PETA wants to protect these cockroaches, which are being served in the Six Flags buffet line. To PETA, an exterminator must be like Idi Amin.

PETA, Don't You Have Anything Better to Do?

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals usually protests against the fur and cosmetics industries' abuse of animals. Yesterday it took up the mighty cause of protecting Madagascar hissing cockroaches. They're being gobbled by crazy teenagers at Six Flags Over Texas, who eat one of the things in exchange for line-jumping privileges. PETA told Reuters Tuesday that it had been "flooded with calls from children, adults and even anonymous employees of Six Flags" opposing the marketing gimmick. At the park in Illinois, participants can compete to break the world cockroach-eating record and win season VIP passes, allowing them year-long line-jumping privileges.

The cockroaches grow up to three inches and, well, they hiss. If I saw one of these things on my kitchen floor at 1 a.m., it would have but one fate: CRUNCH. I have a sister who would capture the evolutionary marvel and buy it a condo. Others—people who live far away—may consider them delicacies. But I'm a cat-and-dog, bread-and-cheese kind of person. So...squish. Consider me PETA's Public Enemy No. 1.

PETA feels that Madagascar hissing cockroaches deserve protection, so they have come out against Six Flags Inc. from dishing out the insects at the Arlington park and 11 other parks it owns throughout Canada and the U.S. "Insects do not deserve to be eaten alive, especially for a gratuitous marketing gimmick," PETA spokeswoman Jackie Vergerio told a reporter.

Pshhaw, said a spokesman for Six Flags. Or something like that. Six Flags mouthpiece (and beloved folk-rock singer-songwriter, or not) James Taylor told Reuters that the only protests they'd had so far was from people who couldn't get on the list to chomp down on the crispy critters since not all 30 parks it owns are participating. Besides, the cockroaches have a high nutritional value and are raised in a sterile environment.

Just in case you were wondering, the world record for eating the buggers is 36 in one minute, a remarkable feat accomplished in 2001 by Ken Edwards, of Derbyshire, England. Ken, PETA hates you. --Glenna Whitley

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