Maryland crab restaurant hits back at PETA's billboard with its own

A Maryland crab restaurant responded to a People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals' (PETA) “Go Vegan” billboard by putting up one of its own.

Jimmy’s Famous Seafood in Baltimore, Md., erected its own billboard, reading: “SteaMEd crabs. Here to stay. Get famous.”

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The capitalized “ME” references billboards put up by PETA near several Baltimore seafood restaurants, telling Maryland residents “I’m ME, Not MEAT. See the individual. Go vegan," next to a picture of a blue crab.

John Minadakis of Jimmy’s Famous Seafood took particular offense to the billboard, which was put up right before the Baltimore Seafood Festival happening later this month.

“As small business owners, we felt compelled to defend our history and livelihood from this unprovoked attack,” he told Fox News. “My father built this landmark with his bare hands. Our family was raised in this business, and literally grew up on the second floor of the building.”

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Minadakis told Fox News he was moved to put a stop to what he considers PETA’s “blank checkbook” that is responsible for putting “countless Americans out of work” and “targeting industries from coast to coast.”

In a statement to Fox News, PETA defended their marketing tactics.

“No compassionate person would boil an animal alive. Just like humans, crabs feel pain and experience fear, have unique personalities, and value their own lives, but a PETA investigation has shown that they endure agonizing deaths in order to be used for dinner — so 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,” said PETA's executive vice president, Tracy Reiman.

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But Minadakis and other Baltimore refuse to let PETA have the final say on an industry that they say defines Maryland.

“Maryland’s backbone is the crab industry, and we were not going to sit idly on the sidelines while they attempted to cripple the local economy. We rolled up our sleeves, got to work, saved up our money, and erected the billboard. We will not be bullied into submission by PETA,” Minadakis said.

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This is not the first time Minadakis has taken a stab at PETA. On Twitter, the business owner poked fun at the vegan organization, replacing the group’s initials to mean “People Eating Tasty Animals.”

Alexandra Deabler is a Lifestyle writer and editor for Fox News.