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More About the Animal Rights Threat

My Thursday post about the animal rights movement generated tremendous interest. I’m glad to see this because it poses a significant threat to not only fishing, but hunting, agriculture, medical research and even horse-drawn carriages in New York City.

Right now especially, it is emboldened by the general tone set by the President and his administration. I’m not saying that all animal rights advocates are Democrats. But the movement is right in line with the general tone of traditional culture and values being wrong, cruel, and unenlightened.

One point that I failed to make specifically in that post is advocating for animal rights is not the same as caring about the welfare of animals. Many of us care about their welfare and want to see them well treated.

But we do not believe that they should be given legal rights and/or equal rights with humans, and that is the objective of the most zealous in the animal rights movement.

If you want to discover just how pervasive this movement is worldwide, arrange for a daily or weekly Google Alert for “animal rights.”

Here are three examples:

Lawsuit Filed Today on Behalf of Chimpanzee Seeking Legal Personhood

War on Meat Part of War on Humans

Animal Rights Group Seeks Roadside Memorial for Dead Turkeys

Also my book, Why We Fish, explains the danger that this movement poses specifically to recreational fishing in an essay entitled "No Fishing?"  Here’s an excerpt:

Anglers and hunters view fish and wildlife as resources to be used, while being managed wisely and treated with respect. Traditionally, most Americans have agreed with that “utilitarian” philosophy.

But as people become more urbanized (and often more affluent), some begin to favor a “mutualism wildlife value orientation, viewing wildlife as capable of relationships of trust with humans, as if part of an extended family, and as deserving of rights and caring.”

Mutualists, the authors say, “are more likely to view fish and wildlife in human terms, with human personalities and characteristics.”

What’s coming down the road in the United States if mutualism prevails?

The Swiss Animal Welfare Act of 2008 highlights the nightmarish possibilities. The legislation makes catch-and-release illegal because “it is in conflict with the dignity of the fish and its presumed ability to suffer and feel pain.”

And, finally, here's a recent site set up to counter propaganda from the Humane Society of the United States and other animal rights groups. You've likely seen its tear-jerker commercials soliciting donations. In reality, only a tiny fraction of that money goes to shelters that care for abused animals. Most of it goes to fund its political agenda.



It's Not a Hobby . . .  

“I think I fish, in part, because it’s an anti-social, bohemian business that, when gone about properly, puts you forever outside the mainstream culture without actually landing you in an institution.” John Gierach

“Calling fishing a hobby is like calling brain surgery a job.” Paul Schullery

Why We Fish --- Reel Wisdom from Real Fishermen

“In these sad and ominous days of mad fortune chasing, every patriotic, thoughtful citizen, whether he fishes or not, should lament that we have not among our countrymen more fishermen.” Grover Cleveland

“Lots of people committed crimes during the year who would not have done so if they had been fishing. The increase of crime is among those deprived of the regenerations that impregnate the mind and character of the fisherman.” Herbert Hoover


Should Florida Change Its Bass Regs? Your Input Needed

If you’re a Florida angler who fishes for bass, you should attend a public meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 7, in Tavares. The future of bass fishing in your state is at stake and your opinion is vital as the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) considers regulation change.

FWC is looking for input regarding a proposal for a statewide daily bag limit of five fish, with only one of 16 inches or longer allowed. In other words, you could keep four bass of less than 16 inches and one kicker.

If I were attending this meeting, I’d want to know what FWC wants to achieve with this regulation. Is it intended to simplify regulations? Protect the largest bass? Will it increase harvest of larger bass by meat fishermen? And if that happens, how would that impact the state’s bass fishery?

Current statewide regs are as follows:

Black bass Not a Mobile-Enabled Link (largemouth Not a Mobile-Enabled LinkSuwannee Not a Mobile-Enabled Linkspotted Not a Mobile-Enabled Link, and shoal Not a Mobile-Enabled Link bass, individually or in total), only one of which may be 22 inches or longer in total length. (SeeMap Adobe PDF for zones).

