Make Sure You Get a Money Back Guarantee from VegSource

When Jeff Nelson and the rest of the folks at VegSource.Com split with Robert Cohen, they claimed it was because (among other things) Cohen had a habit of exaggerating his claims which would ultimately undermine the vegan argument. As opposed, of course, to those reasonable, level-headed folks at VegSource who make such non-sensationalist claims as this:

That’s right folks, step right up and drink the magic vegan elixir and make yourself heart attack proof. Yeah, that Jeff Nelson sure has a lot of integrity.

VegSource.Com's Idea of Sound Health Advice

VegSource.Com maintains that it provides advice for living a healthy vegan lifestyle but more often than not it simply promotes the same old lame quack health advice that has been debunked over and over again but never fails to find adherents alternative health circles. Exhibit A is a bizarre article by Roopa Chari, M.D., “The Key to Longevity: Cleansing the Colon.”

To get a firm idea of the quackery involved in Chari’s article it is necessary to start reading in the middle with these two sentences,


Many people’s colons are packed with a lifetime of old, hardened feces leading to toxemia or the accumulation of poisons. Dr. Tilden said that diseases were crises of toxemia.

The first sentence is a claim that was long ago disproven through analysis of the colons of people undergoing surgical procedures and autopsies (although simply disproving a hypothesis is never enough for the true believers).

But Dr. Tilden is the real focus of interest. She is referring to Dr. J. H. Tilden, a world-class quack who became moderately famous in the early part of the 20th century for his view that, as Chari gleefully repeats, all disease was caused by “toxemia.” What did this mean in practice?

Tilden rejected the germ theory of disease, arguing instead that all diseases were caused by toxins that were normally evacuated from the body but that which, in diseased persons, were retained in the body and polluted the blood. In fact, Tilden rejected the idea that there were different diseases. In his view, everything from cancer to the common cold to syphilis was but the outward manifestation of a single phenomenon — toxemia.

Consider a disease such as diptheria. Tilden dismissed the idea that diptheria was a bacterial infection and advised against vaccination. Rather, Tilden believed that diptheria was caused when children were overfed and that the only sensible treatment was washing out the bowels 2-3 times per day “using as large enemas as can be put into the bowels.”

VegSource.Com gives Chari a platform for warmed-over Tilden-style views. According to Chari,


Often the main cause behind sickness and disease is the retention and reabsorption of this toxic waste. A major benefit of a good cleansing program is that you digest food better, eat less and smaller quantities of food are more satisfying. A pot belly and bloating is another indication of an expanded and inflated colon that is full of fecal matter.


Chari also repeatedly cites Dr. Richard Schulze and recommends his herbal methods of bowel cleansing. Schulze, like Tilden, maintains that just about every disease known to man can be cured with such methods. He claims, for example, to have had patients reverse their Alzheimer’s by taking his herbs. Schulze has even gone so far as to claim that AIDS can be cured by a regimen of juice and enemas.

Perhaps Nelson should change VegSource.Com’s tagline from “All are welcome” to “All types of quacks and frauds are welcome.” That would certainly be more accurate if Nelson is going to continue to publish nonsense like this.


The Key to Longevity: Cleansing the Colon. Roopa Chari, M.D., VegSource.Com, August 2002.

Vegitan's Unite!

Over at, the debate among the “I’m more vegan than you are” crowd has become so intense that Jeff and Sabrina Nelson saw fit to try to coin a new term — vegitan. According to the Nelsons,

A vegan diet is always a vegitan diet, but a vegitan diet may not always be vegan, because a vegitan diet may or may not include honey.

Just when watching these folks debate back and forth over eating honey was getting so fascinating, the Nelsons go and try to change the terms of the debate. The new terminology is also supposed to be free of the political implications that supposedly come with “vegan”,

The key is that the word “vegitan” in and of itself connotes no political, ideological or philosophical ideals. It’s simply a word that describes a diet.

. . . Vegitan simply refers to what you eat, and does not signify any “whys” which may motivate someone to eat meat.”

And why would anyone possibly want to escape the political implications of “vegan”? Again, according to the Nelsons,

In our years of experience with running the largest and most popular vegetarian/vegan website in the world, we have seen some in the vegan community who resent another person calling herself “vegan” when she eats a “vegan diet” but does not embrace all the values, philosophies and precepts of veganism.

Vegans who are vocally intolerant of the dietary choices of others? Say it ain’t so, Jeff and Sabrina. That’s just really hard for this writer to image.

With the creation of the word “vegitan,” vegans no longer need be uncomfortable as such individuals can now refer to their “vegitan diet” and be totally clear what they mean.

Oh yeah, they really cleared that up. That will certainly placate the vegan food police.


Introducing the Vegitan Diet. Jeff and Sabrina Nelson, VegSource.Com, July 29, 2002.

Alex Hershaft: No Room for Feminist Protesters, But Open Arms for Terrorists

Alex Hershaft had a problem — the discussion board set up on VegSource.Com to serve as a place for activists to talk about their memories of Animal Rights 2002 was being dominated by a debate by remarks made by Howard Lyman and the appropriateness of campaigns by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals which use sex to sell the animal rights message.

