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PETA Asks Man Who Almost Died While Catching Tuna to Hang Up His Hooks

Will Near-Drowning Inspire Empathy for Animals Who Are Netted, Speared, and Suffocated to Death?

For Immediate Release:
July 23, 2013

Contact:
Shakira Croce 202-483-7382

Honolulu, Hawaii — As Koloa, Hawaii, angler Anthony Wichman recovers from nearly drowning after a 230-pound ahi tuna he had stabbed in the eye with a fishing gaff pulled him into the water, PETA is encouraging him to make Friday’s fishing expedition his last. As the group writes in a letter sent to him today, fish experience pain and fear just as all animals—including humans—do, and as PETA’s “Silent Scream” video illustrates, fish suffer immensely when they are impaled, yanked out of the water, stabbed, and suffocated.

“Mr. Wichman survived the terrifying ordeal of being caught on a line, pulled out of his natural environment, and deprived of oxygen—so we’re hoping he’ll now think of what all the fish, including his most recent victim, go through and not want to inflict that pain and fear on them,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA hopes he will make the compassionate decision to go vegan, and we’re willing to help him.” PETA is sending him a vegan starter kit and recipes for faux-fish dishes.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

 

PETA’s letter to Anthony Wichman follows.

 

July 23, 2013

 

Anthony Wichman
5496 Emi Rd.
Koloa, HI 96756

 

Dear Mr. Wichman:

I am writing on behalf of PETA and our more than 3 million members and supporters, including thousands across Hawaii. As a former fisher myself, I urge you to use your recent brush with death as an opportunity to put yourself in the place of the living being you were trying to kill and to consider the value of her life and others like her. As terrifying as it must have been for you to be nearly drowned by a 230-pound tuna, please consider how frightening and painful the experience must have been for the animal who was killed after a struggle that you initiated by punching a gaff through her back and then her eye while she began to suffocate after having been pulled out of the water. With all due respect, I ask you to do some soul-searching and abandon fishing for good.

As this tuna demonstrated, fish, like other animals, value their lives and don’t want to be killed. Studies show that fish have complex nervous systems and feel pain in much the same way as dogs and cats and we do.

Fishing causes immense physical and psychological suffering to fish, who have particularly sensitive mouths and lips that they use like we use our hands. Impaling a fish through the mouth and then dragging him or her out of the water is the equivalent of someone driving a hook through your hand and yanking your entire body weight into the water, where you wouldn’t be able to breathe. As PETA’s short video “Silent Scream” shows, even though fish cannot vocalize to express their pain and fear, there is no room for doubt that they suffer greatly when they are impaled, gaffed, gutted alive, or left to suffocate slowly.

Witnessing the struggle and suffocation of a bloody founder I yanked from the waters off Catalina during a teenage fishing trip made me recognize that fishing is, quite simply, a sadistic “pleasure” derived from another’s misery, and I hung up my rod for good. I sincerely hope that you will consider this point of view in the wake of your fight to the finish with the unfortunate tuna.

Kindest regards,

Dan Mathews
Senior Vice President