Sacred Cow – Why Well-Raised Meat is Good for You and Good for the Planet

Some of you may remember that I linked to Tom Woods’s interview with Robb Wolf a few months back. Wolf was on the show to discuss his new book Sacred Cow: The Case for (Better) Meat. It was such an interesting interview that I bought the book a couple of days later. Sacred Cow has finally got to the top of my reading list.

I thought it might be fun if I wrote a running chapter commentary on Fridays until I’ve finished the thing. I got the idea from the always interesting Bionic Mosquito. Here we go.


“Why we’re doing this” sums up the introduction. The authors discuss their backgrounds. Ford is pretty big in the paleo community and Rodgers is a dietician, recipe author and organic farmer. Their mutual interests got them talking, and they decided to explore Optimal Human Food and Regenerative Agriculture. Keeping in mind the title, they are going to make the case for meat to solve both of these problems.

The authors spell out how they’re going to make their case for better meat. Before they do this, Wolf tells an interesting story about being asked to participate in a PBS debate with John Mackey (Whole Foods) and John McDougall (vegan doctor). Wolf rejected the proposed format of the debate, “a discussion on the relative merits of meat-inclusive diet versus a vegan diet” because “Discussions like this tend to involve a lot of moving the goalposts: They typically start with the health topics…and as the many problems with a vegan diet become obvious, the discussion inevitably shifts to the environment. Once the significant doubt emerges about the plausibility of a food system absent animals, the discussion then shifts to ethics. Once the least-harm principle and basic understanding of food production systems is established, the topic inevitably shifts to feeding the world.

Instead, Wolf insisted that “both sides should make their respective cases on each of these topics and then be “cross-examined” by their debate counterparts. He would not participate in a format where the counterparts could hop from topic to topic; obscuring the topic at hand. The PBS representative thought this was a good idea and would make for a much more robust discussion. For reasons known only to them, Mackey and McDougall pulled out of the discussion once these rule of engagement were in place.”

[As an aside, this seems to be the modus operandi of those on the left. They are almost never prepared to have a real, honest discussion or debate where their ideas will be scrutinised. Are they cowards? Do they know truth is not on their side? Probably both.]

The authors tell Wolf’s story in order to explain the format for the book “Sacred Cow will follow the same format Robb [Wolf] suggested for the PBS debate because a book about why we need “better meat” in our food system must address the three main criticisms against meat: nutritional, environmental, and ethical.”


The book’s style, based on the introduction, is for the intelligent layman. It’s devoid of scientific jargon or highfalutin words. Wolf and Rodgers want to make their case to as many people as possible. I also appreciate that they are laying down the gauntlet to “anti-meaters” by telling the reader they will address the main criticisms against meat. We’ll have to see if they provide a fair appraisal of the vegan arguments in later chapters. I’m looking forward to reading about this intellectual battle. Till next week.

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