Why this billboard is causing controversy

Why this billboard is causing controversy

A seafood restaurant is selling beer called “PETA Tears,” another strike in advertising warfare with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

Jimmy’s Famous Seafood in Baltimore, MD threw a Wednesday launch party to celebrate its new product and the one-year anniversary of a feud with PETA over the right to eat crabmeat.

“Dear PETA, your tears are delicious — and we’re sharing them with the world,” the restaurant tweeted last week, with an invite to its “PETA Tears Keg Tapping Party.”

“...This golden masterpiece (4.9% ABV) is a limited time release, and is perfectly paired with steamed crabs — and all other seafood! Turns out that their tears are in fact quite delicious!” read the invite. A percentage of the profits benefit the Show Your Soft Side, a charity that encourages empathy toward animals.

The public conflict between the two business started in August. PETA erected a billboard featuring a picture of a crab and the words, “I’m ME, Not Meat: See the individual. Go vegan” a few weeks before the annual Baltimore Seafood Festival to which Jimmy’s provides crabmeat.

To John Minadakis, the son of “Jimmy” who now co-owns the restaurant, the ad (located only minutes from the restaurant) was malicious.

“It seemed like PETA was coming after us,” the 36-year-old tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

“But they learned that wasn’t wise.”

Afterward, Tracy Reiman, the executive vice president of PETA, told the Baltimore Sun, "PETA's billboard aims to give Charm City residents some food for thought about sparing sensitive marine animals the agony of being boiled alive or crushed to death in fishing nets simply by going vegan.”

Last year, Jimmy’s evened the score with a billboard that read, “SteaMEd crabs. Here to stay. Get Famous.”

Since the competing billboards, the animal-rights group and the restaurant have hit each on Twitter, with the public glued to every jab.

Mr Minadakis tells Yahoo Lifestyle that Jimmy’s started developing the beer based on rumours that PETA would launch another ad attack.

When customers suggested a PETA-themed beverage, Mr Minadakis cleared the idea with his attorney. The beer was served at the Wednesday launch party, which hundreds of people attended at a local banquet hall.

Of the beer, PETA President Ingrid Newkirk tells Yahoo Lifestyle in a statement, “We're flattered, but wouldn't adding vegan options to the menu be a much easier way to stay relevant? We appreciate that a portion of the proceeds from the beer launch party will help dogs and cats—we just wish that the owners of Jimmy's would extend that compassion to all living beings, not just the ones they don't care to eat.”

Mr Minadakis says PETA’s agenda is “short-sighted and forcing a lifestyle on people” in a local economy dependent on the crab industry.

“Maryland is proud of their place in the crab industry and to take that away would be crippling,” he tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

And Jimmy’s anticipates pay-back from PETA.

“They might strike, but we are a proud, hardworking bunch and we don’t scare much.”

Do you have a story tip? Email: newsroomau@yahoonews.com.

You can also follow us on Facebook, download the Yahoo News app from iTunes or Google Play and stay up to date with the latest news with Yahoo’s daily newsletter. Sign up here.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting