Man With Breasts Is Wake-Up Call For Knoxville Meat-Eaters. Press Release, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, January 5, 2004.

Problems at AR 2002

This year, as he did last year, Alex Hershaft moderated an AR 2002 “memory board” on VegSource.Com to allow activists to reminisce about the event. The main topic of discussion, however, centered around a group of women at the event who were offended by comments that Howard Lyman made prior to the July 2 keynote.

As Hershaft relates the story,

On the evening of Tuesday, July 2, the MC was in a jocular mood. He talked about my being willing to dye my hair purple and to put rings through my nose if that’s what it took to attract young people. Later, in introducing Natasha Allas, Miss World USA 2000, he said: “There have been a number of speakers at this conference who have alluded to the shape of the movement … I would like to introduce to you, as the ideal shape of the movement, Natasha Allas, Miss World USA, the shape of the movement.” Later, as Actress Charlotte Ross was leaving the stage, he added “Is there a bit of a doubt in your mind about the shape of the movement. To show you that there is room for improvement, I stand in front of you.”

These comments caused several activists to leave the room and apparently angrily denounced Lyman’s comments as sexist. Apparently while the keynote speech was still going on, seven of the individual walked on stage and read a statement attacking Lyman and sexism in the animal rights movement. They then started a petition among AR 2002 attendees which gathered about 200 signatures.

Hershaft writes that,

At the closing plenary the next day, I made a statement that expressed my sincere regret, as organizer of the conference, that the remarks offended some people and noted that sexism has no place at the AR2002 conference. I also stated that the subsequent disruption was self-indulgent, and deeply disrespectful and offensive to the MC, to me, to the Conference, and to the other participants.

On the AR2002 memory board, Hershaft announced that one of the women who was involved in this, Barbara Chang, was banned from attending AR2003 for her disruptive actions. For her part, Chang says she is working on a “Boycott AR2003” web site.

The best comment about the controversy, however, noted that it was a bit telling that the assembled activists were apparently more offended by Lyman’s “shape of the movement” comments than they were by Peter Singer’s comments about killing human infants.


AR 2002 Memory Board. VegSource.Com, July 2002.

Bill O'Reilly and Bridget Chufo vs. Howard Lyman

Howard Lyman appeared on The O’Reilly Factor on February 26 making the case for vegetarianism. Bill O’Reilly wondered if simply eating in moderation wasn’t the key to health and long life, leading to this exchange between Lyman and Bridget Chufo, the founder of Healthy Performance Weight Loss and Wellness Center,

LYMAN: Well, vegetarians live 10 years longer than people on the standard American diet.

O’REILLY: Is that true, Ms. Chofu?

BRIDGET CHUFO, HEALTHY PERFORMANCE WEIGHT LOSS CTR.: Well, I think you’re mixing up some confusion here in the sense that vegetarians, right, nine to 10 years longer. But most vegetarians have a more healthy lifestyle in the sense that they don’t smoke, they don’t drink, their exercise, they sleep adequately. So just eating in a healthier manner, in a vegetarian way, may not be the single variable that we’re talking about here.

O’REILLY: Right, but does Mr. Lyman have a point that eating meat and dairy products and things like that are harmful to you?

CHUFO: I agree with you, Mr. O’Reilly. Everything in moderation. The fewer foods that you can pick from, the fewer nutrients that you’re going to get into your body, especially with the kids. The kids need protein. And they’re not always going to get it from the nuts and the seeds and the tofu and things of this nature, simply because we have to deal with reality.

I have some pretty strong disagreements with Chufo, but she is spot on about the reason why vegetarians tend to live longer than non-vegetarians, with the proviso that vegetarians also likely benefit from increased consumption of fruits and vegetables (i.e, one of the problems with the standard American diet is not that it includes meat, but rather that it does not include enough fruits and vegetables.


Meatless or Meaningless? The O’Reilly Factor, Transcript, February 26, 2002.

Number of Human Victims of Mad Cow Disease May Be Small

At one time, estimates were that upwards of 100,000 people in Great Britain might die from Mad Cow Disease — the first time I ever heard of the disease was in a speech given by Howard Lyman in which he claimed the disease would prove worse than AIDS. These estimates have been steadily revised downward, and a recent study by French scientists suggests that the disease may peak at a couple hundred deaths.

The current research is based on a computer model of the disease that incorporates new assumptions about the disease.

One of the striking things about the variant CJD that is believed to originate as a result of Mad Cow Disease is that young people seem especially susceptible to it, as compared to the non-variant CJD — which is unconnected with Mad Cow Disease — which generally afflicts people over the age of 50.

The average age at death of victims of vCJD is only 28, while 93 percent of people who die from CJD are over the age of 50. This leads some researchers to conclude that for some reason, young people are especially susceptible to vCJD, and that as time goes by this will result in a fall-off of the number of cases and deaths.

The study, published in Science, says, “Our prediction of the epidemic of vCJD lies in the ‘optimistic’ end of the ranges of previously published figures, and this low value is in favor of a large species barrier between cattle and humans.”

