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PETA targets Aquarium of the Pacific over seafood promotion

Volunteer diver Dirk Burcham waves to Sofia Ferguson, 2, at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach.

News item: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sharply criticizes the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach for a promotion designed to help consumers make responsible choices when dining at area seafood restaurants.

A letter sent by PETA vice president Tracy Reimanto to aquarium president and CEO Jerry Schubel contained this quote: "Encouraging aquarium visitors to eat fish is like serving poodle burgers at a dog show."

Reaction: Poodle burgers sound disgusting. Seared albacore with fennel and arugula sounds wonderful. Perhaps PETA would be better served by focusing on real issues and go after, say, restaurants that serve shark-fin soup, which might thereby help to stop the brutal practice of finning --  the slicing of fins from live sharks at sea.

People are going to eat fish, and PETA cannot change that. So the Aquarium of the Pacific is to be commended, not criticized, for its "Seafood for the Future" program. It has partnered with more than a dozen restaurants so far. They've stamped their menus with logos next to seafood items that are harvested in a sustainable manner, or farmed in a way that does not harm the environment. Patrons who chose those items are rewarded with free passes to the aquarium.

Said Schubel to the Long Beach Press-Telegram: "The entire program is very consistent with our mission because we are committed to conserving wild stocks of fish. And one of the best ways to do that -- since seafood is so popular -- is to influence the choices that people make so that they will choose seafood wisely."

That mission is "to instill a sense of wonder, respect, and stewardship for the Pacific Ocean, its inhabitants and ecosystems," and the photo atop this item is just one bit of evidence that the facility is fulfilling its mission.

-- Pete Thomas

Photo: Volunteer diver Dirk Burcham waves to Sofia Ferguson, 2, at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

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Comments (61)

And we should care about anything PETA has to say why?????

PETA has already succeeded. If PETA had not written the letter to the Aquarium of the Pacific no one would be discussing this issue today. The whole point is to get the discussion going in the hopes that some absent-minded slaughterhouse junkies will force themselves to explore the idea that you can eat and thrive without killing. Yes, there are some who actually like to kill and call it a sport, but there are so many others who simply feed the industry without ever stopping to think that their actions support torture and that they can opt out simply by making a few easy choices.

And Greg, some vegans are forced by economic factors and lack of readily available alternatives to purchase cars with leather seats. Guess what, they don't like it! Most would rather the animals keep their skin and that car companies give them the opportunity to opt out of such "luxuries" with humane alternatives.

Wait, how is stating your opinion/response an article, or even a blog entry?

Is this the editorial page?

C- for Pete Thomas

Looks like the Don Quixote PETArds are at it again, trying to be relevant and meaningful and instead making themselves look STOOPID and laughable.

Me, I'll continue to dress my fish in mini rabbit-fur coats and feed them smaller fish until they are ready for harvest and the skillet, slathered in dill and cow butter. Then I'll wash it down with a tall cold glass of cow milk, then relax on my real leather recliner watching Krufts, Westminister, or similar with my dog on my lap, and later I'll fall asleep under my duck-feather-filled comforter.

And there ain't thing one the PETArds can do about it. MUWAH!

I'll stop eating animals when animals start eating me.

I'll remember not to eat at those restaurants with the Aquarium of the Pacific stamp.

PETA? PETA who? PETA has absolutely no impact on my life. Any PETA member who says they do not eat or use any animal derived food/product is a liar.

PETA lost clout with me a long, long time ago. I don't listen to them anymore and support pro-animal organizations that actually make a difference. PETA sticks its nose in every aspect of animal cruelty and is spread sooo thin that they thought it was a good idea to speak out against Obama killing that fly during an interview...a fly?? really??!!! PETA's synonymous with ineffective, unfocused, and petty.

I see a lot of folks rationalizing their actions based on the fact that people have done it for many years, or that animals do it. With that kind of criteria, you could justify a lot of unsavory behavior. Just because an animal does it, it's ok (I hope you're not considering eating your young)??

Better to start from the premise that its wrong to cause suffering to fellow animals, and let your behavior flow from that. That means a vegan diet. Sorry, that's what it means; no fish either (if the animal is humanly killed, that's another story, but 99.9% of those for sale, suffer unspeakably on the way to market.

PETA has not stopped me from wearing fur. I have no problem wearing mink fur/ animal pelts to keep me warm in the cold winter months.

PETA advocates vegan diet and thats their agenda. Some people may quit eating meat but not everyone. Could they even make Lions a vegan?

A barbed hook lodges in the throat. A desperate and hopeless struggle ensues by the fish to free itself. How must it feel to pull your hardest against a mortal wound in your throat (scientific studies show fish feel pain; Google it)? Pulled from the water, the exquisitely delicate gills dry up and the fish suffocates. That must hurt. PETA doesn't like this and neither do a lot of other folks. It's no way to treat our fellow earth inhabitants. People have caused agony to fish for thousands of years, yes, and now it's time to stop.

