While perusing another angling blog, I found a link to a radical animal rights website called “Fishing Hurts.” Normally I wouldn’t waste your time with it, but when I read the sentence “A child is a dog is a fish” in their feature article, I almost fell out of my chair. By their limp A=B=C logic, a mullet or toad fish is as valuable as a human child. Wow. And groups like PETA wonder why they are viewed with such disdain. To emphasize their, uh, point, they added this crudely altered photo of a dog with a hook in its mouth. Nice touch.
Hey, we can all agree that needlessly killing or maiming fish is inexcusable. In fact, true sportsmen (and women) are relentless protectors of wild things. Though we may be at odds on many issues, I applaud activists who champion the health of our fisheries — people like Mark Powell of Blogfish. But the bottom line is that fish are cold-blooded creatures and no one has ever proven that they operate on anything other than basic urges and instinct. Further, the very folks who wet themselves over the idea of an angler catching (and often releasing) fish see no problem when the fish themselves inflict grave harm upon one another (ex: a big snook pulverizing a finger mullet against a seawall, or a big barracuda ripping a snapper in half like a warm dinner roll). Game fish are predators, which means they hunt and eat things. And on a very basic level, so are we. To deny those basic truths is to live in a prancing little fairy tale world — apparently one where animals ponder the meaning of life and course with deeper feelings than your average drunken poet.
Bottom line: anyone who would equate the worth of a fish with that of a human child is embarrassingly vacuous. And on a more disturbing level, they’re also missing an essential element of the humanity that drives their misguided compassion.