Former Rancher to Head
International Vegetarian Union
from the World Vegetarian Congress, 1996
from EVU News, Issue 3 / 1996
Howard Lyman (new president),
Surendra Metha (outgoing
president of IVU)
Howard F. Lyman, fourth-generation farmer, rancher, and beef feedlot operator turned environmental activist, was elected president of the International Vegetarian Union (IVU) at the 32nd World Vegetarian Congress, concluded this weekend near Pittsburgh, PA. Nearly 800 delegates, representing 21 countries and all five continents, participated in the week-long event. The IVU is a 100-year old organization that coordinates the activities of national and regional vegetarian societies throughout the world.
Mr. Lyman was born on a small farm in Montana. After earning an agriculture degree, he used pesticides, fertilizers, and intensive animal farming to turn his father's organic farm into a multi-million dollar agribusiness that employed 30 people. He cultivated thousands of acres of feed grains and raised chickens, turkeys, pigs, dairy cows, and beef cattle.
In 1979, Mr. Lyman's life changed forever. Facing risky surgery to remove a paralyzing tumor on his spinal cord, he reflected on the changes that his agribusiness had wrought on the soil and landscape of his Montana homestead, and pledged to dedicate the remainder of his life to reforming animal agriculture. After a full recovery, he ran for Congress (in 1982), then sold his farm and moved to Washington to lobby for the interests of small, financially troubled farmers with the National Farmers Union.
In 1992, as Executive Director of Beyond Beef, Mr. Lyman recruited ten thousand people to distribute leaflets discouraging beef consumption. Subsequently, he founded Voice For A Viable Future and began to travel extensively to alert American consumers and producers to the dangers of chemical-intensive agriculture and the need for sustainable, humane, organic practices.
He has addressed hundreds of local groups throughout North America and Europe. His interviews have aired on several thousand radio stations and hundreds of television stations. His appearance on Oprah caused an unprecedented drop in the cattle futures market.
Mr. Lyman's message is that continued reliance on a meat-based diet, in the face of the world's rising population and dwindling grain resources, spells disaster for both consumers and producers.
"A vegetarian lifestyle saved my life, and it can save the life of our planet." he asserts.
"It has just stopped me cold from eating another burger." - Oprah Winfrey, after Howard Lyman's appearance on her show.- Scott Williams, for Dr. Alex Hershaft. FARM Animal Reform Movement.