Amid the advertisements for bras, baby clothes, and low-rate mortgages cluttering the first section of the April 21 New York Times appeared a photo of a big, fat, white rat.

A full-page ad featuring the rodent was headlined, "Some People Just See a Rat. We See a Cure for Cancer." Text running beneath the striking photo attacked "animal rights activists [who] use disinformation, pressure tactics and active terrorism....

"Society cannot allow itself to be manipulated by a handful of zealots who would equate the life of a rat with that of a child," the copy went on. At the bottom of the ad was a membership/contribution coupon for a group called Americans for Medical Progress (AMP).

The ad--placed at a cost to the organization of $17,000, according to the Times--also ran in the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and USA Today.

Advertisements like this are only one facet of...

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