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New PETA campaign to rename fish 'sea kittens'

PETA, the group behind the "I'd Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur" campaign, has a new target -- fish eaters. In attempt to pressure consumers with guilt, the group wants fish to be rebranded as "sea kittens."

According to "Sea Kitten Facts" on its Web site , fish feel pain and affection, they enjoy being petted and they communicate with one another. "Who could possibly want to put a hook through a sea kitten?"

The rebranding strategy is similar to that used by the organization when it referred to McDonald's as "McCruelty" and Burger King as "Murder King."

The sea kitten campaign Web site, which targets children with cartoon-like illustrations and under-the-sea sound effects, includes a petition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to "stop promoting the hunting of sea kittens" (4,263 signatures as of this writing), bedtime stories (What keeps sea kittens up at night?) and the sale of sea kitten merchandise. Kids can even design their own sea kitten, name it, attire it with a princess dress and tiara and e-mail it to friends.

"People don't seem to like fish," a notice on the site reads. "They're slithery and slimy... Of course, if you look at it another way, what all this really means is that fish need to fire their PR guy... When your name can also be used as a verb that means driving a hook through your head, it's time for a serious image makeover."

Is the group playing dirty by targeting the emotions of impressionable youngsters?

PETA is well-known for its no-holds-barred activism, including the infamous red-paint attacks on people wearing fur coats and its 2003 "Holocaust on Your Plate" campaign, in which the group compared factory farming to the Nazi genocide. Some campaigns have failed but others, like "McCruelty" and "Murder King" have raised awareness and even brought change, the group says, taking credit for new animal welfare practices at the two fast food companies.

The sea-kitten site includes a link to Fishinghurts.com , another PETA endeavor, which addresses worldwide environmental concerns about over-fishing, and several sea kitten "facts" such as "some sea kittens tend well-kept gardens" and "A University of Edinburgh study found that sea kittens can retain information that they learned up to 11 months earlier, which makes them cuter and smarter than the president of the United States!"

Check the Sea Kitten Web site for yourself and let us know what you think.

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