Lierre Keith Assaulted at San Francisco Book Fair

March 15, 2010 · 21 comments

vegmyth cover copy

I just received a very sad email from my friend, Jen, who has been emailing with Lierre Keith.  Here’s what Jen shared:

As you may remember, Lierre Keith is the author of "The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability ".

I recently sent a link to Lierre about a woman who had decided to end her vegan diet (unrelated to this email).  Here is her reply to me:

"I’ll take a look when I get a moment–thanks.

I spoke in San Francisco at the anarchist book fair yesterday and was assaulted by three men. They got cayenne pepper in my eyes. They were not apprehended. And now there is horrible horrible stuff about me posted everywhere on the internet by vegans.

I’m really traumatized. It really sucks to be assaulted, and then to have people wallowing in my suffering is just too much.

Lierre"

I replied to her, and here is further info within her reply to me:

"Thank you for your support! It means the world to me. Right now, the vegans are having a feast online over my pain and humiliation. Luckily, a lot of people have publicly posted in support of me.

I wrote up what happened on my Facebook page.

I don’t know if that link works, but my Facebook page is my name, Lierre Keith.

The really vile vegan stuff is here.

But there are a lot of people posting in support of me as well.

So, yes, feel free to spread it far and wide. Thank you so much for your support–it really does help. One of the worst moments was hearing people cheer while I was being assaulted. I don’t want to live in a world where people cheer while someone is being publicly hurt and humiliated. So it’s good to know that there are still real human beings in the world, not just sociopaths and sadists.

Warmly, Lierre"

Thank you, Jen, for passing this along.

Jimmy Moore wrote a great post about this – read an excerpt:

It’s one thing to disagree and have a healthy debate of ideas about diet and nutrition and their relationship to a healthy lifestyle. But acting criminally and causing harm to another human being in the process is just about as disgusting as it comes.

One thing I want to be clear about is that I know all vegans are not like this and I’m sure (and I hope) that most of you are just as horrified as I am at what happened to Lierre KeithLet’s all jump onto Lierre Keith’s Facebook page to show her our support and thank her for fighting the fight for Real Food!

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    { 21 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 Diana@Spain in Iowa March 15, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    Kelly, I’m so saddened to hear that this could have happened. Like you, I think the people who decided to do this did worse for the name of vegetarian and vegan than good. They aren’t all like that just some hurting people in this world that need Jesus. Praise God we have Him… and Praise God I eat meat :D Making some delicious beef stock and salting bone marrow for pate. YUMM!!

    Diana

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    2 Jeanmarie March 15, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    I just wrote to Lierre on her Facebook page expressing my support. I also went to the page with the vile comments and I commented there. Thanks for bringing this to our attention, I hadn’t heard.

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    3 Hallee March 15, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    She’s set her facebook page to private by this point, so I couldn’t write to her.

    That’s just horrible.

    Hallee

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    4 KitchenKop March 15, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    Hallee,
    I think you just have to do a friend request.
    Kel

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    5 dingleberry March 15, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    you want a factual rebuttal of the myths in the veg myth?

    welp, here you go: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/03/15/18641159.php

    this is for everyone dazzled blind by Lierre’s numbers without being able to read between the lines

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    6 Jeanmarie March 15, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    I wrote to Lierre with an address I found at Jimmy Moore’s post, above, and she replied. I think the messages of support mean a lot to her.

    Dingleberry, I’ll follow up on your reference. I loved Lierre’s book, but very little of the actual content was new to me. I’ve read many (though not all) of the same sources, had come to many of the same conclusions — I’m also a recovering former vegetarian — and I for one am not blindly following anybody. Have you actually read her book? I’m sure she probably got little facts off a bit here and there, most writers do, but the main points are correct. (Someone on Amazon.com said the forest coverage acreage data for Indiana was off, so I hope she corrects that and other errors in the next edition.)

    You don’t have to like it, but her arguments are valid. I don’t necessarily agree with all of her politics and feminism, but she cites eye-opening evidence that is certainly thought-provoking, so that her arguments cannot simply be dismissed by a thoughtful person without considering seriously the issues she raises. Most committed vegans will dismiss her out of hand, but those who have nagging doubts about the viability of their path will find much food for thought and much comfort and solidarity from Lierre. Anyone with the courage to follow the truth, no matter where it leads, will find much worth facing up to in this marvelous book.

