It used to be that vegan activists used to only show up at cattle ranches or chicken farms. But no — now they’re turning their attention to fishing tournaments, an apparent sign that virtually nothing is sacred in this age of outrage.
According to Fox News, the Wilmington Fish Save and North Carolina Farmed Animal Save descended upon the city of Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, to host the Vigil for Fish (no, really), protesting the annual $15,000 Wrightsville Beach Inshore Challenge fishing tournament.
“We’re vegan activists, and we want to bring awareness to what fish go through,” protester Daniel Veber told WECT.
“Look at it from this fish’s point of view. If you were in your home, you would not want a hook to be hooked in the mouth, you would not want to be pulled up, you wouldn’t have to fight hours for your life to be pulled up. it’s scary.
“We want to bring awareness to the consumer,” Veber added. “Is this the correct thing to be doing? Should I be doing this? Should I do a little bit more research and see how intelligent fish are, they have communities, and complex social structures?”
Well, to quote the “Parks and Recreation” character Ron Swanson, “Fish for sport only, not for meat. Fish meat is basically a vegetable.” It’s not like these are the smartest animals in the world. One probably ought to think of them like swimming insects.
However, the vegans at the Vigil for Fish clearly didn’t agree. They showed up with signs like “Fish feel pain,” “Fish want to live” and “Sea life not seafood,” all displayed before the weigh-in at the tournament.
Thankfully, the voice of reason was on the scene, too. Guy Hurley, one of the tournament organizers, pointed out to WCET the myriad ways in which the tournament was completely ethical.
While Hurley said he was “glad we live in a place where you can protest,” he noted that fishermen simply weren’t a threat to conservation and that the tournament actually tried not to kill the fish.
“We are very much a conservation-based tournament,” Hurley told the station.
“In fact, we provide extra payout, anglers can win extra money, if they weigh their fish in alive. So we encourage them not to kill the fish, but to weigh the fish alive. And then they get extra money, and we release the fish.”
“Fishermen, in general, are probably the best stewards of the resource,” he continued. “They care about the resource more than anyone else. I can’t speak to perhaps (the protesters’) claims that fish have feelings, that fish have souls, I mean I’m not sure.”
As for the fish that aren’t caught alive, many of them go to local families in need.
“A lot of the fish that we take, we donate to First Fruit Ministries, which is a Wilmington-based food bank that accepts whole fish, and then puts it to people in need. We feel good about what we’re doing,” Hurley said.
Proceeds of the tournament also go to the Wilmington Elks, who, according to the tournament’s website, “invest in their communities through programs that help children grow up healthy and drug-free, by undertaking projects that address unmet need, and by honoring the service and sacrifice of our veterans.”
Call me crazy, but I don’t think that tofu-wrangling tournaments draw all that much money. If anything, the Vigil for Fish was an embarrassment. The protesters didn’t know the issue, they didn’t know the tournament they were protesting, and they clearly didn’t know how silly they would look.
If there’s going to be anything that’s emblematic of how decadent and ignorant the modern vegan movement is, let it be the piteous Vigil for Fish.
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