Letter: Cruelty to fish

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Richard Lee, news editor of the Angling Times (Right of Reply, 2 June), in his response to Mike Handley's article ("Hook, line and sinking feeling", 1 June), attempts to bolster his argument by quoting "Give a man a fishing rod and you feed him for life".

Could Richard Lee give us his estimate of how many coarse fishers would even dream of cooking the fish they catch, rather than pulling the hook out of the fishes' mouths and throwing them back in the water? Is he trying to tell us that the average fisher pursues his hobby because of a passionate desire for self-caught quenelles de brochet, grilled whitebait or carpe a la Chambord?

There is in fact little or no moral argument for fishing unless you eat your catch (or present it, like the late record-holding carp Clarissa, to London Zoo); fishing purely for amusement is more nearly equivalent to beating up passers-by for sport, except that the fish are less likely to hit you back.