I Was Looking Up Fishing Merit Badge and Look What I Found..

MQ

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I found this letter from PETA to the head of Boy Scouts of America.  Here it is:

PETA's letter to Milton H. Ward, president of the Boy Scouts of America

March 15, 2001

Milton H. Ward, President
Boy Scouts of America
P.O. Box 152079
Irving, TX 75015-2079

Dear Mr. Ward:

On behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ (PETA’s) more than 700,000 members, we urge the Boy Scouts of America to retire its "Fishing" and "Fish and Wildlife Management" merit badges. Fishing is no longer considered a benign activity. It is hunting in the water, and the idea of a scout armed with a gun or rod, setting out to actively attack animals who were minding their own business, is not in keeping with the image of scouting, now or in the past. Society is reevaluating its relationship with animals. We now realize that fish are sentient beings, whereas when Lord Baden-Powell founded the scouts in 1907, it was even acceptable to shoot mother chimpanzees from the trees in order to capture their infants for display in zoos.

As you are aware, according to Boy Scout law: "A Scout understands there is strength in being gentle. He treats others as he wants to be treated. He does not hurt or kill harmless things without reason." Clearly, there is no reason to inflict pain and suffering on fish or other animals. Encouraging scouts to put hooks through the mouths of live frogs so as to trick other animals into impaling themselves (as is recommended in the Fishing Merit Badge booklet) then to rip them from the water into an environment where they cannot breathe and can only struggle desperately for their lives is inconsistent with Boy Scout law and with teaching respect and kindness.

The anthropologist Margaret Mead noted, "One of the most dangerous things that can happen to a child is to kill or torture an animal and get away with it." Promoting fishing teaches young people that hooking, maiming, suffocating, and killing is acceptable. We call on you to help break the cycle of cruelty by promoting activities that teach only compassion, rather than indifference and violence.

Obviously, there are many nonviolent alternatives that merit badges. Birdwatching, hiking, and cycling are among the many fun and humane outdoor activities through which children can learn to appreciate nature, rather than destroy it and its inhabitants. Even better, instead of an activity such as fishing that can leave dangerous trash behind, scouts can perform a marvelous service to the community and to the environment by clearing fishing debris from rivers, ponds, lakes, and other waterways. This provides a valuable service to wildlife and to those who enjoy the outdoors while also providing the scouts with a justified sense of accomplishment and civic pride. Therefore, we urge you to replace the outdated fishing merit badges with a "Waterway Cleanup" badge.

Nobel Prize winner Dr. Albert Schweitzer said, "The thinking man must oppose all cruel customs no matter how deeply rooted in tradition or surrounded by a halo. When we have a choice, we must avoid bringing torment and injury into the life of another, even the lowliest creature." It is time to put the violent pastime of fishing behind us and teach children to respect, rather than kill, wildlife. We hope you agree.

I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,
Dawn Carr
Campaign Coordinator

*******************************

I never read so much garbage in my life. Hopefully some of you with some time on your hands can write to Mr.Ward and give the other side of the story. I know I will.
 

MQ

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Thank you for your letter concerning the request from PETA to retire the Fish and Wildlife and the Fishing merit badges. I am writing you at the request of Milton Ward, National President of the Boy Scouts of America.

I have informed the leadership of PETA that I will take their request to the National Advancement Committee. While I cannot speak to what their response will be, I believe they will not be in agreement with retiring these merit badges and I will include your letter in that discussion. We are currently in the process to add a Fly Fishing merit badge to those currently offered that should be ready in 2002.

Again, thank you for your letter and comments.

Sincerely,

Terry C. Lawson, Director
Advancement
Boy Scout Division
 

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