So Hershaft did what most people in groups try to do when faced with internal dissent — try to focus that anger back at a common foe. So on Monday, July 15, Hershaft posted the text of an op-ed by David Martosko, who is director of research at the Center for Consumer Freedom. But that article and Hershaft’s ensuing comments raised more problems and questions than they answered.

That was an odd choice because Martosko’s main point was that animal rights violence and terrorism is a mainstream part of the movement, and there was no better example of the truth of this than that advocates of violence were given prominent platforms at AR 2002. Martosko wrote, for example,

One such miscreant is actually a fugitive from justice. Paul Watson, who runs the misleadingly-named Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, made over a half-dozen speeches at AR2002, despite his continued defiance of a warrant for his arrest in Costa Rica. Watson, whose own ship has a bow filled with cement (for ramming and sinking other boats), openly advocated the baseball-bat approach to conflict resolution, telling the audience: “The fact is that we live in an extremely violent culture, and we all justify violence if itÂ’s for what we believe in.” In another session, ominously titled “Direct Tactics,” Watson advised the assembled activists that “ThereÂ’s nothing wrong with being a terrorist, as long as you win.”

Other memorable moments from AR2002 included former Animal Liberation Front (ALF) “spokesperson” Kevin Jonas embracing the T-word (“TodayÂ’s terrorist is tomorrowÂ’s freedom fighter”) and encouraging more activists to cross the line into lawbreaking: “Why should any one of us feel that ‘it shouldn’t be me taking that brick and chucking it through that window?Â’” he implored. “Why shouldnÂ’t I be going to that fur farm down the road and opening up those cages? ItÂ’s not hard; it doesn’t take a rocket scientist. You don’t need a 4-year degree to call in a bomb hoax.” Jonas (sometimes spelled “Kjonaas”) was profiled in yesterdayÂ’s Philadelphia Inquirer, defending his group and its violent actions. “I don’t feel any sympathy for people in England or America who have had their cars tipped or torched,” he offered, “because those cars were paid for out of blood money.”

To Hershaft, apparently, Martosko’s highlighting of the advocates of violence at AR2002 is representative of the real adversaries the animal rights movement faces.

This post by Hershaft brought a quick response by animal rights activist Dean Smith who was also one of the speakers at AR 2002. In a post titled, “Our “adversary” has a point”, Smith wrote,

Like it or not, the comments at AR2002 encouraging the use of violence as a means for achieving animal liberation could very well have been the impetus for the actions referenced in this article. The main point of the panel was to encourage this type of action, violent and otherwise. Why do we run away when violent acts occur and act as if they weren’t encouraged by movement leaders (tacitly and otherwise).

. . .

Both Dan Murphy in his recent column and the columnist referenced here are right to criticize our movement for violent actions. I personally wish that more leaders in this movement would have the fortitude to do so as well.

A couple others chimed in with agreement, and one, identified only as “Ali M”, put the question about terrorism and animal rights to Hershaft directly,

Alex, I’m confused about the message behind your post. What are you saying about animal rights activists who break the law? What are you saying about animal rights terrorists? There is a very clear distinction between breaking the law & being a terrorist. I hope you are not suggesting otherwise. Who are you saying is “our real adversaries?” Please respond.

Hershaft replied with a curt, chilling message,

From: AlexH. (

Subject: Our real adversaries are …

Date: July 15, 2002 at 3:26 pm PST

In Reply to: Re: Lest we forget our real adversaries posted by Ali M on July 15, 2002 at 2:26 pm:

… and their fellow shills for the meat, dairy, research, and animal oppressing industries. Since the people attacked in the editorial were my plenary speakers, I didn’t realize my post required clarification.

For Hershaft, then, the real adversaries of the animal rights movement are those outside of it who dare criticize activists like Paul Watson and Kevin Jonas for their endorsement of violence. To Hershaft, people like Jonas are not dangerous advocates of violence but rather “my plenary speakers.”

In Hershaft’s vision of the animal rights movement, feminists who go up on stage to read a statement in protest of an award given to a beauty pageant winner are divisive and may be banned from future animal rights conferences. Those who openly advocate violence, however, are not only welcome, but the real adversaries to the movement are those, like Martosko, who simply report about how the animal rights movement tolerates and encourages violent extremism.

This is the same Hershaft who earlier this year complained that people ignored instructions at Animal Rights 2001 and brought their dogs, complaining that the Hilton was angry about this and he needed to keep the event at the Hilton because “we are trying to project a middle class image.” It’s hard to tell where he thinks bomb hoaxes, property discussion and arson fit into a “middle class image.”


Animal-rights fanatics: Doctor Dolittle gone bad. David Martosko, Seattle Times, July 15, 2002.

Lest we forget our real adversaries. Alex Hershaft, VegSource.Com, July 15, 2002.

Our “adversary” has a point. Dean Smith, VegSource.Com, July 15, 2002.

