Animal Protection > ALF Foes
Idiot's Guide to CCF Attacks

[American Chronicle]

I became a vegetarian about 25 years ago, and I did it out of concern for animals. But I immediately began having more energy and feeling better. ~Bob Barker

The so-called Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) is at it again. This time, they're not attacking groups like the American Medical Association or Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Now they're targeting individuals, celebrity chef and restaurateur Wolfgang Puck, and Florida-based philanthropist Nanci Alexander. But what are these people doing against consumer freedom? Why do they merit the attention of a powerful national lobbying group like the CCF?

According to the New York Times, Wolfgang Puck's business includes "fine-dining restaurants . . . . more than 80 Gourmet Express restaurants. . . and sells frozen pizza, soups, kitchen cookware and cookbooks."

The CCF's recent attack on Puck came after he announced plans to revamp his menu to make it more animal- and planet-friendly. He plans to immediately remove the most objectionable items, like foie gras, crate-raised veal, and battery-eggs, and then work against cruel farming-practices by implementing broad changes using only meat and eggs from animals raised under strict humane standards. "It's time for us to make a statement and a time for us to see how we treat what we eat."

Nanci Alexander, the ex-wife of Houston Rockets owner Leslie Alexander, is a philanthropist and founder of the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida (ARFF), a non-profit organization devoted to promoting respect and compassion for non-human animals. According to their website, ARFF reaches "out to the public through demonstrations, letters to the editor, paid advertising, and personal appearances . . . on radio, television, and in school classrooms." They also provide free rabies vaccinations and spay and neuter services to low-income households.

So what's wrong with that? It sounds much like the work that legendary TV game show host Bob Barker supports. Barker, now 83, retired recently after 35 years as the host of the Price Is Right, where his signature sign-off was "Help control the pet population. Have your pets spayed or neutered". His DJ&T Foundation, contributes to "spay and neuter" shelters nationwide. He also devotes large sums of money to animal issues and his endowments to support the study of animal rights law are going to top law schools like Harvard, Columbia, Georgetown, Duke, Northwestern, UCLA and Stanford. Barker is a very wealthy philanthropist who says the major part of his multi-million-dollar estate will go to animal advocacy.
The misnamed Center for Consumer Freedom is a group of lobbyists masquerading as consumer advocates. Founded in 1995 as the Guest Choice Network with a grant from Big Tobacco, the CCF has never strayed far from its roots. Consumer freedom is not nearly so important to them as corporate bottom-lines.

Simply put, they're a front group for the restaurant, junk-food, alcohol and tobacco industries, and they run elaborate media campaigns opposing the efforts of scientists, doctors, health advocates, and animal and environmental groups, on a regular basis. They attack anyone who exposes the hazards of the products of their corporate sponsors. Animal-protection and environmental groups that advocate vegetarianism both for health and ethical or for environmental reasons are favorite targets of the CCF.

According to SourceWatch, a project of the Center for Media & Democracy:

"Anyone who criticizes tobacco, alcohol, fatty foods or soda pop is likely to come under attack from CCF. Its enemies list has included such diverse American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons; the American Medical Association; the Arthritis Foundation;...the Harvard School of Public Health; the Marin Institute for the Prevention of Alcohol and Other Drug Problems;...the National Safety Council . . . Ralph Nader's group, Public Citizen; and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."

The bottom line is simply that these groups, along with individuals like Wolfgang Puck and Nanci Alexander, threaten the profit margins of the CCF's sponsors.

But attacking Wolfgang Puck lets the cat out of the bag. The CCF can no longer disguise their agenda under the cloak of "consumer freedom".
The CCF supports consumer-freedom only so far as it positively affects the bottom-lines of its corporate meat and dairy sponsors. When it doesn't . . . well, goodbye, consumer freedom.

Three cheers to Wolfgang Puck for his decision to steer his business in a more environmentally friendly direction. And three cheers to Nanci Alexander for her philanthropic work helping the animals. And good luck to Bob Barker in his retirement and thanks for his continuing efforts to help the animals.

As for the CCF . . . well, ordinary people are wising-up to the tactics used by PR firms and lobbying groups like the CCF and--more and more--responsible businessmen like Wolfgang Puck are joining compassionate folks like Nanci Alexander and Bob Barker and coming to the conclusion that profit-margins are not the be-all and end-all. Maybe there's hope for us all yet!

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