Wednesday, June 10, 2009
We love fish. We respect fish.
My interesting headline for the day:
Two major Seattle institutions have recently had a clash- the fish throwers at Pike Place Market and vegetarians. PETA, to be exact.
Let me start out with the facts: The American Veterinary Medical Association's (AVMA) annual conference is going to take place in Seattle. The conference conference included plans for the fishmongers from the Pike Place Fish Market to toss fish as part of a "motivational convention presentation" that was to take place on July 10th. PETA wrote a letter to the AVMA asking them to cancel this event quoting, "it's cruel enough to eat fish, but it literally adds insult to injury to use them as toys for silly stunts." Now, the AVMA is considering changing its presentation. After being accused by Peta of disrespecting fish, Justin Hall, assistant manager of Pike Place Market responded, ""We love fish. We respect fish. Fish is what makes our business thrive and what drives customers to us. There's nothing we would ever do to disrespect seafood."
Today, I am glad I am a blogger and not a news reporter, because now I can opine on this subject as much as I want. Let me start out by saying, seriously, PETA? You have nothing better to do with your time than harp on the fishmongers at Pikes? Maybe, when cows, pigs, and chickens are no longer being over-bred on factory farms while living in their own feces. Maybe when China is no longer skinning dogs alive for their fur. Maybe, maybe when seal pups in the north aren't smashed on the head with blunt clubs for sport.
I am certainly not a vegetarian or an animal rights activist, but I do have standards that the meat I eat must live up to. I prefer that the animals I eat have lived happy (yes, I believe animals can be happy and/or aware of their circumstances whether good or bad) and healthy lives, and that the animal's lives were ended humanely (no pain). In a perfect world, I would want every part of the animal to have been put to use somehow so that none of it was wasted. These animals died so we can eat. I think that deserves some level of respect.
What I do not think is that the long time tradition of fish tossing down at Pike Place Market disrespects the fish that they are selling- or any fish, for that matter. Eating is not just shoving food down one's throat. It is an experience- from choosing your salmon down at Pikes and watching it fly through the air to sitting down at the dinner table and eating said airborn fish. It's all equally important.