Add to that, the fact that susceptibility to the disease seems to affect only a specific genetic subpopulation of individuals, and it may turn out that only a tiny number of people ever exposed to Mad Cow Disease ever have a chance to contract vCJD.

The study suggests that the total number of vCJD deaths is likely to be somewhere between 205 and 403, although these estimates are highly dependent on current information about vCJD and could change with new information.

Still, it is encouraging that the worst scenarios seem extremely unlikely at this point, and vCJD is unlikely to become a massive epidemic in Great Britain.


CJD deaths ‘may have peaked’. The BBC, November 23, 2001.

Worst of Mad Cow May Be Over. Paul Recer, Associated Press, November 22, 2001.

Leave Oprah Alone Already

The Associated Press recently
ran a long profile of the Texas cattlemen who have the dubious distinction
of spending large amounts of money in an effort to keep alive a lawsuit
against Oprah Winfrey for disparaging remarks she said about beef on her
show several years ago. Winfrey already successfully defended herself
in a civil lawsuit brought by the cattleman, that in this writer’s opinion
made the Texas beef industry look very bad. Winfrey may show poor judgment
in relying on someone as unreliable as Howard Lyman for dietary advice,
but the same right to free speech that lets the industry and others show
the animal rights claims are nonsense also protects those who hold other

According to the Associated
Press story, the cattlemen have spent close to $6 million pursuing the
case against Winfrey – currently they are appealing the result of the
civil trial on several grounds – and are willing to spend even more get
a court to hold Winfrey liable for her comments.

Charles Babcock, an attorney
for Winfrey, says that he does not see Winfrey giving in any time soon
either. “We feel this is a meritless lawsuit,” Babcock said.
“A jury decided it is a meritless lawsuit. The court of public opinion
says it is without merit. The trial judge said it is without merit. We
think the court of appeals will agree, but if not, we’re ready to go do
it again.”

The whole business carries
a lot of the stench associated with the |McDonald’s| lawsuit against activists
who passed out pamphlets in the United Kingdom accusing McDonald’s of
doing everything from producing food that caused cancer to destroying
the environment. Under British libel laws that heavily favor plaintiffs,
the so-called “McLibel” case became the longest running trial
in British history and when it was all said and done McDonald’s won an
award for a paltry $96,000.

Like the McDonald’s lawsuit,
the cattlemen’s obsessive pursuit of Oprah Winfrey is the sort of intimidation
tactic I would expect to see from animal rights activists.

Howard Lyman's baaaack

Fresh from testifying at Oprah Winfrey‘s bizarre libel trial in Texas (hey,
you don’t need to be an animal rights advocate to believe people should be able
to speak their minds), Howard Lyman is back touring the country promoting
a new book and spreading more misinformation than a Hollywood gossip sheet.
I missed his speech, but he was in my neck of the woods a few weeks ago. This
is a letter-to-the editor I wrote.

By the way, anyone who does get to see Lyman might ask the |Humane Society
of the United States| activist a simple question. Lyman insists that case of
CJD in England are almost certainly caused by BSE — “mad cow” disease
— and he’s said we might be in for an epidemic of BSE-caused CJD that will
make AIDS look mild. Here’s the question for Lyman — if BSE causes CJD, why
did the Sixth Annual Report on Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Surveillance in the
UK find that CJD rates in England are comparable to those in countries where
there are no known cases of BSE?

Editor, Kalamazoo Gazette,

In his speech at the Borgess Medical Center’s Coronary Health Improvement Program,
the Humane Society of the United States’ Howard Lyman forgot to mention a few
facts which might interest Kalamazoo Gazette readers.

First, the Humane Society of the United States is an extremist animal rights
organization which actually maintains no animal shelters. Instead it spends
its $40 million annual budget advocating for an end to medical experiments with
animals, hunting, fur and meat eating. As HSUS vice president Michael Fox puts it, “the life of an ant and that of my child should be granted equal

As for Lyman’s claims about the alleged health benefits of vegetarianism, these
can be enjoyed by meat eaters who combine moderate exercise with a sensible
diet low in saturated fat and with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Anyone,
however, who eats a calorie-laden, unbalanced diet and ends up weighing 300
pounds, as Lyman claims he once did, will be unhealthy regardless of whether
he is a vegetarian or not.

Finally, I wouldn’t put much stock in Lyman’s claim that “If I live as
long as I hope, the world’s population will have quadrupled in my lifetime.
There is no way the food supply will quadruple.” The problem with that
claim is that world cereal yields have already come close to quadrupling since
Lyman’s birth in 1936, from an estimated 1200 kilograms per hectare then to
almost 4500 kilograms per hectare today. In the U.S. alone, for example, corn
production has quadrupled and wheat production has increased 6-fold in the last
59 years.

Along with other animal rights organizations such as |People for the Ethical
Treatment of Animals|, Lyman and HSUS offer up a litany of misinformation designed
to further their agenda of placing human beings and non-human animals on the
same moral and legal plane. Borgess Medical Center would better serve its health-oriented
mission by not lending credence to such extremists.