Know Thy Enemy Week #2: The Center for Consumer Freedom


How could anyone ever be against a group named the Center for Consumer Freedom, right? Consumer Freedom is good! And a Center that promotes, therefore, has to be good!

Of course, the Center for Consumer Freedom has very little with giving people the right to choose and everything with lobbying against animal rights groups and giving more power to the groups that back the CCF. Groups like Monsanto, Tyson’s Foods, and Outback Steakhouse… not exactly groups that are known for their corporate responsibility.

In fact, the CCF was founded by Berman & Co, a public affairs organization owned by Rick Berman, a lobbyist who has represented the tobacco industry as well as many in the food industry. The CCF has attacked everyone from the American Medical Association to the National Association of High School Principals, pretty much anyone that says anything that might work against a company in an industry that funds them. And boy oh boy do they love the terms “food police” and “lunatics.”

Much of their vitriol comes out against animal rights and vegetarian groups. Indeed, a quick look at the current content on their web site shows of the 18 stories and deep links on their front page, 10 of them are directly related to animal rights groups like PETA and the HSUS. Did you know that PETA is a threat to your children? Apparently so!

Interestingly, some of their content sounds like things I’ve said around here. Two of their three most recent headlines are about celebrities PETA has claimed are vegetarian but really aren’t (remember what I said) and other links on their site talk about the attack on obesity (I don’t like veg marketing that attacks fat people — it amounts to an unnecessary personal attack on someone’s value as a human while just assuming that fat = eating nothing but huge slabs of steak). However, my concern stems from my desire to see a compassionate animal rights philosophy spread without being overshadowed by sensational things like celebrity or “obesity epidemics” whereas the CCF is more likely interested in promoting the agendas of the fast food industry and attacking PETA for what I like to call “minor infractions of stupidity.”

So what can we do to find common ground with the CCF? I don’t think there’s anything. The industry’s influence runs deep.

But, it’s essential that we make people aware who’s behind the CCF. Every time they’re quoted in the newspaper (and they’re quoted often), we should write a letter to the editor or tell a friend that’s reading the article that the CCF isn’t the group it appears to be. Point them towards any of the numerous groups exposing the truth.

7 Responses to “Know Thy Enemy Week #2: The Center for Consumer Freedom”

  1. Avian Mooch

    I’m in immense agreement with this one part of your post — that vegetarian and vegan pushing should not ever be related to “do this and you’ll lose weight!” Not only has it been thoroughly debumked by Paul Campos (The Obesity Myth, you can find it at your local library — but I warn you, he has some fairly abhorrent opinions of vegetarians, but they only appear twice in the book in short sentences), but all the studfies that people say show that losing weight is good for you isn’t, and where they “show” it is, it’s always accompanied by a diet change, i.e. eating less meat, that leads to better health.

    Aside from that, I’m a fat vegan that would really like to just be left alone on the issue of weight, please. It’s bad enough that the mainstream thinks I’m bodily abhorrent without the non-mainstream thinking that as well.

  2. Karen

    Insightful post, news on CCF that i didn’t realize. It’s good to know y/our enemies, once again… This “thin” veg*n appreciates what you wrote above, thank you.

  3. Danielle

    I’m another chubby vegan, although I did drop a clothing size or two from my omni days. What is lost on both pro-veg groups and the Center for Corporate Freedom (as I call them) is moderation. If you eat tons of junk food, whether it’s conventional brands or the vegan stuff, you’re going to gain weight. Then again, some people are predisposed to being heavy. Of course, with companies pushing larger and larger sizes and more and more forms of crap, it’s no wonder more and more people are obese. When I was a kid, nobody offered sodas in cups that could double as a Chihuahua’s swimming pool.

  4. jessiegirl

    You should check out Marian Nestle’s Food Politics. She writes about the so called food police and how even organizations like the American Heart Association aren’t acting in the best interest of the people.

  5. sara

    just on the weight issue, but as a statistic, aren’t vegetarians generally loads slimmer than their meat-eating counterparts? check this study out:

    Ann Mangels, Virginia Messina, and Vesanto Melina, “Position of the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada: Vegetarian Diets,” Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Jun. 2003, pp. 748-65.

    personally, when i look at all the people i know, a striking majority of the overweight are dead-animal munchers…

  6. Danielle

    Sara, statistically speaking, yes, but you will find skinny omnivores and chubby vegans.

  7. Ryan

    I’m not arguing that vegetarians are thinner or any of the health arguments. My main point is, like Danielle said, fat doesn’t always mean not vegan. Plus, many of the ads and campaigns I’ve seen seem to make personal attacks against overweight people or make judgements about their lifestyle. Insulting your potential audience isn’t a good way to get your point across, you know?

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