Why PETA Is Asking Red Lobster To Return Its Rare Lobster Find

Something quite rare occurred in July, 2022 in Hollywood, Florida. Employees at Red Lobster noticed that one of their lobsters was not like the others. It was a brilliant orange, and the employees, led by Red Lobster manager, Mario Roque, embarked on a campaign to save the rare crustacean's life, according to a press release from Red Lobster. Roque and his crew named the female lobster "Cheddar," after the restaurant's beloved Cheddar Bay Biscuits. Roque said, "Sometimes ordinary miracles happen, and Cheddar is one of them."

Because bright orange lobsters are so rare — about 1 in 30 million — the Red Lobster staff knew Cheddar deserved a special home. They reached out to Ripley's Aquarium of Myrtle Beach, whose new Marine Science Research Center was delighted to welcome Cheddar. In a similar turn of events in 2021, OdySea Aquarium in Scottsdale, Arizona got a call from Nobu Scottsdale when the restaurant staff found their own pumpkin-hued crustacean. While lobsters can live for up to 100 years, growing up to three feet in length, rare orange lobsters like the two who now reside in aquariums in Arizona and South Carolina would be far more vulnerable to predators if they were returned to the wild.

PETA strongly disagrees

According to Delish, the animal rights organization, PETA vigorously disagrees with Red Lobster's decision to re-home Cheddar in an aquarium. In a statement emailed to Delish, PETA wrote, "Most lobsters turn a bright reddish hue after they've been plunged into boiling water and died in agony, but Cheddar is ruddy by nature, and she deserves to be returned to her ocean home instead of sentenced to a life of deprivation in an aquarium tank." PETA continues: "Lobsters are individuals who use complicated signals to explore their surroundings and journey 100 miles or more each year—and PETA encourages everyone to honor every lobster and other sea life by choosing to eat fish-free fillets, faux lobster, crabless cakes, and other vegan vittles." 

Cheddar's relocation isn't the first time PETA and Red Lobster have squared off. In May of 2021, PETA chose a location right next to a Red Lobster in Charleston, South Carolina to put up a billboard ad featuring a lobster with the tagline, "I'm ME, not MEAT." 

At this time, Red Lobster is standing behind their decision to move Cheddar to a new home. Hopefully, visitors to Ripley's Aquarium in Myrtle Beach will enjoy her unusual hue and fasinating story for many years to come.