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Despite my earlier report, it looks like PETA’s lettuce ladies didn’t have very meaty competition at the Rayburn Office Building today. American Meat Institute Senior Vice President of Public Affairs Janet Riley wrote and called in to CP to say that the AMI lunch is next week, not today, as I reported earlier.

“I guess PETA was so excited to protest our Hot Dog Lunch that they came a week early—-and convinced you to cover ‘dueling lunches’ that didn’t occur,” wrote Riley.

On the phone, Riley described the calendar disconnect this way: “A girl from PETA called me a while back, asking if we were going to be having the hot dog lunch this year,” says Riley. “I asked what office she was calling from, and she kept saying, ‘my office, my office.’ Eventually I said, ‘you’re from PETA, right?’ and she sort of sheepishly said that she was. But she never asked what the date was. I think she got nervous and hung up.”

Adds Riley, “You know, the funny thing about it is, every year we’re having this event that is jam-packed, and we are turning people away because hot dogs are so popular. And outside they have to have people in lettuce leaf bikinis trying to entice people to eat their food because everyone prefers hot dogs.”

Riley says the AMI will wear “conservative khakis and golf shirts” at their event, which will, actually, be held next Wednesday, July 23, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Rayburn Building.

“It’s going to take more than a few girls in lettuce leaf bikinis to wrestle this beloved food out of Americans’ hands,” Riley wrote in an e-mail, adding: “Be sure to visit our new Hot Dog Etiquette video—-it’s much more interesting than PETA’s erroneous media advisories. It was also the top featured video on You Tube July 4. It’s 2 ½ minutes long and will give you a good laugh after the irritation of having to retract your story.

Photo byCJ Sorg