Fish Feel: Your Page

This page is devoted to you who know fish to be sentient beings deserving of respect, appreciation, and the right to live free from gratuitous human harm. If you’d like to share the story of how you came to this realization, or that you’ve always intuitively known it, please send it to:

Walt Rave was a pioneering animal rights activist who passed away while trying to rescue his beloved cats from a house fire. Read: What Fox Guy Had to Teach Us. Shy by nature, Walt abandoned his comfort zone to advocate for animals in the most assertive, emphatic, and creative ways his artistic mind could imagine. Click here for photos. This page is in memory of Walt. His message to animal rights activists would be: Be Bold.

What would you do if you saw a dog suffocating in a car? What if you saw a suffocating fish? Sheila Rybak explains what she did: This message is for all people who love fishing and think it to be a great pastime. Let me ask you: Have you ever held your head under water until you were out of oxygen or thought you were drowning? When you remove a fish from water it is no different ... Read More
February 19, 2024Howard
Anything that stops us from being our natural way of being is just wrong, and to see [farmed] fish just not being able to be fish is sad. And I don't know why people want to pay and be part of it. ~ Kate Strong, vegan triathlon champion, leadership coach and climate activist
February 19, 2024Howard
"Once [Kafka] went to the Berlin aquarium … Suddenly he began to speak to the fish in their illuminated tanks, 'Now at last I can look at you in peace, I don't eat you any more.' It was the time that he turned strict vegetarian." from: Franz Kafka: A Biography. by Max Brod, Schocken Books, 1960
February 19, 2024Howard
“I was a fisherman for most of my life, until I started diving. It changed everything. You don’t realize how beautiful and magical this world is until you start seeing it from different perspectives.” An avid fisherman until "he noticed the majority of the fish he saw had horribly disfigured faces. 'Ripped jaws, hanging lips, large black bruises and swollen mouths ... I traded my tackle box for goggles and haven’t been happier'" You can read about ... Read More
February 16, 2024Howard
I went vegan over 9 years ago. I spent my whole life fishing or thinking about fishing. I have had so many dreams since ( nightmares) of me out fishing somewhere. I also have a lot of information about fishing techniques and places that I used to go, and even my old tackle, but I will never share it.
February 16, 2024Howard
I guess I was lucky. When I was little I caught a fish in a pail. I liked it and didn’t want to kill the fish. My father said that was not nice to do to the fish. I never tried to catch a fish again. Esther went on to be a staff attorney for Legal Action for Animals.
January 8, 2024Howard
I had an experience as a child fishing, and I think it probably reflects the experience of many children who have misgivings about the activity but don't express them because the grownups, the ones we look up to, the leaders of today, are saying it's good it's okay, so I wanted to try to validate those feelings of concern a lot of children have, as I did.~ Jonathan Balcombe, author of Jake and Ava: A ... Read More
January 6, 2024Howard
As a boy, I enjoyed fishing, especially when it involved my whole family. ** Eugene Veg Education Network: What one thing from your thinking in childhood do you wish you could change? Tom: That I was so blind to the animals around me. That I didn’t see them for what they were. The fish I caught, the lives I ended - I truly wish I hadn’t done that. 
December 14, 2023Howard
Bird and fish can feel pain, even as we do: So be sure that thou hurt them not in thy play." ~ Anthony Benezet, 18th century teacher, abolitionist, social reformer
December 6, 2023Howard
The 250 salmon farms on the western coast of Scotland may be set in one of the most magnificent wildernesses in Europe, but the farmed salmon has no freedom. A single circle of mesh measuring 40 meteres across may contain up to almost 70,000 fish; on a farm of 12 cages that is getting on for a miilion fish. It is like a series of floating battery hen sheds. ~ Jeremy Paxman (broadcaster)
December 6, 2023Howard
It breaks my heart to see fishes living their complex, autonomous lives and realizing how fragile they are in the dystopian world our misguided species is making for all species on earth. Gorgeous creatures, these wonderful aquatic beings are. ~ Karen Davis ( United Poultry Concerns )
December 6, 2023Howard
I still can see the poor little sunfish I caught when I was little gasping in the bottom of the boat!! HORRIBLE way to die!!! ~ Janet Allen (who now runs an organic, veganic farm)
December 6, 2023Howard
I will never understand how taking advantage of a fish's basic instinct to survive by eating by using a hook that causes searing pain followed by suffocation is considered a "hobby." This is nothing short of one of the worst forms of animal cruelty. Don't believe me? Buy a strawberry, insert a razor blade into it, and then bite down.
December 6, 2023Howard
I was at the lake with my family when I was a little kid, and somebody was casting a line and hooked me in the lip. I only have a vague memory of it, but it was not fun.