  • In south Florida: only one bass may be 14 inches in total length or longer. (SeeMap Adobe PDF for zones).
  • South and east of the Suwannee River: black bass less than 14 inches in total length must be released immediately. (See  Map Adobe PDF for zones).
  • In the Suwannee River, areas north and west of the Suwannee River, and in any tributary river, creek or stream of the Suwannee River: black bass less than 12 inches in total length must be released immediately. (See Map Adobe PDF for zones).

Right now, Florida has specific regulations for quite a few individual fisheries. For example, Lake Okechobee has a five-fish bag, with an 18-inch minimum and only one of 22 inches or more allowed. Lake Walk-in-Water (Weohyakapka) has a protective slot of 15 to 23 inches and a three-fish bag, with one of 24 inches or longer allowed. Others are listed here.

The May 7 meeting will be in the Lake County Board Chambers of the Round Administration Building, 315 W. Main St.

And in Salt Water . . . 

FWC wants assistance:

Volunteer anglers in northern Florida are encouraged to catch and collect a DNA sample from every tarpon they catch that is 30 inches or longer. Since 2006, scientists from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) have partnered with Mote Marine Laboratory to use DNA fingerprinting as a way to track the movements, habits and recapture rates of Atlantic tarpon in coastal and inshore waters.

Anglers can collect a DNA sample by scraping the outer jaw of the tarpon with a small, abrasive sponge. Immediately after collecting the DNA sample, the sponge should be placed in the prelabeled vial. DNA vials can be mailed to FWRI with the accompanying data slip so that geneticists can analyze and compare the DNA sample with cataloged samples to determine if someone caught and sampled the tarpon previously. This recapture information provides evidence of long-term survival and insight into the seasonal and regional movements of individual fish.

As of today, biologist have catalogued more than 22,060 samples and identified 217 recaptured tarpon.

“Remember, even if you catch only one tarpon all year, collecting that single DNA sample can help advance our understanding of tarpon,” said FWRI research scientist Kathy Guindon. “We have received the majority of our samples from southern Florida, and we want to encourage our northern anglers to submit more samples,” Guindon explained.

Biologists are grateful for the ongoing support of volunteer anglers and look forward to continued help from these citizen scientists to make 2014 a banner year for tarpon samples received from our north Florida waters. Anglers in south Florida should continue to use up their supplies on fish over 30 inches. All samples will still be accepted. Just remember that tarpon more than 40 inches fork length must remain in the water throughout the capture, sampling and release process. Anglers who would like to participate in this study can obtain a free, easy-to-use tarpon DNA sampling kit by emailing or by calling 800-367-4461.

Participants will receive an annual newsletter with updates on the recapture study and will receive information about the specific fish they caught as it becomes available. There is also an end-of-year raffle for those volunteers who have returned a sample.

For more information on the Tarpon Genetic Recapture Study or to watch a video demonstration of how to genetically sample your tarpon, visit this FWC link.


Time to Take a Look at the Big Picture of Animal Rights Movement

Generally, we don’t take the animal rights movement literally. That’s because we’ve allowed ourselves to be distracted from the big picture by the relatively small skirmishes, including the movement to ban lead fishing tackle and, more recently, the campaign to portray catch and release as cruel.

But it’s time for a harsh reality check. The animal rights movement is about giving “rights” to fish, fowl, and furry critters. It’s also about giving rights to trees, grass, and water. And it’s coming closer and closer to a waterway near you, possibly in the guise of a Trojan horse that its devotees hope you won’t recognize for what it is.

Consider the good folks of Upper Mount Bethel Township in Pennsylvania. Some don’t want fertilizers made with human waste being spread on local farm fields, and they’ve voiced their concerns.

