Howard F. Lyman (born September 17, 1938, in Great Falls, Montana) is an American farmer and animal rights activist known for promoting vegan nutrition and organic farming. In 1997 he was awarded the Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience Award for his leadership in the animal rights movement.
Lyman was raised as a fourth generation rancher on a farm that produced dairy and meat commodities. He attended Montana State University and graduated with a B.S. degree in general agriculture in 1961. Upon graduation, he spent two years in the United States Army before returning to work on the farm.
From 1963 to 1983 he was actively engaged in animal and grain production. The areas in which he was involved were dairy, pork, registered Hereford, chicken, range cattle, feedlot beef production, veal, grain, silage, and hay production.
In 1979 Lyman was diagnosed with a tumor in his spine. Faced with the prospect of paralysis, he vowed to return to non-chemical means of farming if he beat the cancer. He survived an operation to remove the tumor and set out to transform his land into an organic farm. He also ran for political office, but lost his first election. He then became a lobbyist, and moved to Washington, D.C.
Circa 1990, again facing health concerns, he became a vegetarian and found his health improved. In 1989 Lyman had begun to investigate Mad Cow disease, which was just becoming an issue in the UK. He eventually became a vegan.
In April 1996 Lyman came to national attention during an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Lyman's remarks on the show led to Winfrey renouncing hamburgers. The National Cattlemen's Beef Association sued Lyman and Winfrey. Both were found not guilty in 1998.
He has co-authored the book Mad Cowboy (1998) and co-authored No More Bull (2005) and became president of EarthSave. Leaving that post, he became president of "Voice for a Viable Future".
Lyman wrote the Foreword to Erik Marcus's book Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating (1998), and the 1st vegan pizza cookbook: Mark Sutton's Heart Healthy Pizza
He has produced four DVDs (A Mad Cowboy Lecture, Earth Talk: 2001, Mad Cowboy: The Documentary, and A Mad Cowboy Lecture: 2007).
Lyman was awarded the Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience Award in Sherborn, Massachusetts in 1997 for his leadership in the animal rights movement. His story was featured in Tribe of Heart's 2009 documentary Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home. He was also featured on the 2011 documentary Vegucated.
Honors and awards
- 1996: Elected President of the International Vegetarian Union (served through 1999)
- 1997: Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience Award in Sherborn, MA on April 12, 1997
- 2002: Vegetarian Hall of Fame, August 3, 2002, at the North American Vegetarian Society's annual Vegetarian Summerfest in Johnstown, Pennsylvania