September 13, 2023Howard
The other day, on a walk by the East River, I came across a man fishing from the promenade. There are usually several fishermen on any given day. As I approached, I noticed a small object in the middle of the walkway, and when I was close enough I saw that it was a fish which appeared to be dead. Just then, maybe because he saw me coming and the fish was in my path, ... Read More
September 13, 2023Howard
I used to go out on fishing boats with my Granda when I was a kid, he was a fisherman, I used to watch the fish suffocate and also see them being gutted as well as see him boiling crustaceans alive. I always knew it was wrong - but I was made to feel like I needed to eat these animals and because my elders justified it- it took the guilt away, because naturally as ... Read More
September 13, 2023Howard
Why could I still eat fish? What made them any less than the other animals. I’d heard 'fish don’t feel pain' and 'they just react to things,' but this didn’t track well with my own experiences ... I knew they had personality as I’d watched my own [fish] light up when I came into the room, even play with me against the glass of the tank. I stopped eating fish.**If you’re curious, if you’re open-minded, ... Read More
March 28, 2023Howard
I grew up in the summers on the New England seashore. When I was a teenager, I went fishing one time. When I saw the suffering of those poor fish when I pulled them out of the water I felt sick to myself and I never did it again. That day was really profoundly disturbing for me. It seared in my memory, and I felt so terrible for those fish. I have never understood how ... Read More
March 28, 2023Howard
I stopped eating animals including fish when I was 28 and I’ve never looked back. (You can get all the protein you need from plants.) It’s great to see the change that is happening as people embrace a more plant based diet, but we still have a long way to go. If you want to see your health improve and you care about the planet, go vegan 🌱🌏 💚PS: you can’t be a true environmentalist if you ... Read More
March 28, 2023Howard
When I was little I had a goldfish (named Blinky iirc like the three-eyed fish from the Simpsons) who had some kind of swim bladder disease that caused him to become stuck floating on their side at the top of the tank, flapping his fins desperately all day to no avail. This went on for a few days. His suffering was so obvious. It was causing me so much distress that even though I didn't really ... Read More
February 3, 2023Howard
I could not bring myself to share the loss. Who knew a little fish would find his way into my heart the way he did... completely won me over. I really learned a lot from him. 14 years I loved the little goldfish friend we "won" at a fair... he became family, would swirl around when he seemed happy, we fed him a smushed frozen pea, as he got 4 times his original size, he got ... Read More
February 3, 2023Howard
People believe what it suits them to believe. My dad was a fisher (would take us to the pier for fun) but early on I saw [the fish were suffering]. Fish were my first exposure to animal exploitation and all these years later it's astounding that most people still choose not to believe what is so obvious.
January 7, 2023Howard
Fished as a kid with my Dad and so it was around 7-years-old, I became aware of their suffering. Never ate fishes —and that was the first leg of my vegan journey.
October 27, 2022Howard
[F]ishing has always baffled me. You catch one on a hook, yank one up on the hook out the water and it allegedly doesn’t ‘hurt’ them?! I’ve never believed that. Of course it does!
October 27, 2022Howard
It wasn’t until I was an adult and was out with my family fishing that it really hit me that what we were doing was extremely messed up. It was so normal to just catch fish and release them, I can’t stomach it anymore. Killing or hurting anything for sport is nauseating, at least eat the animal you’re going after..though I don’t personally like hunting, if you’re doing it for food I at least understand.
October 27, 2022Howard
The other day I told a Fisherman to respect the fish he was catching. He left a catfish to die on the beach, just feet from the ocean.He said in his broken English: “those fish are trash fish, introduced, not native,” while he stood amongst the litter and plastic thrown everywhere.I threw the fish in the water and [s/he] swam off.The fishermen are always here as a team and can barely speak English!!It’s kind of ... Read More
October 27, 2022Howard
I've understood that fish feel pain since I was a kid and my brother took me fishing. I caught a fish and I screamed at my brother to take the hook out of its mouth and put it back in the water. He made me take the hook out and I freed it. As it flopped about with eyes filled with horror I knew just like anyone with half a brain, that the poor animal ... Read More
October 27, 2022Howard
I had a bass fisher boyfriend way back ... I went once. I caught a large mouth bass. I resuscitated the poor fish and he swam away. But, I was sickened. Like, this is something that helps you? I stopped eating meat that day back in 1994. Like, justifying it as "catch and release" while shoving a hook into the poor little dude's mouth. That's like literally assault and battery! Fishing isn't a sport. Those ... Read More
October 27, 2022Howard
"Carnivore, Hunter, Fisherman, Dairy Farmer Goes Vegan! Tim Kaufman's Heartfelt Story""That was just my culture, that's every friend I had, every event I did, was all based around hunting and fishing.""I was on a ton of opioids ... I was well over 400 lbs ... my life was spiraling out of control. I was going to die ... I was committing a sort of slow suicide.""I was like, fruits and vegetables? Where do you even ... Read More
October 5, 2022Howard
Seven years ago my daughter brought home gold fish she won at a fair. 😞 I got them a big tank and tried to give them a decent life. When I went to feed them, before I even sprinkled the food into the tank, they would swim to the surface excitedly. I realized that they were intelligent and sentient and I couldn't keep them in a tank. So I found a woman with a goldfish ... Read More
October 5, 2022Howard
I ALWAYS hated seeing someone "fishing". my aunt in ct. used to "gut" live fish that her husband would bring home, on the front steps of our grandmother's house. i hated going there, not knowing if she would be outside, doing this....i was shocked, watching her mindlessly cut their heads off. it haunted me for years. photography by Unparalleled Suffering Photography
July 31, 2022Howard
I used to dance with an Angel fish.He had been ostracised by the other fish in his tank. Such a shame for him.I cant imagine how that must have felt for him.I was a caregiver for the lady who's son had the fish, to inspire his Mum to care for them. Sadly, with Alzheimer's, she wasn't up to it. Possibly she had no affection for fish. But I did, and when I played Queenie's favourite ... Read More
July 31, 2022Howard
I use to live in the projects and there was a lady there who would gut a bucket of fish every week. She came to be known as the "fish lady." Seeing them struggle like that and suffering has haunted me through the years. I was only 3-4 years old and I told her the fish were suffering, but she said they didn't feel pain. Even at a young age I felt bad for them. ... Read More
July 31, 2022Howard
It’s amazing how little we consider the life of animals in the wild and the species we breed into existence for the soul purpose of taste pleasure. Using sensory pleasure as a justification for eating animals is what I call the “serial killer logic” because that’s what we sound like when we say nonsense like this. I mean just look at how many people PROUDLY post pictures of fish they have pulled from their homes in ... Read More
July 1, 2022Howard
I don’t fish any more for its cruel.
July 1, 2022Howard
I used to enjoy fishing until I was walking along the river thinking: "what's the point dragging life from its home?" When you grow, how you see differently.
