The self-described “complete press sluts” at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have once again crossed the line of decency, this time adding insult to the injury of a recently widowed former First Lady. PETA plans to use the image of the late President Ronald Reagan in a campaign blaming meat consumption for Alzheimer’s disease. “Win one for the Gipper,” reads the PETA ad. “Animal fats DOUBLE your risk of Alzheimer’s,” it continues. Nancy Reagan officially informed the animal-rights radicals that their attempt to hijack her husband’s image was not welcome. PETA, of course, paid her little heed. The sad truth is that this most recent episode is yet another reminder that PETA is simply more interested in animal rights than in human lives — as it actively opposes the efforts of scientists to cure or treat Alzheimer’s disease.
PETA’s position is so radical that president Ingrid Newkirk declared: “Even if animal research resulted in a cure for AIDS, we’d be against it.” PETA’s medical front group, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), attacks the Alzheimer’s Association, the Alzheimer’s Disease Research, and the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada because those groups know a cure for the degenerative disease might require the use of animals. A PETA website blasts these same charities, as well as groups that work to prevent blindness, cancer, and stroke. Noting that medical research requiring animals has been involved in every major medical breakthrough of the last 100 years, the Foundation for Biomedical Research states: “Our best hope for developing preventions, treatments and cures for diseases such as Alzheimer’s, AIDS, and cancer will also involve biomedical research using animals.”
So where does PETA get the idea that meat contributes to Alzheimer’s? What doctor answered PETA’s house call for this bit of junk science? It’s none other than John McDougall, a medical advisor for PETA’s “Physicians Committee” lackeys. When he’s not pushing vegan diets through PETA and PCRM, the good doctor hawks “Dr. McDougall’s 12-Day Diet Meal Plan,” a slick $100 bundle of vegetarian cup-a-soup meals in grocery and health-food stores, as well as in the Sharper Image catalog.
President Reagan is just the latest public figure to be victimized by PETA’s decidedly unethical treatment. When former New York City mayor and TIME Person of the Year Rudy Giuliani was diagnosed with prostate cancer, PETA’s sick spin machine purchased billboard space to air an anti-dairy ad that showed Giuliani with a milk mustache and read: “Got Prostate Cancer?” And PETA continues to list the Dalai Lama as a supporter of its attack campaign against a fast-food chicken chain, even though the famous spiritual leader has said PETA misrepresented his position.