DNR Director’s Fishing Fine Prompts PETA to Say ‘We’ll Pay!’

For Immediate Release:
March 31, 2022

Brooke Rossi 202-483-7382

Des Moines, Iowa

Iowa Department of Natural Resources Director Kayla Lyon was cited for fishing without a license on March 21, so PETA let fly a letter to her today offering to reimburse her for the fine if she agrees to leave aquatic animals alone and, instead, take up “trash fishing”—a popular pastime in which people collect litter and dangerous discarded fishing lines, floats, and hooks. If Lyon accepts, PETA will send her a trash-fishing kit consisting of eco-friendly gloves, biodegradable trash bags, a trash-grabbing claw, and some (vegan) Swedish Fish candies for energy, to help her get hooked.

“Traditional fishing harms its intended victims and millions of birds, turtles, and other animals who become trapped in fishing line or are impaled by fishhooks every year,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “Of all people, a Department of Natural Resources director should protect wildlife and their homes, so PETA is calling on Lyon to hang up her rod and go ‘trash fishing’ instead.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

PETA’s letter to Lyon follows.

March 31, 2022

Kayla Lyon


Iowa Department of Natural Resources

Dear Ms. Lyon:

I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals U.S.—PETA entities have more than 9 million members and supporters globally—in response to the news of your citation for fishing with an expired license. We have a respectful plea: Rather than fishing for sentient beings and piercing their sensitive mouths, will you please “fish” for trash instead? Not only is this a kinder form of recreation, it also cleans up aquatic habitats and protects other forms of wildlife. We will reimburse you for your fine if you agree!

Fish are sentient individuals who experience fear and pain. As more information on fish pain receptivity is uncovered, it’s becoming impossible to ignore that there’s something barbaric about hooking fish, suffocating them, and gutting them while they’re still alive. All this involves fear and torment for them—and even when they’re tossed back, most of them still die slowly and painfully from their injuries and stress. Fish also talk to each other, show affection by gently rubbing against one another, and grieve when their companions die. It’s no more acceptable to harm fish than it is to harm any other living, feeling being.

Fishing doesn’t hurt just fish. Every year, anglers leave behind a trail of victims who include millions of birds, turtles, and other animals who sustain debilitating and deadly injuries after swallowing fishhooks or becoming entangled in fishing line. Whales, turtles, and seabirds can mistake litter for food, and when they eat it, they can choke or sustain fatal stomach or bowel obstructions. Wildlife rehabilitators say that abandoned, lost, or discarded fishing gear is one of the greatest threats to aquatic animals and makes up about 10% of aquatic litter.

We hope that instead of participating in this cruel activity that needlessly harms life and destroys habitats, you’ll help tackle this pollution by practicing “trash fishing.” If you accept our offer, we’ll not only reimburse your fine but also send you a trash fishing kit—including delicious Swedish Fish candy—to help you get started. Thank you for your consideration. We look forward to hearing from you.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid Newkirk


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