Something fishy at PETA

“I’m having fish tonight!”
—Bruce (the shark), Finding Nemo

If you’ve been here before, you know your host is both an ardent supporter of the Second Amendment and of the environment but is neither a hunter nor an angler.

But I understand those who are, and I also know a couple of gents who rely on hunting and fishing as a way to keep a steady supply of vittles on the table.

Not that waiting around for Bambi to roam into my rifle sights or fly fishing on the Truckee River doesn’t appeal to me; it’s just, well, let me put it this way: As I reluctantly creep into the southern end of middle age, a much more appealing weekend of getting back to nature would consist of a lake view suite at Harvey’s with the missus, an overpriced bottle of champagne and room service.

Unlike so many environmentalist types whose experience with the wilderness is limited to Rancho San Rafael Park, however, I’ve actually spent a fair amount of time cavorting with nature—strapped to a 70-pound pack. So I’ll leave it at “been there, done that.”

Then I ran into this story, which makes me want to grab a coonskin hat and morph into Davy friggin Crockett.

It started out innocuously enough. The Carson School District had received a letter warning of the dangers of mercury in fish and asked that it be removed from the school cafeteria’s menu. The letter was sent by one Karin Robertson, manager of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ Fish Empathy Project.

My curiosity piqued, I went to their Web site (www.fishinghurts .com). It turns out they don’t seriously care about the mercury levels in fish; they just don’t think anyone should eat fish.

They have an online cartoon that is obviously designed to indoctrinate children with this claptrap. It makes this outrageous claim: “Until your daddy learns that it’s not ‘fun’ to kill, keep your doggies and kitties away from him. He’s so hooked on killing defenseless animals that they could be next!” (

Using the Psychic Friends Network to channel Charlie the Tuna, they claim you shouldn’t eat fish because, among other reasons, “fish are really smart.” (So smart, in fact, that your average 10-year-old can catch one without any help.)

It goes on to claim that when hooked by anglers, fish get “scared” and “feel pain.”

How’s that for a mind-boggling revelation? Who’d have thought that a steel hook through the lips would be painful?

But guess what? Now that I have the 411 on fish anatomy, I don’t care. There is something to be said about being at the top of the food chain. Pass me the béarnaise sauce and a fork.

You have to wonder, however, if the whack jobs at PETA are really that myopic or just plain stupid. When they’re not busy killing 85 percent of the animals they take in for “adoption” ( or vandalizing restaurants (, perhaps they, and the wing nuts who support them, can take note of these facts.

According to a 2001 survey by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, hunters and anglers paid almost $1.1 billion for hunting and fishing licenses, stamps, permits and tag fees and another half billion dollars in excise taxes on hunting and fishing equipment.

This not-insignificant amount of money went to state conservation agencies and is used for such frivolous things as habitat preservation, wildlife management, recreation projects, education and safety programs. More importantly, every species in the country, from the timber wolf to the cutthroat trout, benefits.

Note to self: Order the ahi tonight.