The Washington Times - October 29, 2008, 02:32PM

You’ve got to give it to the wacky People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Whenever we hunters and fishermen feel a little down and don’t have a lot to be cheerful about, here comes PETA and delivers a comedy routine worthy of any night club in Las Vegas.

The trouble is, more often than not the Norfolk-based PETA is serious about its outrageous attempts to change our behavior.

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Nowadays the animal rights religionists aren’t only going after scientists, trying to save a laboratory rat that could one day save a human life; and they still think of hunters as nothing less than descendants of raging Huns that need to be eradicated.

But of late PETA has also tried to take on one of the most influential and massively numbered segments in American — no, world-wide — recreation: the sport anglers.

You know them as fishermen or bait dunkers, perch jerkers, carpers, bass hounds — the whole enchilada. PETA believes what will make everybody sit up and take notice is a new anti-fishing campaign. It has high hopes to “get Americans hooked on compassion for fish by thinking of them — and referring to them — as Sea Kittens.” Those are PETA’s words, not mine.

seakitten

Imagine, you slam into a 200-pound bluefin tuna 60 miles offshore; your arms are sore, every muscle aches and the fight lasts a good while, but in the end the tuna is boated. Oops, I meant to say the sea kitten is boated.

Somebody, please, find the person who came up with those words and give him or her a good slap upside the head. PETA says if fish were renamed “sea kittens,” humans might be less likely to hurt them. Its national “Save the Sea Kittens” campaign will be taken across the country and, according to PETA coordinator Ashley Byrne, will be introduced to elementary schools that serve fish for lunch. PETA says it wants to remind the children and educators, maybe even the cooks in the cafeteria, that fish — sorry, sea kittens — are “intelligent, sensitive animals who deserve respect but don’t deserve to be netted from the ocean depths, hooked and maimed for ‘sport,’ or confined to aquariums.

Well, PETA, I must tell you that the 4-pound largemouth bass I hooked not long ago apparently wasn’t a member of your intelligent, sensitive sea kitten family. That bass was dumber than a brick. It struck my top water lure not once and missed it; not twice and missed it again. It did it four consecutive times. When I finally landed it, carefully lifting it from the water to remove the hook and let it swim off, perhaps to be caught another day, there wasn’t even the tiniest look of a kitty on its face. It appeared to be a tough back alley brawler, not the smartest creature on earth, but a worthy fighter all the same.

Meanwhile, please, ignore PETA‘s malarkey that fish communicate and develop relationships with each other and show affection by gently rubbing against each other. They even grieve when their companions die, says PETA. Are these people from Mars? They couldn’t possibly belong to the same species the rest of us are part of.

If you have elementary school children, I strongly urge all moms and dads, grandmothers and grandfathers to check out their children’s schools, visit the principals, teachers and county or city school boards to strongly protest PETA’s brainwashing attempts of innocent youngsters. Our taxes are paying for these schools and all that goes with them, even cafeterias. Do not allow nutty animal rights groups to rule them.