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NEWS RELEASE March 29, 2004

PCRM Launches National Campaign Calling for End to American Cancer Society “Cattle Barons’ Ball” Events

Cancer Society Promotes Disease with Beef Fundraisers, Say Doctors

WASHINGTON–The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) is calling on the American Cancer Society to put an end to its “Cattle Barons’ Ball” events – beef-themed fundraisers promoting the very disease the cancer research and prevention giant is committed to curing.

The fundraisers feature Western and cowboy themes, including “chuck wagons” loaded with beef and other meats. More than 30 are held each year, mostly in the South and Southwest, almost two-thirds of them in Texas and Florida.

PCRM Nutrition Director Amy Joy Lanou, Ph.D., has written to the local organizers of the ACS-sponsored Cattle Barons events across the country urging them to either cancel or find new themes. As part of its campaign – “Cancer: It’s What’s for Dinner at the Cattle Barons’ Ball” – PCRM has launched a nationwide e-mail write-in effort calling on American Cancer Society CEO John Seffrin, Ph.D. and ACS chapters to call off or re-theme these events. Dates and full contact information on all upcoming Cattle Barons’ Ball events are here as well.

“It is irresponsible of the American Cancer Society to sponsor events that promote beef consumption,” said Lanou. “For more than 20 years, major scientific studies have linked beef and other meats with increased risk of cancer, particularly colorectal cancers.”

A 1990 Harvard University study published in the New England Journal of Medicine linked regular meat consumption with a three-fold increase in colon cancer risk and a higher risk of cancer overall. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States for both men and women.

Lanou notes that the American Cancer Society is well aware of the association between meat and cancer.

“Recommendations to limit the consumption of red meat appear frequently in ACS educational materials, news reports, and on the ACS Web site. Given this, it is wholly inappropriate for the American Cancer Society to sponsor fund-raisers that promote the eating of beef,” she said. “The ACS is condemning millions of Americans to a battle with a deadly, often incurable disease.”

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.

Media Contact:
Jeanne S. McVey

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