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Group Asks Board to Deep-Six Bass Fishing as an Official School Sport
For Immediate Release: April 5, 2010
Contact: Kristina Addington 757-622-7382Bloomington, Ill. -- Today, PETA sent an urgent letter to the Illinois High School Association's board of directors, calling on board members to sink bass fishing as an official sport in the state's high schools. In its letter, PETA points out that countless studies show that fish are smart animals who feel pain when impaled on a hook and that encouraging students to maim and kill fish teaches them that violence against others--even those it may be hard to relate to--is acceptable.
"Putting the suffering and death inherent in fishing on par with basketball, baseball, and other true sports just doesn't hold water," says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. "The schools would never encourage students to maim cats or dogs, so why would they encourage them to maim fish?"
For more information, please visit PETA.org.
PETA's letter to Jim Woodward, president of the Illinois High School Association's board of directors, follows.
April 5, 2010
Dear Mr. Woodward,
I am writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our more than 2 million members and supporters--including thousands across Illinois--to urge you to eliminate bass fishing as an Illinois High School Association-sponsored activity.
Fishing is a blood sport that causes immense physical and psychological suffering: Fish have particularly sensitive mouths and lips that they use in much the same way that we use our hands. Removing a hook often results in painful injuries to the fish's lips, throat, mouth, and/or face, which can easily become infected. Studies show that fish who are caught and thrown back into the water ("catch-and-release" fishing) often die from their injuries and/or the loss of their protective outer coating. Those who are kept by anglers slowly suffocate or are bludgeoned to death; many fish are cut open while they are still conscious. If cats or dogs were the victims of similar abuse, the perpetrators could be thrown in jail for cruelty to animals. A lack of understanding and knowledge about fish allows this cruelty to continue.
There is overwhelming scientific evidence that fish feel pain. A recent edition of the journal Fish and Fisheries cited more than 500 research papers on fish intelligence and concluded that fish are intelligent animals with sophisticated social structures. Dr. Donald Broom, scientific advisor to the British government, has 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."
The only lesson that fishing teaches children is that violence is acceptable when it is directed toward those who look different or are smaller and weaker than us. Many positive, cruelty-free alternatives are available--I hope you will make the compassionate decision to end Illinois high schools' sponsorship of this needlessly violent activity. I look forward to hearing from you.
Sincerely,Tracy ReimanExecutive Vice President
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