Vegetarian Defends Comments on Beef
A vegetarian activist said he was not trying to convince people to stop eating beef when he said on Oprah Winfrey’s talk show that an outbreak of mad cow disease “could make AIDS look like the common cold.” Howard Lyman, a former rancher and defendant with Winfrey in a lawsuit filed by Texas cattlemen, testified in Amarillo that he was simply expressing his opinion on the April 1996 show. “This is the United States of America. Don’t I have a right to express my opinion?” he asked. Mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, forced the slaughter of 1.5 million cattle in Britain and is blamed in the death of at least 20 people. The lawsuit charges that Winfrey’s show deliberately misled consumers into thinking beef was unsafe, which caused a drop in cattle futures prices.