In March and April, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sent out letters to newspapers across the country asking them to remove columns about fishing from their sports page.
Bill Sargent, who writes a fishing column for Florida Today wrote in a recent column that his newspaper received a letter from PETA that read, in part,
I’m writing to suggest that it is time to abandon your paper’s fishing column. More and more evidence from animal behaviorists shows that fish are sensitive, intelligent and interesting individuals. These fairly recent discoveries are driving PETA’s new ‘Fish Empathy Project,’ and they lend strong support to the move to regulate fishing columns to the dustbin of history.
. . .
And, as no one in their right mind can dispute, fish feel pain as all animals do.
Please consider this: You wouldn’t dedicate space in your paper to the recreational abuse of dogs and cats, yet the fishing column encourages cruelty to animals every bit as capable of feeling pain as any dog or cat.
If you’re not ready to cancel the fishing column, perhaps you can ask your publisher to move it to a more appropriate section of the paper — for example, the crime report or the obituaries, where it will blend right in.
Not surprisingly, none of the newspapers that received the letter have decided to eliminate their fishing column.
The odd thing about this letter is that, like others related to PETA’s Fish Empathy Project, it was signed by PETA’s Karin Robertson. Robertson generated a bit of publicity for PETA in 2003 when she claimed she had legally changed her name to GoVeg.Com. Shortly after the novelty effect and the publicity went away, however, she and PETA simply went back to using her previous name.
Apparently the name change was about as real as PETA’s claim that it doesn’t target children.
PETA opposes fishing column. Rockford Register Star, March 12, 2005.
PETA wants fishing columns deep-sixed. Bill Sargent, Florida Today, April 3, 2005.
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