It's almost too easy: This time criticizing PETA is like shooting fish in a barrel
ONE OF the tourist attractions in Seattle, Washington's 102-year-old Pike Place are the fish-throwers.
At the big fish market there, these people throw salmon, halibut, mackerel, crabs and a variety of other seafood around with the élan of Cirque du Soleil, sometimes sending the fish flying 15 feet from ice-room to the counter, all the while calling out what's being thrown: "Hali-BUT! Heeyyyy! CRABS! Crabs comin' through!" and so on, as a warning for the tourists to duck.
These throwing skills developed over the decades as the easiest way to move the big fish around a busy, crowded market,
and the fishmongers' prowess has achieved enough notoriety that they are often hired to perform at functions that vary from the government of Singapore to schoolkids in Oklahoma.
In July, the fishmongers performed for the American Veterinary Medical Association's (AVMA) annual convention in Seattle, with the fish later served for lunch.
But if the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) had had its way, the flingers wouldn't have flung at all.
PETA president Ingrid Newkirk stated, "What if it was kittens? Would they throw dead kittens like that? I think not!"
"Throwing a dead fish is the same morally as throwing a dead cat or a dead dog," another PETA representative said.
"I think it's important to point out that the fish are dead," Dr. Ron DeHaven, executive vice president of the AVMA, told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
"We would not condone any activity that would mistreat live fish," he added.
Dr. DeHaven was polite enough not to mention that kittens and puppies are not considered food by most Americans.
But one angry thrower told a reporter that he'd be willing to "toss a dead Ingrid Newkirk for $29.99/lb."
(Besides, who says fish are nice? A study released in June by the University of Miami stated that Great White Sharks showed the same hunting strategies as human serial killers. So just try and toss that one!)
At the same time, PETA threatened to "take names and photos of the visiting vets who attend the Pike Market fish toss, bringing the protest back to their hometowns."
Newkirk told The Seattle Times that PETA would "identify every vet who participates, and carry the objection back to his/her hometown practice."
They remind me of the case of J. David Jentsch, associate professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Professor Jentsch's work in neuroscience unfortunately requires that animals be experimented on (and later destroyed). He uses vervet monkeys in his research on treatments for schizophrenia and drug addiction.
In March, animal rights protestors set Jentsch's car on fire - in his own driveway!