Animal Rights Rides The Obesity Bandwagon

For the benefit of those who recently emerged from hibernation, the politics of fat now looms large in our national debate. Everyone from public health do-gooders to environmentalists and the organic farming lobby have tried to advance their agendas by making tenuous connections to our so-called obesity epidemic. And animal rights advocates are no exception.

This week, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals filed a formal complaint with the Florida Department of Education whining about flavored milk in public school vending machines. “Dairy products are irrefutably linked to obesity,” the factually-challenged PETA-philes inveighed. Yeah, ’cause milk in schools is a bad thing.

Of course, PETA’s quasi-medical front group, the Physicians Committee for
Responsible Medicine
(PCRM), has used obesity as its bread and margarine to advance its animal rights crusade. Just this week PCRM issued a press release alleging wildly that “dairy products are especially dangerous for children.” PCRM declines to explain their position that mothers milk is healthy, but cow’s milk somehow makes kids fat. Earlier this year, PCRM president Neal Barnard proffered his ridiculous meat and dairy “addiction” theories to trial lawyers suing fast-food restaurants — as if Barnard were an obesity-warrior as well as an animal-rights kook.

Then there’s Farm Sanctuary, the group that was slapped with a $50,000 fine for violating election finance laws after its money-laundering scheme won constitutional rights for pigs in Florida. These particular lunatics recently claimed in an email to supporters that their “obesity letter” to editors was “published in 30 newspapers.” The same letter. Thirty times. With 30 different signatures.

In hijacking newspaper opinion pages to simulate grass-roots support, Farm Sanctuary is by no means unique. The technique was pioneered by the Farm Animal Reform Movement (FARM), which runs the annual “Great American Meatout” — another animal-rights event cloaked in supposed concern over obesity. FARM’s communications director, Laurelee Blanchard, operates the program from her home in Hawaii. She writes the letters herself and faxes them to hundreds of newspaper editors. And now she’s running Farm Sanctuary’s program as well.

To state the obvious, the animal rights zealots at PETA, PCRM, FARM and Farm Sanctuary labor on behalf of animals, not people. Human health is the farthest thing from their animal-centric minds. When the likes of PETA and FARM publicly fret about obesity, for some strange reason they never mention fat-rich avocados, or all-you-can-eat pasta binges, or a simple thing called exercise.

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