You’d Lie Too If You Were In His Place

New York’s Times Union recently profiled the Civic family, which is notable to the newspaper largely due to its vegan lifestyle. But the adults in the Civic family seem to have little problem lying to their children to promote that lifestyle.

Consider this odd exchange,

And he [11-year-old Aaron Civic] offers examples.

“Other countries do eat a lot of fish, like China.”

“No, in China they have a rice-based diet,” his father, Jed, says. “That’s part of their dinner plate.”

In fact, per capita consumption of fish in China is actually higher than it is in the United States. During the period 1999-2001, annual per capita consumption of fish in the United States was 47.0 pounds. During the same period, annual per capita consumption of fish in mainland China was 56.0 pounds. In Hong Kong, it was an astounding 127.9 pounds.

Saying that China has a rice-based diet is a bit like saying that the U.S. has a wheat-based diet. From 1994-96, for example, average annual per capita rice consumption in China was 160.0 pounds. In 1997, annual per capita wheat consumption in the United States was 147 pounds.

And this from a man who, along with his wife Susan, wrote a book in 1997 called a copy of The Vegetarian Traveler.

I could care less what sort of diet Civic raises his kids on, but this is a bit more troubling,

A vegetarian magazine once featured Susan for remaining vegan while pregnant. And after some research and discussion with doctors, the couple decided not to vaccinate the children, because Jed says some of the immunizations are tested on animals or are derived from them.

While Jed should, to be consistent with his ideology, not take any medications tested on animals, to force that risk upon his children seems extreme. And, of course, since effective vaccination requires a certain percentage of the population to be vaccinated, Jed is imposing risks on other children his come into contact with while also free riding on their parents having their children vaccinated.

And the risk to the Civic children will not pass after they have become adults. Occasionally measles and other childhood disease breakouts occur in the United States, especially where vaccination rates have fallen to low levels. Adults who have not been vaccinated are also susceptible to contracting diseases such as measles when those outbreaks occur.

Something to chew on. Jennifer Gish, TimesUnion.Com, January 4, 2006.

Fisheries of the United States – 2004. National Marine Fisheries Service, 2004.

PETA Complains about Zoo Fishing Program

In July, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals complained about a fishing program for children held at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo. The program is sponsored by Connecticut’s Department of Environmental Protection.

A state website describes the Connecticut Aquatic Resources & Education program thusly,

CARE classes introduce you to the wonders of water, fish and fishing. The CARE program has taught over 66,000 citizens about water, fish and fishing since 1986. Our Certified Instructors will pass along the knowledge they have learned through years of angling. Videos, demonstrations and activities will teach and entertain youths and adults alike. The program is comprised of free classes and outdoor workshops which foster resource stewardship, promote an understanding of aquatic systems and fishery management decisions and encourage both an understanding and utilization of aquatic resources.

This brought a complaint from PETA’s Karin Robertson, who told The Connecticut Post,

It is very inappropriate for a zoo to run a program for children teaching them how to fish. A zoo’s mission is to teach kids how to respect animals. Fish are amazing animals — to teach fishing is to teach cruelty to animals. . . .When fish are caught by hooks, they are impaled and ripped out of the water. Imagine hooking a dog or cat through the mouth with a large hook and dragging them.

According to The Connecticut Post, Robertson said the hundreds of scientific studies show that fish are intelligent and learn from other fish. Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection biologist George Babey took issue with that claim, telling The Connecticut Post,

The vast majority of peer-reviewed research reveals that fish are quite primitive in the development of their nervous system. Their brain even lacks entire sections found in higher-order animals that lead to a determination of pain.

Babey also noted that fisherman contribute large amounts of money, in many ways, to helping preserve the fish habitats.


Fishing program at zoo criticized. Joan Stableford, The Connecticut Post, August 1, 2005.

Connecticut Aquatic Resources Education. Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, October 25, 2002.

Minnesota Governor Rejects PETA’s Request To Protect Walleye Pike

In July, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ Karin Robinson sent a letter to Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

That letter asked Pawlenty to make it illegal for fisherman in Minnesota to catch the state fish, the walleyed pike.

