Associated Press
    Published May 10, 2002

   AUSTIN, MINN. -- An animal rights organization wants Austin High School to stop using the nickname ``Packers.''

   The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals contends the southern Minnesota school's nickname is offensive and should be replaced.

   Austin is the home of Hormel Foods Corporation, maker of SPAM luncheon meat, Cure 81 ham and other products. Packers is short for meatpackers.

   PETA recently sent a letter to the principal of Austin High School, saying being named after slaughterhouse workers is ``nothing to be proud of.'' The group
   suggests a better name would be ``Pickers,'' which would promote a healthier, plant-based diet.

   But school officials don't plan to change the nickname.

   Austin schools superintendent Corrine Johnson says the name Packers reflects the character of the community and its economic base.