PETA takes a limp swipe

Not known as an organisation to baulk at cheap publicity stunts, animal rights group PETA has taken another swipe at recreational fishing, and male fishos in particular, in its latest web ad.

The latest slogan on PETA’s UK website (limply) asks, “Do Anglers Have Small Rods?”

The ad goes on to say “we wondered whether men who spend their time on a wet riverbank holding an extendable phallic object and being cruel to fish may be engaging in another form of overcompensation”.

If it wasn’t so pathetic it’d be funny … Thankfully, blogger Monte Burke takes PETA to task over its increasingly bizarre attempts to paint anglers as a group of violent environmental vandals and animal haters.

In his blog “PETA Has It All Wrong” Burke says: “When it comes to recreational fishermen PETA has it all wrong. For years the group has focused on a tree and missed the entire forest.

Here’s the bald truth: In many cases, without recreational fishermen there would be no fish for PETA to worry about. Recreational fishermen happen to be some of the greatest—and most effective—conservationists on the planet. (Full disclosure: I am a fisherman.)”

Burke goes on to outline how conservation-minded rec fishermen have reversed the decline of Atlantic salmon populations in North America and Greenland, as well as reverse bad environmental decisions that have impacted on threatened species.

The crux of PETA’s campaign against anglers seems to be that the group reckons fishing for sport is cruel. Burke though, summarises the ethics and benefits of catch & release succinctly. “PETA’s main contention is that fish feel pain, and that even catch-and-release fishing is cruel. The truth of that stance is a matter of debate (see Slate’s Michael Agger’s brilliant treatise on the matter).Catch-and-release angling … is a moral issue that every fisherman and woman must grapple with.

I am primarily a catch-and-release angler, and I think about it all the time. But so far I’ve always come to the same conclusion: those who are engaged with a resource will fight the hardest to conserve it. Some (anglers) pick up litter on the side of a stream. Some give hundreds of thousands of dollars to groups like the ASF [Atlantic Salmon Federation] or TU [Trout Unlimited]. Most operate somewhere in between. In this case—for the greater good of the species—the end does indeed justify the means.”

To read Monte Burke’s blog click here.

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