PETA should reconsider priorities

Published 9:08 pm Friday, August 7, 2009

If you had to describe People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals in one word, it would be innovative. Or persistent. Or imprudent.

But definitely innovative.

The group’s latest tactic is asking high school athletics governing bodies—namely, the Alabama High School Athletic Association—to not sanction bass fishing as an official sport. AHSAA officials said called it a non-issue because such a move is not forthcoming.

But it’s still worth analyzing just what PETA is trying to do here. “Schools would never encourage students to maim cats or dogs, so why would they encourage them to maim fish,” Tracy Reiman, PETA executive vice president, asked in a letter to AHSAA executive director Steve Savarese. That logic, of course, is oversimplified. Fish are indeed harmed when caught with a hook, but fishing is a traditional means for humans to feed themselves, unlike the maiming of cats and dogs Reiman wrote about.

PETA would surely argue that no one is fed by the fish caught in competitive tournaments, and, wait just a minute, we’ve stumbled upon the solution!

Instead of using its vast resources to discourage people from performing an instinctive task—gathering food—PETA could ensure that fish caught by high schoolers, who are using a talent as a way to obtaining a college education, were used to feed those who can’t gather food on their own.

As worthy of protection from pain as fish are, surely we can all agree that education and food should be higher priorities.