Even now, although I would never call the killing or maiming of any sentient being a sport or family fun, in me there is still the child that didnít want to hurt my fatherís feelings by condemning these activities. He was sharing his childhood with me on these trips, the beauty of the land and the socially accepted cruelty of fishing all wrapped up into one confusing picture. I loved sitting next to the winding streams and daydreaming, but cringed at watching the fish die. Just as I loved and still love the true gentleness at my fatherís core and hope someday that his carnivorous ways will be a thing of the past.
We all have our own programing to overcome. And for some, having empathy and compassion for the sentient beings that live underwater seems far too great a task. For it is often through the love and affection that non-human animals give us that we open ourselves to loving them back. Even though a fish may not wag its tail at your touch, a crab purr with pleasure at a scratch behind the leg or a squid sigh with delight at a belly rub, these sentient beings have the same right to life and liberty as their land-based counterparts.
As we widen our circle of compassion beyond our family, friends and the human race, let us remember the crustaceans, invertebrates and animals that are being caged, netted, hooked and dragged from their watery existence into our foreign and often suffocating world. Those who find themselves gawked at in glass tanks, their bodies mounted on walls or displayed in the supermarketís glass coffins. Let us not forget them, or call their deaths merely sport.