by Robert Cohen
Jesus has nothing to do with Christianity. Pus has nothing to do with cow's milk. Gills have nothing to do with fish. Lawyers have nothing to do with eating up client's assets. McDonalds has nothing to do with killing cows. Loma Linda University has nothing to do with vegetarianism.
On Wednesday, June 18th, I spoke with Michael B. Hyman, Esq., lead attorney for the law firm which is seeking to appeal a decision that awarded $6 million to various vegetarian groups as a result of a settlement in which McDonald's admitted guilt by using animal fat to cook and flavor French fried potatoes.
Mr. Hyman told me that his clients are attempting to overturn that decision which awarded settlement funds to organizations that do not uphold the values of vegetarianism.
Hyman is one of 90 lawyers working for Chicago's finest litigation firm, Much & Shelist. His specialty is antitrust and securities class actions suits. What this means is that great vegetarian organizations such as American Vegan Society, North American Vegetarian Society, Vegetarian Resource Group, and Vegetarian Vision will most likely see only a fraction of their settlement dollars, for the case will drag on for many more years. Ultimately, the attorneys will be rewarded most of the settlement award in the form of legal fees. Such is the nature of litigation in the twenty-first century.
Hyman represented to me that organizations such as Loma Linda University are not worthy of settlement dollars. He went on to infer that Loma Linda does not promote vegetarianism. It was his opinion that no university exists to promote vegetarianism.
If that is the strategy of the litigants, this will be a very short trial.
Loma Linda University received $250,000 in the McDonald's settlement. Claiming that Loma Linda has nothing to do with promoting vegetarianism is akin to claiming that Jesus has nothing to do with Christianity or fish have no gills and cow's milk has no pus.
In 1905, the Seventh-day Adventist Church opened a health sanitarium and clinic, which was to later become a medical school in 1909. That school was Loma Linda University. Vegetarians of all faiths and persuasions walk upon the shoulders of those 19th and 20th century vegetarian giants, who, inspired by the vegetarian prophecies of Ellen G. White, developed delicious alternatives to meat. These alternatives include many of the same wheat gluten and soy analogue products enjoyed today by vegetarians.
Loma Linda doctors and scientists have published thousands of studies in mainstream, peer-reviewed scientific journals supporting healthy vegetarian diets and lifestyles.
If not for Loma Linda, there would be little scientific support in the debate regarding longevity and lack of disease in Seventh-day Adventists who follow Ellen G. White's brilliant vegetarian advice.
Loma Linda research has proven that vegetarians live ten years longer than people eating the standard American diet. They live healthier too, enjoying lower rates of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, and asthma. Searching the scientific literature, one confirms that Loma Linda researchers represent the leading edge of vegetarian and vegan scientific research.
Litigants and attorneys protesting the proposed McDonald's vegetarian award to Loma Linda University might as well host a veggie burger barbecue and use dollar bills as fuel. This illogical lawsuit has fractured the vegetarian movement, and has refined the word 'absurdity' into an art form.
I feel very badly that a person like Freya Dinshah, who made popular the word "vegan" in America 30 years ago, will probably not see any settlement money as a result of further divisive litigation. Freya needs those funds to promote her loving work. I feel badly that other vegetarian groups have been attacked and slandered in pre-trial depositions. This litigation has driven a wedge into the vegetarian movement.
I regret the fact that Loma Linda educators, whose philosophy it has been to promote vegetarianism with scientific support since 1909, have been attacked and accused of acting contrary to the spirit of vegetarianism.
I strongly regret that the motives of my friends, H.K. Shah and Harshad Parekh of Vegetarian Vision, were criticized in a long
20-page brief and affidavit. These two men are sponsoring a world vegetarian movement in which Maneka Gandhi will be visiting the United States on a lecture tour later this year. Gandhi, once India's health minister, has been active in animal rescue, ending lab research, promoting vegetarianism, ending slaughter of cows in Uttar Pradesh (India's largest state), and beginning the Notmilk movement in her native country. I will be proud to be accompanying her on a tour of American cities in the fall. I will donate my time to Vegetarian Vision, for I too share their vision.
I ask you to write to the judge, and let him know that the original settlement is in the best interests of vegetarianism. With your letters, those adversarial motions will be thrown out of court. Please reference:
Case No. 01 CH 9137-Block v. McDonald's
The Honorable Richard Siebel Circuit Court of Cook County Illinois County Department, Chancery Division Room 2305, Daley Center Chicago, IL 60601
Robert Cohen http://www.notmilk.com