Nicolette Hahn Niman is a rancher, attorney and writer. Much of her time is spent speaking and writing about the problems resulting from industrialized livestock production. She’s the author of the books Righteous Porkchop and Defending Beef. Nicolette has written for numerous publications including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post and The Atlantic Online. She lives on a ranch with her husband and sons.
Nicolette began her career as an environmental lawyer working with Bobby Kennedy Jr. Initially, in 2000, she worked as the senior lawyer for the Waterkeeper Alliance, but later transitioned to working full time on issues related to livestock production.
During this time, Nicolette had been a vegetarian for over 10 years. At first, she believed that meat production was the problem, but after visiting farms and ranches across the country, she began to realize that the issue was much more complicated. She came to realize that the real problem wasn’t meat production, but rather the factory farm industrial system.
In the media, there’s a perception that to save the planet, feed the world, and live healthier lives, we must avoid eating meat. The meat industry has been blamed for so many problems including the climate issue. But she says this “radically oversimplifies it.”
Nicolette has been working on this issue for over 20 years, starting as an environmental lawyer and now as a rancher with her husband Bill Niman. She recognizes that everything depends on “how” you are doing something. As she says: “It’s not the cow, it’s the how.”
Fascinatingly, when cattle are raised well, they are not just environmentally neutral, they are actually environmentally beneficial for the planet. Nicolette reminds us that we need animals to have a regenerative food system.
In the end, she says that she’s learned that the path isn’t always straight, but rather it has twists and turns. Her words of wisdom: follow the path where it leads you & don’t be set in a particular pathway.
You can also learn about Niman Ranch here: https://www.nimanranch.com/