July 1, 2022Howard
At our last Cube of Truth for Anonymous for the Voiceless in Nuremberg, I met an old man from Bulgaria. At first glance he looked very tough, a big guy with huge, rough hands. But when I approached him I saw tears in his eyes while he was watching fishing footage. So I asked him straight away: "Why are you so touched? What do you feel when watching this?" He replied: "You know, I have ... Read More
May 8, 2022Howard
In the last couple of years before leaving Iran, I had a poster designed to encourage people to stop buying goldfish for the Persian New Year (first day of spring~ March 20th). Goldfish and the color red are supposed to be a symbol of kindness, victory, and livelihood. Ironically, this tradition results in the death of ~ 5 million goldfish every year. I asked my graphic designer friends to depict the irony of imprisoning and killing ... Read More
March 29, 2022Howard
{Translated and abridged}: The moment I decided to turn up for animals, against fishing in particular, was when I took my canoe out. I didn't see any fishing rod, but an angler was very angry. I thought to myself: 'You shouldn't be mad, I should be. You intentionally destroy a living being, while I haven't intentionally destroyed anything.'I then applied to be a member of Animal Welfare. In their magazine Animal, I read about the ... Read More
March 7, 2022Howard
Norman Chad
"Animals should not be subjected to our whims, in any way, shape or form, for the sake of our sporting-and-entertainment needs. We probably should stop eating them, too." - Norman Chad, sportswriter/syndicated columnist and former fisherman
February 5, 2022Howard
I’d been vegetarian since the age of five, when my uncle took me on a fishing trip ... In horror, I watched the fish being unceremoniously hauled out of the water and flapping around, before their necks were broken, spraying blood over the boat. I never ate seafood or meat again.
January 6, 2022Howard
My father took me fishing as a child; it was the only time he took us out. I remember feeling upset by the holes in fish mouths left by the hooks. I watched the fish swim away but wondered if the holes would heal. It was many years before I learned about the environmental damage and animal suffering caused by the fishing industry (on marine animals and seabirds as well as fish) and finally stopped ... Read More
November 28, 2021Howard
I used to fish. Not a lot but I did. Never thought about it much. Until I did. And then I stopped fishing. When you know better. You do better.
November 28, 2021Howard
I relax around water without hurting another living creature. Went fishing once over 55 years ago. When I saw the pain in that poor creature’s eye, I just went swimming from then on when my boyfriend fished.
November 28, 2021Howard
When I became a diver I stopped being a deep sea fisherman. There are such special moments diving. Two things happened sort of at the same time. I noticed all the fishing "Junk" in the ocean and remember how many times I've had to "cut" a line ... it doesn't magically disappear. I also had a severe food poisoning incident eating fish that wasn't properly stored and/or prepared. Swimming with the fishies is much more ... Read More
August 3, 2021Howard
"I was mad about fish and seafood until I start diving.. While doing my divemaster, I realised I was showing the fishes to my clients that I was finding then on the bbq (the fishes not the clients😉) at night walking around the island.It became nonsense to me, I just couldn't eat anything from the sea anymore... Thought it was just a period and would come back to eating fish as I used to love ... Read More
July 28, 2021Howard
Twice in the company of other boys, I went fishing with a rod. But then my horror at the mistreatment of the impaled worms—and at the tearing of the mouths of the fishes when they were caught—made it impossible for me to continue. Indeed, I even found the courage to dissuade others from fishing.
June 16, 2021Howard
I can't stand how people thinking "fishing" is so "normal".... First of all, it shouldn't be called "fishing" -- it should be called "killing fish". Secondly, it's as cruel to drag a defenseless fish out of water and watch him or her suffocate to death, as it is to take a puppy's head and plunge it into a bucket of water and watch him or her drown to death. #stopkillingfish #denormalizefishing
June 16, 2021Howard
I realized this[*] when I was small and we were fishing. One day I picked up the fish that we had caught that were on a string hanging in the water off the boat and I looked at them and I started kissing them. My brother turned to my parents and said Joyce is kissing the fish! I started crying and that’s when my parents told me that God made the fish for us to ... Read More
June 4, 2021Howard
The last time I went fishing I hooked a little trout and decided to do something different and remove the hook while it was still in the water. I brought the fish close enough and then slipped my hand around it gently. As I began working the hook out the fish relaxed. I watched its eyes wince in pain as I pulled the hook out of its mouth. Afterward the fish relaxed and stayed in ... Read More
June 4, 2021Howard
There is a very special place in my heart for sea animals. I was born in Lima, Peru and my great-grandparents were immigrants from Italy that relied on fishing as their source of income. The typical story of Europeans coming to the New World to start a new life. When I was little, I would see the men leaving very early in the morning with the big fishing nets that my great-grandmother would knit by hand ... Read More
May 30, 2021Howard
[Kissing a caught fish] is nothing more than a sadistic act. A sadistic act I was guilty of for many, many years as a fisherman. When there is no “connection “ to the fact that all living beings deserve a life free of abuse, exploitation, torture and horrific deaths, acts like this seem sick as that seems to all of us that now make the connection.
May 19, 2021Howard
Nothing made me more sure to be vegan as an adult than being forced to go fishing/hunting as a kid. All the glee at suffering was horrifying to me and I hated it. Ten years vegan and no plans to stop.
May 19, 2021Howard
I grew up in a rural area around a lot of violence and death. I was completely indoctrinated into the objectification of everyone who was not human.  I used to go out with a pole and hook fishes, bring them up out of their water, cut off their heads, gut them, scale them, cook them and eat their bodies without ever thinking how they felt with a hook in their mouths, in fear and suffocating. I ... Read More
May 19, 2021Howard
I used to love fishing..... Then, in 1985 I started dating a vegetarian who, after 18 months, convinced me that fishing was a blood sport..... I haven't fished for over 30 years years now.  I miss it - but to start again now would go against all my values.  [Instead of fishing, the National Health Service (U.K.)] should just recommend that people spend time with nature, go for walks, sit down by the river...
