The Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine unveiled images of two large billboards the organization has sponsored in Albany, NY.
According to PCRM's press release, PCRM president Neal Barnard, M.D., has written a letter to members of the Albany city school board, asking the city to cut down on dairy products served in schools to help students reduce the risk of childhood obesity.
While the ads certainly have shock value, do they represent "Responsible Medicine"? No. It is not accurate or responsible to suggest that a person cannot be thin while eating cheese, or fat on a vegan diet. While the standard American diet contributes to obesity, not all carnists are fat, nor are all vegans thin. This oversimplifies the complex issues surrounding obesity and will therefore be written off as false by thinking individuals, rather than accomplishing the goal of making them consider their dietary choices.
Furthermore, for fat individuals who may be considering the switch to a vegan lifestyle, it's alienating rather than inviting. The fat-shaming images are unlikely to make anyone feel as though they will be accepted in the vegan community, perpetuating the stereotype that vegans only come in one size.
These will certainly garner attention, as have previous fat-shaming ads from PETA, but it is unlikely that they will be effective in making members of the public consider a vegan diet. Meanwhile, they may just damage the reputation of the PCRM as a responsible organization providing accurate, fact-based information on health.
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Photo credit: PCRM.org