Thursday, June 11, 2009

PETA's Fish Throwing Fit

PETA requests halt of fish-throwing by Seattle's famous Pike Place Fish Market team

June 9, 4:09 PM · 10 comments

Take a stroll downtown Seattle and you're unlikely to miss the yells and hollers coming from the fishmongers at Pike Place Fish. The popular fish-market is famous for throwing fish through the air in the historic Pike Place Market and attracts thousands of visitors from around the world each year, in addition to local and celebrity chefs and Seattleites looking for the freshest seafood in the city.

But when word spread that the American Veterinary Medical Association's (AVMA) annual conference included plans for the fishmongers from the Pike Place Fish Market to toss fish as part of a motivational convention presentation on July 10th, representatives from PETA, the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, wrote a letter to the AVMA president asking for the organization to cancel the event with the iconic Seattle fishmongers, stating that "it's cruel enough to eat fish, but it literally adds insult to injury to use them as toys for silly stunts." Among the reasons cited for halting the fish-throwing include studies showing that fish feel pain as a result of the fishing industry.

The throwing of salmon, oysters, crabs and other seafood items at Pike Place Fish was originally used for the purpose of efficiency, eliminating the need to make repeated trips back-and-forth from behind the counter and speed up customer service, but over the years the spectacle has become popular with culinary enthusiasts and tourists from around the globe who visit the fish market hoping to see a "low flying fish" sail through the air under the glow of the food market's neon signage. The event has been captured countless times by film and media outlets, including Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations and the Food Network show Glutton for Punishment.

In response to the accusation that their actions disrespect the fish in question, assistant manager of Pike Place Fish Justin Hall was quoted as saying, "We love fish. We respect fish. Fish is what makes our business thrive and what drives customers to us. There's nothing we would ever do to disrespect seafood." Link

What else can you say about this other than to wonder if PETA realizes that these fish are already dead. However, these fish did not die for nothing. Their death gives life to the humans that eat them. Life and death are inescapable and necessary in the course of nature. Those of us in agriculture realize this simple fact early on in our lives. It’s a sad reality that we need to educate others about this as well.

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