With most of the media’s attention focused on the midterm elections, it has apparently become easy to slip an agenda-driven form letter into a newspaper opinion page. James Anderson’s Nov. 10 letter calling for Americans to stop eating fish (“No fish? Eat grains”) is a great example. The same exact letter, word-for-word, was published by at least 15 other U.S. newspapers this month. Each time, a different person “signed” it.

This scam is run by animal rights groups that preach strict vegetarianism. One such organization, the Farm Animal Reform Movement, uses a computerized system to send thousands of duplicate letters to newspapers every year. Activists are told by e-mail to lie when editors call to verify that they are, indeed, the “authors.”

The animal-rights fringe frequently claims that animal protein will be the death of us. But as U.S. meat and fish consumption has increased in recent decades, our life expectancy has skyrocketed, too. Besides, zealots who resort to mass-produced phony letters to make their point don’t deserve to be taken seriously.