In this world of tight deadlines and instant communications, it has become easy to slip an agenda-driven form letter into a newspaper’s letters page.

The letter by Earl Jocherty (“Meat, dairy to blame,” Aug. 27) calling for baby boomers to stop eating meat and dairy foods was published, word for word, by at least 13 U.S. newspapers during the past week, each one “signed” by a different person. Coincidence?

Farm Sanctuary, a radical animal rights group that preaches strict vegetarianism, uses a computerized faxing system to send thousands of duplicate letters to newspapers every year. Activists are notified by e-mail that their names are being submitted as “authors.”

The current dialogue about obesity has provided the animal-rights fringe with an opportunity to warn against the so-called evils of everything from strip steaks to milk shakes. But if these zealots have to resort to mass-produced phoney letters to make their point, they don’t deserve to be taken seriously.