In nature, animals eat other animals all the time - I don't see PETA arguing with a bear for eating wild salmon (which by the way, are eaten alive)...

Sustainable fishing is misnomer... When you take thousands of fish out of the sea daily, the sea creatures the aquarium wants to protect are having their food taken from them. Eating shark bait (tuna) is just as bad as eating it's fin, the end result is you are killing the shark or dolphin or whale or seal. As a human race, we can do better by growing our own food and letting the ocean heal itself from the over fishing of the last 40 years.

My mouth waters when I go to the Aquarium of the Pacific. Here fishy, fishy...

Joking aside, PETA has become the unhinged fringe, just like the anti-abortionists, birthers, NRA, etc. on the right. Tactics they use only hurt their cause.


I don't understand you. At first, you seemed to have such a noble cause. Preventing cruel and inhumane treatment of animals. I think almost everyone can agree with that cause, and support you in that cause. We are horrified when we see inhumane conditions in farms, when we hear of "crush" films; when birds or cats or lizards are tortured.

But you're like the ex-girlfriend that was once reasonable and had her act together but started going bat^&*# insane.

Don't you understand that you could accomplish more when your goals are more universal and less insane? People eat MEAT. People eat FISH. People eat PLANTS. The right thing to do would be to help the Aquarium of the Pacific in their quest for promoting sustainable, safe and humane sea food consumption.

You will never stop people from eating meat, or fish, or (assuming your crazy trends continue) plants; please focus on things that actually need to change, please focus on your original goal- the ethical treatment of animals.

They will be eaten. I will eat them, as will others. But the least we can do is treat them humanely while they are alive and ensure their death is painless.

Please stop being insane.

This one certainly ranks on the long list of "Uh, Are You Kidding?" campaigns that pEta has trotted out lately. Tops, though, is still the "Save the Sea Kittens" movement for being the most asinine. That one was just precious.

PETA as crazy as ever, they started as something good, but now just full of people that are in their own little world of dogma.

Drink the Kool-aid kiddies.

PETA needs to GO AWAY and those who support them need to turn their brains to the "on" position. If you don't want to consume fish or cows or sheep or whatever, you are free to do so...just don't inflict your views on those of us who enjoy a nice, thick, juicy double bacon cheese burger while wearing our calfskin boots, lamb leather pants and fur coats. PETA is almost as bad as the Right to Lifers.

Pete Thomas is flat-out wrong when he states the Seafood for the Future program means seafood that is "harvested in a sustainable manner, or farmed in a way that does not harm the environment. " This is green-washing pure and simple. While I agree that fish on this Seafood for the Future list less harshly impacts the environment it does certainly cause environmental harm. We live in a finite world. We gorge ourselves on fish and other food sources that are simply unsustainable. And we've seen the impacts of our actions with significantly depleted fish numbers and the corresponding effect on the ocean's ecosystems. Eating at the top of the food chain requires a significant concentration of food resources and cannot support a world population of six billion people. It's funny to me how the word "sustainable" gets corrupted to mean this is "sustainable" for my lifestyle as opposed to "sustainable" the world over.

PETA gets it all wrong again, no surprise. Way to go PETA, criticize an organization that is trying to influence people's eating habits in a positive way.

I understand PETA standing up for animal abuse and animal cruelty- but simply eating meat doesn't make one cruel or inhumane. And if you think the world is going to stop eating meat, you're a complete idiot.

Hey PETA, those broccoli stalks you're eating used to be alive too, how do you think they feel?

I guess we'd all be better off if everyone stopped eating now, and we all just starved to death.

Bottom line, PETA = a bunch of morons.

The Aquarium is hypocritical. They aren't concerned with protecting ALL marine life, just the cute fish that people will pay to see.

Any person who condones or practices violence for a cause is a terrorist. They're all the same at the core and, unfortunately, PETA is full of them. Take away PETA and they'd play the same role within another extremist organization.

This is really sad because it makes the real animal lovers look like nut jobs. :(

PETA has absolutely NO credibility in my book. Those extremists have a website out there targeted towards kids where they encourage lying. They tell them to think of fish as "sea kittens" and what's that but a lie? Fish is SEAFOOD, and I say if you 'see food' then eat it! LOL

People stopped wearing fur?! What people would those be? Have you been to Russia, Africa, Montana, Alaska? There's a lot of fur-wearing still going on in those places! Have people stopped wearing leather shoes and belts? How about leather car seats? Have Uggs gone out of business? Are there no more feather pillows? PETA is insignificant outside of Hollywood and New York City. I'll keep eating fish, when I'm not eating some other tasty animals or aquatics.



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