I love the "1% for the Planet" charitable giving program. Through this initiative, a number of eco-conscious companies donate 1% of their profits to over 3,300 different nonprofit organizations, the vast majority of which do wonderful work to help the environment that ultimately enhances habitat to the benefit of anglers, hunters and other outdoor aficionados.
Thing is, PETA--People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals--is one of those beneficiaries. And I find that disgusting.
You see, PETA outright opposes sport fishing. They think it's cruel. They launched a campaign that equates fish to "sea kittens." They advocate efforts to close rivers and lakes to fishing access. I've had rocks thrown at me by PETA freaks while I was fishing.
What PETA doesn't understand is that anglers foot the bill for the vast majority of fish conservation and protection efforts in America. If there were not anglers who pay for licenses and support conservation organizations by their own initiatives, there wouldn't be any fish to talk about in the first place. Anglers make good fishing happen. Anglers are responsible for the habitat. Anglers ensure that future fish stocks are safeguarded and protected. Where the rubber meets the road, PETA hasn't done jack to make any of that happen. PETA is, in truth, not a conservation organization.
The sad irony is that the 1% campaign was created by Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard and legendary fly-fishing guide and outfitter Craig Matthews, two of the most notable anglers who have ever laid fingerprints on this sport. They've done more to help resources that support fly fishing than almost anyone in the world.
I believe that we, as anglers, should divest ourselves of 1%, until PETA is removed from the picture.
So let's make a mandate. If 1% truly wants to protect rivers and fish, it should honor the wishes of those who value rivers, fish and fishing. By that I mean people who actually fish. And if 1% wants to make another political statement, and support a fringe group that has no real handle on what makes natural piscine resources thrive and survive over time… well, then we'll point our attention elsewhere.