"Cut class, not frogs"

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals' new Web site tutors teenage animal-rights warriors how to resist dissection in biology class and mystery meat in the cafeteria.

By Katharine Mieszkowski

Published October 21, 2002 10:15PM (EDT)

It's a Web site that probably even the most autocratic of high school principals wouldn't think to censor in the school library. But they'll wish they had when newly minted 15-year-old pleather-wearing, fact-sheet-waving PETA activists start lecturing them on the horrors of amphibian dissection.

The new People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals site for teens makes fighting for animal rights into a game, awarding points to the members of its "street team" for taking direct action. Order a few hundred "Cut class, not frogs" stickers, for 200 points. Plaster them all over your notebooks and locker, and send PETA a picture of your sloganeering handiwork: 1,000 points.

Oh, and when the other kids in your class are butchering pickled green once-hopping things, all in the name of learning, the site suggests spending the day at a nature preserve "observing frogs in the wild." Try feeding this line to your biology teacher when he asks why you skipped class: "You can learn way more from living frogs than from cutting up their carcasses."

On the site's message boards, kids swap fashion tips about vegan skateboarding-shoe companies and how to get your school cafeteria to serve vegetarian lunches.

"I've been a vegetarian for almost two weeks now " brags one poster on the bulletin boards of the PETA2 Web site for kids. But her mom is still serving pork chops for dinner. "Is there any way I can make my parents believe that I'm doing this for me?" she laments. The other denizens suggest bringing some PETA fact sheets about vegetarianism to the dinner table.

An interview with the grand-daddy of pop vegetarianism, Morrissey, Mr. "Meat Is Murder" himself, reveals this inspiring gem about why he went vegetarian more than 30 years ago: "If you love animals, obviously it doesnt make sense to hurt them." He says that there is no good argument for eating meat, including "It's tasty," because "its only tasty once you garnish it and you put salt and pepper and you cook it and you have to do 300 things to it to disguise its true taste. If you put garnishes on a chair or fabric it would probably taste quite nice."

Next time Mom serves up pork chops, just tell her you'd prefer a piece of the sofa with your ketchup, thanks.

Katharine Mieszkowski

Katharine Mieszkowski is a senior writer for Salon.

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