What do you get when you combine two obnoxious animal rights groups (the ridiculously misnamed Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and the phony-baloney Humane Society of the United States) with a self-anointed “Supreme Master” cult leader? This Sunday’s climate change conference in Washington, DC. Speakers include reps from both animal rights groups, and the keynote address will be delivered by the “Supreme Master” Ching Hai. Ching who, you ask? Having attained “full enlightenment” in the Himalayas, she’s a cult leader out to spread a tofu-laden meditation gospel. You can find out all about her at websites called “God’s direct contact” and “God’s immediate contact.”
If her website’s names don’t tell you all you need to know, there’s even a Supreme Master television station that runs 24/7 programming with two-dozen simultaneous sets of subtitles. (For an idea of what’s broadcast, here’s one, shall we say, interesting example.)
So why is a cult leader running a climate change conference? To shill for an anti-meat agenda. Part of Ching Hai’s spiritual teaching is strict vegetarianism, and her website calls on followers to “Be Veg” to save the planet and change their diets to meat-free.
That, of course, is where PCRM and HSUS fit in; they share the Ching Hai cult’s dedication to a vegan future. By tying livestock to climate change, activists hope to marginalize meat consumption and push for burdensome regulations on its production.
But the facts just aren’t on their side (even if they get someone to meditate on it for them). A 2008 report from the Environmental Protection Agency inventoried greenhouse gases and determined that U.S. meat production was responsible for less than 3 percent of emissions.
Might there be another motivation behind meatless propaganda and TV broadcasts? Let’s just point out that Ching Hai owned more than 50 vegetarian restaurants as of the mid 1990s. And the Ching Hai International Association in Los Angeles reported over $100,000 in profit on sales of “religious” books and other items, according to its 2007 tax filings.
Maybe we shouldn’t be too hard on these guys. After all, a judge in the United Kingdom ruled yesterday that climate change beliefs are akin to religion. As for beliefs about animal rights and liberating the chickens, well, the jury is still out. But if HSUS and PCRM want to rest their credibility on an alliance with a mysterious cult leader, who are we to stop them?