The recent H1N1 outbreak was a field day for all kinds of Chicken Little opportunists. But animal rights activists continue to act as the pacesetters. Not only were the claims in Stewart Slate’s recent letter wrong-headed, but it wasn’t even his own letter to begin with. (“More dangers than swine flu,” May 23)

That same letter — word for word — also appeared in more than 30 other newspapers in May. In each case, a different “author” signed it. This isn’t a coincidence. It’s a program of the Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM), a Maryland-based group that hijacks hundreds of editorial pages every year.

It’s no big deal if a few lazy activists want to clutter opinion pages with poorly masked PETA talking points. But as health experts from every major organization across the globe have stated time and again, it’s impossible to contract the “swine flu” virus from eating or handling pork products.

The letter’s environmental claims weren’t any more convincing: While the United Nations claims that global livestock production may account for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, data from the Environmental Protection Agency show that here at home, domestic meat production contributes only 2.4 percent.

If animal activists want to twist the facts to promote their fringe diet, the least they could do is take 10 minutes to write something original.

David Martosko

Director of Research, The Center for Consumer Freedom

Washington, D.C.