A video PETA recently released has had social media abuzz. It's time we set the record straight and bring common sense to the discussion with three reasons why PETA is wrong about fishing.
I saw this video on Facebook and think the number one cause of division between people is poor communication or a lack of communication altogether.
I think it's really easy for people to see the thumbnail of a video and have an instant reaction without watching the entire thing and arriving at a more informed conclusion.
But for anyone who has watched it (it's less than a minute long) you will get to see how mind-numbingly ignorant someone has to be to buy into this rhetoric.
I bet anyone who does has never been fishing (and really needs to go).
PETA's anti-fishing video is wrong and I'd like to give Inshore Nation ammo with which to fire back, not with insults or pictures of dead animals in creative arrangements, but actual valid points.
Going after people who abuse animals for fun is one thing (*cough* Michael Vick *cough*), but going after the wholesome sport of inshore angling is something completely different.
Watch this video or keep reading:
PETA, you really screwed up by picking a bone with anglers. Perhaps in your mind you believe "anglers" to be a small group of coonasses (a colorful Louisiana word not unlike "redneck") who are not as intellectually evolved as yourselves and it's up to you to take the moral high ground and snidely point out why fishing is ethically wrong.
This couldn't be further from the truth.
Some of us are coonasses and that's great! But we are not a small group of people. Anglers across America number in the tens of millions and the recreational fishing industry alone is valued at nearly $50 billion annually. We come from a wide spectrum of socioeconomic levels, politics, religions and ethnicities.
My guess is that you guys are reacting off of emotions and not logic. We are a group of people with an appreciation for life and the outdoors that you want to have on your side and donate to your cause, not work against you.
So here are three reasons why PETA is wrong about fishing.
Anglers know their place in the food chain
We, unlike you, know our place in the food chain. I eat redfish because I sit higher on the totem pole than they do. This is the same reason redfish eat shrimp: because of where they are in relation to shrimp on the food chain.
My ancestors have spent millennia fishing so they could survive and I can be where I am today. Changing that is not being intellectually evolved or taking the moral high ground, it is being in denial.
Refusing to acknowledge it is "okay" to fish is taking a step backward, not forward. The only thing keeping you from falling on your behind is the safety net better people, who recognize where we stand in the world, have built for you. Translated: without today's infrastructure you'd be deader than a doornail.
Anglers demonstrate the greatest form of compassion
We are human, and humans are sentient beings capable of the greatest form of intelligence: compassion.
As humans, we should show compassion; not just towards one another but also our environment. The are 7 billion people and counting on Earth. Now so more than ever we are to take care of our natural resources as our growth makes them more fragile.
So with that said, not once have I ever seen anyone from PETA out tagging redfish. Not once have I seen them at any number of conservation fundraisers or seminars. Not once have I seen them in the marsh picking up trash.
I could hold up a gar and a pogie and ask them to identify the pogie and they would have no idea which one is which. That's because they don't fish.
They can't have an appreciation for the marsh and its inhabitants because they have no idea where the marsh is or what is inhabiting it; they are so out of touch with nature.
Nobody understands the fish better than fishermen. No one can show appreciation for a fish like a fisherman.
If PETA really cared about the fish they would work with anglers to help conserve the environment. But what PETA wants will promote an ignorance that could cause entire ecosystems to be wiped out.
Fishing teaches good values
It's so cliche, but it's so true: fishing teaches great values. Values like conservation, respect for life and appreciation of the outdoors.
Nature is a great teacher; sometimes she is kind and sometimes she is harsh. The lessons she can afford us out on the water are lessons that help us harden ourselves to the way of the world and build better character.
She teaches lessons that help us find things like peace and happiness. She teaches us to work hard, never give up and enjoy what we have.
Those are lessons I find difficult to find inside soft, air-conditioned environments where "fair" is defined by whatever "Kool Aid" is being served under the guise of academia. It would seem that if PETA had their way this is the kind of education the next generation would have.
The bow of a boat is one of the greatest classrooms I have ever been in. There is no pause button or bonus questions, no time outs or safe spaces I could fall back on to make up for my lacking.
There was only me and nature. The lessons were raw, belting out a realness the artificial domains of learning fell short of.
If I screwed up: I paid for it. If I earned it: the victory was really and truly mine.
Comparing aspects of fishing, like killing and eating fish, to teaching kids to be sociopaths is not only untrue but intellectually dishonest.
It's a cheap stab at something the video's creator doesn't know anything about, and I am glad to have the opportunity and the platform to set the record straight.
If it ever comes up...
I will say this: If you have the opportunity to take someone fishing, even if they are a little iffy about it, then take them.
Anyone who has been out there, with me, on a boat, watching the sun rise, reeling in a trout, has never said "that was horrible and I hated it." They always enjoyed themselves and wanted to go back for more! It opened their minds and changed some little part of them for the better.