May 6, 2021Howard
I use to fish till I ripped the mouth off a trout fly fishing. My friend said, "it's okay we will keep that one," & hung him on a hook with the 2 others in the water alive to keep them fresh till we finished our fun then back at the take out when they got "thumped." My heart couldn't take it, I was done.  Still ate fish tho, wasn't till years later I discovered I ... Read More
April 22, 2021Howard
I used to love fishing... i remember i hated when the hook became stuck in a bad place, i remember i didn't want to hurt the fish... psh... and the bait....i felt bad for them... but i had some kind of filter... or something that was keeping me from acting as i felt...somewhat i thought it's normal...i would still go fishing (unconsciously), but just for the fun part (being with people, joking, having fun) ,when ... Read More
March 27, 2021Howard
When I was a little girl, my parents had some friends over who went fishing off our rocks. When I saw the poor fish on a hook and in a bucket. I burst into such a frantic horrified panic, crying and screaming to let the fish go, and I wouldn’t stop until they let him go. Even as a little girl I knew it was so wrong.
March 20, 2021Howard
I was pescatarian until a teacher said to me are you pescatarian for the animals or health? So I said both and he reminded me that fish were dragged out of the sea by their faces and the thought of it suffocated me never mind the fish.  ... Read More
February 22, 2021Howard
I remember going fishing with my teenage friends. It was catch and release--but then I refused when I realized we were supposed to hook fishes' mouths, then put them back in the water bleeding, with open wounds that would inevitably get infected and cause immense suffering. As a neurologist, the notion that fish do not feel pain or don't suffer or feel pleasure is absurd. Why would fish have the basic neurological wiring that we ... Read More
January 31, 2021Howard
Seeing a puffer fish on tv at 3am, creating a geometrically intricate mosaic on the seabed floor, not sleeping for 3 nights or days, to attract the pregnant female, was enough to make me give up all sea creatures there and then and was my path to veganism...and years on, I've never looked back.
January 27, 2021Howard
"My first sporting obsession as an adult was fly-fishing…For a decade, my life revolved around…trying to deceive trout with bits of feather and floss and thread wound onto small hooks. I caught fish: gorgeous…arctic grayling, with their luminous dorsal fins that glowed turquoise and lilac and green, until you lifted them out of the water and they began to die. I became licensed to help others catch fish…And then, after my second or third summer of guiding…I ... Read More
September 25, 2020Howard
In one moment, she swam happily through the pristine water of the Atlantic Ocean and in the next she had a hook lodged in her mouth as she fought for her life. Imagine what that must be like for a fish. I will not forget what followed.**I could barely watch....and looked from afar with amazement and sadness at the mob surrounding the fish.**'What was everyone doing near the fish,' I asked.'They were posing for pictures ... Read More
August 9, 2020Howard
I rescued a beautiful goldfish a few years back. She struggled with a few health issues for the 5 years that she was with me but truly trusted me and knew that I cared about her. She changed the way that I experienced fish and I am happy that I rescued her after I became vegan because I was more capable of empathizing and relating to her 💚
August 4, 2020Howard
After some 50 odd years, I started pretty young, I gave up fly fishing, actually all fishing, a few years back. The sport certainly gets you into some very beautiful environments & has many pluses so why did I quit? As a catch & release angler I was all too aware of the results, a good percentage of released fish don't make it & of those that do, some suffer serious damage to their mouths ... Read More
July 19, 2020Howard
I turned vegetarian when I was 21 I but continued to fish and release using a flyrod, not regularly or even often but like once a year when I would visit my grandfather as there was a huge loch with wild brown trout not far from his house, I still remember the last time I was fishing, I was 25 and had hired a boat, all the fish I caught I put in the front ... Read More
July 19, 2020Howard
Fook the Hook
I have been fly fishing since 1960, catch and release since 1971 and around 15 years ago started to become troubled at the trauma inflicted by dragging some poor unfortunate fish around by it’s lips and the numbers of fish that actually did not make it after being released. They seemingly swim away ok but the lactic acid build up from the fight eventually, within an hour or so leads to shock and their death. ... Read More
July 19, 2020Howard
Sally Jenkins
My father was in the industry we used to call Party boats (don't know what it's called now). Grandfather, a fleet of fishing boats. Other grandparents also water people. I never liked fishing. Until recently, it wasn't about the mistreatment of the fish. The whole thing was never fun for me. Never in my life did I dream of going on Safari - that is, until it was changed to observing. Even that is a ... Read More
July 19, 2020Howard
Irish Imp
It was a boat ride past a fish farm at Fort William that cured my fish eating. Somehow I had convinced myself that they where more free and less farmed. It was horrible. They where all crammed together and slapping off each other. ... Read More
July 19, 2020Howard
Once you have a few smart fishy friends at the beach snorkeling that come over to greet you each time you enter the water or in a home aquarium [y]our fishing days are over. Sea bass remind me of puppy dogs wagging their tails when they greet you. They focus right on you and they know who you are. ... Read More
July 7, 2020Howard
I used to like catch-and-release fishing, but then I started asking myself if the pleasure I derived from fishing was worth the pain and suffering I caused to the fish. First, they were impaled through the mouth by a hook. Then, as they fought to free themselves, I would drag them slowly but surely through the water, again, by a hook through their flesh. I then hauled them out into an atmosphere in which they ... Read More
July 4, 2020Howard
I [fished] once and it's probably my greatest regret in life. ... I caught a catfish, me and my mother convinced the boatman to put it back. I never went fishing again.
