Once again the silly season seems to have started and this year it appears that angling is to be the target. Such a move was rather inevitable once the hunting issue had been dealt with. It is a sad fact that there is a whole industry that been built up around animal ‘banitittis’ with significant numbers of people having built their reputations up on the backs of these campaigns and who are making a very good living out of it. So lets get real, these people are not going to give up their large salaries just because hunting looks doomed in this country at least. There are several of these groups the primary protagonist at the moment appears to be Peta who are a shadowy bunch of vegan fascists who have proven to be highly skilled at parting neurotic actresses and popstars from their money and have as a result amassed a reasonable fortune. They are also highly litigious. As can be expected they are rather good at manipulating the media and like all fanatics are completely focussed on achieving their aims. They appear to have no qualms about the methods that they use they are highly skilled in the use of emotive language and little details like the truth do not bother them. An interesting note is that Peta are not a charity they do not enjoy charitable status they are registered in the States as a corporation. Peta has its English copies the Hunt Saboteurs Association and the League Against Cruel Sport are two such both are quite happy to employ the services of energetic thugs to attempt to beat up and terrorise ordinary people in the course of their activities. Neither has the financial clout of Peta but the paid officers don't do too badly and often move on to head up other protest movements. The recent spate of publicity against angling has undoubtedly been spearheaded by Peta who are starting to show their financial clout and are able to buy their way into publicity. Needless to say Media who are short of a decent story are open to being bought but these groups who offer the chance to whip up a minor storm and thus promote sales. We will doubtless see a tendency to an anti stance by some media personalities many of whom will have no idea about what they are talking about but who wish to be seen as trendy. So what have we learned from these recent little skirmishes? The answer is plenty Perhaps the most important thing is that we are all the eyes and ears of angling and it is important that if anybody spots items like the one that started this article then it is up to that person to flag it up on the sites as soon as possible. It is much easier to attack than defend in the media and that ‘celebrities ‘ can access the media more easily than can the general public we have our own celebrities who are household names and we need to make more use of them. Within our ranks we have some incredibly talented people who are capable of making their feelings known and also computer buffs who can help overcome barriers. Through the Internet we can organise ourselves very quickly via the angling sites and through e-mail. However I feel that we have to tighten up the co-operation between the sites so that we can network more effectively and thus speed up a strong response. This an issue for the webmasters at one end and for us to pay attention to what is going on with other sites. Both, sheer weight of numbers and continued pressure will eventually get results, persistence pays so we need to stick at it. When dealing with apparently intractable organisations don’t be afraid of thinking creatively and using other media or forms of pressure to embarrass them. When writing to large organisations such as the national papers always send copies of your letters to the local press exposing the issue, as all the Nationals employ people to read the local press from all round the country as a way of getting stories. The letters pages of your local press are a happy hunting ground for them. There is nothing more satisfying to a hungry editor than to be able to rubbish a rival paper.
Abandon the mindset of defending angling
Angling in general has nothing it needs to defend. Do not be afraid of using emotive language though avoid profanity. We must not let Peta and their running dogs set the agenda instead go for your opponents weak areas. Thankfully in the case of Peta this group contains within their pronouncements the seeds of their own destruction. Play up the violence that this group openly supports and make reference to occasions when Children have been injured by the mail bombs sent out by animal rights terrorists. The most recent example is the 6 year old who was injured in a mail bomb attack a few months ago. This is a particularly fertile area for causing public concern, publicise any animal rights violence and bombard your local press with demands for something to be done about it by the police, no one likes violence. Link the activities of all animal 'Rights' groups to the violence that takes place in its name i.e tar them all with same brush. Avoid giving the RSPCA a hard time at the moment as they are a very large organisation and not as yet involved in the rights movement but send them the message to stick to welfare and not 'rights' Flag up Peta’s statements on the keeping of pets and how they would force people to give up their pets. Ask the question ‘Do we want a society run by Vegan fascists who would kick your door in to see if you have a pet cat or dog in the house’?. Make play of the statement by Peta that they would like to see Foot and Mouth disease imported into the USA to ‘punish farmers’ there. Equally publicise wherever possible their recent bout of interfering with schoolchildren outside schools when they were trying to force their anti milk drinking propaganda on them. Visit their website to collect new statements as they are a priceless source of stupidity which can be used against them and with a little bit of work act as a stick to beat all the anti’s with. Most importantly do not waste your anger by venting your anger by writing on angling sites. Organise and bring your literary guns to bear on your opponents in non-angling national and local media. Be aware of the licensing and complaints bodies and make use of them bombard them with letters and e-mails. Make maximum use of politicians both local and national and not forgetting European M.P.s either. They all respond to communication and lobbying. So I’m afraid to say that the price of fishing and freedom is both eternal vigilance and the will to get writing or typing. So dip your keyboards and pens in Vitriol and get started….