Bound To Get A Rise Out Of Anglers, New PETA Billboard Questions Size Of Their Rods

For Immediate Release:
8 August 2010

Alice Barnett +44 (0) 20 7357 9229, ext 229; [email protected]

Ashford, Kent – With the erection of a new billboard and launch of a website almost guaranteed to irk anglers but give everyone else a laugh, PETA questions whether anglers might favour long rods as a way to compensate for coming up short in their shorts. The billboard, which can be seen at outside Ashford station, hits anglers below the belt. It shows a man grappling with a fishing rod, and the caption reads, “Are You Overcompensating for Something?” PETA has placed the billboard in Ashford in response to the recent death of Two Tone, the now famous old carp. Following his death, local anglers – despite having spent the last 40 years trying to impale the animal on a metal hook and drag him, gasping, from his water home – made a big palaver about his passing. This contradictory behaviour prompted The One Show host Alex Jones to comment, “They’ve spent their lives trying to kill him – now [that] he’s dead, they’re crying”. 

PETA thinks that it instead may be a case of big old softies spending their free time trying to prove “my rod’s bigger than your rod” without realising the harm that they are doing to animals. According to a study reported on, men who feel a threat to their masculinity engage in more behaviour that is considered “masculine” and are more likely to report feeling hostile than men who feel that their masculinity has been confirmed. With features such as testimonials from anglers and their partners, an interactive poll and a ruler for measuring one’s manhood, the site seeks to examine the link between fishers’ rod envy and the urge to tear through the mouths of fish with hooks, slam the animals down and watch them die in anguish from suffocation.

Myriad scientific reports confirm that fish indeed feel pain. The mouths of fish are full of sensitive nerve endings, and fish who are released after being caught often die from injuries and stress. A review of more than 500 research papers showed that fish are smart, choose friends, have long-term memories and can use tools and build structures. An Oxford University scientist found that fish learn faster than dogs, and University of Edinburgh biologist Culum Brown said, “In many areas, such as memory, [fish’s] cognitive powers match or exceed those of ‘higher’ vertebrates, including non-human primates”.

“A man who tortures and kills animals who are much smaller and weaker than he is must be trying to prove something”, says PETA Foundation Manager Mimi Bekhechi. “It takes a small man to attack a fish.”

For more information and to view the billboard, please visit PETA’s website