June 29, 2020Howard
"Fish [consumption] went about 6 months after SCUBA class when I went on a dive trip to Honduras. On one of the dives, I held out my hand to touch a shrimp, and they walked up my arm to my shoulder and looked me in the eyes through my mask. There was someone there. We looked at each other for maybe 10 seconds, and then he swam away. I had eaten probably thousands of shrimp. It ... Read More
May 7, 2020Howard
When I was in college in Corpus Christi, I became very lonely and depressed. I started walking to the beach in front of the University and would watch the jumping fish in the sunrise. The light would reflect on their brilliant scales in the bright rose colors of the early morning sun.I made it my routine to walk to the beach and watch them. They inspired me to give up meat, to never ever eat ... Read More
May 7, 2020Howard
"Just remember,” I've heard a lot of people say, “you weren't always vegan!” I get what they're trying to say. We can't place judgment on people that haven't come across the same information that we have. We can't expect people to immediately understand that we can all thrive on a way of life that doesn't require violent acts and the depletion of our resources-- that we can, in fact, be healthy and happy living in ... Read More
January 25, 2020Howard
I hope that my mother never knows anything, and I love her dearly, but I was forced to hunt and fish as a child (well I was 12)! I was very afraid of the rifle, and I still am, but fishing was the absolute worst: dealing with worms & live bait and the poor little fishes!I tried to please my mother but I was a loss to her, I was not macho. Though I tried ... Read More
January 25, 2020Howard
I used to go fishing when I was little, and we ate what we caught. By the time I was maybe 10, I figured out I didn’t want to eat them. It was a quick second to come to the conclusion that capturing them for “sport” was unconscionable. I remember too well seeing them gasp, fighting to breath. Awful. Never again.
January 25, 2020Howard
Former Hunter Turns Vegan. Chris's account is a wonderful example of moral evolution. It goes to show that even those who are deeply steeped in the fishing/hunting/meat-eating culture can change, and for the so much better, as many others have also done. ... Read More
December 1, 2019Howard
Why I Do Not Eat Shellfish Do oysters, clams, mussels, and other shellfish feel pain? As people, we can look at a cow, or a pig, or a chicken, and know that when they are cut with a knife or burned, they feel pain. They scream. Their faces contort. Their bodies convulse. In other words, they react like we would react if someone stabbed us or set fire to us. ... Read More
November 10, 2019Howard
I was taught how to fish by my dad, being Japanese/Canadian it was part of our background. Japanese when they first came to Canada were involved in salmon fishing on the west coast. When i was born in Toronto and grew up fishing we never thought about causing pain to other sentient  beings. It wasn’t until i got involved in animal activism that it truly hit home. This would have been around 1994, when i met Leslie ... Read More
June 1, 2019Howard
Nobody in New Zealand lives too far from the water, and it was a common sight when I was growing up in the 1950s to see whole families fishing from piers and from coastal rocks. I remember myself once as a young child reluctantly dangling a line from a pier, and feeling some tugs at the end of it. I do not remember bringing in any fish though I might have blocked it from my ... Read More
December 20, 2018Howard
I learned to fish when I was very young. I used to use raw hot dogs as bait while sitting on the dock of a family member's house in South Florida. I always saw fishing as a fun mystery. I never knew what fish I was going to catch and the surprise was just so exciting to anticipate. I have always loved fish and all sea life, which was ironically part of my fascination ... Read More
December 4, 2018Howard
Like a lot of people I was brought up to believe it's "okay" to kill. I did, with every meal, every celebration, every holiday and every outing with friends and family. I ate animals for more than 50 years, and spent many days fishing with my father. Like a lot of other girls it was an opportunity to spend time with him, since he didn’t enjoy things like sewing or shopping, plus I enjoyed the ... Read More
October 26, 2018Howard
I am living proof that change is possible! ** On your left was a conflicted, non-thinking, culturally driven, 'animal-loving' follower. I used to always do what everyone else was doing just for the sake of fitting in and being accepted, and for the most part, none of it sat well in my heart. ** Every fish I caught was met with feelings of heartbreak. I would apologize to the fish (silently of course, I couldn't let my ... Read More
September 22, 2018Howard
Most of my life I thought fishing was a hobby and I hurt a lot of fish. I would snag and gaff fish with hooks at sea and occasionally eat what I killed. I would also eat tuna sandwiches, shrimp cocktail, fish sticks, etc... I was completely oblivious to the suffering I caused and financially supported. When I realized a couple years ago that I wasn't more important than other humans and animals, I couldn't ... Read More
September 18, 2018Howard
I unfortunately used to fish. The last time I ever did was on the family farm. I caught a Rio Grande Cichlid, and asked if I could clean him myself. My dad told me he thought this would bother me, but I really wanted to learn how to do this. I can tell you from this moment forever burned in my memory that fish want to live. As I delivered the fatal cut to this dear ... Read More
August 16, 2018Howard
I grew up with a fishing boat and spent the night on it with my family every weekend. Unfortunately, my parents went fishing almost every time we went. I remember watching them reel in a clearly struggling fish and throw her in a cooler like her suffering didn’t matter. When we got back to the dock, I watched them filet the same fish who was swimming freely just hours earlier. I went back to kindergarten ... Read More
July 26, 2018Howard
I remember...deciding I could never eat anything that had a face: When I was five, we were on holiday on a farm, and there was this cute chicken running around. Later I realised it had been dished up on my plate. From that moment on, I’ve never wanted to eat meat or fish.
