EarthSave International, a pet project of Baskin-Robbins ice cream heir turned diet book author John Robbins, is experiencing a changing of the guard. It’s out with the old — president Howard Lyman has announced his retirement — and in with the new, as Jeffrey Armour Nelson takes command.

Lyman, a former cattle rancher, has used his position at EarthSave to promote vegetarian-only diets — and his book, Mad Cowboy. While he proclaims himself a born-again vegetarian, Lyman seems more interested in sales than salvation: his web site calls on visitors to “Make Howard Lyman’s book a bestseller!” A lobbyist for organic-only “farmers groups,” Lyman is best known for an 1996 Oprah appearance, where he launched an anti-beef scare by saying “mad cow” disease would make AIDS “look like the common cold.”

Will EarthSave become more reasonable under Nelson? Probably not. One EarthSave board member claims that a vegan diet can reverse prostate cancer, while another says fasting can “cure” high blood pressure. A third argues that only totally raw foods are good for you — and says the heat used in cooking food contributes to global warming.

Want to learn more about EarthSave and similar groups? As we told you last week, we will soon unveil a massive and detailed online database that has all the information about the names and faces in the anti-consumer choice movement — and the sources of the money that keeps them in business. Keep checking Daily Headlines for details.