There’s a very good reason why a misnamed group called the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, or PCRM, claims that “meat-based diets” are a recipe for colon cancer.

The PCRM is not a legitimate medical charity, but an animal rights group affiliated with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. PETA has already funneled over $850,000 to the PCRM. The two organizations share offices, staff and financial accounting, as well.

The animals rights watchdog newspaper, Animal People News, wrote in December that the PCRM and PETA should be considered “a single fund-raising unit,” and accused the groups of attempting to “evade public recognition of their relationship.”

Ninety-five percent of PCRM’s members never graduated from medical school. The American Medical Association has called PCRM’s recommendations “irresponsible and potentially dangerous to the health and welfare of Americans.” The PCRM has been formally censured by the AMA. And Dr. Neal Barnard is a psychiatrist, not a nutritionist — and a nonpracticing one at that.

Most Americans are too smart to take dietary advice from animal-rights zealots. But when activists put on the sheep’s clothing of the medical profession, it becomes more and more difficult to tell who’s credible.