PETA Condemns Fishing as ‘Cruel’ Harassment

A man casts his fishing rod in Weihai, east China's Shandong province on July 22, 2014. Tens of thousands of domestic tourists visit the coastal city during summer. AFP PHOTO / WANG ZHAO (Photo credit should read WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images)
WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images
THOMAS D. WILLIAMS, PH.D.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has denounced fishing as a cruel sport, insisting that fish feel pain and urging all anglers to become vegans.

“Fish are sentient individuals who feel pain,” PETA stated in a tweet Friday. “Invading an animal’s natural habitat, harassing them, killing them, and eating them for fun is so cruel.”

“Don’t go fishing this summer, or EVER,” PETA commanded.

In their accompanying video, PETA asks viewers to try to imagine what their cold-blooded brethren feel by putting themselves in the fish’s place.

“Anglers often try to retrieve hooks by shoving their fingers or even a pair of pliers down a fish’s throat. Doing this doesn’t just rip out the hook, but also part of the fish’s throat and organs,” the video states.

“Can you imagine having a hook pierce your face before suffocating to death?” it asks.

“No one deserves this. Try vegan!” it adds, seeming to suggest that human rights and fish rights are basically equivalent and that a fish is a “someone” just as a human being is.

“People often wonder: Do fish feel pain? Yes, they do,” PETA declares, citing Penn State University’s Victoria Braithwaite as saying that there is “as much evidence that fish feel pain and suffer as there is for birds and mammals.”

The PETA video then seems to suggest that the capacity to experience psychological “terror” is a function of sensory nerve endings.

“Pain receptors in fish are strikingly similar to those of mammals. So when fish are hooked, they not only endure physical pain but also terror,” the video says, before going on to describe the death of a fish in heart-wrenching terms.

“When they’re yanked out of the water, they begin to suffocate. Their gills often collapse and their swim bladders can rupture,” it states.

“It is a prolonged, slow death most of the time” the video says, citing Dr. Culum Brown, an Australian behavioral ecologist and associate professor at Macquarie University in Sydney, who developed “life skills training” for hatchery-reared salmonids.

.

Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.