Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way.

Six Flags Calls Off Cockroach-Eating Contest

Written by PETA | August 12, 2008
i76 / CC
Six Flags

Six Flags had been planning to include a live Madagascar Hissing Cockroach–eating challenge as part of their Halloween “Fright Fest” festivities.

So we wrote and explained that encouraging teenagers (or anyone!) to hurt and kill even the smallest life form “just for fun” can desensitize them to suffering in general. Besides, all insects, like them or not, play a role in our ecosystem. And there’s also the small matter of health risks like allergic reactions, nausea, and gastrointestinal distress—humans, you may realize, are not meant to eat giant hissing cockroaches.

Six Flags agreed! Six Flags public relations manager Sue Carpenter said, “We’re on to other Fright Fest events that do not include any living creatures!”

Roller coasters, Halloween, and no harm to animals? Sounds great to me!

We’re so glad that Six Flags has decided to pursue only animal-friendly events that we’re sending a small token of our appreciation to Ms. Carpenter—a box of vegan chocolate roaches—completely cruelty-free, maybe a little bit scary, and 100 percent delicious.

Written by Amanda Schinke

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  • Jes says:

    Does anyone know if Fiesta Texas has any Vegan food. My boyfriend and I are both Vegans and we got season passes as a gift and I wanted to know if there were any vegan friendly places to eat inside the park?

  • lynda downie says:

    Peta thanks for standing up for these little guys. And a nice gesture to thank Six Flags with the vegan chocolate cockroaches.

  • Christopher Cochran MD says:

    Mark Your knowledge of philosophy far outstretches my own. I completely agree with the fallacies you mention in the natural order argument. My perspective is largely based on my own physiology as a product of an evolutionary construct. I do not subscribe to nature as some deity or spirit. Rather it is what it is and I believe my physiology being naturally derived is one of an obligate omnivore. Thank you for your discussion. Interchanges like this are why I post here. I usually have to wade through a lot of zealotry to have these discussions.

  • Christopher Cochran MD says:

    Maya I do not disagree but just because I respect a cockroach doesn’t mean I can’t or shouldn’t eat one. I respect cockroaches for what they are but when the time comes they are fair game. I have enormous respect for all the creatures I eat. Living amongst them allows me a different level of respect. To not participate in this marvelous cycle of life and death makes me the equivalent of a visiting alien and a speciest on the highest level. And yes this eating contest trivializes the gift that nature provides and I do not endorse it.

  • Mark says:

    Christopher Thanks for your response. I’m glad that you are sincerely concerned with ethics and that you oppose the worst cruelty to animals that is inherent in factory farming. Your view is so much better than what most people support that it is barely something to criticize. However I thought I should mention why philosophers consider the natural order argument to be mistaken. Basically without a god since you are not religious either “nature” just describes the random genetic mutations that have been adapted in the course of evolutionary history. An “ought” can never be logically derived from this “is.” Doing so is a logical fallacy actually called the “isought fallacy.” Being social creatures we have evolved to imagine an “entitivity” to things such as that children will say “rocks exist for animals to scratch their backs” when adults can reason that rocks to not exist “for” anything. This it seems is the psychological basis for the feeling that parts of nature exist “for” something. Perhaps then one of the marks of civilization is precisely the ability to overcome “nature” rather than be ruled by it especially in morality. This is especially important and it is another example of why “nature” is not an ethical principle we really hold when you consider all of the unethical things that clearly have a biological basis such as racial prejudice outgroup hostility present in all human cultures and our closest relatives chimpanzees and sexual aggression to the point of rape. The harm principle which I described previously is what opposes those behaviors and hopefully it will help us evolve beyond a conceptual “natural order” that permits harm to other species. Thank you again for your sincere ethical concern enjoy the outdoors and since you’re interested in the topic if you get a chance take a read of one of my favorite books “Animal Liberation” by Peter Singer which is what influenced me to think about all this. Also Gary Francione’s book “Introduction to Animal Rights Your Child or the Dog” is a good supplement to Singer. Best

  • Maya, CVT says:

    Chris exactly we should eat meat if we are required to for survival. Putting aside the “should most people eat meat debate” I wonder if you would agree with this A contest to eat any living creature is just that a contest. Not at all required for health or survival. So I see no harm in PETA questioning the wisdom of it. In fact using an Earth creature for a frivilous contest seems downright selfish to me. I’m not saying that a cockroach should be treated to veterinary care and fancy housing like a dog. I’m saying that like Buddhist traditions we should teach our children respect for even the most “lowly” of creatures perhaps then they are less likely to abuse other animals or each other. Just my thoughts. ‘

  • Ed says:

    Are you sure the chocroaches are vegan? Nowhere on their site does it say that they are milkfree.

  • Travis says:

    And who exactly says humans are not supposed to eat bugs? Why is it that Americans believe that what we do is what everyone else should do? It is that classic American arrogance on display here which has unfortunately become the unmistakable calling card that the world over has come to despise. Most of the world population eats bugs and you consume millions of microbes which play a role in the ecosystem everyday. Prevarication swiftly removes what little credible weight this piece had to begin with.

