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Baltimore Citizens Have a Lot to Say About This New PETA Billboard

PETA took a bold stance against this town.


A Baltimore, Maryland, seafood restaurant is feuding with animal rights organization PETA ... via billboard.

PETA started things when the organization placed a large billboard advocating against eating crabs — one of the staple industries in Baltimore.

Their sign encouraged people to consider that crabs have feelings too.

Shortly after, Maryland restaurant Jimmy's Famous Seafood countered with another sign.

They parodied the "me" part of PETA's sign.

Then Jimmy's added social media sparring to the equation.

Per USA Today, both signs arrived close to the Baltimore Seafood Festival in September, and Baltimore citizens have taken notice.

They have a lot to say about the attack on the local seafood industry, which brings in millions of dollars every year, according to the Baltimore Sun.

Baltimore City resident Amanda Tisler said the billboard may have actually had the opposite effect that PETA wanted.

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"Not sure what PETA was thinking when they decided to target local staples like this," she said. "Judging by my local friends' [Facebook] posts, I think the ad actually attributed to a large increase in crab sales, just for spite!"

Other residents also think PETA hit a little too close to home to be effective with this campaign.

Baltimore County resident Matthew Celentano says of the controversy, "I get what PETA is trying to do, but talk about a complete lack of understanding of Maryland tradition and culture, let alone the waste of resources that could have been devoted to causes in which the reaction wouldn't have been so united and condemning."

Baltimore City resident Laura Van Wert thought it was a "brilliant" marketing move for PETA to get everyone talking about, well, PETA, but also thinks it was out of touch for the area.

"It misses the mark for me, and many of my friends and neighbors. Crabs are such a big part of our local economy and cultural that it's an uphill battle to sway public opinion," she said. "Plus, it's absolutely silly to try to give them an individual identity. We don't live in 'The Little Mermaid.'"

However, Baltimore resident Bryan Barnes appreciated that PETA was trying to educate people.

"I was born and raised in Maryland eating crabs from a young age and was told that the nervous system of shellfish wasn't robust enough to feel pain when they were boiled alive," Barnes said. "Billboards like this, along with advocacy groups like FishFeel.org, help to share the cruel and inhuman truth about crab and shellfish production."

It is a common misconception that shellfish like crabs can't feel pain.

peta crab billboard

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According to TIME magazine, studies on crabs have indicated that they likely are able to feel when something hurts — like, you know, being boiled alive.

PETA says that this heated conversation is actually quite fine by them, because it keeps the issue in people's minds.

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"If PETA's billboard encouraged even one Baltimorean to view these complex crustaceans as individuals and go vegan, then it worked like a charm in our mind," PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman said to Fox News.

Baltimore is actually not the only city PETA plans to deploy this campaign in.

According to CBS News, there's already a lobster-themed sign in Maine.

USA Today reported that other billboards will focus on cities with stakes in the fish, chicken and cow industries.

So it seems like the local pushback on PETA is only just beginning. But no amount of taunting in the form of social media posts or competing billboards is slowing them down. They're used to this, and they welcome it.

"We clearly hit a nerve," PETA representative Amber Canavan told USA Today. "If we hadn't, people wouldn't be talking about it like this."

And as long as they're talking, perhaps the crabs stand a chance.

peta crab billboard

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