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Dictionary Definition of ‘Fisherman’ to Change?

Written by PETA | May 1, 2009
smi.ucr / CC

F is for “fisherman”:

noun 1 a person who catches fish for a living or for sport.


noun 1 a person ignorant of, oblivious to, or indifferent to the fact that he or she is inflicting pain by catching, suffocating, stabbing, and gutting fish; someone who is hooked on cruelty.

In light of a new study revealing that fish feel and remember pain, PETA Europe has sent a letter to the folks at Oxford English Dictionary asking that they change their definition of “fisherman” to the rather more accurate version above (that’s the second one, in case you weren’t sure).

Because a fish sea kitten has a nervous system just as humans do, struggles against death, and has lips that are sensitive to the tearing of flesh caused by hooks, PETA Europe considers the Oxford English Dictionary‘s current definition of “fisherman” a little–ahem–insensitive. Don’t you agree?

Leave a comment below with your suggestion for a new, more accurate definition of “fisherman.”

Written by Shawna Flavell

Commenting is closed.
  • says:

    Dictionary definition of fisherman to change.. Awesome 🙂

  • says:

    Dictionary definition of fisherman to change.. Outstanding 🙂

  • Brinker says:

    I just want to say that you folks in PETA are a little unfounded in your accusations. Fish are amazing creatures and I’ve got much respect for them. I’m also an angler and I enjoy my sport very much. It requires knowledge skill finesse and it’s one of the oldest traditions around. I’m huge on the idea of catch and release. If I’m going to “keep” a fish I’ll take a photo of it and let it go. Fisherman who are educated properly know how to handle fish without harming them and can assure a safe return to their home in the water. As mentioned by a previous commenter fisherman are an integral part of aquatic conservation! Please let us enjoy what WE live for thank you.

  • William Pastuszka says:

    You people need to get a grip go join the BNP fight for something worth fighting for like saving the UK from being over populated with foreign immigrants not causing war with anglers.

  • Liam says:

    Right lets get this straight you pathetic people! I am a member of PETA I tottaly disagree with animal cruelty. 1000’s of people fish for the sport and have no interest in killing or harming these beautiful creatures. Fishing is helping to look after our fish by keeping records of the weight which is vital to know what is going under the water there could be a disease or virus which is attacking fish and causing pain. Most fish are cold blooded and cant feel pain and if they felt it that bad they would be dead and are they? I THINK NOT So people get of your high horse and relise fishing is the most popular sport in the world more so then football. I would be more then happy to carry on the discusion here as I do feel passionatly about it. Good bye

  • Jamie Cooper says:

    What a find this piece is. Never will I need to watch comedy central on sky for laughs ever again just simply click onto this website and read things you jokers write. Now where to start? Maybe your test on the fish feeling pain. The test in question as I am sure you will agree has some major flaws. Let me point out the most obvious one for you. Fish being cold blooded and being subjected to heat as a test will of course have an effect on their behaviour after while the body recovers recovery last time I checked was not a thing a living body does out of memory but as part of a basic survival instinct. Let me just write here some of the thoughts of a professor whos name I cannot remember unfortunately. This particular professor just in case you are interested is a non angler. Let me give you an example of pain and what effect pain has on an animal. Lets take a bull and the nose ring scenario. A bull is a massive creature of great strength however once a ring is attached through the nose this beast can be led around and easily just by adding pressure via a rope to this ring. The pain that the animal would feel if it resisted this pressure is too much for it to bare and so goes towards the direction of pull to ease the feeling of pain. A fish on the other hand does the exact opposite and pulls for all its worth in the other direction and so displaying a complete lack of feeling from the hook. Just take a few moments to think about that and lets see whos tests and dialogue you give the most credit. Also its nice to see that anglers have not bombarded this comments page and those who have chosen to reply have done so in the correct manner. Well done. Proving we are not Neanderthal and uneducated as this group would have you all believe.

  • Eirik says:

    I would rather change “Fish” than “Fisherman”. Why not Fish Sencetive creatures who live in water who feels pain when caught by Fishermen. I think that was better

  • Chris says:

    So animals that eat animals are in fact not “vegan animals” right…so some fish eat smaller fish…so your defending a living thing a big fish that eats other living things small fish from living things humans that eat them. Maybe you should stick to only defending “vegeterian” animals… Just a thought…its called a food chain…its how all life survives.

