Longtime junk scientist and “snake oil salesman” Joseph Mercola has moved from spewing nutritional nonsense to providing animal-rights nonsense, too. His site recently featured an article celebrating a newly enacted ban on animal performances in Mexico City circuses. Thepet-killing hypocrites at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) surely were pleased that another radical has joined their cause. Never mind that animal-rights activists dragged one circus through the courts for a decade on claims of animal abuse, only to see their case thrown out in stunning fashion and see themselves sued for racketeering in return, ultimately paying $25 million to the circus. Why worry about inconvenient facts when Mercola’s website can host another ill-informed rant?
In a way, it’s fitting that Mercola has joined this ill-informed crusade. The osteopath Mercola, who does not hold an M.D., is part of a growing quacktivist cohort—including the likes of the pop nutritionist “Food Babe”—that use internet platforms to posture as health and science experts. Like his cockamamie companions, Mercola’s cyber crusades take on a host of perfectly safe, scientifically sound products and processes.
Consider, for example, Mercola’s assault on vaccinations back in 2009. Credible scientific estimates anticipated that the swine flu outbreak would kill roughly 36,000 victims that year. But Mercola cautioned his online followers to avoid vaccinating their children, insisting: “The swine flu is simply another flu. It’s not unusually deadly.” Equally dangerous, Mercola advises against fluoride in drinking water and mammograms for women.
Mercola has also warns against the so-called grave dangers of things like cell phones, microwaves, electric razors, and electric clocks. And now, it looks like the not-so-good doctor has parlayed his (completely unwarranted) internet following into another activist field:Animal rights. Given that animal liberationists like PETA deny the realities of animal welfare science in favor of an ideology, the new role fits.