Is the Animal Rights Movement Dead?

Animal rights activist Robert Cohen wrote an essay in late July proclaiming that “The Animal Rights Movement Is Dead.” Cohen notes what this site has pointed out for years — while animal rights groups in the United States have had some successes where they have embraced animal welfare themes, they have made almost no impact on changing people’s minds about human-animal relationships.

Cohen notes that, as this site has repeatedly pointed out, the rise of the animal rights movement has been accompanied by a rise in per capita meat consumption. Cohen writes,

Actual food consumption values confirm the
ineffective messages being marketed by
animal rights activists.

In 1991, the average American ate 62.9 pounds of
beef. That number remained the same during 2001.
This year, the average American will eat 65 pounds
of beef.

In 1991, the average American ate 62.0 pounds of
chicken. By 2001, throughout a decade of protest
and countless Disney rescue movies to the contrary, the
average American ate 23% more chicken. In 2001, the
per capita consumption of chicken soared to 76.5 pounds.
From 2001 to 2002, chicken consumption increased an
additional five percent to 80.3 pounds per individual.

1991 beef & chicken consumption = 124.9 pounds
2001 beef & chicken consumption = 139.4 pounds
2002 beef & chicken consumption = 144.0 pounds

(These statistics were obtained from David Harvey
of the United States Department of Agriculture.)

During the past eleven years of animal rights activism,
there has been a total increase for beef and chicken
consumption equal to 15.3%.

The rise in chicken consumption must be especially disheartening to activists, since it represents an increase of hundreds of millions of animals slaughtered annually.

Cohen is wrong, however, in blaming animal rights groups for this increase,

From 2001-2002, per capita beef and chicken consumption
increased by an incredible combined 3.3%, demonstrating
that the current misdirection of animal rights advocates
is promoting increased meat consumption. The deception
continues, and more animals become victims to the egos
of animal rights leaders and organizations who spend
millions of donated dollars to lobby members of Congress
to pass ineffective laws.

But, of course, groups have shifted to these sort of actions precisely because efforts at advocating total abolition of animals for food or medical experimentation have simply gone nowhere. The problem isn’t the activists or groups who are messengers, but rather the message itself.

This is why the United States has seen such an increase in animal rights extremism of late. The animal rights message is simply a non-starter, and individuals and animal rights groups seem to be recognizing that and either choosing to pursue animal welfare-oriented initiatives or else choosing to endorse and/or carry out acts of violence.

Either way the message is clear — animal rights is an idea that has absolutely no chance of success within the current political and social climate of the United States, and it is doubtful that it will in the lifetime of anyone reading this.


The animal rights movement is dead. Robert Cohen, July 25, 2004.

Just How Gullible Is Robert Cohen?

Apparently there is no factual error enough to big or small for Robert Cohen to avoid. In his latest NotMilk Newsletter published on June 28, 2002, Cohen reprints an article he wrote about Charles Patterson’s Eternal Treblinka.

Patterson’s book compares animal agriculture with the Holocaust. Cohen writes,

I have just been informed by Mr. Patterson that his Eternal Treblinka has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

Sorry, Robert, but this is yet another lie you have let slip in your newsletter.

Here’s the reality. According to online bookstores, Eternal Treblinka was published in February 2002. As such, if it wanted to be considered for the Pulitzer Prize, the author or publisher would have had to send $50 and four copies of the book to the Pulitzer Prize folks by July 1, 2002.

Patterson, along with probably 800 or 900 other people, apparently did this. Anybody who wants to pay $50 and supply four copies can enter any book published before June 30, 2002 into the Pulitzer Prize contest. This is about as impressive as Patterson saying that they may have won $10 million from the Publisher’s Clearing House.

When the media say a book has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, what they really mean is that it is a Pulitzer Prize Nominated Finalist. These are books that juries have selected as finalists for the ultimate Pulitzer Prize. As a Pulitzer Prize FAQ on terminology notes,

Work that has been submitted for Prize consideration but not chosen as either a nominated finalist or a winner is termed an entry or submission. No information on entrants is provided.

Eternal Treblinka has not been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Patterson just sent off his $50 check like anybody else who published a book in the first sixth months of 2001 could have done.

What is interesting is that Cohen is not the only animal rights activist pretending that an animal rights-oriented book has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. In fact Cohen’s nemesis, VegSource.Com, has several articles (see here or here for just two examples) that claim that John Robbins’ Diet for a New America was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

This claim is widely repeated on animal rights sites on the Internet — including quite a few who upgrade Robbins’ alleged prize, claiming that “Diet for a New America” was a Pulitzer Prize winning book.

In fact, a quick look at the Pulitzer Prize web site finds it is not listed as either a Nominated Finalist nor a winner for any year between 1980 and 2000 (the book was published in 1987).

Isn’t there anybody in the animal rights movement with even a modicum of integrity?


Eternal hell for cows. Robert Cohen, NotMilk Newsletter, June 28, 2002.

Pulitzer Prize Terminology.

Jeff Nelson vs. Robert Cohen: A Battle of Wits Between Disarmed Opponents

A few months ago Jeff Nelson of VegSource.Com and Robert Cohen, the anti-dairy activist who calls himself the Not Milk Man, had a public falling out which led Nelson to abruptly cease hosting Cohen’s web site. This month VegSource traded barbs online over who was more dishonest/deceitful. The answer, of course, is both of them.