  • Gareth says:

    So i suppose all your members have never eaten meat!!! All meat comes from a life form that has felt pain so maybe you should think of this next time your buying your sunday joint of meat! About time you fought a worthwile cause instead of wasting all our donations on crap like this!

  • Marie says:

    So I guess all of you who claim to be vegetarian or vegan because you are Christians now believe that Jesus and his disciples were quote “ignorant” and “torturers” Does that not mean that you’re religion is based on people who you choose to call “murderers” and “murderers who answer to no justice system”? Personally I am very offended by this.

  • javor says:

    The first definition sounds good It’s a sport and hobby

  • Hoggy says:

    I recommend you take your reality medication four times a day and ensure you complete the course. To even contemplate that the nerve system of a fish is similar to humansmammals etc is unbelievable. If human were through evolution wherever designed to force their face onto sharp shale I would suggest it might be painful due to our nerve structure. Fish have a different nerve structure designed to cope with their natural habit of forcibly at speed ramming their mouth onto sharp shale to feed and filter for food. It is the norm nowadays probably due to the greater access of the internet and public forums etc to post wild ideologies and misconceived unfounded information. I would guess you have unspent energies that could be better expended on truth rather than falsification of reality. However I have not the slightest of belief that will be the case it highly likely to be a life of misconception for you maybe a shame but probably not!

  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    In PETA’s opinion which is worse? A fisherman who kills and eats his catch or one who releases his injured victim to fight another day? I’m not trying to be sarcastic here I really want to know. I am neither by the way.

  • Niravan says:

    Seems that the selfimportant people that feel everything on earth is here for their use have taken offense at the new definition. Alot of nerves touched. There is no apology necessary or forthcomiing. Man insists on putting limits on all species except our own raping the natural resources and killing without thought. Face it “Fisherman” a killers is a killer is a killer.

  • Joseph Wojowski says:

    Fisherman noun … 2 a hunter with a change of environment. 3 a water hunter. 4 a sea kitten torturer. 5 the strongest derogatory term for a cruel person “You’re such a fisherman.”

  • Jessica says:

    sea kitten?? really?? People remember pain too. And we inflict it on ourselves everyday by making choices that could harm us. The fish are the ones who take the bait. Shouldn’t we be educating them on the fact that they should not eat worms that are suspended in midwater?

  • Nickolas Gordon says:

    I think that your second version of the word Fisherman is so far out of touch that it is beyond belief. Fisherman are from all walks of life almost all nationalities and to some it is not just sport but a way of life. They do not enjoy fishing as a leisure but as a way of making ends meet and putting food on the table. To try to change a dictionary defintion on what is very misguided and misunderstood definition of pain when Fish do not have the same sort of nervous system as Humans. I suppose you are totally against allowing people to survive and live their own life

  • Nick Bridgeman says:

    I have never heard of anything so prepostrous and downright unfounded. Before you start announcing to the world that “Fisherman” should be described as and I quote”a person ignorant of oblivious to or indifferent to the fact that he or she is inflicting pain by catching suffocating stabbing and gutting fish someone who is hooked on cruelty” you should have the cold hard facts to hand so that you have unquestionable proof of the above statement but seeing as this proof does not exist may I suggest that you retract the above statement immediately and issue a public apology to all the misled people you have made “Disciples” to what can only be refered to as an institute for the illinformed. This is something that was obviously dreamt up by some vegan animal right activist whose time was previously spent playing party games with their girlfriends at Greenham Common. And it shocks me to think that the people at PETA think that the above falsette has any substance for debate. Wake up!

  • Cindy Vicente says:

    Let’s call a “fisherman” what it really is. A murderer who answers to no justice system.

  • That1 says:

    Did Oxford except it? Something tells me they dont find this as funny as you do…

  • Pepsi One is Fun says:

    A person who catches a fish who dosen’t know that its not cool to catch the fishies because before CGI if all the fishies were caught and eaten who would of starred in movies like Finding Nemo? Nobody. Because we eat them. And that ain’t kosher in my torah.

  • Brien Comerford says:

    A fishermen is an inhumane and cruel person who kills innocent sentient beings and creatures of God for pleasure and profit.

  • colleen says:

    Actually Peta I don’t like your version. It’s not refined and objective enough to be in a dictionary. But it’s not like they’re going to change it to your version any time soon