Anti-fishing crusade doesn't hold water
Chicago Tribune Sports Reporter
The No. 1 enemy of outdoorsmen everywhere is going after the Boy Scouts.
The organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has added a new target to its intolerance list. PETA is campaigning to "demerit fishing," to convince the Boy Scouts of America to eliminate merit badges for fishing and fish and wildlife management.
Because fish have feelings. Because boys who kill animals in their youth might grow up to become killers of human beings. Because if PETA had its way, the world would subsist on carrot sticks.
Give me a break.
Just more rubbish from the extremist animal-rights group that despises fishing and hunting, opposes the existence of circuses and dog mushing, can't stomach trappers and would prefer that we all become vegans rather than let a morsel of meat pass our lips.
PETA ran advertising urging college students to drink beer instead of milk because farmers are exploiting cows. PETA wishes to eliminate the use of lab rats in medical experiments that could cure cancer or other debilitating diseases because PETA believes "a rat is a pig is a boy." This is an outfit of misguided passion and compassion.
So these are the kind of people with whom we are dealing. You wonder if they suffer from a protein deficiency from skipping all of those steaks.
The latest boggling crusade began in mid-March when PETA announced it feels the pain of fish caught by Boy Scouts seeking to earn two types of merit badges.
Dawn Carr of PETA sent a letter to Milton Ward, president of the Boy Scouts of America in Irving, Texas.
In part, she wrote, "Encouraging scouts to put hooks through the mouths of live frogs so as to trick other animals into impaling themselves [as is recommended in the fishing merit badge booklet], then to rip them from the water into an environment where they cannot breathe and can only struggle desperately for their lives is inconsistent with Boy Scout law and with teaching respect and kindness."
To illustrate its point, PETA trotted out statements by anthropologist Margaret Mead suggesting it's bad for children to get away with "torturing" an animal and Dr. Albert Schweitzer urging opposition to "cruel customs."
Most Americans, however, probably think of fishing as a wholesome activity, one in which grandfathers, fathers and sons participate together. And most Americans aren't eliminating fish, chicken and meat from their diets. In fact, they look at you cockeyed if you say devouring all of those things is bad for you. Don't doctors urge eating more fish in a healthy diet?
Carr, reached in Virginia, doesn't think so. Once a big fish eater herself, she said she was enlightened 16 years ago when she realized eating fish was, well, bad for fish. She went "cold turkey," an expression she hesitated to use because "I'm not sure it's animal-friendly."
Better not to bruise the feelings of those turkeys.
In any case, there is no mystery motive about this Pearl Harbor attack on the Boy Scouts. Yes, Carr said, it's part of the effort to "stop fishing across the board."
The Boy Scouts have reacted to this appeal with a sort of amused restraint. In Chicago, where about 50,000 youngsters participate in Scouting programs, word hadn't even trickled down to Rebecca Fields, assistant director of field services, that PETA was on the warpath.
"Why would they do that?"she said.
At national headquarters in Texas, Boy Scout leadership was not prompted to make sweeping changes in the curriculum. Terry Lawson, director of advancement, responded to Carr in a letter, noting there are no plans to phase out either badge.
Renee Fairrer, at the national office, said an angling or fishing merit badge has been offered since 1911. One aspect of the fishing merit badge, she said, is learning how to catch and release fish properly "without harming them."
If something goes wrong and a fish dies, she said, the Scout cleans it and eats it for a meal. There is no waste.
Except of our time by PETA.
Carr said PETA has received hundreds of e-mail messages on the campaign, running 50-50 pro and con. Hurting fish is "a hot-button issue for some folks," she added. "We've also received some colorful hate mail."
Does this count?
This is simply unbelievable. ...rip them from the water into an environment where they cannot breathe and can only struggle desperately for their lives... IS THIS WOMAN SERIOUS?! I cannot even fathom how people can feel this way about a fish. It's a fish.
And of course fishing isn't going to make a kid grow up to be a murderer. Quite the contrary, fishing provides quality time between a son and his father or grandfather, something many children such as the kids that shoot up schools did not have. If anything, fishing will bring a kid up more likely NOT to be a murderer.
What is even more unbelievable about this lady's views is that there are thousands of people who agree with her! Downright scary...