If the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine expects anyone to believe that 5,000 medical doctors are among its members (“Fast-food facts,” Letters, Monday), it should offer some evidence. Remarkably few physicians publicly admit to being members of this People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals-affiliated animal-rights group.
One of the few who does is surgeon Jerry Vlasak, a long-time PCRM spokesman. Last year, he said of medical researchers whose work requires the use of animals: “I don’t think you’d have to kill — assassinate — too many [researchers].” Dr. Vlasak added: “I think for five lives, 10 lives, 15 human lives, we could save a million, 2 million, 10 million nonhuman lives.” Britain is considering denying Dr. Vlasak entrance to the country because of this and other threats.
Another prominent PCRM doctor is Neal Barnard, president of the PETA Foundation, also known as the Foundation to Support Animal Protection. Dr. Barnard describes parents who feed their children milk as perpetrators of “child abuse,” spins tales of meat addiction and calls cheese “dairy crack.” He also collaborated with violent activists in their effort to shut down a biomedical research firm searching for cancer cures.
Then again, if the rest of PCRM’s physician members are aligned with these indefensible statements, it doesn’t really matter how many of them helped the group masquerade as legitimate medical spokespeople. Drs. Barnard and Vlasak are two too many.