PETA’s Attempt to Dissuade Sushi Eaters Backfires on X

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) prompted a backlash on Twitter when it urged people not to eat crab-based sushi meals. The post features a sad-looking cartoon crab who pleads, “Please, don’t make me die for your sushi.” However, Twitter’s context-adding facility attached notes to the post, highlighting that “most crab meat is an imitation of crab” and is usually made from a white fish called Kani.

Additionally, Twitter pointed out that PETA had “illegally used a font licensed exclusively to Apple.”

Social media users appeared to mock PETA, which did not seem perturbed and continued to post urging people to avoid the traditional Japanese menu on International Sushi Day. It supplied recipe ideas for vegan sushi dishes and described how “ground meat” options are prepared. These are made from a substance known as Surimi, PETA writes, which contains “fish body parts ground into a paste.” 

Virginia-based PETA, founded in 1980 and boasting nine million members worldwide, has long made efforts to present fish and sea creatures as sentient, intelligent, and sensitive and urge people to reconsider eating them. The group began campaigning on behalf of fish twenty years ago and encouraged people to see them as similar to cats or dogs. 

Experts, however, suggested the campaign contained inaccurate propaganda. James Rose, a neuroscientist at the University of Wyoming, said that while fish can be fascinating creatures, the notion that they are self-aware or experience suffering as many larger land animals do is untrue. Rose argues that fish do not feel pain, which PETA fiercely disputes. 

Oxford University researcher Theresa Burt de Perera sided with PETA and said there is evidence that fish note and remember their surroundings. University of Edinburgh biologist Culum Brown agrees and concludes that their “cognitive powers match or exceed” those of land animals, vertebrates, and non-human primates. “Most people dismiss fish as dimwitted pea-brains, yet this is a great fallacy,” he said.