Enter the Community Environmental Legal Defend Fund (CELDF) to “help” these residents. It is proposing a community bill of rights for the right to water, self-governance, and sustainable farming, with a ban on spreading sludge by corporations.

Sounds great, huh? Until you check out the CELDF’s pedigree. Here is what it proclaims on its website:

“The Legal Defense Fund has assisted communities in the United States to craft first-in-the-nation laws that change the status of natural communities and ecosystems from being regarded as property under the law to being recognized as rights-bearing entities.

 “Those local laws recognize that natural communities and ecosystems possess an inalienable and fundamental right to exist and flourish, and that residents of those communities possess the legal authority to enforce those rights on behalf of those ecosystems.  In addition, these laws require the governmental apparatus to remedy violations of those ecosystem rights.”

Got that? Its objective is to give legal rights to rivers, lakes, forests, and fields.

Fortunately, at least one Pennsylvania resident did his homework and explained his concerns in a letter to the Express-Times newspaper.

“I listened to the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund lecture on the Constitution and individual rights, only to breeze over the part of the proposal that subjugates individual rights to the rights of the collective and worse, to an imagined ‘natural community,’” said James Kaleda.

“This proposal is extreme environmentalism masquerading as local sovereignty.  It has UMBT residents declare their sovereignty and then immediately subjugate their rights to the rights of a rock.

“Make no mistake about it. This bill is anti-hunting, anti-fishing, anti-wood-burning stove. It is anti-freedom . . .”

And he’s correct. A community that buys into this scam is just a heartbeat away from placing itself in a situation in which it can be coerced into prohibiting fishing because it disrupts the natural harmony and thus violates the rights of a “natural community.”

Think that can’t happen?  It already has in Europe, where animal rights groups have enjoyed so much success that they no longer try to hide their true objectives. In several countries, they’ve established political parties, with the most notable being in the Netherlands.

In 2006, the Dutch Party for Animals won two seats in Parliament. Among its successes is a ban on round goldfish bowls because they are too stressful.

“Their goal is to move away from human-centered thinking and create a society that treats animals with respect,” reported The Economist.

Meanwhile in Italy, a terminally ill veterinary student posted support on her Facebook page for animal research, explaining that it helped keep her alive. In response, she was bombarded with hate mail and death threats.

One message said, “You could die tomorrow. I wouldn’t sacrifice my goldfish for you.”

And let’s not forget that use of live bait already is prohibited in several European countries because it’s viewed as cruel, while Switzerland has banned catch-and-release fishing for the same reason.

In the U.S., sport fishing still is solidly supported by a vast majority of the people, and state wildlife agencies have done a good job of recruiting new anglers through urban fishing programs and other innovative strategies.

But let’s not forget that animal rights advocates don’t care about how many millions enjoy/support fishing or how important it is historically, culturally, and economically. They are blindly devoted to imposing their will on the rest of us, and they are not reluctant to use Trojan horses in doing so.

(This opinion piece appeared originally in B.A.S.S. Times.)


That's Bass Fishing

“With every trip I collect new mementos, though few are collected in scrapbooks. And all who fish for bass across the land collect them too. They are the images from first light to last and from first fish to last. And we’d share them in a minute. Some recall particular triumphs, often preserved in snapshots and clippings, while others we tend to hide, at least until the time we’re ready to laugh about them. Daybreaks, canebrakes, heartbreaks, muggy nights, and foggy mornings. A hundred things that worked, and a thousand more that should have. That’s bass fishing.” —-George Kramer

“Nothing makes a fish bigger than almost being caught.”  Unknown

Why We Fish --- Reel Wisdom from Real Fishermen

“Calling fishing a hobby is like calling brain surgery a job.” Paul Schullery

“In these sad and ominous days of mad fortune chasing, every patriotic, thoughtful citizen, whether he fishes or not, should lament that we have not among our countrymen more fishermen.” Grover Cleveland

“For the rich, there is therapy. For the rest of us, there is fishing!” Unknown