In this world of tight deadlines and instant communications, it has become incredibly easy to slip an agenda-driven form letter into a newspaper opinion page. Tom Beiler’s Feb. 13 letter (“So mad cow disease won’t happen here?”) is a great example.

It may surprise you to learn that the same exact letter (word for word) ran in at least 10 other U.S. dailies in the past month. In each case, the letter was signed by a different person. Coincidence?

Our research shows that the campaign was organized by Laurelee Blanchard, communications director for the Bethesda, Md., group “Farm Animal Reform Movement” (FARM). Ms. Blanchard and FARM have done the same thing on at least three other occasions in the past year, with one letter appearing in 22 papers in July. Mad cow disease has become the latest breeding ground for disingenuous tactics like these. A new report from the Guest Choice Network ( shows how vegetarian and animal-rights activists are working together, hoping to convince us all that the U.S. meat supply is unsafe, despite the assurances of our best scientific minds.

Thinking people should take these activists and their scare tactics with a grain of salt – and a pound of sirloin.