Hamburg is a city in Germany, population 1.6 million, whose name is derived from the Old German "ham" for bay and "burg" for fortress, which in turn, and for reasons no one is a 100% sure about, has given us the hamburger. This neat little invention of a ground beef patty in a white bread roll has in the hands of the likes of McDonald's and Burger king has become one of the enduring and ever-present symbols of American Global Culture.
(Although of course these days its just a "burger", in case any one makes the mistake of thinking that the 'ham' bit actually refers to its contents.)
PETA came up with a cunning plan and offered the city of Hamburg the grand sum of 10,000 Euros (which I think is about sixpence in real money) to change the city's name to "Veggieburg". This they argued would be a symbolic gesture as the name "Hamburg" conjured up images of "unhealthy beef patties made of pulverised dead cattle."
The official response from Hamburg was not exactly encouraging from PETA's point of view;
"I cannot afford to waste my time with this. I don't even want to look at nonsense like this"
was the response of the city's spokesman.
I tend to think that they were not quite serious with their offer. Surely the cost of simply changing every German road sign from Hamburg to Veggieburg would cost a million times that amount. (Not to mention the cost to every single Hamburg based business of changing their headed notepaper.)
In any case PETA didn't even have the decency to offer hard cash. The deal was to give Hamburg's childcare facilities 10,000 euros worth of vegetarian burgers.
They made a similar (rejected) offer to the American town of Hamburg. which claims to be the "birthplace of the hamburger" and hosts its own an annual Burgerfest. PETA offered the US version of Hamburg 15,000 dollars, which given that it's actually a suburb of Buffalo, New York with a population of only 56,000, was a much better offer.
I guess that this probably came as no surprise to whoever runs PETA and that the whole thing is simply a way of publicising the cause. Although why they should want to publicise the fact that they are bunch of idiots is beyond me.
This all proves the point that there are some ideas even more stupid than freedom fries.