Vegan (Mis)information From HSUS

Meat-eaters would be forgiven for thinking People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is the biggest, baddest group of animal rights radicals on the block. But with vegan-diet proponent Wayne Pacelle at the helm, the comparatively gargantuan Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is poised to make a push for strict vegetarianism as the centerpiece of its $95 million annual budget. And if the group’s new “Guide to Vegetarian Eating” is any indication, HSUS’s anti-meat game plan will include the subtle use of misinformation.

The HSUS “Guide” isn’t just an anti-sirloin starter kit. Its menus and glossary include directions for abandoning milk, cheese, eggs, butter, and fish as well — making this a vegetarian guide in name only. In truth, it’s a guide to vegan eating and an indication that HSUS may be trying to blur the distinction between the two.

HSUS’s guide includes an apparently intentional misstatement about the nutritional content of chicken. “Even when the chicken’s skin is removed, the dark meat is thrown away, and a nonfat cooking method is used,” HSUS writes, “chicken is still 23 percent fat.” [see page 9]

How did they get this so wrong? Well, the animal-rights-affiliated Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) has been using nearly the same language since at least 2000, insisting: “Even when the skin is removed, dark meat is thrown away, and a non-fat cooking method is used, chicken is still 23 percent fat. ” In 2001 we stopped “″>PCRM president Neal Barnard during a Maryland book-signing appearance and got him to concede that what PCRM meant to say was that chicken got 23 percent of its calories from fat.

That’s a big difference, and one that HSUS may want to correct. As the helpful NutritionData website points out, a 140-gram serving of roasted, white meat chicken has only 5 grams of fat. That’s less than four percent. And the leanest chicken gets 20 percent of its calories from fat, not 23.

If this makes chicken seem like a fat-dense food, consider that avocados get a whopping 77 percent of their calories from fat and raw soybeans have a calories-from-fat ratio of 39 percent. So chicken is no more fat-heavy than vegan-friendly tofu or guacamole. Interested in an HSUS-approved food with approximately the same fat/calorie numbers as chicken’s purported 23 percent? We found one that’s perfect for these food purists: wheat germ.

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