Imagine that you’re hanging out at home, looking for something to snack on. You see a tasty treat and pop it into your mouth. All of a sudden, you feel shooting pain as something sharp rips through your cheek.
Terrified, you struggle to free yourself, but you’re dragged out the front door and pulled underwater, where you are unable to breathe and ultimately suffocate to death.
This is what it’s like for fish who are used for food and the “sport” of fishing. Fishing is not harmless family fun. Fish are smart, interesting animals with unique personalities—and just like dogs, cats, and humans, they feel pain.
When they’re ripped from their natural habitat, fish are no longer able to breathe. Their gills often collapse, and their swim bladders can even rupture from the sudden change in pressure.
When fish are handled by people, the protective coating on their bodies is damaged. This makes them more vulnerable to predators when they’re thrown back into the water.
Sometimes, a fish ends up swallowing a hook, and anglers often try to retrieve it by shoving their fingers (or even tools, like pliers!) down the animal’s throat. This rips out part of the fish’s throat and guts along with the hook.
Studies show that many fish who are caught and thrown back into the water experience such severe psychological distress that they actually die of shock.
Fishing doesn’t hurt only fish. Millions of birds, turtles, and other animals sustain debilitating injuries after they swallow hooks or become entangled in fishing lines. Wildlife rehabilitators say that discarded fishing tackle is one of the greatest threats to aquatic animals
You wouldn’t teach your kids to abuse and kill a cat or a dog, so why show them that it’s OK to kill another animal for “fun”?
There’s no need to torture helpless animals when there are so many other wonderful outdoor activities that you can do with your kids, like camping and canoeing. Instead of teaching your kids to fish, teach them to respect all animals.