Yes. “Sydney”, VegSource.Com, July 15, 2002.

Re: Lest we forget our real adversaries. “Ali M.”, VegSource.Com, July 15, 2002.

Our real adversaries are …. Alex Hershaft, VegSource.Com, July 15, 2002.

Jeff Nelson Just Can't Stop Lying

Normally I don’t write about the few conflicts I have with animal rights activists here, but Jeff Nelson and VegSource.Com offer such a case study of animal rights group think that this time I’m making an exception.

Back on July 12 I posted an article about on ongoing debate over at an Animal Rights 2002 Memory board hosted by VegSource.Com (see for the details of that).

Anytime animal rights activists disagree in public, somebody chimes in that this is just helping their enemies, and at least one person pointed out my article. On July 14, Adam Weissman posted the entire text of the article in a post called “An Article About this Discussion Board by an Animal Rights Foe.”

Another activist responded to that by attacking my web site. In order to prove a point, I posted a reply noting that the main difference between AnimalRights.Net and VegSource.Com is I don’t spend most of my day banning people who disagree with me. In fact I give free reign to animal rights activists who want to come to the site and criticize me. I’ve always felt that allowing such unfettered communication, regardless of how uncomfortable or heated it may get, is the best way to ensure that my claims are as strong and accurate as possible.

Of course within an hour or two, Nelson deleted my post and banned the computer I was using from even accessing his site. This is what VegSource.Com’s tagline that “All Are Welcome” really means.

Nelson followed that up with “Note regarding banning and post removals from this board in which he writes,

VegSource provides this board to FARM for their use. VegSource moderators do not remove posts from this board and don’t have the password to do so, nor do I remove posts from this board (with one exception having to do with a disreputable anti-animal rights site attempting to get traffic from us, a site which is supposed to be blocked from our full site).

That is as hilarious as it is pathetic. Apparently some VegSource.Com visitors actually fall for this lame explanation that I am “attempting to get traffic from” VegSource.Com. Yeah, that’s right, Adam Weissman and I are such buddies that he’s now doing my marketing for me by posting my articles to VegSource.Com.

The reality is that Jeff Nelson doesn’t want anyone linking to or discussing any of the articles I’ve written pointing out that he is just as factually challenged as his current nemesis Robert Cohen (see for a rundown). VegSource.Com promotes the worst sort of groupthink by not only banning its critics but even animal rights activists who disagree in some way with VegSource.Com’s agenda.

The funny thing is that I rarely visit VegSource.Com — there are too many ads and it is impossible to find anything there with the convoluted web design. Still, it’s gratifying to know that little old me is apparently public enemy number one in Nelson’s book.

And just a note to people who do post to VegSource.Com. Do you really think it is just a good idea to let Nelson publicly display your IP addresses? I have run across some boneheaded practices at web sites before, but this takes the cake. I’ve seen posts, for example, where people clearly posted from work or at universities where the IP address and the name would make it extremely easy to track down the people posting.

This sort of information is collected by every web server — only Nelson is stupid enough to make it publicly available to anyone who happens across his site.

Animal Rights Activists Shocked(!) at Being Compared to Terrorists

It seems like every day there is a new story about the government, industry and universities reassessing security and information disclosure about animal research. Most of those articles are accompanied by quotes from animal rights activists complaining that it’s just so unfair to compare them to terrorist groups like Al Qaeda.

What did they expect? Did they think that as a movement they could endorse and celebrate violent acts against animal enterprises forever without anyone noticing?

Animal rights activists occasionally send me e-mail claiming that it is unfair to broadly paint the animal rights movement as supportive of groups like the Animal Liberation Front. Fine, but where is the opposition? At best, most animal rights activists and groups seem to take the view that they might not engage in acts of violence but they are not about to condemn those who do.

In fact, the few groups or individuals who dare publicly denounce animal rights violence are quickly pounced on by even mainstream groups as being divisive and ignoring the realities that face the animal rights movement.

Animal rights activist Joanne Stepaniak did an excellent job of capturing this in an essay published on VegSource.Com,

There is an undercurrent of anger among many vegans and animal activists and, regrettably, it has become one of the central characteristics by which outsiders define us as a group. Our animosity has been contagious and highly damaging, both to the solidarity we need to realize our goals and to the tenacity required for us to hang in there. Furthermore, this negativity has acted as a repellent, warding off truly caring people who currently are involved, or might otherwise want to join us, but are deterred by the invisible wall of anger and resentment.

. . .

We are standing in the middle of a blaze we have set. Unless we learn how to extinguish or step outside the flames, we will burn ourselves alive.

In fact the animal rights movement is doing a very nice job of recreating pretty much every single mistake that the pro-life movement made. Like the animal rights movement, the pro-life movement tended to demonize its opponents and tolerate extremist tactics that resulted in both a cultural and legal backlash against it.


Standing in the fire. Joanne Stepaniak, VegSource.Com, Undated essay.

9/11 fuels fears of animal researchers. Carrie Spencer, Associated Press, July 7, 2002.