Let’s Fry Up Some “Sea Kittens”

Sometimes animal rights activists do good work. For example, I really don’t think rabbits’ eyes should be mangled so that a new cosmetic can hit the market. Most of the time, though, it’s obvious that animal rights activists don’t know much about animals. PETA is a prime example of this phenomenon: in its latest campaign, PETA wants to re-name fish “sea kittens” so kids won’t fish–or kitten?–for them.

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You might think that PETA’s “sea kitten” campaign would be preachy and stupid. You’d be right. For example, here is one of PETA’s “stories” to teach our youth about fish:

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Minnesota is ground zero when it comes to fishing. I’m not much of a fisherman, but most years we spend a week on a big lake in northern Minnesota and fish, mostly, for walleyes. We’re anything but hard core, but there is a real satisfaction in frying up our catch of walleyes, northerns and crappies for a big family dinner or–if we’re lucky–two.

The fishing opener in Minnesota is a holiday that is greeted with pretty much the same reverence accorded Christmas and Easter. It’s traditional for our Governor to celebrate the opening of the fishing season, accompanied by reporters and photographers. Here, Governor Tim Pawlenty, accompanied by his wife Mary, hoists a walleye–sea kitten?–that he caught under near-Arctic conditions during last year’s season opener:

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I doubt that PETA’s “sea kitten” campaign will make much of an impression on Minnesota’s youth. My son caught his first sunfish off a dock when he was two. When he was six, maybe, a guide on a northern lake led us to a place where crappies were swarming. We caught 100 or so fat crappies in a half hour. All of my kids have participated in off-the-dock fishing contests since they were barely big enough to walk. This photo of my son and me was taken in the summer of 2007 after I caught a nice walleye, just the right size for eating.

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Fish are, truth be told, really stupid. The highest and best use of a small fish–a sunfish or perch–is to be caught off a dock by a young child. It’s not unusual for such fish to be caught 30 or 40 times, making off with the worm while being released to bite again. The highest and best use of a larger fish is to be fried up to feed a family like mine after a fun day on a cold northern lake. So I doubt that we, in Minnesota, will soon be referring to fish as “sea kittens.”

H/T to our friend Ed Morrissey, the first, as far as I know, to take note of PETA’s latest.

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