Attention PETA people: The fish are already dead!

I’m beginning to believe that PETA has been taken over by saboteurs who are trying to destroy the organization by making it look unbelievably stupid:

“Hali-BUT! Hali-BUT! Heyyyyyy!” six men scream in unison. “Goin’ right home! Goin’ right home!” The counterman catches the hurtling fish neatly between the head and tail fin and slaps it onto a wrapping sheet.

The Pike Place Fish Market is the legendary home of the flying fish: Halibut as big as a wrestler’s thigh, spiky medallions of crab, the smooth, rainbow flesh of Chinook salmon, all become rapid-fire marine rockets in the hands of Seattle’s fishmongers — who are as famous for the speed of their fish as for its freshness.

But did anyone ever think of the fish?

Asserting that the practice of lobbing fish above the heads of patrons and tourists at the market and other venues is disrespectful to creatures that already have gone through a lot, an animal rights group is protesting plans to stage a flying-fish exhibition at an upcoming national veterinarians conference in Seattle.

Ultimately, they would like to see the practice banned at the fish market too. They argue that tourists would not be nearly so eager to snap photos if dead kittens or gutted lambs were sailing over their heads.

“Killing animals so you can toss their bodies around for amusement is just twisted,” said Ashley Byrne, senior campaigner for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals in Washington, D.C.

The fish are caught at Pike’s Place are caught, not for tossing, but so that we can eat them.  The fish were originally tossed for efficient transport from one location to another.  People were charmed, so now it’s a bit of a show.  The fish would be dead anyway.

More important, fish are not puppies or kittens.  The latter are cute, the former are not.  The emotional resonance is different.  Allow me to demonstrate:







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    “There is more than enough scientific evidence to prove that fish feel pain and that they do not die well at the hands of the fishing industry,”

    So said, Sarah King.

    Oh, I get it – PETA would prefer that we sing the fish to sleep and once lulled into a peaceful slumbering state we gently massage them to death.

  • Mike Devx

    I know I really shouldn’t go wildly off-topic here, but begging Book’s pardon in advance, I will…

    The news is suddenly full of a flurry of stories about the Honduran coup that happened earlier today. The consensus is that the coup is a complete violation of all democratic ideals that free people would cherish. But is that the case?

    What you will hear as the usual backstory:
    The military took the Honduran President, Manual Zelaya, into custody and then expelled him from the country. The Honduran Congress, affirmed by its Supreme Court, then installed an interim President in his place.

    I was able to find ONE article that provided some further backstory…

    That Mr. Zelaya acted as if he were above the law, there is no doubt. While Honduran law allows for a constitutional rewrite, the power to open that door does not lie with the president. A constituent assembly can only be called through a national referendum approved by its Congress.

    But Mr. Zelaya declared the vote on his own and had Mr. Chávez ship him the necessary ballots from Venezuela. The Supreme Court ruled his referendum unconstitutional, and it instructed the military not to carry out the logistics of the vote as it normally would do.

    The top military commander, Gen. Romeo Vásquez Velásquez, told the president that he would have to comply. Mr. Zelaya promptly fired him. The Supreme Court ordered him reinstated. Mr. Zelaya refused.

    Calculating that some critical mass of Hondurans would take his side, the president decided he would run the referendum himself. So on Thursday he led a mob that broke into the military installation where the ballots from Venezuela were being stored and then had his supporters distribute them in defiance of the Supreme Court’s order.

    The attorney general had already made clear that the referendum was illegal, and he further announced that he would prosecute anyone involved in carrying it out. Yesterday, Mr. Zelaya was arrested by the military and is now in exile in Costa Rica.


    President Obama has declared his deep concern about the coup, but has remained steadfastly silent about the egregious abuses of the former Honduran president.

    I’m not prepared yet to defend or criticize the coup as there is still a lot of backstory I don’t understand yet. It may be that we’re calling a coup is in fact the best option available to those Hondurans trying to follow the rule of law; or perhaps not. It’s still unclear to me.

    But it is certainly easy, and clear, that the Honduran president was up to no good, was violating the law repeatedly, and deserved a host of criticism from all the major actors that are now criticizing the coup. Had their criticism been leveled on the president in a timely manner, it’s possible the coup crisis could have been averted.

  • kali

    No, Book, *this* is what the average fish looks like:

    Now, don’t you feel guilty for eating them?

  • Gringo

    The Sea Kitten reminded me of Monty Python’s Dead Parrot sketch.

  • Gringo

    Pray tell me PETA: what about the poor innocent carrots and rutabagas?
    Here is a song by people of concern: Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention: Call Any Vegetable. Here are most of the lyrics (I figured that those who wanted all the lyrics could to to the link.)

    Call any vegetable
    Call it by name
    You’ve gotta call one today
    When you get off the train
    Call any vegetable
    And the chances are good
    The vegetable will respond to you
    La La La La
    The vegetable will respond to you
    La La La La

    Call any vegetable
    Pick up your phone
    Think of a vegetable
    Lonely at home
    Call any vegetable
    And the chances are good
    The vegetable will respond to you
    La La La La
    The vegetable will respond to you
    La La La La
    Rutabaga, Rutabaga, Rutabaga, Rutabaga, Rutaba…

    No one will know
    If you don’t want to let them know
    No one will know
    ‘less it’s you that might tell them so
    Call and they’ll come to you
    Smiling and covered with dew
    Vegetable dream
    Vegetable dream
    Vegetable dream of responding to you
    Standing there shiny and proud by your side
    Holding your joint while the neighbors decide
    Why is a vegetable something to hide

    It goes on and on.
    What about the poor innocent carrots and rutabagas?

