A recent National Cancer Institute study about a supposed link between red-meat consumption and life expectancy has created a lot of buzz, and inspired at least one “Astroturf” letter campaign from animal rights activists (“Meat-laden diet proves unhealthy,” April 1).

The same anti-meat letter submitted to The Ann Arbor News by Albert Everett also appeared verbatim in at least two dozen other newspapers this month, each signed by a different “author.”

It’s no big deal if a few lazy activists want to use form letters to preach veganism. But the Reader’s Digest version of the NCI research bore little resemblance to the study itself.

Contrary to what tofu propagandists and frenzied health reporters would have you believe, the NCI researchers said their conclusions were “modest.” They also didn’t have much to add to what most adults already know about healthy lifestyles: Get some exercise. Don’t smoke cigarettes. And eat everything – including red meat – in moderation.

We should all stick with this time-tested advice. It sure beats living in fear of a sirloin-induced apocalypse that will never come.