Why the "Center for Consumer Freedom" Can't Stand Vegetarians                              

While surfing for consumer advocacy groups on the internet, I came across the Center for Consumer Freedom’s website.

At first, this seemed like a legitimate consumer advocacy website, but it only took a few minutes for me to pick up on a hard bodied vendetta against Peta and the mainstream animal rights movement. I actually don’t have any problem with that, since I’m no fan of Peta’s tactics and practices, and am particularly critical of Peta’s leader Ingrid Newkirk.

However, CCF’s dislike of Peta seems to have mutated into a dislike for all vegetarians and vegans and anything having to do with them. This bias is not as overt and over the top as say, Bible Life Ministries’ anti-vegetarian tirade, or other sites, but is instead sprinkled sparingly throughout the CCF site in small, easy to overlook portions.

For example, on one section of the CCF’s website, a selection of mock pro-vegetarian shirts are offered in the sizes “small, scrawny and Vitamin B-12 deficient”. A search through the cartoons page will turn up a comic featuring obnoxious vegetarians dining in a restaurant. Op-eds found on the site on the site may include typical depictions of tofu as a “gross vegetarian specialty” and dramatically bemoan the prospect of a vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner as a “threat to our way of life.”

I ignored this bias, as I just reasoned that the CCF had innocently taken their dislike for Peta too far, and considered the site mostly useful and credible.

Finally, in July 2007, a new CCF feature took the anti-vegetarian prejudice to a new low and I had finally had enough.

So, I decided to send an email to the Center for Consumer Freedom asking what the deal is.


Dear Center for Consumer Freedom,

As an advocate of personal responsibility and free choice, I am bothered by the increasingly sensationalistic studies which are are gradually linking nearly every imaginable food and activity to some form or another of serious illness, and as such was guided by a web search to the Center for Consumer Freedom’s website.

I’m becoming increasingly concerned by the nature of certain aspects of of the CCF website, which in specific cases feature content seemingly formulated to ostracize and ridicule those who practice or promote vegetarian and vegan lifestyles and the ideals the represent.

Animal rights zealots who use violent, gestapo-like tactics won’t win any reasonable person’s respect. However, intentionally or not, some of the quotes, editorials, and articles that appear on the Center for Consumer Freedom’s websites fail to attempt any distinction between this minority of violent fascist bandits, and the millions of vegetarians and vegans across the globe who seek only to promote amity and compassion by eschewing meat, dairy, and other animal-derived products.

A recent example that compelled me to write this letter is the “Quote of the Week” first posted on July 12th 2007 concerning foie gras protesters.

While inappropriate and disruptive “assaults” on restaurants and their customers staged by extremist organizations are not the proper way to voice a message or bring about constructive change, the behavior of these individuals do not represent the majority of people who object to foie gras.

The July 12th Quote of the Week and the context in which CCF presented it, seem to deliberately overlook this fact, leaving readers who don’t know any better with an untrue image of those who disapprove of foie gras on ethical grounds as radical, hubristic backers of violent crime.

Even more questionable in the specific case of the July 12th Quote of the Week is CCF’s decision to, in the fifth line of the piece, make the words “strict vegans” an external link to Nina Planck’s sensationalistic May 21st 2007 New York Times Op-Ed piece entitled “Death by Veganism”, which falsely characterizes vegan childrearing as irresponsible and dangerous, spitting in the face of current studies conducted by credible organizations such as the American Dietary Association which state that proper vegetarian and vegan diets are suitable for all stages of life, including pregnancy and early childhood.

In addition, the uncited “facts” presented in Planck’s Op-Ed have been called inaccurate, slanderous, and prejudiced by experts including doctors, pediatricians, and childhood dietitians who themselves are not vegetarians or vegans and have no affiliation with any animal rights organization.

The manner in which Planck’s Op-Ed was referenced from CCF’s website appears to serve no purpose other than to suggest to CCF’s readers that the abusive, neglectful actions of Crown Shakur’s parents are an example of typical vegan behavior, which is a lie.

The prosecutor of the Shakur case stressed that Crown did not die because he or his parents were vegan, but because he was starved to death, and the jury’s guilty verdict was formulated according to this fact.

The CCF presents consumer freedom as the right for adults to make choices for themselves without fear of harassment or persecution.

Breeding ignorance amongst the public about vegetarians and vegans by featuring anti-vegetarian cartoons, web links, and editorials on your website does not seem compatible with this mindset.

Characterizing vegetarians and vegans as malnourished, violent, social deviants is just as unfair as when animal rights extremists threaten and harass non-vegetarians.

People shouldn’t fear harassment from friends, family and co-workers about their beliefs, lifestyles, and parenting methods, whether or not they choose to eat meat.

The Center for Consumer Freedom’s message states that “Consumer freedom is the right of adults and parents to make your own choices about what to do with your money, what to eat, what to drink, and how to enjoy yourself.”

Why should an organization intended to protect consumer freedom stand up for the rights of certain consumers but promote irrational prejudice for others?

Others who have emailed the Center for Consumer Freedom in regards to their anti-vegetarian bias got canned responses to the effect of “Of course we don’t hate vegetarians! We believe in consumer freedom!”, but they chose to completely ignore my letter, leaving me to find the answer for my own question.

So, why does an organization intended to protect consumer freedom stand up for the rights of certain consumers but promote irrational prejudice for others?

Well, it turns out that the Center for Consumer Freedom is not a consumer advocacy group at all, but a front set up by lobbyist Richard Berman to discredit any organization or train of thought which may detract from the profits of his clients, which include major players in the meat, dairy, and fast food industries.

The Center for Consumer Freedom is not fighting for your right to make your own decisions, but instead wants to shepherd you into purchasing the products of it’s clients and brainwash you into rejecting anyone who chooses not to.

Sources exposing Richard Berman and the Center for Consumer Freedom






Real consumer advocacy groups

Consumer Action

Health Freedom Foundation

Citizens for Health

International Advocates for Health Freedom

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