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    7 Alex March 15, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    I am also saddened, but sadly this is NOTHING new to me…having lived a very short while in the raw vegan sect and i say sect because it is quite like a cult–i realized that food was never the issue–its about making a stand for their position and never deviating from it–EVEN if that means harm comes to them through their eating choices…its extremely sad to see fundamentalism in food. You can choose your way–to be caring to animals and cause no harm with one breath and then hurt another human with another? Its all or nothing on the karmic wheel baby…humans have just as much right to fair treatment as the animals you choose not to eat…Facts are facts–there are NO long lived vegan traditional cultures–period…Robbins did the study–he tried to show a limited amount of animal products–but truth be told–they ALL eat animals and dairy…there is also no way to get B12 without animal products–and trust me, i know people who have completely shot their brains trying to figure this out…its not something you can recover from…

    fanatacism in food is really really dangerous–and i am sorry someone had to be hurt for speaking their beliefs…and that someone who would protect a bunny to the death would cheer at the pain of another human is really twisted…

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    8 Heather M March 16, 2010 at 4:35 am

    Kelly, I do not know who this Lierre is or her book, so I can not comment there either way, but I do know that these guys were very wrong in what they did. The name of the book store (Anarchist) gives the mentality of the people that go there. Quite a shame, hopefully she is doing well. And if she is a christian she needs to pray for “a hedge of protection around her” when she does the book engagements and for that matter at all times since she is dealing with some real nasty people. I have seen the protection from angel’s and that is an awesome prayer to pray!!!! Society has forgotten the word of God. He has given us dominion over all the animals of the earth and sea and he does expect us to be good stewards over them and we are not supposed to be treating them like these factory farms. Thank you for your diligence and my prayers go out to Liere.

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    9 Karen Ferguson March 16, 2010 at 8:07 am

    Thank, Kellly, for including us in this loop. I’m disgusted.
    These actions are back-firing already. Most people who posted on that link that Lierre posted are appalled. They have a nourished brain, obviously.

    This violent action fits what I’ve suspected for some time: this group fits the dark side of the definition of “cult.” I know of 2 religious “cults” that would be appalled and mortified by such illegal, assaultive action.

    Just goes to show the mind-set of these 3 thugs and those that are thinking it was the right action. Their thinking is skewed and I’m not going to jump into offer the excuse of a “twinkie-like defense.” There is no excuse. They broke the law and I hope they are foolish enough to talk about it on-line so they can be arrested and held accountable for their actions.

    Nothing makes me angrier than entitlement to take the law into one’s own hands, breaking it and then assuming one is above the consequences. I don’t care if one believes the law is good or bad: it’s the law. An aspect of being an adult is going along with “what is” and respecting it, agreeing or disagreeing is a moot point.

    She and Sally Fallon are swimming upstream: bravo to them!!! My hat is off to their courage.

    To the thugs: what pansies you must be to hide behind pepper spray.
    Everytime you brush your teeth, start your car, and look in the mirror, you’re going to see a COWAREDLY THUG. LIve with that until you publically apologize and mean it.

    Ever hear of free speech?? I thought not.
    Most Sincerely,
    Karen

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    10 Ann March 16, 2010 at 8:43 am

    For everyone, on all sides of the omnivore, vegan and vegetarian issue, the most important issues are the same. “Factory” farms stripping the land, chemicals and GMO grains poisoning the food supply, human beings denigrating and manipulating God’s animals to achieve unnatural levels of growth and milk production, fighting for truth in labeling and the freedom to buy unadulterated dairy…these are critical issues to all regardless of what parts of the food chain you determine are best consumed by you and your loved ones. The interests promoting these insane and completely unsustainable practices have completely taken over our food supply. In order to regain the advantage, everyone must raise their voices against these horrifying practices. I am so sorry for what happened to Lierre, there is no excuse for this terrifying and criminal behavior. However, this was the action of a handful of people in a politically loaded environment. I do not think that this very sad event should cause anyone to judge the small group of people who choose to follow a vegan lifestyle. Those of us who are passionate about changing the current food culture in this country must be united against the biggest evils in order to have any hope of making a difference. Kelly, Thank you for all that you do to create a community around positive, hopeful action in our world. Best, Ann

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    11 Bekki March 16, 2010 at 8:45 am

    Well, I’ve certainly got a long reading list this morning! I’ve asked Lierre to add me as a friend on Facebook, and I’m hoping to read through the other links that have been presented here. I’m just appalled that anyone would do that. And they’re angry that she calls vegans “child-like.” Hullo?! What do they think they acted like? Mature adults?

    Anyway… I’m not feeling nice or composed enough to come up with anything constructive (which is why I’m making the adult decision to be quiet,) so I’ll leave it at extending my support to Lierre.