June 27, 2018Howard
When my first daughter was about six years old, I took her fishing for the first time in a small pond near Amherst, Massachusetts. I bought two fishing rods from a local K-Mart and headed to a nearby pond with her. I read all of the fishing rod instructions and followed the entire procedure carefully, but baiting the hook with worms seemed harder than solving a differential equation. A friendly neighbor saw my struggle and ... Read More
June 27, 2018Howard
Hunting and fishing were my passions in life. I realized that despite what I had been told, I was not biologically a meat eater. Since I had no biological necessity to eat meat, I had no necessity to kill the animals I was eating. Oddly enough, I felt like I was an animal lover. And I believed that I was doing what was best for them as a species (I was wrong). And I honestly did ... Read More
May 23, 2018Howard
There was a time in my life when fly-fishing was my life. I was a true fish bum. My entire existence revolved around the “sport”...But as time went on, something changed within me. It was a gradual change — a slow raising consciousness, if you will. I fought it at first, and even tried to block it out, but eventually I had to face it. I knew what I was doing was wrong... There are few ... Read More
May 23, 2018Howard
LETTER: In Appreciation of Our "Underwater Cousins" By Cynthia Cruser, published in The Independent on August 31, 2017. I was born in Providence in 1952, and my family has been in New England since the 1600s. My childhood memories hold cherished summer days spent each year on the salt ponds and beaches of South County, often Charlestown. I remember quahoggging with my father and grandfather in Ninigret Pond, or Salt Pond if we visited Uncle ... Read More
May 13, 2018Howard
"My reason for becoming a vegetarian was simple: I loved (and love) animals and I don't want to be involved in anything that leads to or contributes to their suffering. At first this led me to give up beef and chicken. Then fish (if you've ever spent time with fish you realize pretty quickly that they feel pain and are much happier not being hooked or speared or netted). Then I thought, "I don't want ... Read More
March 20, 2018Howard
I was living as a boarder in a house where they had too many pets. The cats and the dog got lots of love but the bunnies and fishes were virtually ignored and weren't getting adequate care. One day the grandmother, who moved in temporarily while I was living there, brought home a blue Betta fish. I had seen Bettas in pet stores before and always felt deeply saddened and angry for them being trapped ... Read More
November 18, 2017Howard
When I was a small child, my grandfather would take me fishing with him. When I was really little, he would do the fishing while I walked along the river bank looking for frogs and turtles. I always loved animals so to me going fishing with my grandfather was so much fun. As I got older he taught me how to fish. I would always have a bucket of water by the river bank, so ... Read More
July 1, 2017Howard
A Story of Love, Speciesism, and Vendetta - She had no name. I want you to remember that throughout. It troubles me to this day that after all the ways in which she influenced my life, I hadn’t even bothered to give her a name. I will call her E for the sake of this story. E came to us in a bowl crammed with eight other goldfishes*. It was my brother’s birthday, and someone decided ... Read More
March 12, 2017Howard
I used to fish loads as a child then gave it up. I then started up again a couple of years ago and always wondered why I gave it up in the first place as I had so much fun. I never fished in the winter as I hated sitting in the cold for hours. I turned vegan a couple of winters ago and still then thought fishing was as a cruelty free sport (stupid ... Read More
March 4, 2017Howard
As the daughter of a country boy from Nebraska, fishing was the only meaningful time spent with my father. So, all six children learned to fish, and I cherished alone time with my father who never learned to truly love fish. I stopped fishing when I was a teenager, and became a vegetarian. I am unwilling to put a hook or to extract a hook, from the mouth a living being. Nor can I ever ... Read More
February 25, 2017Howard
Donald Trump once argued against fishing: 'I believe it's painful for the fish' A report from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals that said fish have feelings, too. "Whenever my sons go fishing, they always tell me, 'Dad, it doesn't hurt a fish to get hooked.' Well, I watch and I see and I believe it's painful for the fish," Trump said. ... Read More
February 25, 2017Howard
This tattoo is in memory of a fish that I witnessed in person being beaten to death. For a school project I chose to capture pictures of animals in their natural environment and ironically I thought joining my dad on a fishing trip would be the perfect place to do this. I hadn't even considered that he was there to remove them from their environment. Anyway, it was my first time out on a fishing ... Read More
November 20, 2016Howard
[M]y reason behind choosing a lobster [tattoo] was that they are treated with such extreme cruelty but often overlooked. My Dad used to work in a frozen food depot and he told me about the hundreds of lobsters with bands around their claws, kept barely alive in the freezer until they were delivered to restaurants to be boiled. I'm haunted by those images and although I'm vegan now, I am glad I've never eaten lobster ... Read More
November 20, 2016Howard
I used to trick animals onto sharpened hooks. Sometimes I'd use two or three just to make sure they couldn't get away. The hooks would cut their mouths open, more often than you’d think, hook them somewhere on the face, even in the eyes.. I didn't do it to eat. In no way if I didn't do it would I not survive. Like millions of others, I did it for ‘fun’. Once the animal realized what ... Read More
November 8, 2016Howard
I was taken out fishing in a rowboat when I was a little girl. When the man told me he was going to put the hook through a worm, I wouldn't let him. I screamed and fought the worm away from him until he took me home. (I put the worm in my yard)
October 5, 2016Howard
Yeah, when I run on the beach, I see people fishing from time to time. The fish really put up a struggle. I watch children who are supposed to be having this 'bonding' experience with their relatives, usually a dad. The kids are horrified as they watch the fish struggle. I've posted here before, but I've been known to run by and say to the child, 'Not very humane, is it.'
August 11, 2016Howard
I used to go fishing once in awhile when I was a boy. It was catch and release, mostly of sunfish no bigger than my hand. One day, when I was in my early teens, I saw a man with a group of boys showing how to remove a hook from a caught fish. It must have been a barbed hook, because before my eyes, this man pulled a chunk of the fish's mouth out ... Read More
August 5, 2016Howard
While viewing some of the star fish that were attached to the pier one afternoon, I over heard a father speaking to his two sons. Both sons holding fishing poles, with a small plastic bucket they were using to store their caught fish. Barely large enough to fit one full fish into. As I continue to watch from a far I cannot help but shed a tear when the oldest son pulls a fish from ... Read More
August 5, 2016Howard
I used to fly fish. I thought it was ok because I used only barbless hooks and never killed a fish. I always released them. But after learning the truth about fish I gave the practice up years ago. Wish I had done so sooner.
