CLAIM

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) "rescued" a number of lobsters headed to dinner plates before promptly killing them all by releasing them into lethal freshwater in Nebraska. See Example( s )

EXAMPLES
Collected via e-mail, December 2016

Allegedly, PETA activists bought all the lobsters in a Nebraska restaurant and released them into the Missouri River, which killed the lobsters since the river isn't saltwater. PETA lobsters nebraska I've been recently hearing something that I heard before. PETA bought and freed many lobsters in Nebraska and set them free in the Missouri river. Lobsters are a saltwater species and the river is, of course, freshwater....so the lobsters died. Any truth to this?
UNPROVEN

RATING

UNPROVEN

ORIGIN

On 14 December 2016, the Facebook page “Occupy Democrats Logic” (not to be confused with “Occupy Democrats“) published the screenshot reproduced above, alongside the following claim about People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and some lobsters they attempted to save:

PETA came to Nebraska and bought a bunch of our live lobsters and freed them onto the Missouri River.

The Missouri River is freshwater.

Lobsters are saltwater.

Yeah, they died.

Thanks, PETA.

The original post depicted in the screenshot was dated 29 March, but without a year. Also missing: the name of the fishmonger, identifying information about the bungled lobster rescue, or any other details that would help find out more about the issue.

On Twitter, no versions of this particular claim existed before 13 December 2016, but earlier iterations gave it the flavor of an urban legend:

Lobsters are indeed unable to survive in freshwater, and the Missouri River is a freshwater body. However, comments made by the Facebook page’s operators suggested that the claim was shared as a joke or parable about PETA and its associates, and not as a reflection of a real-life incident:


We asked PETA via Twitter whether there was any truth to the tale, but did not receive a response. Meanwhile, as participants on forum threads discussed the claim during its December 2016 circulation, we found no information (either in news reports or anecdotes) suggesting that this particular story existed before early December 2016.

The “lobsters in Nebraska” rumor is one of a constellation of claims that PETA engages in behavior that is negligently or purposely harmful to the animals they profess to care deeply about. But (as with earlier rumors of the same thematic basis) there is no evidence the described lobster abuse took place, either incidentally or regularly.

Sources:

Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NESFC).   “Lobster FAQs: Can A Lobster Be Kept Alive In Fresh Water With Ice?.”
    Accessed 14 December 2016.