PETA to Flora-Bama: Please stop using real fish in Mullet Toss

PERDIDO KEY, Fla. (WKRG) — People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has a request for The Flora-Bama Lounge, Package, & Oyster Bar on Monday: to change its Mullet Toss tradition.

In the letter, PETA requested the Flora-Bama replace the dead fish typically tossed across the state line with realistic, reusable rubber fish.

Man tosses a dead mullet during The Flora-Bama's popular Mullet Toss.
(News 5 photo)

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PETA said it would even donate the rubber fish.

“The group is also offering to cater the event with tasty vegan fish sandwiches that spare animals a violent death and don’t come with the mercury, iodine, sewage, and other contaminants that real fish contain,” a release from PETA said.

The letter was sent just days before the event with the Mullet Toss scheduled to start Friday and roll through the weekend.

“Every fish whose body is treated like a hacky sack at this event was once an individual who had a life precious to them, swam free, had feelings, and didn’t want to die,” PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said. “PETA wants to help modernize the moment with fabulous fake fish that no one had to die for.”

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Here is the full PETA letter to The Flora-Bama owner John McInnis III:

April 22, 2024

John McInnis III


The Flora-Bama Lounge, Package, & Oyster Bar

Dear Mr. McInnis:

I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals—PETA entities have more than 9 million members and supporters globally, including hundreds of thousands across Florida and Alabama—with a fintastic idea to modernize the Flora-Bama Mullet Toss: We would never be so frank as to suggest that only a lout throws a trout or only a sod throws a cod … but, well, there is, as you know, a certain yahoo stigma attached to this event, something we can cure. What if you make it all-inclusive—yup, even welcome vegans to enjoy the moment—by using fancy rubber fish instead of smelly, decomposing real ones? If you agree, we’ll donate reusable fake fish for you to hand out and cast a tray of tasty vegan fish sandwiches your way for you to sell or give to participants.

It’s no toss-up: Whether some people like to think about it or not, fish—like you, me, and all other animals—have distinct personalities and experience fear, pain, and affection. Studies show that fish can recognize themselves in mirrors and photographs, are self-aware, and communicate with each other using complex sounds. Let’s face it: Every fish thrown by a Flora-Bama Mullet Toss participant was an individual who suffered greatly and was violently slaughtered before being used in this disrespectful way.

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We’re not here to confishcate the fun: Throwing a rubber or plastic fish, rather than a dead one, would be as fun, challenging, and enjoyable but also positive. A first-ever fish-friendly fling could even lure our mascot Freeda Fish to line up to get in on the act. Will you please mullet over?

Thank you for your consideration. We look forward to your response.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid Newkirk


PETA President Ingrid Newkirk

This is a developing story, and News 5 will update it with any comments from McInnis.

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