Slaughter Beach Mayor Happy To Make Lemonade Of PETA’s Lemons, Promotes Town’s 5K

Mayor happy to make lemonade of PETA’s lemons, promotes town’s 5K

By Shauna McVey

The last thing Slaughter Beach Mayor Harry Ward expected this week was to make national news. Calls from reporters flowed into the his home shortly after the Delaware State News broke the story that the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) sent him a letter to suggest the town change its name to Sanctuary Beach. 

“I had an email letter from them and within five minutes I had a call from the State News asking for comment,” Ward said. “They weren’t serious about working with the town. They were serious about getting press.”

PETA claimed in its May 1 letter that the “town’s grim name sounds at odds with its status as a certified wildlife habitat community, whereas ‘Sanctuary Beach’ feels really positive. PETA is encouraging Slaughter Beach to embrace a new name that celebrates saving lives rather than taking them.”

Ward said he will read the letter into the Town minutes, as he does with all correspondence “of substance,” at its May 14 meeting. If any of the 235 permanent residents of Slaughter Beach desire to change the town’s name, he will entertain the idea. He doesn’t expect that to happen, though, as he has heard overwhelming opposition and offense from residents to the suggestion, and not a single person has approached him to support such a name change. 

“We want to embrace new and do the right things going forward, but we don’t want to lose history,” he said. “The name Slaughter truly comes from a prominent person in the area. All of these old Dutch names had a meaning and we don’t want to abandon that history.”

While PETA offered in its letter to pay for new signage, even if a name change was desired by residents, Ward said it’s just not that simple. It would require a referendum and a Town charter change. 

Running From The Greenheads 5K 

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As many people across the country scoff at PETA’s letter, some even suggesting its president and author of the Slaughter Beach letter change her own name, Ward is taking it all in stride. He calls it a hassle that has actually helped the town.

Slaughter Beach just so happens to be hosting its first Running From The Greenheads 5K Run/Walk this Sunday, May 6, at 9 a.m. The event celebrates the town’s “infamous Greenhead flies.”

We’ve picked up a ton of good press for our 5K,” Ward said. “We’re happy to make lemonade of lemons.” 

He said the 5K is just another example of how PETA got it right in their letter that Slaughter Beach is an environmentally sensitive community that supports wildlife and other animals. 

“It’s a great thing that half of the [5K] money we make goes to Delaware Natural Society and the other half goes to our local fire company,” he said. “We love our local fire company, but of course we’re really tied to the Delaware Nature Society. I can’t think of a soul in our community that isn’t involved in some way with the wildlife.” 

To show your support for Slaughter Beach and register for the 5K, go to www.trisportsevents.com/index.cfm?ref=50200&ref2=135. 

To learn more about Slaughter Beach and its history, go to our Slaughter Beach page.

Girl Goes Local,

Shauna McVey

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