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    12 Terry March 16, 2010 at 10:32 am

    I personally feel that this was done by anarchists in support of factory farms. There is a lot of blame possibly going to the wrong factions. Take a moment to think about when the pie was thrown ( at the beginning of her condemnation of factory farming). Very well timed.

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    13 Jeanmarie March 16, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    That seems doubtful to me, but who knows? The factory farm owners have probably never heard of Lierre Keith or her book, and she’s hardly the first person the would pick off if they were going after their critics. On the other hand, Lierre is definitely known to the vegan community and there has been widespread condemnation of her. And as many here have pointed out, probably the vast majority of vegans and vegetarians don’t support violence against people they disagree with.

    As Ann pointed out, the common ground we can all agree on is the need to move away from the factory farming system. As we learned from the chicken farmer in Food Inc. who spoke out against Perdue (and was dropped by them), the farmers are caught in a rat race and I bet many of them would love to find their way out, to a Polyface Farm-type of situation.

    We just got goats here on our little farm here in Mendocino County, CA. They’re not intended for meat, and they’re wethers (neutered males) so they’re not for milk or reproduction. Though they are cute as can be and follow us around like puppies, they have a job: eating back the brush (we have invasive blackberry bramble and Scotch broom that can take over the landscape remarkably quickly) and returning fertility to the soil. They also trample down dried brush and help turn it into compost. So even vegans could support the presence of these animals on the land. I’d challenge any vegan to come and look over our situation and tell me the goats don’t belong here.

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    14 rose March 16, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    I am so sorry for Lierre. I am a meat eater and think this is so wrong. Why hurt another person because you have a difference of opinion? With the price of meat, I may become a vegan but that may be far in the future. God gave us all kinds of food. To each his own.

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    15 Kate March 16, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    Really? So vegans want to say that they’re for animal rights, and that people who eat meat are full of anger and rage and are horrible people. Yet they assault someone and CHEER about it? What is wrong with these people?!

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    16 Motherhen68 March 16, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    In the words of Rodney King, “can’t we all just get along?” Why does it have to be all or nothing with vegans? I personally don’t care if they want to eat soy and veggies all the time, why should they care if I eat meat?

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    17 Karen@Cook4Seasons March 16, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    Kelly,
    Thank you for bringing this to our attention. It is a disgrace and I am ashamed of my fellow human?kind. Ironically, I am right in the middle of Lierre’s provocative book, and regardless of my opinion, I wholeheartedly support her right to express herself. There is so much anger in some people’s ‘agendas’ and I’m just sorry this became so deeply personal. I have sent her a personal message on Facebook and will continue to watch for more opportunities like this.

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    18 Lp March 19, 2010 at 9:09 am

    I used to be very active in the animal rights movement until I realized that there was a very strong lack of respect for human animals at the very core of it’s most important members. I am NOT implying that all animal rightists care more about people at all, because that’s simply not true. However, there are very deep and strong ties to misogynist, homophobic and POC hatred there at the core of the leaders. It’s what ultimately drove me away. This assault fails to surprise me, particularly if she is a feminist as a previous commenter has stated.

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    19 Lp March 19, 2010 at 9:18 am

    Important edit! Sorry…

    Should read: “I am NOT implying that all animal rightists care more about ANIMALS THAN people at all, because that

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    20 Jeanmarie March 19, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    I hear you, Lp. We should avoid generalizing about animal activists as with every other group. No two people have exactly the same motivations. I am a former vegetarian myself, and nothing upsets me like cruelty to animals (unless it’s cruelty to children, the elderly, prisoners, subordinates (employees), and defenseless people in general). I do understand and respect and share the outrage at primates kept in cages all their life for research, sows kept in enclosures so small they can’t turn around, bunnies forced to test cosmetics (cosmetics! It’s not like it’s even cancer research), chickens and turkeys tortured by Frank Perdue and Tyson Foods, puppy mills, pit bulls kept for fighting, cows in the concentration camps that are the CAFO feedlot/slaughterhouse system, etc etc. It just seems to me that we as a species, the ones on the top of the heap who control everything, could use our clever brains and opposable thumbs to devise better ways of caring for the animals that share the earth. (Of course I haven’t even gotten started on wildlife, which is fast losing habitat in every region of the world. On the Mendocino Coast of California, where I live, we have magnificent whales driven crazy and beaching themselves because of Navy submarine sonar tests in our waters, which happen to be on the whales’ migration routes.) So while I understand the abhorrence of these practices that could erupt into anger, I do not condone that anger turned violently against humans.

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    21 Andy Carloff April 4, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    “It

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