Lehigh Valley

PETA asks state officials not to restock Minsi Lake with fish

UPPER MT. BETHEL TWP., Pa. - Days after workers finished draining Minsi Lake, PETA is calling on officials not to restock the lake with fish when it is refilled.

PETA sent a letter Wednesday to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission condemning fishing and relocation of the fish.

"With all that we know these days about their intelligence and sensitivity to pain, it's inescapably cruel to keep filling the lake with fish solely so that they can be killed one way or the other," said PETA President Ingrid Newkirk.

PETA said fish are intelligent, form social relationships with other fish, can count, can retain memories and are capable of feeling fear and pain.

Workers drained the last of the water in the lake Monday and caught and relocated as many fish as they could to nearby lakes and ponds.

Minsi Lake is being drained to repair a spillway, which will take two years.

Below is a full copy of PETA's letter:

June 7, 2017

Jason Detar
Division of Fisheries Management
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission

Dear Mr. Detar,

I'm writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our more than 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide, including many across Pennsylvania, in response to reports that, recently, hundreds of fish were hooked and suffocated by anglers, relocated to be used for catch-and-release fishing, and killed in the salvage effort this week as Minsi Lake was drained. I urge you not to restock the lake with more live fish when it reopens.

Although humans don't like to think about it, fish are sentient beings. They're intelligent animals who form complex social relationships and "talk" to one another underwater. They can count and tell time, they're fast learners and can retain memories, they think ahead, they have unique personalities, they can recognize human faces, and they may even have a sense of humor. They're also capable of feeling fear and pain, especially when chased down, hooked through their sensitive mouths—which are alive with nerve endings—and yanked out of the water to be slowly suffocated or beaten to death. Please, once the lake reopens, won't you consider promoting activities such as picnicking, hiking, and boating, instead of restocking the water with more live animals for the sole purpose of providing people with the opportunity to engage in such insensitive acts?

Angling doesn't hurt just fish. Every year, anglers leave behind a trail of victims that includes millions of birds, turtles, and other animals who suffer debilitating injuries after swallowing fish hooks or becoming entangled in fishing line. Wildlife rehabilitators say that discarded fishing tackle is one of the greatest threats to aquatic animals.

Given all that we know about fish sentience and their ability to feel pain, fishing can no longer be considered a benign pastime. There are already many intriguing attractions that enhance visitors' experiences at Minsi Lake, so I hope you'll not simply acquire new live animals for visitors to kill. Thank you for your consideration.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid E. Newkirk


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