Animal rights group PETA demands ban on ‘disrespectful’ sporting terms such as ‘dead bird’, ‘worm-burner’ and ‘BULLSEYE’
- Campaign group PETA has a list of animal sporting terms it wants to be banned
- They include ‘worm-burner’, ‘hot dog’, ‘bullseye’ and ‘dead bird’, among others
Golfers may see the word ‘worm-burner’ as just a mildly eccentric sporting term for a shot which rolls along the ground.
But for earnest animal rights campaigners, it is cruel terminology which needs to be banned.
Badminton players should also never describe a shuttle hit out of play as a ‘dead bird’, they say, and in tennis, the ‘hot dog’ shot famously used by Nick Kyrgios and Roger Federer, where the ball is hit between the player’s legs, should instead be called a ‘vegan hot dog’.
Even the bullseye in darts should be renamed, lest anyone thinks it refers derogatorily to the eye of an actual bull.
Campaign group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has a list of sporting terms it now wants overhauled to avoid disrespect to animals.
‘Disrespectful’: In tennis, the ‘hot dog’ shot famously used by Nick Kyrgios and Roger Federer, where the ball is hit between the player’s legs, should be called a ‘vegan hot dog’, animal rights group PETA says. Pictured is Britain’s Andy Murray playing the shot at Wimbledon
Ahead of the Boat Race this past weekend, PETA wrote to British Rowing calling for an end to the obscure rowing term ‘catch a crab’, used for a faulty stroke in which the oar is under water for too long
Ahead of the Boat Race this past weekend, PETA also wrote to British Rowing calling for an end to the obscure rowing term ‘catch a crab’, used for a faulty stroke in which the oar is under water for too long.
Mark Davies, chair of British Rowing, shared the letter on Twitter, triggering much debate.
Toby Young, of the Free Speech Union, said: ‘This is a perfect example of over-reach by activists.
Animal sporting terms and PETA’s suggested replacements
Tennis: Hot dog / Vegan hot dog
Cricket: Featherbed / Mattress topper
Golf: Worm burner / Germ burner
Badminton: Dead bird / scuttle shuttle
Rowing: Catch a crab / Liberate a lobster
Boxing: Rabbit punch / Spine-breaker
Darts: Bullseye / Goldeneye
‘By trying to ban innocuous words and phrases which have been in use on golf courses and in village green cricket games for decades, PETA make themselves sound ridiculous.
‘Surely no one, not even the most fanatical animal rights activist, could seriously want tennis players to name a shot the ‘vegan hot dog’.’
Lee Monks, from the Plain English Campaign, said: ‘This really is the height of fatuous, facile pearl-clutching.
‘The charm – unless we’re immune to it – of distinctive sporting terms is their humour.
‘The idea that there might be some inherent cruelty in terms like ‘worm burner’ or ‘dead bird’ is ludicrous.
‘How many worms and birds are likely to take offence?
‘Sporting witticisms like ‘featherbed’ and ‘catch a crab’ are similarly completely innocuous.
‘The choice of alternatives is pretty embarrassing.’
Animal terms abound across sport, and some are overtly violent, like the ‘rabbit punch’ in boxing.
Giving someone a rabbit punch, which is a sharp, dangerous hit to the back of the neck, is illegal, and campaigners want the term, which comes from a rabbit-hunting technique, to be banned too.
They are also unhappy, however, with far more benign terms, like the ‘featherbed’ in cricket, which is a slow, soft pitch with a predictable bounce.
Because duck and geese feathers help to support the foie gras industry, and in some cases can be painfully plucked from birds which are still living, PETA suggests cricketers should abandon the term featherbed and replace it with ‘mattress topper’.
Elisa Allen, from PETA, said: ‘Words matter, and sporting terms that normalise violence or mock the misery of animals, even unconsciously, should get a modern overhaul.
‘Choosing more inclusive and respectful language in relation to our fellow living, feeling beings is the truly sporting thing to do.’
Mark Davies, chair of British Rowing, shared the letter on Twitter, triggering much debate
She said: ‘Athletes, commentators, and fans alike would surely smile rather than cringe if rowers ‘liberated a lobster’ rather than ‘catching a crab’, as captured crabs often suffer pain when their legs are damaged or torn off by workers pulling them from fishing nets.
‘And since throwing a ‘rabbit punch’ is already banned in boxing and other fighting sports, why not also retire the phrase – derived from the barbaric way hunters kill rabbits by attempting to sever their spinal cords.’
PETA says animal words in sport are examples of ‘speciesism’, which they compare to racism and sexism.
Among their suggested replacements, rather odd phrase ‘germ-burner’ refers to a golf ball burning off the germs from the ground, instead of worms.
Frank Furedi, emeritus professor of sociology at the University of Kent, said: ‘This is linguistic engineering by PETA who want to rob us of all our metaphors and make people feel guilty for things there is no reason to have guilt about.
‘I don’t think there are many fools who object to the use of the word bullseye, but PETA are determined to control language in order to make their extreme position seem credible.’
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