PETA's anti-fishing campaign reels in a whopper of a critic
You may have heard about PETA's new anti-fishing campaign, which refers to fish as sea kittens.
The primary goal of the campaign is to steer kids away from fishing by associating fish with cute and cuddly animals. The colorful PETA website shares Sea Kitten stories, sells Sea Kitten T-shirts and implores children to join its Sea Kitten crusade.
An angler might irreverently respond that when a sea kitten grows up it becomes a catfish, which when seasoned with Cajun spice is downright delectable.
Fishermen might also point out that a big old catfish, long past its sea kitten days, is one of the ugliest denizens on earth (see photo).
But PETA has cast its campaign into the mainstream and received more than a few bites.
Kurtis wasn't sure what the cartoon meant so he visited the PETA website "because I couldn't believe someone at an organization like PETA could seriously concoct something so stupid and insulting."
Kurtis continued: "This has nothing to do with what side of the conservation issue you come down on. But for those of us who regularly work in the marine conservation field, it absolutely trivializes what we try to accomplish.
"I talk with fisherman, divers, conservationists, consumptives, non-consumptives and others. All of these people, whether I agree with their position or not, have a strong love for the ocean and don't just come to their positions willy-nilly. Nor do they resort to gimmicks and stunts."
Kurtis implies that by suggesting people eat vegetables instead of fish, PETA ignores environmental damage caused by agricultural runoff; and by making kids believe all fishing is bad, PETA in turn is labeling all fishermen, including remote island villagers who subside on fishing, as villains.
Kurtis implores: "I would love a public outcry to force PETA to (1) withdraw the campaign, (2) apologize for its insulting tone and approach, and (3) fire those responsible for its inception.
The dive master has even added a link.
"I cannot in all good conscience stand idly by without trying to open PETA's eyes," Kurtis summed. "I hope you'll join me in the effort."
Something tells me this is just the kind of attention PETA was angling for.
Photo: Tim Pruitt of Alton, Ill., displays state-record 124-pound sea kitten, er, catfish, he reeled from the Mississippi River near Alton in 2005. Credit: Associated Press