PETA requests name change for Town of Slaughter Beach

An animal rights organization is suggesting a name change for a Delaware town after officials say the name has negative connotations. Organization officials say they would contribute to the cost of new signage if the change was made.

The Town of Slaughter Beach says on Monday, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) sent a letter to the town's mayor calling for a name change. In the letter, PETA's President says in part, "I'm writing on behalf of PETA and our more than 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide—including many in Delaware—with a suggestion: Before the end of the horseshoe crab spawning season, would you consider changing the name of Slaughter Beach to Sanctuary Beach? Not only is this a more compassionate alternative to slaughter, it would also reflect the beach's status as an official horseshoe crab sanctuary. We would be happy to contribute to the cost of new signage if you agree to change your town's name."

On Wednesday, Mayor Harry Ward tells 47ABC that he received the letter five minutes before it was released to media outlets. The mayor says he has received more than 25 emails from residents asking him to stand up to the animal rights organization. Mayor Ward says, " Presumptuous, heavy-handed, and self-serving. If the community wanted to change the name, then the town would look into it, but to have an outside entity, that's not what we want, but it is in the minutes so we will talk about it at the next town council."

According to the town's website, Slaughter Beach was founded in 1681 and incorporated in 1931. The website states several theories for how the name originated including a small creek named Slaughter Creek which is shown on early maps and the first postmaster for the area had the last name Slaughter. 

This name change proposal is apparently included in the minutes for the next town council meeting.

Below is the complete letter that was sent to the Mayor of Slaughter Beach:

"May 1, 2018

The Honorable Harry Ward
Mayor of Slaughter Beach 

Dear Mayor Ward, 

I'm writing on behalf of PETA and our more than 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide—including many in Delaware—with a suggestion: Before the end of the horseshoe crab spawning season, would you consider changing the name of Slaughter Beach to Sanctuary Beach? Not only is this a more compassionate alternative to slaughter, it would also reflect the beach's status as an official horseshoe crab sanctuary. We would be happy to contribute to the cost of new signage if you agree to change your town's name. 

Whether the town is named after a stream, the slaughter of natives, or the tides that leave many horseshoe crabs stranded and vulnerable to the hot sun and predators, the term "slaughter" is defined as killing animals for food or killing people or animals in cruel and violent ways. Unfortunately, many people don't look deeply into the origins of words and names, but that doesn't diminish the negative connotations—especially for impressionable young minds—of a word like "slaughter," which conjures up images of dead and dying animals. This imagery is quite contrary to your reputation as a family-friendly sanctuary town. 

There are many beaches with names that refer to the local marine life, which not only makes residents and potential visitors aware that the animals are there but also highlights the importance of respecting them. Examples include Long Island's Crab Meadow Beach, which is part of a voluntary horseshoe crab monitoring network; Turtle Bay in Oahu, which is named after the green sea turtles who used to lay their eggs on the beach; and Playa Tortugas (Turtle Beach) in Cancún, which is known for its sea turtle nesting season.

"Sanctuary Beach" is a kind name honoring compassion and the preservation of life. It would reflect your efforts to provide a safe habitat for these magnificent, ancient animals and would no doubt be well received by residents and tourists alike.  

With the horseshoe crab already designated as your official town animal and Delaware's official marine animal, it shorely makes sense to take it a step further and adopt the friendlier, more accurate Sanctuary Beach as your town's new name. Thank you for your consideration. 

Very truly yours, 

Ingrid E. Newkirk
President"
 

Categories: Delaware, Local News