“A brilliantly entertaining, solidly researched exploration of how cows shaped America—and Americans.  This hard look at the hidden costs of one of our favorite foods offers a compelling vision for how changing our relationship with cows can help us help ourselves.”

—David R. Montgomery, author of Dirt and The Rocks Don’t Lie: A Geologist Investigates Noah’s Flood


“In COWED, Denis Hayes and Gail Boyer Hayes beautifully map the destructive co-migration of Earth’s two great, conquering herds—homo sapiens and bos primigenius—and prescribe a distinctly different and uplifting way for us to co-exist. Our health and environment would benefit greatly, and so would the cows.”

—Ken Cook, President, Environmental Working Group


“Just as humans have reshaped cows, cows have reshaped us—unfortunately to our and the planet’s detriment. Rather than rely on top-down government involvement to come up with solutions, the authors offer commonsense actions we can all take now that will benefit people, cows, and our environment.”

—Lester R. Brown, author of Full Planet, Empty Plates


“Imagine an evening of conversation with the smartest, wittiest, most charming and interesting couple you know.  It’s a conversation about cows, but it ranges widely, from history to geology to public health.  You learn new facts, you appreciate new connections, you’re fascinated all evening, and you’re sorry when it comes to an end.  Cowed is that evening.  Read it.  It’s not just an important book; it’s a delight in every way.”

—Howard Frumkin, Dean, School of Public Health, University of Washington


“We’ve been cowed, stampeded, and stewed as Denis and Gail Hayes document. But the story doesn’t have to end there.  A terrific book, well researched and eloquently written, about better possibilities for the health of people, land, water, climate, and for cows too!”

—David Orr, author of Earth in Mind, professor of environmental studies and politics, Oberlin University


“More than a century after the publication of Sinclair’s The Jungle, it is appalling that cattle are sent to feed lots. Denis and Gail Hayes show that our current regulation of the meat packing industry is grossly inadequate and does not meet health standards the public expects. Ideally, the meatpacking oligopoly would be broken up by enforcement of our antitrust laws.”

—Theodore Roosevelt IV, Chair of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions


“Through rich, irrational subsidies for corn and cows, the American government promotes obesity and heart disease, erodes the nation’s best topsoil, drains aquifers, contaminates groundwater, proliferates antibiotic resistance, and impoverishes our public lands.  Along the way, our policies permit cows to be subjected to unspeakable cruelty and they concentrate enormous wealth in a handful of agribusinesses.  COWED describes how a small, idealistic cadre of farmers and ranchers — aided by a growing consumer rebellion — is beginning to show a better way.”

—Tim Wirth, Former Colorado Senator and President of the UN Foundation


“Who knew the most dangerous weapon in the world was a fork?  A must read for those trying to understand how to create a sustainable lifestyle and a sustainable world.”

—Dana Lyons, Singer/Songwriter of “Cows With Guns”


“People and cows have a long history together, but sustainability issues have put that relationship in serious trouble. COWED offers both a clear-eyed analysis of the problems and a practical vision for how we can solve them.”

—Michael Brune, Executive Director, Sierra Club


“Denis Hayes and Gail Boyer Hayes take a fresh look at cows and how cows touch us all in surprising ways. In this highly readable story, full of insights and wisdom, you learn how you can personally help reduce climate change—and improve your health—by eating less beef (and only grass-finished beef). Each chapter offers a new discovery; it’s a ride well worth taking.”

—Hedrick Smith, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of: Who Stole the American Dream?


“COWED is a must-read for anyone who cares about America’s food security and about using common sense to restore our natural heritage. People always want to know why they should be optimistic in the face of huge environmental and economic challenges: COWED will give you hope. Richly reported by two of the most respected voices in America’s conservation community, COWED introduces the reader to cutting edge agricultural practices and the unbreakable bond between people, land and food production.”

—David Yarnold, President of the National Audubon Society


“This masterly overview of today’s extraordinary cow system shows—vividly, lucidly, and sympathetically— how to turn its costs and risks into profits and benefits. Anyone who drinks milk or eats feedlot beef should read it, learn, and act.”

—Amory B. Lovins, Cofounder and Chief Scientist, Rocky Mountain Institute


“With curiosity, humor and deep intelligence, Denis and Gail share their journey of exploration of a bovine kind. By the end we know what we need to do to live healthier and more earth-friendly lives: eat way less beef, eat only grass-finished beef, and respect cows for the amazing animals that they are.”

—Sandra Postel, Freshwater Fellow, National Geographic Society


“I looked at COWED wondering what the Hayes couple will say that has not already been said. What a pleasant surprise. It became a page-turner for me and answered my question: ‘Lots!’”

—Wes Jackson, President, The Land Institute


“Even committed carnivores concede that the Earth could not sustain 7 billion people eating the meat-heavy, dairy-rich American diet.  COWED tells how these animals became key parts of our diet, landscape, economy, and culture.  With wry humor, compelling analysis, and occasional indignation, the authors follow the cow through history and through the economy, ultimately proposing solutions to dramatically reduce the damage cows do to land, water, and climate, without having to pull the steak off the grill or the cheddar out of the refrigerator.”

—Jonathan Lash, President, Hampshire College


“COWED is an authoritative, gripping, highly-readable treatment of one of the most complex and troubling issues relating to our human relationship to the non-human living world.  Every page includes fascinating and essential information. Entertaining, alarming, instructive, profoundly important, and ultimately hopeful.”

—David Korten, board chair YES! Magazine. Author Change the Story, Change the Future: A Living Economy for a Living Earth


“COWED provides a sweeping historical, cultural, and scientific perspective on cattle and human beings, showing how profoundly these animals affect our environment, our lives, and our very DNA. But Denis and Gail Hayes also show how prospects for solving those environmental problems may be at hand—among other things, if food consumers can make more informed choices. Despite its serious message, this book is written with endless charm—it is captivating, entertaining, and an absolute joy to read.”

—Don Stuart, author of Barnyards and Birkenstocks: Why Farmers and Environmentalists Need Each Other


“Comprehensive, compassionate, full of curiosity and good sense, remarkably readable and extraordinarily well-researched, COWED describes an unexpected solution to some urgent national problems.  COWED introduces us to a reformed, re-framed and ‘re-farmed’ 21st-century America with only half the number of cows we have now, a country where our own diet and health and the planet’s health will dramatically improve.  A most unusual book that will be thought about for a very long time.”

—Tony Hiss, author of “The Experience of Place” and “In Motion: The Experience of Travel”


“COWED is a fascinating tale of the relationship between humans and cows; entertaining and a great read, it provides vital insight into how we can all live a healthier, more humane and more sustainable life.”

—Philippe Cousteau, Chairman/CEO Voyacy Group, President of EarthEcho International