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PETA wants to rename fish "sea kittens"

January 12, 2009 |  7:43 pm

Goldfish or Sea Kitten?

Pity the humble goldfish (and his cousins the salmon, trout and tuna).  They're suffering, according to PETA, from a serious image problem.  And PETA is aiming to fix that through a new campaign -- one that, they hope, will cause people to think of undersea creatures as they think of their beloved mammalian pets.  From the campaign's website:

People don't seem to like fish. They're slithery and slimy, and they have eyes on either side of their pointy little heads -- which is weird, to say the least. Plus, the small ones nibble at your feet when you're swimming, and the big ones -- well, the big ones will bite your face off if Jaws is anything to go by.

Of course, if you look at it another way, what all this really means is that fish need to fire their PR guy -- stat.

The campaign's aim?  To rename fish "sea kittens."  In an interview with NPR's Anne Hillman, PETA campaign coordinator Ashley Byrne explains:

"Fish not only have the same ability to feel pain as a dog or a cat, but they also communicate with one another," she says. "They have complex social interactions; they form bonds; they express affection by gently rubbing against one another...

"Most parents would never dream of spending a weekend torturing kittens for fun with their families, but hooking a sea kitten through the mouth and dragging her through the water is the same as hooking a kitten through the mouth and dragging her behind your car," Byrne says.

The Sea Kitten campaign launched in North Carolina, but PETA plans to expand it across the nation, according to NPR.  And they've already asked South Dakota's Spearfish High School to change its name to "Sea Kitten High School."

What do you think -- is this a step too far?  Or do our finned friends need an image overhaul?

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Brian Vander Brug / Los Angeles Times

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