savethefrogs

Children gather to protest the selling of frog legs at Uncle Julio's restaurant. Image from savethefrogs.com.

Here’s a rather cheerful story that made my day. First a little background information.  Frog legs imported for consumption are coming from just a few places and are known carries of the chytrid fungus, which is the amphibian killing fungus that has been moving around our planet. Since 1979, 200 amphibian species have gone extinct (you might remember my gastric brooding frog post), which is not a normal rate of extinction by any means. 100 of these extinctions are thought to have been caused by the chytrid fungus. The exportation/importation of frogs for food allows for the spread of this amphibian killing fungus, as some 62% of the bullfrogs imported to the US are known to be infected with it. Even the water they are housed in can spread the fungus. Furthermore, importing frogs  has led to an abundance of escapees, which are invasive and compete with and consume other amphibians.

Given these facts, having frog legs on menus is not exactly sustainable. So much so that the California Fish and Game banned the importation of non-native frogs for food in March of this year. (yay!) Still, the rest of the country continues to import frogs. However, save the frogs has been working to eliminate the demand for frog legs by putting pressure on restaurants and grocery stores to stop carrying them. They had a huge win recently, when Wegmans 76 store supermarket chain announced that they will remove frog legs from their store for environmental reasons. They are the first supermarket chain to do so! Yay for them!

Also, they have had a few successful protests at Uncle Julio’s restaurants, including the one pictured above in which elementary and middle school students educated Uncle Julio’s potential customers about the harmful effects of importing frogs and Uncle Julio’s contribution to it. It truly makes me happy to see kids speaking up for the world they will have to clean up.

For the record, I’m not a fan of Uncle Julio’s, as they not only sell frog legs, but in previous protests have even impersonated cops to try to get rid of people simply using their first amendment rights in a public space.

If you are feeling so inclined and wish to aid these kids without flying to the east coast, you can e-mail Uncle Julio’s CEO Todd Conger at todd.conger@unclejulios.com or call him at 972-554-6886 and let him know how you feel!

And once again, I would highly recommend checking out save the frogs, which continues to work for the frogs and all amphibians through research, education and legislation. You can even sign up for their e-mail list, which will send you wonderful happy little victories like this one and cool frog art.

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