The pretentiously named tompaine.com recently published an article titled “Want drugs with those fries?” that raises fears about the use of antibiotics in animal agriculture leading to “superbugs.” It was written by a “Washington representative” of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), an activist group famous for predicting “chronic energy shortages” in 1980 and declaring that North Korea was not developing nuclear weapons in 1998.

While the real experts insist that
raising farm animals with antibiotics is quite safe,
UCS has been harping on the issue since 2001, when it “developed the numbers that everyone uses when talking about … overuse of antibiotics,” according to one of its fund-raising letters. But UCS admits that its numbers are simply “estimates” and complains about a “gaping chasm” in the data.

No matter. UCS is trying to turn antibiotics into the next Alar. Facts can only impede their tactics, which follow a predictable game plan.

Both UCS and tompaine.com receive substantial support from the Florence and John Schumann Foundation, whose executive director happens to be PBS’s Bill Moyers. The Florence and John Schumann Foundation famously funded a full page ad in The New York Times asserting that the scientifically illiterate Alar scare didn’t go far enough. The ad was produced by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which tested Bill Moyers as part of a recent scare campaign about toxins in the human body. Moyers in turn promoted EWG’s shoddy work on his show.