  • Ymarsakar

    PETA is the biggest animal abuse organization in this nation. Who are they to tell the rest of us what is ethical or not when they slaughter dogs and kittens by the train load every year?

  • Mike Devx

    If it is cruel to throw a dead fish across a crowd to a buying customer, then one must ask, how cruel is it to HOOK a live fish and drag it (anthropomorphically screaming in terror) out of its home, the sea, into a fisherman’s boat? Or to trap it in a net, haul it up, and dump it into a fishhold, to then gasp its dying breaths huddled in a genocidal pile of thousands of other slaughtered fish?

    In pondering such a question one sees the long-term goal of PETA emerge clearly… eating fish is wrong, for killing them is barbaric and evil.

    The only acceptable means of taking a fish for human consumption is to coax it into your boat, and there, via some means, kill it in such a way that it suffers zero pain. Coax it gently and persuasively.

    And that point leads me to a digression concerning Orson Scott Card’s brilliant books, Enders Game and Speaker For The Dead. Especially the second of these.

    In “Speaker”, Card posits a planet devastated by a virus such that there are an extremely limited number of species. One species is a teddy-bear like animal that begins life as a “semi-grub infant” nurtured by a “tree”, growing into teddy-bear form upon release from the “tree” – and upon teddy-bear death transforms by growing into a new “tree”. A closed circle of life.

    The purpose of my digression: When a teddy-bear creature require wood, it walks up to a “tree” and talks to it, and the tree voluntarily gives up its life, falls over, and splits naturally into tens or hundreds of all the wooden implements that the teddy bear(s) require for their daily lives.

    The teddy bear talks gently to the tree, coaxes it unto death, and voluntarily the tree gives itself up for the purpose of the teddy-bear tribe. Just like, one suspects, PETA wishes we would coax our fish gently into our boats.

    In pondering fish coaxing, I was struck by the problem with Card’s premise: Why should any one tree among thousands just give itself up? Where’s the tree that says, “Hey, I’m enjoying myself here right now! Choose one of those other hundreds of trees around me! Hell no, I’m not ready to go yet. Choose someone else.”

    And why not? Why does the teddy bear get to choose which tree is the one to die? Why don’t the trees, a more mature form of teddy-bear life, determine this? No, the teddy bear CHOOSES the tree, and every single time without fail, that tree is the one that keels over and serves teddy-bear purposes.

    It’s an unsustainable premise once you dig just a little deep. I wonder why that never occurred to me before. Perhaps it never occurred to me because the first time I read these books, I was still a confirmed liberal. 9-11 hadn’t happened yet, to set me on my path to conservatism.

  • Charles Martel

    I think the solution to how to kill a fish humanely is to not kill it at all.

    An ethical fisherman would simply set up housekeeping on the boat with the fish, tending to its needs until it dies. At that point, the fisherman would not be commiting an immoral act by eating the fish.

  • suek

    Horse slaughter for the purpose of selling horse meat is now illegal in the US. It’s not illegal to slaughter them for animal food. It’s not illegal to pump them full of poison so that they die and are unsuitable for anything other then burial where the poisons in their systems can eventually pollute the water table…but it’s illegal to kill them and and then for humans to eat them.

    The reason given for this is that there was abuse of the animals in the slaughter houses. How true this is is hard to determine – when you’re producing food to consumed by humans, you generally have to maintain a certain quality of the meat so that it’s _suitable_ for food, so the abuse claimed is at least questionable. In addition, what give PETA the right to determine what some ethnic group can morally eat or not? Thirdly, if abuse in the slaughterhouses was the issue, why not write legislation that would insure steep penalties should such abuse occur? Someone also needs to convince PETA that just because a killed animal convulses does _not_ mean the animal is still “alive” and capable of feeling pain. And if the animals did in fact feel pain, how is it any less when they are consumed by 4 legged creatures than by 2 legged creatures?

    PETA. I cannot think of the words that would describe my feelings toward them. Animals do not have rights because they cannot assume responsibilities. _Humans_ have responsibilities, and one of them is to cause as little pain and distress to the animals in their care as possible, but the animals don’t have _rights_.

  • BrianE

    It all began with a few dead fish, and with a cult following Pike Place Fish has transcended scales and claws to it’s ultimate goal.. it’s about world peace!

    Bring the culture of fish to your orgnization.
    It began as FISH, the movie and its sequel FISH STICKS and now the blockbuster FISH, The Musical.

    Sorry, PETA that fish has already been gutted, fried in butter and served with a slice of lemon.


    Some acronyms just need a bit of tweaking to get their real message across.

    PETA/PITA – Pain – In – The – A@@

  • Danny Lemieux

    I prefer PETA – People who Eat Tasty Animals

  • Ymarsakar

    That’s not kosher ; )

  • Charles Martel

    I am reminded of the great bumpersticker:

    “If God did not want us to eat animals, He wouldn’t have made them out of meat.”

  • JKB

    It is true that people would not snap photos of the tossing of dead kittens. Tossing live kittens, however, is great sport and there are many photos. We do not, however, routinely toss kittens simply because they grow up to be cats. Cats who bide their time waiting years sometimes, until you’re on the steps loaded down with groceries to rub themselves against your legs.

    Perhaps on the day of the protest, the fish mongers can toss PETA members instead?

  • Charles Martel

    JKB, you obviously have deep insights into the cat mind. (And probably the scars to prove it!)