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In Light of Studies Showing That Fish Are Sentient, Group Hopes to Teach Respect, Compassion for Sea Life
For Immediate Release:April 20, 2010
Contact:Ashley Gonzalez 757-622-7382
Santa Cruz, Calif. -- This morning, PETA sent a letter to Ruth Coleman, director of California State Parks, offering to help the agency reopen the historic Pigeon Point Lighthouse north of Santa Cruz to the public by converting it into the world headquarters of PETA's Fish Empathy Project, which seeks to foster respect, kindness, and understanding for fish and other marine animals who are often treated badly out of ignorance. PETA's offer comes on the heels of reports that the lighthouse, which was built in 1871 and has been widely featured in TV and magazine ads, is closed to the public and that the state is unable to obtain funds for its repair.
PETA's center would feature educational displays proving that fish are intelligent animals who learn tasks, use tools, show affection, and feel pain when they are dragged from the sea in nets or impaled on hooks. The facility would also include a café that serves delicious faux-fish sticks and other tasty fish-friendly food.
"For years, lighthouses have helped protect people at sea, and now, as we've learned more about fish and other aquatic animals, it seems appropriate that they would be used to protect sea life too," says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. "The more that people learn about how clever and sensitive fish are, the less likely they'll be to stick a hook or a fork in them."
For more information, please visit PETA.org.
PETA's letter to California State Parks Director Ruth Coleman follows.
April 20, 2010
Ruth ColemanDirectorCalifornia State Parks
Dear Ms. Coleman:
I am writing with a proposal that could help reopen Pigeon Point Lighthouse to the public. What if we took over the lighthouse, renovated it, and turned it into the headquarters for our Fish Empathy Project, which aims to increase respect and compassion for sea animals?
Visitors to the lighthouse would be able to tour the historic building while also learning that fish are intelligent, sensitive animals who feel pain and fear just as dogs and cats do. There is a mountain of evidence that fish suffer enormously when dragged from their homes in large fishing nets or impaled with metal hooks by anglers. Dr. Donald Broom, a scientific advisor to the British government, said, "The scientific literature is quite clear. Anatomically, physiologically and biologically, the pain system in fish is virtually the same as in birds and mammals." Biologists have found that fish develop relationships with each other and show affection by gently rubbing against one another. Fish have individual personalities, talk to each other, and even grieve when their companions die. Some fish are capable of using tools, while others gather information by eavesdropping. Dr. Sylvia Earle, the world's leading marine biologist, said, "I wouldn't deliberately eat a grouper any more than I'd eat a cocker spaniel. They're so good-natured, so curious. You know, fish really are sensitive, they have personalities, they hurt when they're wounded."
If given guardianship of the Pigeon Point Lighthouse, PETA would install interactive educational displays to help the public learn more about fish, about why they should never be eaten or tormented for "sport" (i.e., fishing), and about the harm that the mercury and PCBs in fish flesh can do to people's health. The lighthouse would also be the perfect location to display the world's first "fish empathy quilt," a 300-square-foot quilt made by PETA volunteers that pays tribute to the billions of fish needlessly killed for their flesh or abused by anglers. We will open a Fish Empathy Café at the lighthouse serving faux-fish sticks and other tasty vegan dishes. And every visitor 12 and under will be given a free plush toy fish emblazoned with the tagline "Fish Are Friends, Not Food!"
Please contact me about our idea. Thank you.
Sincerely,Tracy ReimanExecutive Vice President
Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.