Angling is not a harmless sport though, of course. It's less harmful then fox hunting or pigeon shooting, sure, but fish aren't unfeeling machines and there is always going be stress and pain caused by being caught on a line. Anyone who has ever kept any sort of fish knows they are aware of things. But I don't think it is enough stress or pain to warrant banning angling (whereas as I disagree with hunting for sport [as opposed to hunting for sport AND food, eat what you catch and I have no problem]). However I think it is rather disingenuous for anglers to say things like:
We get knocked by the anti-anglers who say that fish feel pain, and I believe some university bods have proved that some fish do feel pain, but until you sit me down next to a carp and it says to me ' I feel immense pain', then it's an open-ended question. BBC News
What unscientific bullshit. Come on guys! Either have the strength to stand up and say "I don't believe the, admittedly small amount of, distress to the fish outweighs the pleasure of the sport" or stop angling. Don't try and make yourselves feel better by being downright stupid.
One thing that set me against fox hunting completely was the fact the fox hunters seemed desperate to back up fox hunting with ludicrous claims (and downright lies like "We'll have to put all our dogs down if it's banned" LIES!!!! ) when if they'd just said "It's a great laugh" and been honest I'd have a bit more respect for them. Still would have thought they were heartless bastards (if one is to hunt an animal they should do so honourably not from the back of a horse whilst your dogs rip it apart) but I'd at least think they had some balls.
I just hope the anglers don't go the same way. There are plenty of responsible anglers, whose love of fishing means many natural habitats are being better protected so they can continue to enjoy their pastime. This is positive stuff, let's pray they don't ruin it by deluding themselves that their sport is in any way "virtuous" and harmless to the fish. Fishing might be good for fish overall but for an individual fish? Weigh it up. What's better for an individual fish: be caught or be left alone? It's not difficult.
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