2011 Year in ReviewThe past year has been extraordinarily busy at PCRM. Here are a few of the highlights.
Changing Federal Nutrition Policy
When the revised Dietary Guidelines for Americans were unveiled in January 2011, they showed PCRM’s influence with the strongest language yet favoring vegetarian and vegan diets.
PCRM first presented the Power Plate to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2009, encouraging the USDA to use it as a healthful alternative to the food pyramid. In January 2011, our doctors and dietitians brought the Power Plate to the White House. And in May, the USDA finally unveiled its new MyPlate, strikingly similar to PCRM’s design. PCRM also sued the federal government over the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which use technical language to obscure the harm caused by consuming meat and dairy products.
The Kickstart Phenomenon
More than 150,000 people have completed PCRM’s revolutionary online 21-Day Vegan Kickstart program. Kickstart India—a new program with Indian recipes and celebrities—launched in November with thousands of participants in India and around the world. In 2011, PCRM president Neal Barnard, M.D., released his 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart book, and PBS aired Dr. Barnard’s Kickstart Your Health special.
The Road to Better Health
PCRM also brought its nutrition message to cities across the country with eye-catching billboards. Race fans learned from PCRM’s billboard near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that hot dogs can “wreck” your health. Las Vegas and Miami billboards also highlighted the link between hot dogs and colorectal cancer. PCRM’s “Warning: Cheese Can Sack Your Health” billboard in Wisconsin featured the Grim Reaper cautioning that cheese can cause weight gain. In Des Moines, Iowa, near the annual Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival, a PCRM billboard featured an image of bacon strips emerging from a cigarette pack, warning that eating bacon can cause colorectal cancer.
Exposing Fast Food and Factory Farms
McDonald’s and Wendy’s topped PCRM’s “Five Worst ‘Healthy’ Fast Foods” report. It found that some menu items marketed as healthy by national fast-food chains contain more fat, sodium, or sugar than anyone should eat in an entire day. Meanwhile, PCRM’s report “Antibiotic Resistance from Animal Agriculture” found that antibiotic resistance is almost entirely attributable to antimicrobial use in animal agriculture.
Reaching Health Care Professionals
PCRM launched new Physicians Resources and Nurses Nutrition Network Web pages to help health care professionals expand nutrition expertise, access educational resources, and network with colleagues who share an interest in nutrition for health.
Modernizing Medical Education
PCRM successfully pushed nine more U.S. and Canadian institutions to use nonanimal methods instead of live animals for trauma training this year. Now, every one of the nearly two dozen Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) programs in Canada uses only nonanimal training methods. In the United States, programs that stopped using animals include the University of Massachusetts Medical School and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
A dozen pediatrics residency programs also stopped using live animals in invasive procedures thanks to PCRM. Among them, the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio no longer uses and kills rabbits and ferrets. Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and Indiana University stopped using cats. Ninety-four percent of U.S. pediatrics programs now exclusively use nonanimal education methods.
Stopping Army Chemical Weapons Experiments
After a protracted effort, the U.S. Army finally stopped poisoning monkeys in chemical weapons exercises. After PCRM filed a legal complaint and PCRM supporters sent more than 30,000 protest e-mails to the Army, the Department of Defense agreed to switch to nonanimal training methods.
Promoting Effective Research
Shocking animal abuse occurring at Ivy League laboratories was exposed by a PCRM special report, finding that all eight Ivy League universities had high numbers of Animal Welfare Act violations, many of which caused injury and death.
For decades, animals have also suffered unrelieved pain and distress in experiments on heart health. PCRM will continue the campaign to end the use of animals in heart experiments.
Cruelty-Free Chemicals and Cosmetics
Current testing of industrial chemicals is largely based on cruel experiments on animals and using methods that are time-consuming, expensive, and in some cases use thousands of animals each. In an article in Toxicology in Vitro, PCRM toxicologists outlined the need to replace animals with 21st-century testing methods.
Cosmetics companies also kill millions of animals every year testing products. In addition to urging the European Union to uphold its planned ban on the marketing of animal-tested cosmetics, PCRM scientists recommended reforms to the Safe Cosmetics Act in the United States to help shift cosmetics testing toward nonanimal methods.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Massive Media Coverage
Newspapers around the country printed hundreds of opinion pieces by PCRM experts. The Wall Street Journal printed a letter by Dr. Barnard, who wrote that it’s a doctor’s job to let people know that “meaty diets … contribute to breast cancer.” He added that bacon and other processed meats “cause colon cancer, and fatty foods in general lead to heart disease, osteoporosis and other problems.”
CNN interviewed Dr. Barnard about PCRM’s Grim Reaper cheese billboard in Wisconsin. PCRM’s billboards warning of the link between processed meats and cancer were covered in articles by the Associated Press—reprinted in papers across the country—and USA Today. Dozens of other print, radio, TV, and online outlets covered PCRM’s billboards in 2011. The Washington Post covered PCRM’s work on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, as well as the department’s new MyPlate. The Post pointed out that MyPlate is “quite similar” to PCRM’s Power Plate, which was developed more than a year earlier.
The Post also covered PCRM’s campaign to protect chimpanzees from invasive experiments. In a CNN interview, True Blood’s Kristin Bauer spoke about her work with PCRM to protect chimpanzees. In a letter printed by The New York Times, PCRM director of academic affairs John J. Pippin, M.D., wrote, “After decades of experiments using chimpanzees, researchers around the world have realized that this approach is not the answer.”
Ads Highlight Benefits of Vegetarian Foods
In PCRM’s “Block Diabetes” TV, radio, and print ads, NBA champion John Salley tells people how to fight diabetes by making healthful food choices. In the “Sack Your Old Lunch” print ad, Pittsburgh Steelers’ LaMarr Woodley says that school lunches should provide healthful options that fight childhood obesity. PCRM’s “Veggie Hunter” rated in the top 10 percent of TV public service announcements as reported by Nielsen Media Research.
In addition to Good Medicine, there are countless ways to keep up with the latest PCRM news. Dr. Barnard’s Blog, which launched this spring, is the spot to find his late-breaking commentaries on everything from PCRM’s campaigns to end animal use in medical education to PCRM’s plans to improve the world’s health. He also shares new nutrition studies, legislative updates, and more. Our dynamic Facebook and Twitter pages invite fans to share their diet success stories, their concerns about animal experiments, and their ideas for advancing our campaigns. PCRM’s Facebook page now has more than 50,000 followers and we have more than 12,000 Twitter followers.
Check out Dr. Barnard’s Blog at PCRM.org/Blog.