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The Last Fish

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It was a small rainbow trout. As I held her, her iridescent skin glistened in the light. She was cold, slimy and beautiful. I looked up at my father, knowing that this was a moment I should be proud of. He pulled the hook out of her bleeding lip, so that my small fingers would be spared the chance of catching on the hook’s barb. I remember wanting to throw her back… perhaps I’ve added that detail to my memory as wishful thinking. Either way, although smaller than we would normally keep, she was too badly hurt to return to the water.

Even then she was still fighting as she suffocated in the air so we brought her life to an end, unceremoniously, her head against a nearby rock. We added her body onto the string we were carrying with a number of other fish that had been caught and killed. The string was threaded through her mouth and out one of her gills, now motionless.  As we began to walk back to the car my cousin held the line of fish, swinging it as she went. It was all part of the “game”. But the gills of my small fish could not handle the motion and tore open, sending her flying from the line back into the water, where her body quickly disappeared with the current.  I was saved from eating her.

I hated eating the fish we caught. I hated the sight of my father slitting their bellies open and watching their organs spill out. Hated their eyes looking up at me from my plate. These and the crabs that we played with and then boiled alive are the only animals I ever watched die before me.

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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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Thank you for this interesting article. I have found it vital to practice Mindfulness, however chal…

There's nothing better than the off button!

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