Last updated on: 8/25/2011 | Author: ProCon.org

Lierre Keith Biography

Title:
Author of The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability
Position:
Con to the question "Should People Become Vegetarian?"
Reasoning:

“[L]ongings – for compassion, for sustainability, for an equitable distribution of resources – are not served by the philosophy or practice of vegetarianism… The vegetarian Pied Pipers have the best of intentions. I’ll state right now what I’ll be repeating later: everything they say about factory farming is true. It is cruel, wasteful, and destructive…

Certainly, most people who consume factory farmed meat have never asked what died and how it died. But frankly, neither have most vegetarians.

The truth is that agriculture is the most destructive thing humans have done to the planet, and more of the same won’t save us. The truth is that agriculture requires the wholesale destruction of entire ecosystems. The truth is also that life isn’t possible without death, that no matter what you eat, someone has to die to feed you.

When the rainforest falls to beef, progressives are outraged, aware, ready to boycott. But our attachment to the vegetarian myth leaves us uneasy, silent, and ultimately immobilized when the culprit is wheat and the victim is the prairie…

The vast majority of people in the US don’t grow food, let alone hunt and gather it. We have no way to judge how much death is embodied in a serving of salad, a bowl of fruit, a plate of beef…

A vegetarian diet – especially a low-fat version, and most especially a vegan one – is not sufficient nutrition for long-term maintenance and repair of the human body. To put it bluntly, it will damage you. I know. Two years into my veganhood, my health failed, and it failed catastrophically.”

The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability, 2009

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Author of The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability
  • Member, National Feminist Antipornography Movement, 2006-present
  • Founding Member of RadLesFes (the Radical-Feminist Lesbian Festival), 1994-present
  • Founding Editor, Rain and Thunder: A Radical Feminist Journal of Discussion and Activism, 1998-2002
  • Founding Member, Feminists Against Pornography, 1986-1994
  • Founding Member, Minor Disturbance (protest group against militarism from a feminist perspective), 1984-1986
  • Active Member, WAVAW (Women Against Violence Against Women), 1982-1984
  • Volunteer, Cambridge Women’s Center, 1982-1983
  • Founding Editor, Vanessa and Iris: A Journal for Young Feminists, 1982-1985
Education:
  • Attended Brookline High School in Massachusetts
Other:
  • Was assaulted with a cayenne pepper-laced pie in the face by masked vegans at the San Francisco Anarchist Book Fair, Mar. 2010
Quoted in:
Pro & Con Quotes: Should People Become Vegetarian?