Last winter I went to a conference in Seattle and had the chance to walk by Pike Place Fish. Aside from the gorgeous spread of Pacific seafood—king crabs, salmons, the works—the main eye-catcher was that the employees tossed the catch from one to another as they wrapped and sold the fish.
Recently the folks from Pike Place Fish were hired by a veterinarians’ conference to give a presentation on the value of teamwork on the job—a presentation that would involve acts of fish-tossing. But the folks at PETA heard about it and they were not happy. As they wrote to the organization of veterinarians: “You should know that people who care about animals are appalled that a veterinary organization, whose purpose is to represent the interests of those whose jobs involve protecting the well-being of animals would promote an event in which animals are treated so disrespectfully and are handled as if they were toys.”
One could move from here to a discussion as to why animals and their bodies do not, in fact, have quite the dignity that PETA would attribute to them. But the Seattle Times simply noted the obvious:
Fish have some kind of feelings when living. But fish used in the famous fish toss are not nursing a wound or evaluating their sense of self worth. They are dead. The next best thing that can happen to a salmon is to be topped with lemon and butter, barbecued and then eaten.
Mmmmmm. A pity the folks from PETA will never know the joy of a tossed and barbecued salmon. And I hope they never happen upon even more egregious affronts to the self worth of fishes. . . .