Instead, the Governor’s office released the following statement,

The following is a statement from Governor Tim Pawlenty regarding a request from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to declare walleye off limits to fishing in Minnesota:

“PETA continues to display goofy judgment. Fishing is part of our way of life in Minnesota – moms, dads, kids, and grandparents enjoy beautiful summer and winter days fishing. We care for and enjoy our natural resources the right way. The PETA ‘Fish Empathy Project’ is nutty and misses the mark. Fishing is not, as they claim, the same thing as hooking a dog through the mouth and dragging them behind your car.

“PETA should stay out of Minnesota’s proud fishing lifestyle. Because of their letter, I’m going out for a walleye dinner tonight.”


Pawlenty rejects PETA ‘fish emapthy’ request. Associated Press, August 4, 2005.

Governor Pawlenty’s Statement Regarding A Request From PETA To Declare Walleye Off-Limits To Fishing. Press Release, August 2, 2005.

PETA Wants Newspapers to End Fishing Columns

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.

Group Fights Against Aquariums

Tony Moore of Fight Against Animal Cruelty In Europe said in march that his organization and other animal rights groups would oppose a proposed large aquarium to be built as part of a revitalization project in Southport, England.

Moore, whose group opposes aquarium projects on principle, claims that aquariums stress animals and are the equivalent of “peep shows”. He told The Liverpool Daily Post,

There is no justification for an aquarium, when we have such wonderful video footage of marine life. [Apparently Moore is unconcerned about the stress caused by camera crews in the seas]. Aquariums take many of their animals out of the wild and there is a constant need to replace them. Not only does this bring stress to the animals, surely this [aquarium] must be the least appealing out of all the proposed uses of the site.

. . .

It would be like a peep show. I thought I had better do something about it now before it really gets going, because I would not want something like this on my own doorstep. I do not want it to get to the point where they accept it.

Responding to Moore’s claims that the aquarium would place stress on the animals, John Pugh, member of Parliament for Southport, told The Liverpool Daily Post,

It is a bit premature to come to a judgment when one doesn’t know what kind of environment the marine life would be kept in. Some marine life can be kept in an aquarium quite well without any accusations of stress or abuse involved.

But not from animal rights activists such as Moore. The Fight Against Animal Cruelty In Europe web site maintains that (emphasis added),

A captive environment can never provide all that a wild animal needs. . . . Why not get a new idea instead of an old one especially one that abuses sentient beings.


Steamy Water Babes and Husky Hunks delight the crowds in London’s hot tourist spot. Press Release, Fight Against Animal Cruelty In Europe, August 2, 2004.

Animal rights group protest over resort’s aquarium plans. Graham Davies, The Liverpool Daily Post, March 9, 2005.

PETA — Spare the Rod and Spoil the Fish

People for the Ethical Treatment for Animals activists showed up here in Michigan in February to protest the eating of fish. Karin Robertson, manager of PETA’s Fish Empathy Project, told the Cadillac News,

People are horrified when they hear how fish are treated, there is cruelty so horrendous that it would be criminal if performed on other animals.

I don’t know about that — fishing’s pretty popular here in Michigan and I think many people are aware of how fish are caught and processed without being horrified.

Anyway, on its website, PETA goes on at length about the “terror” fish face,

Imagine reaching for an apple on a tree and having your hand suddenly impaled by a metal hook that drags you—the whole weight of your body pulling on that one hand—out of the air and into an atmosphere in which you cannot breathe. This is what fish experience when they are hooked for “sport.”

Many people grow up fishing without ever considering the terror and suffering that fish endure when they’re impaled by a hook and pulled out of the water. Recreational anglers rarely stop to contemplate that fish are complex and intelligent individuals. In fact, if anglers treated cats, dogs, cows, or pigs the way they treat fish, they would be thrown in prison on charges of cruelty to animals.

PETA also extols the intelligence of fish, who are apparently even smarter than the average animal rights activist,

Many people have never stopped to think about it, but fish are smart, interesting animals with their own unique personalities—just like the dogs and cats we share our homes with [not if PETA had its way, however]. Did you know that fish can learn to avoid nets by watching other fish in their group and that they can recognize individual “shoal mates”? Some fish gather information by eavesdropping on others, and some—such as the South African fish who lay eggs on leaves so that they can carry them to a safe place—even use tools.

Hey, I’ve even heard that some fish are smart enough to eat other fish. They’re so smart, in fact, they don’t have to deal with activists urging them to go vegan.


PETA attempts to sway people from eating fish. Matt Whetstone, Cadillac News, February 10, 2005.