People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is at it again. They have introduced a new veggie mascot, Kernel Corn, to target school children.

You can spot the new 7-foot-tall corncob wearing a colonel’s hat. The Kernel Corn character is pegged to talk with kids and hand out information to “counteract the meat, egg and dairy industries’ in-school propaganda,” according to the group’s news release.

Kernel Corn has already taken its act on the road with appearances across the Midwest in Kansas City, Mo., Omaha, Neb., Des Moines, Iowa, and Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Although PETA's news release claims Kernel Corn is “harmless enough,” a Des Moines elementary school principal refused to allow the mascot to make a presentation inside the school about the benefits of a vegetarian diet.

After that incident, PETA’s news release says that “Kernel decided to greet kids just off campus after school and give them info to counteract the meat and dairy industries' in-school propaganda, which has them hopping and skipping toward the Intensive Care Unit later in life.”

PETA's ultimate message is that meat, eggs and dairy products are linked to everything from “pimples, obesity, and excess mucus to heart attacks, stroke, diabetes and some cancers.”

If PETA does come to your community, an article on offers these recommendations:

  • Alert the school they will be visiting and share the below tips with them.
  • Respond to any media inquiries using the key messages below.
  • Secure local third-party experts for possible media interviews and ask them to write letters to the editor of the local newspaper.
  • Inform other parents ahead of time that PETA personnel are going to be at the school, then share key messages (preferably from your state pork producer association) with your local school's foodservice director, principal, superintendent and other staff that may get inquiries from parents or the media.
  • Alert your school's security staff so that they can be prepared to deal with any commotion PETA may cause. Although special interest groups are not allowed on school grounds without permission, PETA people often distribute their information to students just beyond school perimeters. In a number of cases, kids have been frightened of the PETA mascots and often a confrontational approach is used.

Ultimatley, this new campaign is just another ploy to get across PETA’s animal activist messages, not inform children about the nutritional benefits of vegetables.