Continuing the grand tradition of animal rights groups exploiting the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM, the lab-coated affiliate of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) callously issued an agenda-driven “report card” giving Hancock County Schools in Mississippi a “D” for not eliminating meat from school lunches.

Where to start? The school district cancelled five weeks of classes after it bore the full brunt of Hurricane Katrina (click here to see its location). The storm flooded Hancock County Middle School so badly that students had to finish the 2005-2006 school year in temporary trailers. Federal aid totaling over $2.5 million (click here and here) was needed to pay for portable classrooms and replace lost computer equipment, furniture, and other necessities. Click here to view photos of Hancock County Schools in the aftermath of the hurricane. Take a look at the pictures and judge for yourself whether replacing BBQ with tofu should have been one of Hancock County’s priorities.

PCRM also deserves points off for issuing this “report card” without doing its homework. PCRM’s own guidelines explicitly mention that data need to be gathered from each school district’s food service director, but it appears that the animal rights group never even contacted the director at Minneapolis Public Schools during its analysis, after which it gave that school district a big fat “D+.”

The worst animal-rights hubris shines through in the report’s evaluation scheme. PCRM puts a school’s compliance with U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines, and with PCRM’s own vegetarian demands, on the same level. Good overall nutrition is no more important to PCRM than whether animals had their “rights” violated in the making of a kid’s lunch. Then again, this is the same organization which was once slammed by the American Medical Association “for purposefully misrepresenting the critical role animals play in medical research,” so it’s no surprise that it continues to substitute ideology for science.