A column in yesterday’s Washington Post praises a program called “Meatless Monday,” which claims the support of 28 schools of public health. However, when the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) called the organizers of Meatless Monday, they would not provide a list of those schools. CCF was told: “The reason that we’re not releasing the schools of public health’s names is that some of the schools would come under pressure.” The individuals who could discuss what kind of pressure that might be, Meatless Monday’s representative said, were on vacation — the day after its most significant press coverage to date.

Neither the Post article nor Meatless Monday’s website give any reason to believe that the campaign is motivated by anything other than health concerns. Reality check: Meatless Monday pushes a vegetarian agenda for animal-rights and radical environmental purposes.

Meatless Monday is run by the Center for a Livable Future (CLF) at the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) School of Public Health; CLF is primarily funded by New York socialite Helaine Lerner. Along with the Lerner-funded GRACE Factory Farm Project, CLF does everything it can to end modern, efficient, livestock agriculture. GRACE also operates an anti-industrial livestock farming program, in association with CLF, inside the School of Public Health.

Introducing the Meatless Monday campaign, CLF director Robert Lawrence let his environmental agenda show, arguing that affordable meat for consumers “has come at the expense of air, land, and water quality.” When he served as project director of GRACE, David Brubaker was more explicit about the group’s environmental goals. “The way that we breed animals for food,” he sermonized, “is a threat to the planet.”

GRACE also has an animal-rights agenda. It frets about the impact of modern livestock production on “the environment, and the animals.” Removing any doubt that Lerner and Meatless Monday are partially motivated by animal-rights goals, in 2001, Lerner gave $900,000 to the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health’s “Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing.”

Through her foundations and her personal checkbook, Lerner has given over five million dollars to GRACE, the Center for a Livable Future, and her other pet projects at JHU’s School of Public Health. GRACE and CLF have her to thank for more than 80 percent of their total operating budget. Lerner also funds the likes of Greenpeace and the secretive Tides Foundation.