SEATTLE - People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) scheduled a Noon news conference in downtown Seattle on Tuesday to protest sport fishing and the people who teach it to their children.
Hayden Hamilton of PETA's Los Angeles office was the only person carrying the message and the catch line: "Don't Let Your Children Become Hookers."
The signs worked. Curious people accepted literature and asked questions but most seemed surprised to find out what this protest was all about.
"When parents take their kids fishing they are really sending them a dangerous message, that it's fun to torment and abuse animals," said Hamilton.
"What about plants?" asked one man. "Studies show they react to negative stimuli."
That's how it went for Hamilton and the two other PETA who joined her later. They all understand they are not in the best place to search for sympathy. Just a few miles away anglers were packed shoulder to shoulder on a bridge over the Duwamish Waterway giving it their all to hook a humpy salmon. For miles up the river, the banks were covered with people enjoying a late summer tradition.
"Even if we don't catch a fish, it's a great bonding experience with my boys. It's great to get out in nature and as long as you're humane, I mean we're not torturing them," said one man fishing with his son.
But PETA claims hooking a fish and dragging it through the water is no different than hooking the family pet in the mouth and dragging it behind the car. The analogy didn't go far with some people who pointed out their pets eat fish too.
Hamilton said the whole idea is to get people talking and thinking about what catching a fish does to the fish and maybe some will feel bad about it.
"I don't think about feeling bad," said one fisherman, "I feel like catching a fish."