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PETA and the three dead frogs

There’s nothing like winding down the week with a bit of levity. Here’s one of my personal favorites!

The group that once proposed, with a straight face, that henceforth all fish should be renamed “sea kittens,” has once again got me lol. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) — not to be confused with the People who Eat Tasty Animals (PETA) — are now in an uproar over frogs.

It apparently all began when science teacher Tony Leotta, at Walter L. Sickles High School in Tampa, Fla., stood before his class and briefly juggled three dead frogs that were about to be dissected. While he wasn’t particularly good at juggling, he was concerned that some of his students might be nervous about dissecting frogs, so he used the juggling stunt to calm any down.

You guessed it — In this age of cellphone videos, one of his students captured his brief routine and posted it online. Actually, it was more like a snippet of video because Leotta’s juggling skills clearly confirmed he shouldn’t harbor any hope for a show business career. But that’s also when he leaped onto PETA’s radar.

The group sent out a news release. “Frogs used for dissection are torn away from their homes in the wild and killed,” said PETA’s director of laboratory investigations, Justin Goodman, “and in classrooms like this one, students are taught that these abused animals are props and inanimate laboratory tools to be mocked, mutilated and discarded.”

The school district’s response was as it should be: “We see the value in dissection as part of the curriculum and we follow all state guidelines for safe dissections.”

Now PETA’s frog issue really hasn’t gotten legs. I mean, if they genuinely have such great concern for the plight of croakers, they should have taken it to the next level and blasted the fine art of dining on frog legs. Yes, I’m a member of PETA (the eating one) and I like my frog legs sautéed. Say, the next time I order some, I might even try my hand at juggling them. Who knows, I could be a star in an online video, too.

But you’ve gotta hand it to PETA — they’re masters at the publicity game. Like when they made front-page news by offering $3 million to Hillsborough County, Fla., to repair the Freedom Trail Fishing Pier. They said the money would come with only two stipulations: (1) PETA wanted all fish to be renamed sea kittens on the assumption that no one would want to hook a kitten, so the pier would be renamed Sea Kitten Pier; and (2) there could be no fishing — or is that sea kitten catching? — on the pier.

The county officials said no thanks … but I say thanks, PETA, for always coming up with some madcap idea that guys like me can write about.


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