ACS comes under fire for hosting red-meat events

ATLANTA: A doctors' group has taken the American Cancer Society (ACS) to task in a new PR campaign, criticizing it for sponsoring fundraising events that feature beef entrees.

ATLANTA: A doctors' group has taken the American Cancer Society (ACS) to task in a new PR campaign, criticizing it for sponsoring fundraising events that feature beef entrees.

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has been contacting media outlets in Atlanta to protest ACS' plans to hold a Cattle Baron's Ball there October 11. The event is one of 50 that the society holds around the country with that title.

The committee already has garnered coverage in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and is hoping for TV coverage once it puts up a billboard in early October outside Atlanta criticizing the Cattle Baron's Ball. The group has picked Atlanta as its first target city because it's the headquarters of the ACS.

"We really want to let people know that the American Cancer Society is basically doing a beef promotion," said Jeanne McVey, media liaison for the committee, which contends that research has linked red-meat consumption to certain types of cancer.

"The Cattle Barons' Ball does not endorse the consumption of meat," states a letter from society president Mary Simmonds to the committee. The letter also notes that the ACS recommends "people eat a mostly plant-based diet, with limited amounts of red meat."

The physicians' group was not satisfied by the response and plans to continue protesting. "I think the ACS can say it's just a western theme, but most people hearing 'Cattle Barons' Ball' are going to think of lots of red meat," said McVey. "It will take negative publicity to get them in line with their own mission statement."

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