Read on for today’s installment of news on the animal-rights, organic-food, and anti-capitalist activists who are trying to spin a minor agricultural incident into a major, nationwide fear of food.

Some organic and vegetarian food marketers are trying to turn the mad cow situation to their commercial advantage. One claims that “natural meat” is safer to eat; another insists that “a meatless diet is the most effective way to prevent … Mad Cow disease”; a third says that “organic beef is the safer option for families concerned about mad cow disease.” To which we say: Nonsense. Poppycock. Propaganda. Here’s a news flash for these profiteers: During its mad cow crisis, Great Britain identified at least 215 cases of mad cow disease on thirty-six different organic farms. And Germany’s first case of the disease was discovered in a slaughterhouse where organic cattle were being processed.

Organic Consumers Association president and mad cow scaremonger Ronnie Cummins carped to the Canadian Press that the U.S. government “listens to the special interests and not the consumer.” This, of course, is the same Ronnie Cummins who told a Washington, DC crowd a few years ago that U.S. consumers “aren’t smart enough to know what they want.”

A Canadian columnist noted: “Green-funded pseudo-experts speculate, without evidence, that some instances of Alzheimer’s disease might be CJD in disguise. Ghouls from the journalist’s eco-Rolodex suggest groundlessly that ‘organic farming’ protects against CJD.” Meanwhile,
David Ropeik
, the Director of Risk Communication at the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, penned a Washington Post op-ed, fretting that journalists are giving too much play to activist-driven fears. He wrote: “The coverage of mad cow disease is demonstrating the tendency for reporters and editors to play up the dramatic, the frightening and the controversial aspects of risk stories, and to play down or omit altogether information that puts the risk in perspective.”

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) will apparently become the new owner of the Internet domain www.beef.com on Friday. USA Today reports that PETA will use it to “offer vegetarian news.” PETA and its quasi-medical front group, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, both continue to hype mad cow fears to (mis)lead the public into animal-rights zealotry.

Animal rights activists are also beginning to monopolize the “Letters to the Editor” pages of several major daily newspapers. Yesterday’s Washington Times featured anti-meat letters from PETA organizer Kristie Phelps and animal-rights activist Michael Greger. Phelps recklessly claimed that we should “stop eating all animal products” to protect ourselves from mad cow. And this morning the Baltimore Sun printed an equally irresponsible letter from Compassion Over Killing leader Paul Shapiro, which claimed that it is “unsafe to eat any meat.”