Dairy Industry Attempts to Discredit Popular Documentary What the Health

It has come to light recently that the Dairy Herd Management magazine, a publication focusing on news from the dairy industry, are having a bit of a cry over some spilt truths.

By now, most people are aware of the documentary What the Health that became available on Netflix last month. The documentary uncovers links between medical associations and animal agriculture in the USA. But Hannah Thompson-Weeman, Communications Director at the Animal Agriculture Alliance, thinks she’s discovered that the claims in the documentary are ‘outright ridiculous’.

Her article featured in Dairy Herd Management focuses on four points made in the documentary and Thompson-Wieman provides sources counteracting the claims made in the documentary.

Thompson-Weeman’s article isn’t the first we’re hearing about the animal agricultural sectors no being too happy with the documentary. Earlier this week What the Health’s ratings were dropping supposedly thanks to ‘aggressive animal agricultural groups.

It’s unsurprising that a woman whose job only exists thanks to animal agriculture is displeased with such a film. The company she works for even have a ‘Meat Matters’ campaign page on their site, which tells readers all about the reductions in environmental harm caused by animal agriculture, and lists ways in which meat can be good for you. They invite ‘proud omnivores’ to take a pledge telling all their friends why ‘meat matters’ and even have a section attacking the Meatless Monday campaign. They claim that Meatless Monday ‘pushes an unbalanced animal rights and environmental agenda by promoting false claims about animal agriculture.’

In her article Thompson-Weeman claims that it’s unsurprising that the doctors featured in What the Health, who are from the PCRM and are advocates for a vegan diet, would come to the conclusion that plant-based is better. Although this is a valid point, I wonder what she thinks it’s proves? What possible gain could trained medical professionals have from moving away from standard accepted viewpoints on nutrition to something new unless they genuinely believed there was scientific evidence to back it up?

At no point does she attempt to disprove the claim made in the documentary that the animal agriculture industry is ‘colluding’ with health groups, which provides a much more direct link between pushing false information and personal gain.

Taking a look at some of the sources she chose to cite, her argument against PCRM becomes even more hypocritical. She leads readers to an article published by Harvard Medical School claiming that eggs can be part of a healthy diet. Aside from the fact that the article suggests that you limit your egg intake, it certainly is pro egg consumption. However, If you take a closer look into Harvard Medical School, you will see that they have received a huge amount of funding from the American Heart Association. The documentary What the Health singles the American Heart Association out as one of the groups who rely heavily on contribution from companies who profit from animal agriculture. Conflict of interest much?

She goes on to attempt to debunk the fact that milk has pus in it by siting the blog of a dairy farmer. She also provides a link to an article about processed meats not causing cancer that was published several months before the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) declared that processed meat was in fact a carcinogen.

Of the four facts she chooses to disparage, the only one with a potentially credible source is the statistics on greenhouse gases which comes from the Environmental Protection Agency. However, it’s not fully clear on the webpage how they have calculated these statistics and Cowspiracy, a documentary made by the same team as What the Health, provide several different reports that counteract these claims.

Despite her best efforts, all Thomspon-Weeman has truly achieved in her article is proving that those who profit from the meat, egg and dairy industries will say just about anything to get you to believe that ‘meat matters.’