Real men still eat meatloaf at diner

Message: Its `Eating Meat' billboard may not be getting the kind of attention an animal rights group intended.

October 13, 1999|By Rob Hiaasen | Rob Hiaasen,SUN STAFF

They have finally gone too far: insulting one man's meatloaf. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has attacked Paul Christ's bread and butter -- his $2.65 meatloaf lunch special.

Meatloaf causes impotence?! Say that to our faces!!

"Eating Meat Can Cause Impotence" says the latest, in-your-face billboard from PETA, the Virginia-based animal rights group now with a Baltimore connection. The billboard is plastered on a storage building on E. Monument Street, seductively overlooking Paul Christ's Dog House restaurant, where the motto is, "Our Meatloaf is Made -- Not Accumulated." Hot dogs, baked ham and roast beef are on the menu, too.

"I've been eating meatloaf all my life, and I had twins," Christ says, before posing the question du jour to a line of customers yesterday. "Any of you guys impotent?" Of course, not. "No way, baby! Dog House meatloaf is better than Viagra!"

The billboard, which went up Monday, shows a bikini-clad vegetarian named Melynda DuVal (we're serious) clutching a string of sausage links. "I threw a party but the cattlemen couldn't come," reads the billboard. PETA, known for its anti-fur campaigns featuring naked celebrities, cites "research data" linking meat-eating to impotence.

"I have never heard of such a thing," says Peter Beilenson, Baltimore City's health commissioner. There's no research much less any proof that links meat-eating to impotence, he says. "You can't make that statement."

PETA did. Furthermore, the group says Baltimore is the only city in a cattle-ranching state to agree to show the small billboard, which can be seen but not easily read by motorists on Interstate 83. "PETA hopes to get a rise out of carnivores with its new campaign targeting impotence in meat-eaters," the group's press release says.

On the contrary, "the meatloaf gets you going!" Christ says.

The billboard also happens to overlook the Baltimore City Detention Center and the Maryland Correctional Adjustment Center, a k a Supermax. Yesterday, bystanders outside the maximum security facility could hear the invisible inmates holler down to the free world about the merits of Ms. DuVal and her sausage links.

"The prisoners are going to riot over there," jokes Rafael Lopez, who had just polished off his Dog House meatloaf.

"There's nothing else for them to look at," Christ pipes in.

So, at the very least, PETA has succeeded in providing a valuable public service to the men of Supermax, who can spend their days and nights only dreaming of Dog House meatloaf and the vegetarian temptress on the Baltimore billboard.

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