We’ve recently told you about an animal-rights group called VIVA (Vegetarians International Voice for Animals) that has mounted a sort of jihad against dairy producers in the United States. Yesterday, the group took a serious hit in Great Britain, when that country’s Advertising Standards Authority ordered it to stop saying publicly that meat eaters were more likely to die from “killer diseases.” The government panel found that VIVA’s claims were “alarmist” and “unsubstantiated.”

Ridiculous health claims from animal rights zealots are nothing new, of course, and these activists are continuing to invent new ways to mislead consumers about the healthfulness of food derived from animals. For instance, the misnamed Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) went on the offensive this week against the popular Atkins diet program, solely because its high-protein emphasis typically leads to the consumption of meat. A new PCRM web site, set up exclusively to bash the Atkins plan, is also collecting names and addresses of people who could become lawsuit plaintiffs in the future. PCRM president Neal Barnard has written recently about the “serious legal risk” to doctors who prescribe the Atkins diet.

In the Chicago Tribune this week, Barnard called the Atkins diet “a racket,” and advised readers to drop the Atkins plan and instead “take your money to the nearest produce stand.” No mention was made of PCRM’s close ties with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or the fact that it has received over $1.3 million from animal rights organizations, including some with ties to violent terrorist groups.

But when Jennifer Thomas, a writer for HealthScout News, contacted Atkins Health and Medical Information Services for comment, she got the whole picture. PCRM, said Atkins vice president Michael Bernstein, “is an extremist vegetarian animal-rights group that has been repeatedly censured by the American Medical Association. Their agenda is neither medical nor scientific; it is political.”