  • Christopher Cochran MD says:

    Mark I appreciate your tone. Basically I do not believe the “natural order” argument is refuted. Having grown up in a hunting family I could try to pass this off as tradition but that wouldn’t be any argument just an excuse. I have always believed that I am no better or valuable than the simplest of creatures. I contend that to not participate in the food chain is a form of specieism as well. I do not anthropomorphize the suffering of animals as you do. Also I do not kill for pure sport. I kill animals for food and I do enjoy providing food for my family so I do enjoy hunting. I am always thankful when I do kill a wild animal and if I were religious I would thank god or nature or the woodland deities for allowing me to be a part of the greater natural scheme. I believe human animals are designed by evolution to require animal products in their diet and I refuse to give up that part of my health and well being to technology. You are able to be a vegan due to technology and I think that in the long run that is not as healthy as trying to eat foods in as close to their natural state as possible. By in large my diet is mostly vegetables. I try to avoid processed meat or plant products and I try to avoid poorly fed beeves pigs goats or any other domestic animals. I do not have any domestic animals save for my bird dog Oliver who is very thankful he doesn’t live with a vegan or in a city where he can’t live the way he does now. My ethos will not let me deny his or my deep seeded desire to hunt. I do not love killing I love hunting and all the benefits it provides me Oliver and the rest of my family. I give more of my time and money to pro animal wildlife endeavors than most peta members. I enjoy having my boots on dirt and abhor concrete. The human world is becoming a bad Charleton Heston movie. I choose not to “evolve” into this plastic society where nobody knows or cares where there plant and animal foods come from and everyone is in fear of dirt. Nothing is sweeter to me than the smell of my compost pile a frozen duck marsh or the slightly sweet must of a trout stream in winter. No sound is more musical than the rabbit ice climbing up from the Earth on a frosty early morning hunt. The Earth is generous. I live on and among this planet I do not wish otherwise. Regarding cockroaches I think eating cockroaches is fine. They have a somewhat crunchy nutty flavor another of natures gifts. I would hope that given the chance the cockroaches would eat me. I suspect they would. I do not favor eating contests though as I believe they promote gluttony and they are wasteful.

  • Daryl says:

    Bless you Christopher. Hopefully one day when you’re bigger you’ll understand.

  • vegan4animals says:

    Hey Chris if you really are smart enough to be an MD…maybe you can answer this question…mind you empathy 101 requires you to empathetically experience what another feels… does the cockroach experience fear and pain? and will it experience the loss of it’s life? if you’ve answered that question correctly then you’ll begin to realize that empathy requires us to not only to not harm others but to help them when we can. But empathy is really the apex of our existence this is why so many humans are unable to experience it fully. …the roach enjoys being a roach just as much as you enjoy being a human.

  • Mark says:

    Christopher People may never be able to fully empathize with any others human or nonhuman but this is not a reason against recognizing that others can feel pain and empathizing with pain itself. Insects may be sentient and if they are we should be able to empathize with them in the most fundamental ways. Why potentially cause unnecessary suffering? Also I have never heard you really respond to the basic argument for including other species in ethics. It is simply that all concepts of ethics from liberal to conservative ideologies and more important all of the greatest ethical theories from Rawls to Kant to Mill share the common thread that causing harm is inherently bad. This is called the “harm principle” the most basic principle in ethics. Because other animals are capable of being harmed in the form of suffering physically and psychologically to the same level of intensity that humans can our attitude of not taking their suffering seriously can be seem to be a form of prejudice similar to prejudices against groups of humans called “speciesism” by philosophers. Once we overcome this unquestioned assumption against taking other species seriously our treatment of billions of them becomes one of the most important ethical issues of our time. Most important of all once we take animals seriously in ethics even in the most basic ways how can we continue to consider them our property to use and horrendously harm as means to our most trivial ends? The “natural order” and “moral agency” arguments have all been refuted. What’s left? I couldn’t find a way to justify it anymore I realized it was all just excuses so I went vegan. Try it for 30 days or so and maybe you’ll be surprised.

  • Tabitha says:

    Meat eating morons. That’s just classy.

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    Christopher But isn’t that what empathy is all aboutputting yourself in another’s place. All insects try to avoid death at the hands et cetera of other beings.

  • Christopher Cochran MD says:

    Empathy 101? I have no ability to empathize with a cockroach as I have no experience being a cockroach. However I will politely disagree that it is cruel to kill cockroaches but I am one of the aforementioned meat eating morons. Does peta have a chapter on living in harmony with cockroaches? I believe it is wrong to insult food and the joy of eating it by having a mass quantity eating contest of any sort.

  • vegan4animals says:

    I don’t recommend a hissing cockroach feces eating contest but I discourage any sort of eating contest for that matter. DUH. Didn’t you know that all animals have feces inside their intestinal tract? This is how the meat eating morons get ecoli from eating meat. When they chop up an animal the feces gets chopped up and mixed in the meat. But never mind all of that…how about the fact that it is as cruel to kill a cow or cockroach as it is to kill a human animal. Each will experienced fear pain and each will experience the loss of all that they had their life. Just as it’s NOT okay to kill you then it is NOT okay to kill someone else. It’s basic empathy 101.

  • Megan Ford says:

    Now if only PETA could talk six flags into having food that is suitable for vegetariansvegans. I was so excited when Fiesta Texas had a johnny rockets the only problem…no veggie burgers.

  • Mark says:

    That was an excellent way to bring attention to the issue that insects may be sentient and that we ought to take them into ethical consideration as a result. Thank you Six Flags and I will be at one of your parks soon! However Cedar Point still beats Six Flags in my book. Kingda Ka my eye. D

  • Canaduck says:

    Ew thank goodness. It was nice of you to send them the chocolate roaches.

  • Christopher Cochran MD says:

    I am keen to know exactly what edict from what celestial voice has determined we are not meant to eat cockroaches. People all over the world eat bugs everyday. I do not agree with the contest but for very different reasons than you state. What are the health risks of eating a cockroach? Non that I know. Some people have allergic reactions to the feces of German Cockroaches. I don’t recommend a hissing cockroach feces eating contest but I discourage any sort of eating contest for that matter.

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    Good for them but when they heard of the possible health risks to participants they probably figured it wasn’t worth getting sued over. Still some minds have been opened. “Teaching a child not to step on a caterpillar is as valuable to the child as it is to the caterpillar.” Bradley Miller.