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Iggy Pop is no more dangerous than a baby seal these days

Seals are adorable. Just look at them, with their slick little fat bodies and their puppy-dog faces. When you go to the zoo, they do their cute little tricks and make their cute little guttural noises and clap their little fins like adorable little retarded children. Seals are about as cute as can be.

And as we all know, it's wrong to kill animals, especially ones that are cute.

That's basically the gist of a recent campaign from PETA, everyone's favorite group of publicity-stunt-prone vegetarians. The animal-rights organization has already assembled a veritable D-list of celebrities to do its bidding that includes Pamela Anderson and Bryan Adams in opposition to the practice of clubbing baby seals — which could only be an easier target if it was the clubbing of tiny kittens — and last week, it added two more to that venerable roster: Ke$ha and Iggy Pop. That last one is a little bit confusing, if only because in my mind's eye, Iggy Pop would be clubbing a baby seal and then appearing on American Idol wearing it as a grisly hat. (Kidding.)

Iggy Pop has been a well-known animal-rights guy for quite some time, a career vegetarian and PETA endorser (Ke$ha is, too, actually), but that doesn't make either the former's weird appearance on American Idol the other week or his outpouring of sympathy for baby seals any less tiresome.

Look: I'm not exactly in favor of killing baby seals. I like seals, and I haven't bludgeoned an animal to death with a hooked truncheon in at least ten years. But it's not as if there's any real urgent call to put a stop to it, either. Seals are not endangered. In fact, harp seal populations in Canada — one of the few countries where clubbing is still allowed — have been on the rise or steady since the 1960s, when the Canadian government imposed quotas on the practice. Much of the clubbing itself is done by fishermen, who don't take kindly to no seals because seals eat a large portion of the fish that fishermen are trying to catch (about $10.5 billion worth per year, by some estimates). Fair enough. But why the clubbing? Apparently, gun shots scare them away, but clubbing somehow doesn't. They'll pretty much just wait around to get clubbed, which is weird, but also a sensible reason to employ the method.

It's not a pleasant image, but then again, neither is the roughly 9 billion less adorable animals we slaughter and eat in the U.S. every year. Chickens, for instance, are not as cute as seals — not to mention that they shit all over the place. But they're delicious, so it's cool.

What I'm saying is, if the "Gimme Danger" Iggy Pop I once knew and loved were all about animal rights, he'd be slathering himself in peanut butter and glass and digging a tunnel into the chicken-processing facility to let those dumb birds free instead of railing against a misdeed so lurid it couldn't possibly be endorsed by anyone except the handful of hapless Canadian fishermen whom it benefits.

But today's Iggy Pop is an easier, softer Iggy, with an album of soft-rock covers on the way. No, really. Soft-rock covers. These days, the one who searches and destroys is no more dangerous than a baby seal.

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Jef Otte
Contact: Jef Otte