One of Spurlock's favorite sources in his book is the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. After the Center for Science in the Public Interest, PCRM ranks second on his "Acknowledgements" page, and he uses them in both the text and the end notes. He runs an exerpt from a book written by Neal Barnard, the group's founder (p. 93). Barnard also gets a brief appearance in Super Size Me. It's probably safe to say that the group helped out with a good deal of the book's content. See Spurlock's blog here, where he mentions his attendance at PCRM's swanky black-tie fundraising gala.
So what exactly is the Physicians' Committee for Responsible Medicine? They aren't physicans. Less than 5% of the group's membership are actual physicians.
In fact, PCRM is a rather militant animal rights group. Its aim? To end medical research on animals, and to foster public fear of eating cheese and meat with scare campaigns. Through lawsuits, intimidation, and stealth media placement, they're trying to push the vegan lifestyle.
PETA has directed more than $1 million to PCRM over the years. The group has been repeatedly and publicly reprimanded by the American Medical Association for spreading misinformation on the use of animals to test new AIDS treatments. The AMA's president said of PCRM in 1991, "They are neither responsible, nor are they physicians." PCRM has also called for an end to donations to groups like the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association because those groups support testing on animals.
Barnard is a psychiatrist. He has no training in nutrition, diet, or internal medicine. Yet for some reason, Spurlock and others take him seriously when he talks about the health effects of meat and cheese consumption. Barnard has lobbied government agencies to put a "biohazzard" warning label on meat and dairy, and once called cheese "morphine on a cracker." He has said, "there is no room for chicken in a healthy diet." And he's an inductee in the "Animal Rights Hall of Fame."
More disturbing, however, are PCRM's ties to animal rights terrorism. Barnard has engaged in several letter-writing campaigns with a guy named Kevin Kjonaas, who has ties to two animal rights terrorist groups, including the Animal Liberation Front. Kjonaas is now on trial on domestic terrorism charges.
Then there's Jerry Vlasak. Vlasak is a former spokesman for PCRM, and author of several of the group's publications.
Vlasak advocates murdering scientists who use animals for healthcare research. That's not an exaggeration of his position. From the Guardian:
A top adviser to Britain's two most powerful animal rights protest groups caused outrage last night by claiming that the assassination of scientists working in biomedical research would save millions of animals' lives.Blogger Brian O'Connor has assembled a few other choice Vlasak quotes:
To the fury of groups working with animals, Jerry Vlasak, a trauma surgeon and prominent figure in the anti-vivisection movement, told The Observer: 'I think violence is part of the struggle against oppression. If something bad happens to these people [animal researchers], it will discourage others. It is inevitable that violence will be used in the struggle and that it will be effective.'
Vlasak, who likens animal experimentation to the Nazis' treatment of the Jews, said he stood by his claim that: 'I don't think you'd have to kill too many [researchers]. I think for five lives, 10 lives, 15 human lives, we could save a million, 2 million, 10 million non-human lives. . .
You can listen to audio of Vlasak here. He rather causually (and chillingly) notes that extremist pro-lifers who assassinate abortion doctors "have a good thing going."
You can justify, from a political standpoint, any type of violence you want to use." — "Penn & Teller: Bullshit!" (Showtime cable network) 4/1/04 "I think that violence and nonviolence are not moral principles, they’re tactics." — "Penn & Teller: Bullshit!" (Showtime cable network) 4/1/04 "If someone is killing, on a regular basis, thousands of animals, and if that person can only be stopped in one way by the use of violence, then it is certainly a morally justifiable solution." — "Penn & Teller: Bullshit!" (Showtime cable network) 4/1/04 "I think we do need to embrace direct action and violent tactics as part of our movement … I don’t think we ought to be criticizing someone, whether we’re criticizing [them] because they’re writing letters, or whether we criticize them because they’re burning down fur stores or vivisection labs. I think we need to include everybody in that circle." — Animal Rights 2002 convention 6/27/02 "[The police] are protecting the circus, they are protecting the meat and dairy industry, they are protecting the vivisection industry and I equate them in my own mind on a moral and ethical level with the -- no different than say guards in a Nazi concentration camp." — at a panel called "Coping with Law Enforcement" at the Animal Rights 2003 LA convention 8/2/03 "I don’t have any doubt in my mind that there will come a time when we will see violence against animal rights abusers." — "Penn & Teller: Bullshit!" (Showtime cable network) 4/1/04.
I think this bears repeating: this group is second on the list of acknowledgements in Spurlock's book, people without whom, he writes, "this book would not have been possible."