PETA Honorary Director Urges Brooklyn Bridge Park to Stop Teaching Kids to Hurt Animals for 'Fun'
For Immediate Release:
September 11, 2019
David Perle 202-483-7382
Brooklyn, N.Y. – This morning, native Brooklynite Edie Falco sent a letter on PETA’s behalf urging the Brooklyn Bridge Park to cancel any future planned “Fishing Clinics,” in which participants, including children, hook fish through their sensitive mouths, pull them from their aquatic home, and toss them back into the water, where they often die from the injuries or stress.
“Being hooked hurts, and what may seem like a ‘harmless’ game is deadly serious to the fish,” writes Falco. “Most children have a natural empathy for animals, and that kindness should be nurtured, not undermined by teaching kids that it’s OK to hook fish and yank them out of their natural environment for ‘fun.'”
In the letter, Falco suggests replacing the “Fishing Clinics” with “trash fishing”—a fun activity that teaches kids how to be good stewards of the environment instead of how to harm animals.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org.
Edie Falco’s letter to Eric Landau, president of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, follows.
September 11, 2019
Brooklyn Bridge Park
Dear Mr. Landau,
Although we’ve come so far in understanding animals for who they are, even today, fish seem alien to most of us. But science proves that they’re complex beings who deserve our admiration and respect. As a Brooklyn native and an honorary director of PETA, I urge you to stop holding “Fishing Clinics” at the Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Being hooked hurts, and what may seem like a “harmless” game is deadly serious to the fish. The evidence of their desire to live is obvious from the way they fight to survive at the end of a pole as they’re pulled from their natural environment. Handling fish to remove hooks can also cause damage. Fish who are handled by humans can suffer from the loss of their protective scale coating, making them vulnerable to disease, and one study found that the injuries caused to their mouths after they’re hooked can impair their ability to eat. Many fish who are caught and released later die from the injuries or stress.
In a letter to PETA, you stated that you aim to “foster respect of our waterways and the fish that live there,” but surely, the best way to show respect for other animals is to leave them in peace. Most children have a natural empathy for animals, and that kindness should be nurtured, not undermined by teaching kids that it’s OK to hook fish and yank them out of their natural environment for “fun.” There are so many ways to encourage young people to appreciate the outdoors without harming its native inhabitants. PETA’s youth division gave a Hero to Animals Award to an 11-year-old boy and his father who fish for trash, not sea animals, out of the Detroit River. “Trash fishing” could be an educational and helpful alternative to your clinics that would show children how to be good stewards of the environment.
May I hear that you’ll make this year’s clinics the last?