Where does catch-and-release fit with human responsibility?

Posted: Sunday, July 18, 2004

The editorial in Friday's Peninsula Clarion is titled "Alaskans should strive for more than minimal animal care standards." The editorial notes legislation introduced by Rep. Mike Chenault and passed by the Legislature that establishes minimum standards for animal care.

Rep. Chenault's bill legislates "an environment that protects and maintains the good health and safety" of animals and defines animal cruelty as knowingly inflicting prolonged pain and suffering on animals.

Such sentiments and laws clearly show that, whatever rights animals may or may not have, we humans clearly have responsibilities toward animals, responsibilities that mandate how we may and may not treat them.

But what do such sentiments and laws say about catch-and-release fishing? Are fish not animals, too?

In catch-and-release, as in bullfighting, the animal's natural instincts are exploited, killing some, injuring some and stressing all, for the sake of human amusement.

Killing a fish or a bull for food is one thing. Playing with their lives for the sake of human fun and dollars is quite another.

John Nelson


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