By Bruce Cameron

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) recently announced that they’ve gone insane.

Of course, that isn’t exactly how they worded it. What they say on their Website, www.peta.org, is that from now on we should all refer to fish as “sea kittens.”

PETA, you see, is against eating fish and figures that renaming the sea creatures will cause people to think twice before they head off to Red Lobster.

Don’t think that, in terms of eating fish, ordering a lobster lets you off the hook, no pun intended. According to the 1904 Entente Cordiale between France and England, a lobster is a fish. (There you have it: proof I did not sleep my entire way through world history class.)

As PETA says on its Web site, “People don’t seem to like fish.” But isn’t that exactly wrong? People love fish — they love it broiled, baked, grilled. …

No, says PETA, “they’re slithery and slimy, and they have eyes on either side of their pointy little heads.” (They mean the fish here, not the people working at PETA.) Apparently, PETA believes calling them sea kittens will make the fish cuddly and cute. Who wouldn’t want to sleep with a purring sea kitten curled up on the pillow?

Ashley Byrne, PETA’s sea-kitten-campaign coordinator, is quoted as saying, “Knowing that the fish sticks in the school cafeteria are really made out of tortured sea kittens makes most kids want to lose their lunch.”

This is what this country needs, a campaign to make kids throw up at school. That way, they’ll be sent home and will never be forced to learn that in 1904 some French and English diplomats took a look at a lobster and declared, “Yep, that thing sure is a fish.”

While at home, the kids can log onto PETA’s Web site and read some cheerful stories about sea kittens. There’s the story of Tara the Tuna sea kitten, who lives on a fish farm and “looks forward to the end.” Yes, Tara is a suicidal sea kitten. Then there’s Sally the sea kitten, who, according to PETA, is “bitter and insane. She spends her days plotting revenge against the land kittens.” In case you miss the point, there’s a drawing of Sally staring glumly at a drawing of a kitten. That’s right, kids, those cuddly little sea kittens want to kill your cat!

The Web site also states that sea kittens are both cuter and smarter than the president of the United States. My read of the U.S. Constitution suggests to me that despite these qualities, sea kittens are ineligible to run for president. They can’t even run for Congress, though you would think that being so slithery and slimy would make them ideal candidates.

And, hey, I’ve heard our president speak. I’m sorry, but I have to believe he is smarter than a mackerel. We did have a president a few years ago who seemed to do most of his thinking with his, um, trout. But this one not only uses his head, when he body-surfs in Maui a lot of women seem to think he’s pretty cute.

The irony here is that PETA chose kittens over, say, puppies or piglets. Because what do kittens love to eat? Fish! Yes, your little land kitten will tell you, “Please bring home a whole school of sea kittens for me to play with and devour!”

Lots of animals beside humans feast on sea kittens, including sea kittens. I doubt that grizzly bears will stop eating salmon if we tell them they’re actually kittens — in fact, I suspect bears would love to eat kittens.

I hate to have to be the one to tell PETA this, but renaming something doesn’t change what it is. Michael Moore could start calling himself Brad Pitt, but that doesn’t mean Angelina Jolie would marry him. No one is going to be more receptive if we call a terrorist attack “pingpong by poop-heads.” Small comfort will be gained by saying that the federal budget deficit is “a cuddly little love bunny.”

I know that PETA means well.

I just think they’ve got eyes on either side of their pointy little heads.

To write Bruce Cameron, visit his Web site at www.wbrucecameron.com.

© 2009 Creators Syndicate Inc.

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