July 20, 2016Howard
"I remember being little and my family took me to Red Lobster for dinner. When I saw the lobsters in the tank, I asked why they were there. When someone told me, I threw a fit and started sobbing uncontrollably because I couldn't understand why someone would want to eat a lobster. Even at that age, I understood. It isn't complicated. All living things feel pain and can suffer."
June 24, 2016Howard
i was five when i witnessed fish gasping for breath and screaming with their eyes. in a bucket on my grandfathers boat. i pushed that bucket off the boat. i was smacked violently. it was worth it. it was 1971.
June 24, 2016Howard
I can't believe people actually think these living [animals] don't feel or have emotions!! I feel so guilty because I used to be one of these people and I never questioned it when I was little and growing up because I was told they had a 3 second memory and I stupidly believed it because I didn't know any better! I am just so glad I worked it all out for myself in the end ... Read More
June 6, 2016Howard
When I was in high school…..oh….so many years ago. Our science class went on a field trip to the beach with our science teacher. We were in Southern California and there were plenty of beaches. However, I now realize, and maybe it was a sign of the times, but my science teacher had no concept of preservation let alone mercy. At the beach, he instructed us to go forth and make discoveries. So …we did. As a child, for years I ... Read More
May 29, 2016Howard
One time I was walking along the marina in Westport, WA and I watched 2 young men catch a salmon and proceed to punch [him or her] in the face several times very hard. I left and actually got ill from watching such disgusting violence to a beautiful creature. 😣😓😦😡 I will never forget it as long as I live.
May 29, 2016Howard
I would feed a puffer fish that lived under my parent's dock. He was very much like a pet and would give me kisses and swim around with me. I believe that fish have feelings.
May 29, 2016Howard
I use to like fishing until i got older. One time i caught one and the hook was straight through its eye. I cried. I never fish anymore and i never will again. Just because you're a human and a fish is "just a fish" doesn't make [them] any less valuable.
May 9, 2016Howard
If ever there was any doubt that fish feel pain, yesterday I took my 6 year old goldfish to the vet for the first time for an internal infection that wasn't responding to medicated baths. I have to give her antibiotic injections and she definitely felt and responded when the needle pricked her.
May 9, 2016Howard
"I was so young but I instinctively knew fishing was wrong. My family teased me about it as families are want to do. But those feelings never left me. It's the same for a lot of kids."
March 4, 2016Howard
I was lucky enough to do a lot of scuba diving over a three year period about 8 years ago. In their natural environment fish are fascinating, and their interesting behavior and interaction with each other and often humans, too, suggest a greater level of awareness and intelligence than they are generally credited with. I was a semi vegetarian before I started scuba diving - no meat or dairy but I still occasionally ate fish. ... Read More
March 4, 2016Howard
I went on a fishing trip when I was a little kid and I even had my own fishing rod. The first time I saw the fish in the bucket struggling to breathe I knew it wasn't ok and I would never fish again! And I never have! Just because I can't give fish a cuddle doesn't mean they can be written off as lesser beings! I know I ate them for many years but ... Read More
March 4, 2016Howard
Joaquin Phoenix
I was three... there were five kids and we literally screamed at our parents and said, ‘We are never going to eat meat again.’ Because we were on a boat, and they were catching fish, and they were throwing fish against the side of the boat in order to kill them, they are flopping around ... and it was undeniable that it was brutal, barbaric and horrible for us, and so we said that. I ... Read More
November 29, 20154Fishes
Kim Benson
About 18 months after going vegetarian one of my friends invited me to her house for dinner and I promptly mentioned that I was a vegetarian but fish would be OK. My friend said that I wasn't a proper vegetarian because fish was also meat. I had always placed fish in a slightly different category simply because it was a sea rather than a land animal. However, when I really took the time to consider this, ... Read More
November 29, 20154Fishes
Kathlene L.
I used to enjoy going fishing even though I don't like to eat fish. For me it was always catch and release. But over time, I realized that I was hurting the fish and the bait that I used and decided that I wasn't going to fish anymore. I have a couple of dozen fish in my pond and they are smart. They recognize me, they know I feed them and they even nibble my ... Read More
November 29, 20144Fishes
Phil Stehbens
In my youth, over 40 years ago, I was a gifted spearfisherman who won many state tournaments, could dive to 30 metres to spear fish using breath-holding techniques, & embarked on many frontier diving adventures that pushed my diving skills to the limit. Over those years I came to the realisation that fish are in no way different in their behaviour to wild land animals & in so many cases were so much more curious and ... Read More
November 29, 20144Fishes
Sue V. Grisham
I over-medicated our fish maybe about 20(?) years ago. When I noticed that the little ones were dying, I scooped the rest into a bowl until I could change the aquarium water before any others died. It was sad, because it was my fault. But the interesting thing was that I laid the dead ones on a napkin on the counter by the sink, so I could bury them in the yard after dinner. We had ... Read More
November 29, 20144Fishes
Jamie Cohen
While snorkling in the Red Sea on a trip to Israel in the 90's, I was enjoying seeing all of the beautiful fishes as I slowly kicked my fins. I had snorkled many times before and just marveled at the variety and abundance of colorful fish here. The fish swam by me and around me and then I noticed one particular fish who was staying still about two feet away. He or she might have been ... Read More
November 29, 20144Fishes
Maryanne Appel
Maryanne Appel is a board member of Compassion for Animals, Respect for the Environment (CARE) When I was a child, I witnessed my father boiling crabs alive. I can see them still, and hear the scraping of their claws against the metal sides of the pot. And my father pushing the lid back down again and again to prevent their escape. All I could do as a child of nine or ten was stand by and watch, ... Read More
November 29, 20144Fishes
Louis de Funès
(the very funny and popular French actor) I gave up fishing the day I realized that when caught the fish did not wriggle with joy.
