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The Last Fish

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The Last Fish

When I was a child, I was taught that killing fish was supposed to be relaxing. It was a time to bond with family and friends; a game, or rather a sport, called “fishing”. Thankfully this lesson didn’t stick and even before I became vegetarian and then vegan, I realized that any activity that ends in watching another animal die cannot be called a game or sport; for any true sport requires all players to be willing participants.

The memory I have pieced together from the last time I ever caught a fish is this:

My family and I were in Montana visiting relatives. And as we did almost every time we went back, we decided to go fishing with my grandparents and cousins. We started the day early, perched next to a clear stream hoping to catch a fish for dinner before the warm summer sun cooked us instead.

My father took out a Styrofoam container of earthworms from the local tack shop and baited the hook of my fishing pole for me. I watched him dig the barbed metal in and out of the earthworm’s body, ensuring that as this worm struggled against the hook, slowly drowning underwater, it would not free itself and float away.

My father cast out the line for me and let it drift into a hole near the bank, which was bathed in shade. This, he said, is where the fish were probably hiding. He handed the pole to me and I waited with my cousin, as the earthworm drowned nearby. I don’t remember how many worms or how much time it took, but suddenly the line tugged, and we reeled in my first and last fish of the day.

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Alisa Rutherford-Fortunati

Gentle World is a vegan intentional community and non-profit organization, whose core purpose is to help build a more peaceful society, by educating the public about the reasons for being vegan, the benefits of vegan living, and how to go about making such a transition. For more information about vegan food and other aspects of a vegan lifestyle, visit the Gentle World website and subscribe to our monthly newsletter.


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9:04AM PST on Jan 6, 2014

Thank you for sharing your story! I'm so happy that you're now vegan! You're an awesome human being for realizing what you were doing was wrong and making a change! People like you bring hope, really!

2:02PM PST on Jan 5, 2014

it's cruel and's only a so called sport to cowards and sadists

2:48AM PST on Jan 4, 2014

This story reminds me of my first [ and last ] experience of fishing when I was a child . My fish had swallowed the hook and a fisherman "retrieved" the hook . That ended my days of fishing , thinking there and then , the pain and cruelty inflicted on an innocent creature was not my idea of "sport" .

11:19AM PST on Jan 3, 2014

I agree that it is so cruel to exploit these peaceful sea creatures.
We no longer need to hunt and fish to feed ourselves.
people need to know the violence inherent in providing our food supply.

9:24AM PST on Jan 3, 2014

Wonderful article, thank you very much for it. Fish are sentient beings, as science has shown. They constitute the largest category of exploited animals, and arguably suffer the worst abuses. Yet, fish receive the least concern, even from the animal protection community.

Fish Feel is the sole organization devoted exclusively to promoting the recognition of fish as sentient beings deserving of respect and protection. We invite everyone to share their story of how they came to realize that fish are sentient, or relate that they have always intuitively know it, on our website: We hope yo uwill also visit the rest of the website, and Like the Fish Feel Facebook page: Please join us in advocating for fish, they so desperately need all of the help we can give them.

Mary Finelli
President, Fish Feel

7:28AM PST on Jan 3, 2014

Thank you.

7:16AM PST on Jan 3, 2014

The pastoral scene of people fishing is a huge disguise for one of the cruelest activities perpetrated by humans upon other creatures. Not only is it cruel, it is devious, sneaky and unfair. The bait hiding the awful hook is a sickening manifestation of the cruel and brutal nature of humans who, self-righteously, convince themselves that they are doing something benign. It is not benign, it is the worst kind of horror for other beings.

5:49AM PDT on Jul 5, 2013

Of all the horrible things humans do to animals if there's anyting more cruel or sadistic then fishing I don't want to know about it.....

7:46AM PDT on Jun 4, 2013


7:22PM PDT on Jun 2, 2013

Tyvm for this article...

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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