With guests Kathy Freston and Michael Pollan, Oprah dedicated her full show yesterday to veganism and meat production. She and her staffers went vegan for a week, some of them have decided to continue the diet (or go "veganish") even after the challenge was over, Veganist author Freston took people shopping for vegan groceries and showed up in their homes to offer cooking advice, and Lisa Ling visited a slaughterhouse to see where meat really comes from.
While the slaughterhouse scene didn't show cows actually being killed, it did show some graphic footage of what happens to them immediately afterward—and the most important point made in the show was that if you can't watch the video and face up to where meat comes from, you shouldn't be eating it. The slaughterhouse featured was designed by Temple Grandin, who is famous for improving the treatment of animals when they are killed. However, Grandin has only worked with a small percentage of slaughterhouses around the country—and as Freston pointed out on the show, Grandin doesn't work at all with birds. So the nearly nine billion chickens and turkeys slaughtered every year are killed using painful, cruel methods, rather than humanely. (Whether 'humane slaughter' can exist at all or not is another conversation.)
At the end of the show, Oprah asked staff who participated in the "radical experiment" what they thought, and a surprising number said they felt better and healthier and would either continue to be vegan, or "lean" in that direction. One man lost 11 pounds in the week, and said he felt better after just the third day—and he didn't miss the "food comas."
Ready to make the switch? Kathy Stevens of Catskill Animal Sanctuary has some helpful and encouraging vegan tips for Oprah viewers—and anyone else.