November 29, 20144Fishes
Angie Harrison
Having kept fish (before I knew better) and scuba dived for years, I am well aware of their intelligence and emotion. I stopped eating sea life 20 years ago as the barbarity and unsustainability of the industry was obvious even then. It's not only fishing that poses a threat, ignorant acts such as shark killing vendettas are as insane as giving home invaders a legal right to kill the home owners because they pose a ... Read More
November 29, 20144Fishes
Donny Moss
Donny Moss is the founder of Their Turn, animal rights news/media Growing up on the water in Miami, Florida, I thought nothing of throwing a rod in the bay and fishing for fun. On the rare occasions when I actually caught a fish, I couldn't take him or her off the hook. Someone else had to do it for me. I don't think it had anything to do with empathy for the fish; I was just ... Read More
November 29, 20144Fishes
Sir Paul McCartney
Many years ago, I was fishing, and as I was reeling in the poor fish, I realised, "I am killing him — all for the passing pleasure it brings me." Something inside me clicked. I realised, as I watched him fight for breath, that his life was as important to him as mine is to me.
November 29, 20144Fishes
Arthur Ling
Arthur Ling is the Founding Director of Plamil Foods Ltd, as well as Honorary Patron and former President of The Vegan Society I was brought up in an orthodox meat-eating environment but when I was aged about 6 or 7 and on holiday with my parents, I saw a large fish being hauled up on the pier and the way it was hacked about revolted me. From that moment I could not face any flesh on ... Read More
November 29, 20144Fishes
When I was a kid I was horrified to watch my father slam the fish he'd caught on the bottom of the row boat in order to 'really kill it.' Its an image that stuck in my head forever and still makes me feel sick. See:
November 29, 20144Fishes
I have just recently stopped eating seafood after years of not eating other meat, and it was the book Eating Animals that changed my perception of fishing, and the fish themselves. My revulsion of factory farming was the easiest way for me to stop eating seafood, as I could immediately relate modern farming of land animals to the mass destruction of the ocean and its inhabitants. I also grew up camping and fishing with my ... Read More
November 29, 20144Fishes
I, too, used to fish, and took pride in the number I was able to catch. I learned from my dad how to kill and clean them. It wasn't until I was 30 years ago and on a fishing boat, where the captain found a school of fish for us using sonar, that the horror of what I was doing finally sunk in. Even so, I continued to eat fish for 20 more years. I ... Read More
November 29, 20144Fishes
I stopped eating fish too after I realised that fishes are also just like us. I saw some small fishes being protected by its mother and I felt sorry for them.
November 29, 20144Fishes
Murry Cohen
I am a physician in my 70s. I have been disgusted by the thought of fishing ever since I can remember. I recall once, at a lake in northern Canada, at the age of 9 or so, my father forced me to fish against my will and insisted I pose for a picture carrying a dead fish, with my fingers in the fish’s eyes. I think I still have the picture. The expression on my ... Read More
November 29, 20144Fishes
Victoria Moran
I'm not sure how old I was — maybe nine, maybe ten — and the "Boat, Sports, and Travel Show" had come to town as it did every year, and every year we went. (We hit the Home Show and the Auto Show, too. I think a lot of families did that in those days.) Anyway, I got an hour's leave from parental supervision to explore the big exposition hall and there was a tank where kids ... Read More
November 29, 20144Fishes
Noam Lautman
I became interested in vegetarianism when I was about 10 years old. My uncle and his family took me to an upscale fish restaurant where they ordered lobster on a bed of rice. I had never seen such a thing before, and it was quite a shock to see a whole lobster sitting there, just as advertised, on a bed of rice. I could hardly look at it and went to eat at another table. ... Read More
November 29, 20144Fishes
Charles Stahler
Charles Stahler is a co-founder and co-director of the Vegetarian Resource Group. When I became vegetarian, it never occurred to me to eat fish. It is fascinating how many people see fish differently from other animals. Interestingly, when we went "fishing" when young, my father always taught us to put the fish in water in a bucket, and not let it flap around in the boat, so it wouldn't suffer more than necessary. We were still ... Read More
November 29, 20144Fishes
Yueyue Guo
Yueyue Guo was a winner of the Vegetarian Journal's 2010 youth essay contest. It was the smell that got to me first. It was my first trip to a Chinatown at age eight, and I was standing right in front of the seafood counter, waiting for my mother to buy the fish that she would turn into a delicious dinner dish later that night. The stench that emanated from the whole seafood area was a combination ... Read More
November 29, 20144Fishes
Alisa Rutherford-Fortunati
THE LAST FISH (initially posted on Care2) 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 ... Read More
November 29, 20144Fishes
Steve Hindi
I WAS A FISH KILLER I first fished at age five, with my brother Greg, who is one year younger. Each of us caught a perch out of a lake in St. Paul, Minnesota.  Fascinated, we watched the two perch swim around in a small bucket until  first one and then the other died. I don't remember what happened to  their bodies, but I know they were not large enough to eat. Perch are  plentiful, and ... Read More
November 27, 20144Fishes
Nate Musson
It is now glaringly clear to me that fish are conscious beings and I often take for granted that so many others don’t see it the same way. I grew up in north central Montana, in my family the activities of fishing and hunting were synonymous with enjoying the outdoors and putting food on the table. Although, as a child, I do remember talking with my dad about the negative return on investment of a hunting ... Read More
November 27, 20144Fishes