PETA has officially launched a campaign for the re-branding of fish as "sea kittens," hoping that if consumers view something as adorable, they are less likely to eat it.
First of all, I don't think linguistics fall under PETA's jurisdiction. I refuse to believe that they think for one minute that they are going to take a word that has been in use for thousands of years and change it. Once you sift through the cutesy sea kitten bedtime stories and Sammy the Sea Kitten Plush toys on the PETA site, you eventually find the underlying agenda, which is to end the Fish and Wildlife Service's promotion of fishing.
So basically, the "sea kitten campaign" is a badly veiled media stunt aimed to simply draw attention to PETA's opposition to commercial and farm fishing. And in the process, they are hoping to grab the support of a few consumers who are either young enough or impressionable enough to make their meal choices based on food's level of adorableness.
The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is a historic organization with numerous responsibilities, including protecting endangered species, managing migratory birds, and conserving and restoring wetlands. It's Division of Fisheries and Habitat Conservation is designed to conserve and restore habitats to ensure that fish populations are sustained for the benefit of current and future generations of Americans.
PETA claims "the promotion of sea kitten hunting is a glaring contradiction of FWS' mission to ‘conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats.'" Unfortunately, what PETA left out of this quote is the last few words of the FWS mission, which are, "for the continuing benefit of the American people." FWS clearly understands the economic, environmental and recreational benefits of fishing, and is doing its part to put the programs and resources in place to make sure fishing is done responsibly. The FWS most likely does not have time to entertain banter from organizations claiming that the country should stop fishing because fish feel pain.
Does this stunt help garner media attention for PETA? Yes. However, what it also does is further discredit an organization which could potentially have valid arguments, by hurling the organization right over the line of absurdity.
Along those lines, I think I'm going to change the term "magazine ads" to "print puppies" – cause really, who could turn away a guy selling print puppies?