PETA Wants Bus Stop Attacker’s Fishing License Revoked

Fishing Rods Can Be Deadly Weapons and Shouldn’t Be Used Against Humans or Aquatic Animals, Group Says

For Immediate Release:
October 19, 2020

Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Vernon, Conn.

A local man reportedly attacked two people at a bus stop with his fishing rod, prompting PETA to send a letter to Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Katie Dykes pointing out that a fishing rod—even when used for its intended purpose—is a weapon that can harm and kill living beings and asking officials either to revoke the attacker’s fishing license if he has one or, should he apply for one in the future, deny his application.

“It is speciesism to say that using a fishing rod to harm a human is a crime while using it to harm a fish is ‘sport,’” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA is challenging people to consider that fishing is a cruel practice that involves hooking gentle animals through their sensitive mouths, watching them slowly suffocate, and sometimes even gutting them while they’re still alive.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat or abuse in any other way”—opposes speciesism, the human-supremacist worldview that other animals exist for humans to use however they see fit. For more information, visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

PETA’s letter to Dykes follows.

October 19, 2020

Katie S. Dykes


Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

Dear Ms. Dykes,

I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) regarding reports that Vernon resident Michel Murphree has been charged with striking someone with a fishing rod at a bus stop. We urge you to revoke his fishing license, if he has one, or prohibit him from ever obtaining one, if he doesn’t, in order to discourage him from further abusing humans, fish, or other animals.

Fishing rods are deadly weapons. Whether people like to think about it or not, all fish are sentient beings who feel fear and pain—especially when hooked through their sensitive mouth, which has many nerve endings. It’s impossible to ignore that there’s something barbaric about actively hooking fish, suffocating them, and gutting them while they’re still alive. Even when they’re tossed back, most of them still die slowly and painfully from their injuries and stress.

Fishing doesn’t just hurt fish. Every year, anglers worldwide leave behind a trail of victims that includes millions of birds, turtles, and other animals who sustain debilitating injuries after swallowing fishhooks. Lost or abandoned fishing gear also damages marine habitats and entangles marine animals, leading to injury, illness, suffocation, starvation, and death.

In light of the global pandemic and growing awareness of inequality, we are all examining our impact on society and asking how we can be more empathetic. This societal reckoning must include consideration of all the ways in which animals are violated. Fishing is not a sport—it’s animal abuse. I hope you’ll reflect on our request. Thank you.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid E. Newkirk


cc:        Captain Eric Lundin, Eastern District Headquarters, State Environmental Conservation Police, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

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