PETA billboard in Maryland encourages people to 'go vegan,' stop eating crabs

A new billboard in Baltimore, Maryland, has gotten a crabby response from some of the city’s seafood-lovers.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) recently posted a billboard that encourages people to ditch crabs and “go vegan" near several seafood restaurants in the city's Inner Harbor neighborhood.

The billboard, which features a blue crab, reads “I’m ME. Not MEAT. See the individual. Go vegan.”

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In a statement, the animal advocacy group said that sign comes “as part of a nationwide campaign to encourage diners to leave crabs and other sea animals off dinner plates and in their aquatic homes.”

“Just like humans, crabs feel pain and fear, have unique personalities, and value their own lives,” PETA executive vice president Tracy Reiman said in the statement. “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.”

But many Marylanders aren’t on board with the group’s message.

“It’s part of the city’s history, you know what I mean?” Gerard Brown, who eats crab, told CBS Baltimore. “Without seafood, there is no Baltimore.”

“This is a bold play in Baltimore,” one Twitter user wrote.

Restaurant owners, too, have expressed their discontent with the billboard.

“I don’t think they knew what they are getting themselves into when they put that up,” John Minadakis, of Jimmy’s Famous Seafood, told the news station.

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The billboard will remain in place for a month, just in time for the Baltimore Seafood Festival in September.

Similarly, earlier this month, PETA pushed a nearly identical billboard in Maine that featured a lobster. The marketing push came just ahead of the state’s lobster festival in Rockland.