Endorse, Defend, Support

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Just over a week ago, I attended a “Fish Sentient?” Symposium at the University of Guelph. One of the speakers was a University of Edinburgh researcher who believes that fish are conscious and have the capacity to “suffer.”

Prior to the event, I had emails of concern from a number of interested parties, including other fly anglers and folks who enjoy the outdoors, typically in the past referred to as “sportsmen,” – but it should be noted that not all of those communicating with me were men. There were a number from women as well.

In many of those emails, there was a concern that people such as the Scottish researcher wanted to do away with angling all together and maybe even promote public policy regarding eating meat.

Now, my own mind disagrees very much with the opinion of the Scottish researcher. However, I did point out to some of my email correspondants that the researcher said she was not “anti-angling” at all; but did not like the practice of “Catch And Release.”

I also pointed out that this researcher was seen chomping away on chicken wings in an informal get together after the Symposium.

There are two major philosophical movements in regard to “humane treatment” of animals. One is “animal rights,” the other is “animal welfare.” In some instances, it is hard to tell the difference between the philosophies, and there certainly is some “cross-over” thought.

Some of my correspondants referred to the Scottish researcher as an “Animal Rights” supporter. Now, when I point out that this is incorrect, and make a statement to the effect that, “She is not anti-angling, and appears to have some empathy towards anglers” does that mean that I have now become one of her “endorsers, defenders, or supporters?”

I personally find her conclusions to be strange and illogical. And I do fear that her beliefs may have negative impacts on me, or at least my children with regard to an activity I love to participate in. In fact, there are probably anglers who would voice a sense of “hatred” towards this researcher.

I wonder if some of those anglers will now characterize me as her “supporter” for pointing out some facts about her. Hell, I guess I’m really done for when I admit that I even invited her out for a few hours of fly fishing in the Grand River before she went home to Scotland!

It’s amazing what sorts of opinions folks will create in their minds when they take statements out of context, twist your words, or tell you yourself what you “should do” or what you should say, because of one’s own philosophy about life and politics is.

8 thoughts on “Endorse, Defend, Support”

  1. As far as the issue goes about whether or not fish can “suffer” (they are definitely conscious; I’m wondering if the researcher meant that they were self-aware) — it’s possible. All living things suffer to some extent. It’s what differentiates the living from the non-living. The question is: Do fish feel pain?

    I’ve heard someone else talk against Catch-and-Release for that reason. They think that catching a fish once is bad enough, but if you do it for food, and kill it quickly and humanely, it’s okay. On the other hand, setting that fish free so you or someone else can catch it again is torture. They believe that repeatedly being hooked (barbless hooks or not) causes the fish to feel excess pain.

    Personally, until I hear/see evidence from a forensic ichthyologist that fish have active pain receptors, I’m skeptical about their ability to feel pain. I think the anti-Catch-and-Release crowd is indulging in a little too much anthropomorphism, here. I mean, pain is one of the most basic learning tools — when something hurts, you learn not to do it again, right? But fish get hooked again and again and again; and they never learn to stay away from the hooks.

    As for me, I’m against Catch-and-Release for a very simple reason: I hate to waste food, never mind set it free so someone else can eat my dinner!

  2. Thanks, Chimera. Let’s bypass the pain issue for a moment – you think that I’m “defending, endorsing or supporting” someone when I point out that the generalizations made about a person are not fully accurate or correct?

    Anyhow.. there is evidence that fish have nociceptors – which in humans, is apparently part of what triggers a sensation of “pain.” As far as “pain receptors,” well, that is clouding the issue – there is no such thing as far as I can tell as a “pain receptor.”

    Fish simply don’t have a “brain” for pain, at least as humans appear to be concsious of pain. There is no neo-cortex.

    “Suffering” is very much a psychological term – perhaps more than it is physiological or biological. “Pain” is related to suffering in humans, and is psychological as much as it is biological.

    Regarding why you are against it.. heh… well, I’m not wasting food at all when I engage in C & R, indeed I’m allowing the fish to grow more and reproduce so there is more food for later on 🙂

    Anyhow, I do plan on writing more about this which will be posted on my fly fishing site. I hope to do this shortly, but my schedule is tight – however I know there is a lot of interest in what went on at the Symposium last week.

  3. “…you think that I’m “defending, endorsing or supporting” someone when I point out that the generalizations made about a person are not fully accurate or correct?”

    I dunno…is that what I said?

    I was focused more on the fish-suffering part of the post…

    Generally speaking, I find generalizations to be convenient but inaccurate. And the more sweeping the generalization, the more inaccurate it usually is. This is a tool used by such beings as (but not confined to) proselytizers and mass-hysteria generators, based on the premise that a small, proven truth must inevitably lead to a much larger truth simply by a process of connect-the-dots…

    1. If I get stuck with a fishhook, I feel pain.
    2. I am a living being.
    3. All living beings feel pain.
    4. A fish is a living being.
    5. Therefore, a fish being stuck with a fishhook feels pain.

    The weakness (and also the generalization) — but not necessarily a lie, because we simply don’t know for sure — is #3. If #3 is ever proven wrong, then the conclusion (#5) may be wrong. It (#5) may also be correct, but if it is, it will be because, specifically, fish feel pain.

    And regarding C & R — I’m afraid that if I let it go, it’ll only learn to run or swim faster, and I’ll never catch it again! LOL!

  4. ““…you think that I’m “defending, endorsing or supporting” someone when I point out that the generalizations made about a person are not fully accurate or correct?”

    I dunno…is that what I said?”

    Nope. Just curious as to what you would consider “endorsing” or “supporting” to mean.

    “And regarding C & R — I’m afraid that if I let it go, it’ll only learn to run or swim faster, and I’ll never catch it again! LOL!”

    But it might reproduce and create a thousand babies, of which a hundred might survive, so now you’ll have a hundred more to catch!

  5. What would I consider “endorsing” or “supporting” to mean? I take it you’re asking for more than the dictionary definition — you want my interpretation of it.

    Quite frankly, that would require that I have an emotional investment in the issue, which I have not in this case. I started off by trying to look at the discussion objectively, with a little humor.

    “Defend,” “endorse,” and “support” are all similar words for a progressive stance generally taken to be in line with a point of view that is being expressed by someone else. If you are in agreement with what the reseracher is saying, then you might very well be defending her stance. If you act in accordance with (both) your stances, and/or you publicly state your agreement, then you might be said to be endorsing it. If you campaign or supply a campaign with funds to continue, then you might be supporting it.

    Are you doing any of these things?

  6. Nope, don’t think I’m doing any of those things. What I have done is correct errors that others have asserted.

    Which brings up Patrick McClarty’s assertion that I “support” or “endorse” Ian Paisley because I pointed out facts to him that did not support his assertion that “Paisley thinks of all Catholics as garbage.”

    So, this was sort of a little “test” on my part, to determine if folks would consider me “supporting” or “endorsing” the researcher because I pointed out facts that did not support their assertions that she was “anti-angling” or an “animal rightist.”

    Get it?

  7. Got it.

    But keep in mine that I’m only one “folk” — there will be others out there who disagree with both of us. Some will disagree because they will have a different interpretation of “defend,” “support,” and “endorse.”

    Others will disagree just to be disagreeable.

    Ain’t it always the way, though? LOL!

  8. Some will disagree because they will have a different interpretation of “defend,” “support,” and “endorse.”

    True. Interpretations from projections in their mind. Not pointing to reality. Insane thinking, in other words.

    Anyhow, I’m still planning on writing something about the fish sentience seminar. Not sure when though, at this time.

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