Nelson tries to sell visitors to his site a bill of goods as slick and deceitful as any nonsense put out by Cohen. According to an essay posted to the VegSource.Com web site, Beware of Robert Cohen aka the NotMilk Man, Nelson and company have long knew that Cohen was full of it and have a duty to warn people away from Cohen,

No matter what reason brings a person to vegetarianism, ethics play a role. We do it because it’s the right thing to do for our health, our environment, or the animals we use for food.

. . .

Honesty and integrity — a respect for truth — has motivated numerous top vegetarian and vegan experts, scientists, MDs, authors and activists to arrive at the same conclusion: Robert Cohen is a fraud.

Cohen, who sometimes calls himself the “notmilk man,” is abusive and dishonest. He also has a propensity for fabricating scientific data which has time and again been shown to be not only worthless, but potentially dangerous.

. . .

VegSource has run numerous articles over time documenting Cohen’s unscrupulous excesses.

Oh yeah, the VegSource crowd have been really diligent about Cohen.

Jeff Nelson was so concerned about Cohen’s lies, that until February 2002, VegSource hosted Cohen’s web site, NotMilk.Com.

Nelson knew all along that Cohen was a fraud which is why Nelson invited to VegSource.Com’s Sept. 2001 E-Vent. Nelson addressed that E-Vent on Sept. 28, 2001 mentioning the speakers who would be featured, including this bit about Cohen,

Robert Cohen? WeÂ’ve got your case of White Wave Chocolate Silk out in the van. It was delivered this morning by a group of slaves. But seriously, weÂ’re thrilled to have Robert here, this is the first time IÂ’ve ever met him in person, and IÂ’m really looking forward to his talk tomorrow.

Nelson was just thrilled to have Cohen there.

Of course, Nelson has a newfound integrity and truth telling, so what was the first thing VegSource did after the falling out with Cohen? Why, with the sort of integrity we’ve come to expect from the animal rights movement, VegSource removed from its web site incriminating evidence of its prior support for Cohen.

This VegSource.Com web page is a full of photos from that 2001 E-vent at which Cohen was a speaker. The odd thing is if you scroll down to the bottom of the page, the last image is that of John Robbins. That’s odd, because back when it was first created, the page ended with three pictures of Robert Cohen speaking along with complimentary text.

You can see for yourself the Google cached version of the page, but in case that goes away, here is how the page looked earlier this year:

Batting in the
clean-up position was the NotMilkMan himself — Robert Cohen.

Jeff’s mom described
Rob as a “great speaker” — and Jeff’s mom is always right!

Said Jeff and Sabrina: “I think Rob Cohen just got us off dairy!”

I’m surprised Jeff and Sabrina let Jeff’s mom (not to mention others in attendance) get taken in by such a fraud. And if they knew Cohen was prone to citing faulty studies, distorting evidence and, apparently, outright lying, why did they find his talk so convincing?

The issue here is not whether or not Cohen was a fraud — that was obvious years ago to anyone who cared to actually look at the nonsense he was spewing. The problem with Cohen was that his nonsense was suddenly turned against people within the animal rights movement.

For example, on March 26, 2002, Nelson wrote an article about what he thinks is Cohen’s unfair attacks on White Wave, which makes Silk soy milk. Nelson claims that,

This charge is only the most recent in a long line of failed attempts by Cohen to damage White Wave. We’ve already responded to some of Cohen’s earlier attacks on White Wave with the article, “Does Silk Bilk?” At the time I wrote that article (September of 2001) and when I spoke to Cohen before publishing it, he told me he was making it his personal mission to try to “destroy” White Wave. He said the company had not been personally respectful to him. When I pointed out that he had made a number of unfair and untrue statements in his articles on White Wave, he told me he didn’t care whether his criticisms of the company were accurate or not, because any attack was justified because they were a “bad company.”

But look at the kid glove treatment Cohen got for unjustified attacks on White Wave:

1. Nelson’s September 2001 article does not even mention Robert Cohen by name.

2. Nelson’s article was written on Sept. 18, 2001 — more than a week before VegSource.Com had Cohen speak and sang his praises.

Ah, integrity at work.

Although Nelson apparently wants to recast VegSource.Com as willing to expose falsehoods within the animal rights movement, in fact VegSource.Com has actively nurtured a “hear no evil” policy in its discussion boards. VegSource.Com now claims that,

We have people who come onto our discussion board from time to time and state confidently that vegetarianism is a religion (we correct them).

In fact what VegSource.Com routinely done is delete posts and ban users of anyone who criticizes the animal rights movement, regardless of merit. Last June, for example, I wrote an article pointing out that VegSource.Com was using a faked photograph to illustrate a medical research story. I posted the URL on the VegSource.Com discussion group. Not only was all of the discussion about this deleted, but the discussion group was configured to reject any articles that linked to AnimalRights.Net (see VegSource “Censorship”).

VegSource.Com extolling its own integrity is a bit like Cohen recommending a good ice cream store.

As for Cohen, what can I say about Cohen. The guy is a nut case. But he’s a nut case who the animal rights movement welcomed into the fold for years despite his blatant distortions and inaccuracies. That it took Nelson until February 2002 to criticize Cohen says volumes about the alleged integrity of the animal rights movement.


Beware of Robert Cohen aka the NotMilkMan. VegSource.Com, June 20, 2002.

The Notmilk Newsletter. Robert Cohen, June 22, 2002.

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.