Howard Lyman's baaaack

Fresh from testifying at Oprah Winfrey‘s bizarre libel trial in Texas (hey,
you don’t need to be an animal rights advocate to believe people should be able
to speak their minds), Howard Lyman is back touring the country promoting
a new book and spreading more misinformation than a Hollywood gossip sheet.
I missed his speech, but he was in my neck of the woods a few weeks ago. This
is a letter-to-the editor I wrote.

By the way, anyone who does get to see Lyman might ask the |Humane Society
of the United States| activist a simple question. Lyman insists that case of
CJD in England are almost certainly caused by BSE — “mad cow” disease
— and he’s said we might be in for an epidemic of BSE-caused CJD that will
make AIDS look mild. Here’s the question for Lyman — if BSE causes CJD, why
did the Sixth Annual Report on Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Surveillance in the
UK find that CJD rates in England are comparable to those in countries where
there are no known cases of BSE?

Editor, Kalamazoo Gazette,

In his speech at the Borgess Medical Center’s Coronary Health Improvement Program,
the Humane Society of the United States’ Howard Lyman forgot to mention a few
facts which might interest Kalamazoo Gazette readers.

First, the Humane Society of the United States is an extremist animal rights
organization which actually maintains no animal shelters. Instead it spends
its $40 million annual budget advocating for an end to medical experiments with
animals, hunting, fur and meat eating. As HSUS vice president Michael Fox puts it, “the life of an ant and that of my child should be granted equal

As for Lyman’s claims about the alleged health benefits of vegetarianism, these
can be enjoyed by meat eaters who combine moderate exercise with a sensible
diet low in saturated fat and with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Anyone,
however, who eats a calorie-laden, unbalanced diet and ends up weighing 300
pounds, as Lyman claims he once did, will be unhealthy regardless of whether
he is a vegetarian or not.

Finally, I wouldn’t put much stock in Lyman’s claim that “If I live as
long as I hope, the world’s population will have quadrupled in my lifetime.
There is no way the food supply will quadruple.” The problem with that
claim is that world cereal yields have already come close to quadrupling since
Lyman’s birth in 1936, from an estimated 1200 kilograms per hectare then to
almost 4500 kilograms per hectare today. In the U.S. alone, for example, corn
production has quadrupled and wheat production has increased 6-fold in the last
59 years.

Along with other animal rights organizations such as |People for the Ethical
Treatment of Animals|, Lyman and HSUS offer up a litany of misinformation designed
to further their agenda of placing human beings and non-human animals on the
same moral and legal plane. Borgess Medical Center would better serve its health-oriented
mission by not lending credence to such extremists.

PETA’s Internet hypocrisy

A couple years ago there was an enormous flap over an opponent of animal rights who registered the domain, claiming he represented People Eating Tasty Animals. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals whined and moaned about the site and threatened to sue the owner of the domain. Eventually the domain was suspended, and PETA currently uses

So now it is 1998 and what is PETA doing? ThatÂ’s right, deceptively registering domain names associated with their opponents. Recently it registered and posted information on that web site accusing Ringling Brothers of mistreating animals. Just as PETA did a few years ago, Ringling Brothers filed a lawsuit demanding PETA stop using the domain name.

On May 14, Ringling Brothers agreed to drop the lawsuit in exchange for PETA transferring control of to the circus. Ingrid Newkirk, president of PETA, didnÂ’t sound all that disappointed to see the domain name go saying, “The site had served its purpose. Ringling had brought all the attention in the world to it.”

Sorry Newkirk, but the only thing highlighted by this fiasco is PETA’s own hypocrisy.


“PETA agrees to turn over domain name to circus,” Associated Press,
May 14, 1998.

Animal rights terrorists strike in Florida

On May 4th a two alarm fire
destroyed a veal processing plant near Tampa, Florida. Police believe
members of the Animal Liberation Front were responsible for the fire,
which did $500,000 in damage.

“A.L.F.” had been
spray-painted on the side of the plant.

A communiqué from a group identifying
itself as the Florida ALF claimed responsibility for the attack saying,

…the action was done on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of calves
every year in the American veal industry who are kept in isolation, denied
freedom of movement and fed a deliberately unhealthy diet for the entirety
of their short lives until they are slaughtered at a hell like Florida
Veal Processors.

The communiqué also claimed
the Florida ALF was responsible for an October 1997 arson at Palm Coast Veal
Corp. in Lauderhill, FL.


Florida A.L.F. “Florida A.L.F. Communiqué” May 4, 1998.

Americans for Medical Progress “ALF suspected in veal plant and USDA
arson; ALF press officer surfaces.”

Animal rights terrorist on the run

Josh Ellerman, 19,
disappeared shortly before he was scheduled to be sentenced for his part
in a March 11, 1997 attack on the Fur Breeders Agricultural Cooperative.

Ellerman reached a plea agreement
with prosecutors whereby he plead guilty to 3 of 16 felony counts in exchange
for cooperating with investigators in identifying other members of the
animal rights terrorist group, the Animal Liberation Front.

According to Ronald J. Yengich,
Ellerman’s defense attorney, Ellerman fled after receiving threats
from the ALF. Ellerman fled his home without a change of clothes, money
or a car.

Have animal experiments found a cure for cancer? Maybe. Maybe not.

The hype over Judah Folkman’s
research into the effects of angiostatin and endostatin on mice reached
a fever pitch in the first week of May after The New York Times ran a
front page story which quoted Nobel laureate Dr. James Watson claiming,
“Judah is going to cure Cancer in two years.”

Folkman’s research
is important, but this level of hype was ridiculous. Both of these drugs
are at least a year away from being tested in human beings. Folkman certainly
has a creative approach to stopping cancer. The compounds he’s investigating
work by cutting of the blood supply to cancerous tumors thereby causing
them to shrink and disappear — at least in mice. Chemotherapy research
into mice achieved similar results, but when applied to humans was far
less effective than the trials with mice indicated.

Even if Folkman’s research
doesn’t create a “cure” for cancer, however, what he has
learned from his animal experiments represent important advances in human
understanding of cancer. The idea that the blood supply of cancerous tumors
could be blocked was considered ludicrous when Folkman began working on
the idea; thanks to Folkman’s experiments understanding of cancer
tumors is much improved.


Eric Noonan, “Cancer drugs effective in mice; human testing planned.”
Associated Press, May 3, 1998.

Winter wheat crop down 9 percent; corn and soy crops both post dramatic increases

The U.S. winter wheat crop is expected to be down 9 percent from last year
at 1.71 billion bushels according to the US Department of Agriculture. Meanwhile,
the corn crop is expected to be around 9.64 billion bushels, which would make
it the second-biggest year on record, and soybean is expected to be up 3 percent
to a record 2.8 billion bushels.

So if corn and soybean are so plentiful, what’s the deal with wheat? Is
environmental degradation finally getting the best of the American farmer? Hardly.
The per bushel price of wheat is in a free fall as world markets are glutted
with wheat thanks to strong competition from the European Union. Whereas last
year the average price per bushel topped $4, this year farmers will be lucky
to get $3 per bushel. Many farmers have switched to other crops as a result.

Finally, Florida’s orange crop is also expected to reach a new record
level of 14 million tons, up 11 percent from last year.

This is all great news for consumers and people who like cheap food, but lousy
news for farmers who made enormous profits after 1996’s disappointing crops.
Already the USDA is talking about propping up the price of farm commodities
in response to the EU’s competition.


Winter wheat crop down 9 percent from last year. Curt Anderson, Associated
Press, May 12, 1998.

Hard times predicted for US farmers. Charles Abbott, Reuters News Service,
May 12, 1998.