People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is taking “informal bets” on how Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley might die.

“Senator Grassley, like anyone who eats meat, is gambling with his own health,” PETA spokeswoman Ashley Byrne said during a telephone interview with Radio Iowa this afternoon.

The betting on Grassley’s cause of death is PETA’s push-back against Grassley for his criticism of a USDA employee who called for “Meatless Mondays” in the agency’s cafeterias. Grassley promised, via Twitter, to eat more meat on Mondays to counter that “stupid” idea.

“If someone is going to boast about the fact that they are consuming large amounts of a product that has been proven to increase your risk of having a heart attack or a stroke or getting cancer, being obese, contracting diabetes, you know, then they’re really gambling with their own health,” Byrne said this afternoon.

USDA officials have scrubbed the reference to “Meatless Mondays” from the agency’s website and say the worker was not authorized to make the statement. PETA’s media coordinator says the group is now taking “informal bets on its website as to when Sen. Grassley will succumb to a meat-related ailment, such as heart disease, cancer of the colon or prostate, or a stroke.”

Radio Iowa’s reporter asked Byrne if it was appropriate to take bets on the death of a United States senator.

“I don’t think it’s appropriate for a United States senator to encourage constituents to eat a diet that’s more likely to cause them to die early,” Byrne told Radio Iowa.

Grassley’s spokeswoman called betting on Grassley’s demise “shameful” and “way outside the mainstream.” Jill Kozeny, the senator’s spokeswoman, said Grassley is “representing his constituents. He’d like USDA to remember who it’s supposed to work for, too.”