I've had three readers call this week to quiz me about an ad that appeared on page 25 of the July issue of BEEF. In the ad prepared by the Center For Consumer Freedom (CCF), an anti-activist organization that campaigns nationwide against extremist groups like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), CCF uses a photo of a young girl playing with puppies as a backdrop. The ad then highlights a statement by PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk at the time of the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in Europe. Her statement was: “I openly hope that it comes here.”

Below that quote, the ad concludes with: “PETA: As warm and cuddly as you thought?”

The ad's message is subtle but its aim is to alert consumers, using actual quotes by representatives of activist organizations, about the true aims of such groups. A few readers who missed the subtle message, however, called to inquire why BEEF would accept advertising from PETA. We didn't, we wouldn't and we apologize for any reader confusion.

The CCF ad is actually what is called in publishing “a house ad.” Such space is often donated to non-profit outfits when a paid ad drops out of the magazine at the last moment, or as a fill-in when a purchased ad is only to go to certain segments of the total circulation. You might recall having previously seen such ads in BEEF, its competitors and in consumer magazines publicizing causes like FFA, 4-H, the American Red Cross, the fight against cancer, etc.

Regarding the ad, James K. Bowers, CCF's managing director, wrote the following note to BEEF last month:

“A big thank you to BEEF magazine for featuring our ad campaign in recent issues. We're grateful for the opportunity to remind ranchers, packers, grocers and restauranteurs that animal rights activists (especially the lunatics at PETA) pose a very real threat to everyone who works hard to put burgers and steaks on Americans' dinner tables.

“By pointing out that PETA has publicly hoped that foot-and-mouth disease would ravage U.S. livestock herds and openly advocated violence against slaughterhouses and restaurants, it's our goal to give the public a much-needed wakeup call.

“We like to think that sunlight is the best disinfectant. The brighter we shine it on people like PETA, the better prepared beef producers will be to respond to their intimidation tactics and overt threats.”

By the way, be sure to check out the CCF's Web site at www.consumerfreedom.com. It's attractive, useful and is performing a great service for all true animal lovers, including beef producers.