Conor Finnegan of ABC News recently interviewed SAVE THE FROGS! Founder Dr. Kerry Kriger. A transcript of that interview follows.
-Do you have any idea how many restaurants sell frogs’ legs?
I do not know this number, but one of our volunteers compiled a list of 75 LA-area restaurants that sell frog legs. As frog legs are likely more common in the southeast US than in LA, I’m sure there are thousands of restaurants in the USA that sell frog legs. I have confirmed that Wegman’s and Food Lion supermarkets sell frog legs as well; Food Lion has 1,200 locations.
-How common is the dish?
It has been estimated that globally 100 million frogs are taken out of the wild for use as food each year. The number of farm-raised frogs is thought to be even higher, and the majority of these farm raised frogs are American Bullfrogs being raised outside their native range…they spread chytrid fungus and they escape their farms and eat native wildlife.
-Is its popularity on the rise?
The Eating Frogs To Extinction paper predicts that America will soon overtake France and Belgium to become the #1 frog consumer on the planet.
-What can be done to combat it? Anything else to add?
Education is the number one defense. We need to make sure people know that frogs are rapidly going extinct, that the frog legs trade contributes to the problem, and that there are more ecologically-friendly food alternatives. Once eating frogs is taboo (like eating cats, dogs or horses), it will not be a problem.
-Anything else to add?
Our campaign has begun with Uncle Julio’s Rio Grande restaurants because they are a multi-million dollar Tex-Mex chain, that would not suffer if they were to remove frog legs from their menu. As their CEO has refused to respond to any of our 800+ letters, we are taking the pro-active stance and visibly protesting in front of their restaurants, with the goal of decreasing their revenues to the point where they will be forced to deal with the issue. We have no doubt this will work. This will not be the last restaurant chain we will be contacting, but I certainly hope that others will be more concerned with their corporation’s effect on the environment, and be more willing to assist worldwide frog conservation efforts by removing the frog legs from their menus.