Call Him the NotHungerstrike Man

    The other day while satirizing the folks at Animal Rights 2000, I mentioned that Robert Cohen (who likes to call himself the NotMilk Man), promised to build a 17-foot turkey, fill it with red-colored Karo syrup, and slit the artificial turkey’s throat in front of the White House to protest Thanksgiving. Aside from the sheer nuttiness of such a venture, I was intrigued after finishing that piece about how Cohen would manage to still be alive come Thanksgiving 2000.

    See, back in November 1999 Cohen made a big deal of going on a hunger strike to protest the U.S. government’s approval of rBGH, a hormone given to cows which many activists thinks causes cancer and other maladies. The evidence isn’t on their side, but Cohen filed with the FDA to have rBGH banned because of new evidence he claims proves the hormone is dangerous. In fact, Cohen promised that he would continue his hunger strike until the FDA removed rBGH.

    In online diary Cohen kept of his plans for the hunger strike, he wrote:

Next Sunday, November 7th, I will begin a hunger strike.

I will not end that protest until POSILAC is taken off of the market.

    And only a few days into the hunger strike,

My pledge, I will not eat until Monsanto’s poison is taken out of our food.

    The FDA completely squashed his attempts to get rBGH banned, so reading his promise for Thanksgiving, I was curious how we was going to survive more than a year on a hunger strike and still be healthy enough to carry out his plan. Silly me, Cohen went off his hunger strike at the end of May, even though Monsanto is still putting “poison” in our food. What happened?

    Lets parse the message Cohen wrote on his web site on May 29, 2000, announcing the end of the hunger strike:

I have accomplished all that I am capable of.

    Translation: Cohen never got nearly the amount of publicity he anticipated. Maybe in a different country he might get more coverage, but when you’ve got PETA running around threatening to hand out dismembered animal toys to children, you’ve got to do a lot more than just stop eating to get attention. The unique nature of his hunger strike, where he was not necessarily eating but was, by his own account, consuming liquids that would have provided a substantial number of calories probably didn’t help either. Add to that the exhaustive number of studies on the safety of rBGH and there simply was never much news coverage of Cohen’s plight (which, I’m sure, he’ll ascribe to a conspiracy by Monsanto), despite his attempts to make it look like he was willing to starve himself to death to make a point.

I possess the secret study in which laboratory animals got cancer from Monsanto’s genetically engineered bovine growth hormone. That study was authored by Richard, Odaglia, and Deslex, and if I release the study I will go to jail. … Is going to jail worth revealing the horrors of what happened to lab animals?

    I wonder if he mentioned this at AR 2000. It would have been amusing to watch Cohen get up and tell a bunch of animal rights activists that no, really, animal tests can tell whether or not a given compound might cause cancer in human beings. If there was anything incriminating in this study, Cohen would have arranged for its publication a long time ago.

Today I end my hunger strike, and will continue to spread the word of truth.

    I’m certainly glad Cohen decided not to kill himself over his silly position on rBGH, but I doubt we’ll be hearing much truth from him anytime soon. In a recent update to his web site, Cohen announced he was going on a speaking tour “including a nighttime appearance in a comedy club.” Sounds like the perfect venue for his message.

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