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On renaming fish ‘sea kittens’

When the Cleveland Boat Show (which I managed for many years) opens tomorrow, Twiggy the Water Skiing Squirrel will take off behind her radio-controlled ski boat to the applause of hundreds and the delight of local TV news crews. It happens every year, because Twiggy has been an ever-popular attraction in Cleveland since 1986.

I well-remember the year PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) demanded we stop using Twiggy in the boat show because “she is being abused and doesn’t even like water,” they said. Actually, squirrels are excellent swimmers, and Twiggy doesn’t have a hard life, what with having the run of her 40-foot motor home, dining on oatmeal and gourmet nuts, demanding her pool be heated to 85 degrees before she skis, and always having at least two hours rest between shows. I should live that good!

Today, PETA and I are crossing paths again. What’s got me laughing now is this: Tomorrow, when I hope a big grouper takes my bait, PETA doesn’t want me to think of a nice fish filet but, rather, they want me to snuggle up next to it and see it as a “sea kitten!” No, I’m not joking here.

Truth is, PETA has initiated a campaign to rename fish “sea kittens.” According to “Save the Kittens” campaign coordinator Ashley Byrne, if everyone started calling fish  “sea kittens,” fewer of these “gentle animals would be violently killed for food, painfully hooked for ‘sport,’ or cruelly confined to aquariums.”

Recently, PETA urged Palm Beach Atlantic University to change its mascot name from Sailfish to Sea Kitten. PETA wrote president Dr. David W. Clark: “Neurobiologists tell us that fish have complex nervous systems that comprehend and respond to pain. Fish communicate and develop relationships with one another, show affection by gently rubbing against other fish, and even grieve when their companions die.” Good grief!

Laugh if you will, but PETA even has Save the Sea Kitten T-shirts and Sea Kitten Bedtime Stories. Like this one titled “Snuggle Buddies.” It starts: “Tara the Tuna is frisky and playful, and she loves to squeeze herself into tight spaces and snuggle up close to her Sea Kitten pals.”

I’m so grateful to be reminded that the world still has its share of whackos. And with all due respect to neurobiologists, I think when a Tara Tuna “snuggles up close to another sea pal,” it’s her dinner time. Funny, I think of tuna the same way . . . pass the Wasabi.


18 comments on “On renaming fish ‘sea kittens’

  1. Kerry D

    PETA aside, if the Cleveland show is anything like the NY Boat Show, Twiggy will be skiing to the applause of Tens and the news crews will be too busy showing footage of the empty aisles to care about poor Twiggy.

  2. Bryon

    We should start a campaign to rename plants “dirt kittens” so these nuts will feel sorry for all plants. This would lead to most of them to starving to death because what else would they eat? Then we would be rid of them once and for all.

  3. Ratbite

    Sea kittens, sea vermin… I don’t care what you call them, if you are trapping or killing any animal just for the sport of it all, there is something very sick and very wrong with you. Now if you and your family are hungry… that’s a different kettle of kittens.

  4. Lori

    I wear my “Take Me Fishing” cap all the time. PETA members should find something else to worry about. Fishing is a great family sport and brings people together, it is not a blood bath. Fish on!

  5. CPB

    PETA would be appalled to know my father worked extremely hard to coax a kitten/cat within reach as a resident of stalag 3c in 1944. I don’t think it was to pet it. I personally prefer armadillo to fish.

  6. Bill Kearns

    Twiggy might be part of the reason for the malaise at boat shows. I thought they were kidding when they were advertising Twiggy as a show attraction 15 or so years ago in New York. I thought they just needed to fill unsold space and they picked this act up somewhere. Yet, today Twiggy is still being marketed as a primary reason to come to the NYBS. You’re gonna have to do better than this to ressurrect this industry. Twiggy represents all that is wrong with major boat shows today despite the fact that he/she works for peanuts.

  7. Wade N DaWaters

    Michael Tellex To be PC & in line with Peta I guess Jesus eat cats.
    He even feed throngs with cats & loaves of bread.
    I guess we will now have to decide what wine now goes with cats – I think reds- “like a nice cianti”.
    Yes cats are now table fair
    Please pass the calico you know it taste like eagles
    Hey how’s the tabby – I like mine stuffed with Brie like the french

  8. jb

    After the first weekend of the Cleveland Boat Show; everyone was too busy to worry about Twiggy or the fish. We were too busy greeting customers and selling boats. Great start to a great show; looks like Obama has already started working his magic!!!

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