Hunting is Murder on Animals
Part X -- Why fishing is Immoral
Fishermen hauling a fish into their boat

Probably because of the different methods and equipment used, we have singled out the hunting of fish as different from the hunting of every other sort of animal, and given it a different name: as if it were not hunting. But from a moral viewpoint there is no difference. In fact, the manner in which fish are usually handled involves more cruelty than is usually inflicted on other hunted species.

In hunting fish, the goal is not so much the murder of the animals, as it is the torturing of the animal. Think about it: hunters trick these animals into swallowing hooks, and then they drag them around by these hooks until they are too weakened to resist. Following this ordeal, they either let them suffocate in slow agony with their gills gasping for water-borne oxygen, or they throw them back: to die from their wounds.

Fish are the only animals -- other than ranch-raised minks -- that are regularly skinned alive.
Fisherman with a hooked fish

Releasing a fish, once caught, does not make the activity "humane". That's like saying that torturing a person is okay, as long as you let him go afterwards so that he can be tortured again another day. The humane thing to do would be to leave him alone in the first place.
A man walking along: a grapling hook is thrown from a plane above him

Those who advocate the "catch-and-release" method of fishing should try to imagine this:

You're walking along, minding your own business, when suddenly someone throws a grappling hook at you from an airplane passing overhead.
The man has the grappling hook imbedded in his throat and is being dragged along the ground by it

It hooks you under the chin, and with your feet digging into the ground, the plane drags you around for several miles as you vainly struggle against it.
The man is airborne now as the plane lifts him off the ground by the hook

Finally, when you are exhausted and have given up all hope of escaping, you are pulled up off the ground and hauled up into the airplane.
Inside the plane, the man is weighed on a scale by one man as another man takes a picture

There, two men are congratulating themselves on how big you are -- as if they had anything to do with it. They remove the bloody hook; weigh you; fondle you; take pictures of themselves holding your dying, captive body; and finally they turn to you and say: "Well, live to fight another day, Buddy..."
The man, thrown out of the plane, and falling to his death with a horrifying scream

and they throw you out of the plane.

Would you call that a "humane" experience?
Steve in studio

I guess it shouldn't surprise anyone that those who enjoy torturing fish in this manner convince themselves that the fish enjoy the experience too. From the fisherman's viewpoint he is "playing" the fish. But the tugs on the end of the line are not some friendly game of tug-of-war: they are an animal's frantic struggle for life.

Just as land animals are purposely bred for hunters' guns, fish are purposely bred for those who like to torture them, and bodies of water are then "stocked" with these fish for people to torture and/or kill.

Lake Ontario is so heavily polluted that fish cannot survive in the water for long. Yet fish are stocked in the lake every year! Fish from this lake cannot be eaten because they absorb the pollutants, and since the lake is purposely stocked with fish no one can claim to be preventing starvation by removing them.

If fish could vocalize their distress, their pain, and their anguish, doubtless many of the fifty-nine million Americans who enjoy torturing them today would find other -- non-violent -- forms of recreation.
Contents   Prev   Next: Part XI -- Hunting and Children: Instilling the Wrong Values
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