Washington — As health reporters cover today’s report on global causes of cancer from the American Institute for Cancer Research, the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom is urging them to be skeptical of follow-up pronouncements from a deceptive animal rights group calling itself “The Cancer Project.” A project of the misnamed Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), The Cancer Project is the animal rights movement’s attempt to use cancer to frighten Americans into strict vegetarianism.

PCRM, which controls the Cancer Project, derives more than two-thirds of its $9 million budget from Nanci Alexander, the wealthy founder of the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has steered an additional $1.3 million to the organization.

“The Cancer Project, like its parent group, is basically PETA in a lab coat,” said Center for Consumer Freedom Director of Research David Martosko. “These save-the-chickens extremists regularly exaggerate any suggestion, no matter how unproven, of a link between meat and cancer. It’s just what you’d expect from an animal rights organization masquerading as a mainstream medical charity.”

More troubling, PCRM actually discourages Americans from contributing to legitimate cancer research charities — including the American Cancer Society, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and the American Institute for Cancer Research — on the grounds that laboratory rats and other animals are used in the most promising research.

“Some activists clearly care more about lab rats than human cancer victims,” Martosko added. “Reporters and editors should take what they have to say with a giant grain of salt. If you wouldn’t welcome cancer advice from PETA, you shouldn’t accept it from The Cancer Project.”