Friday, February 15, 2008

Airboarding the Eelpout

Wikipedia defines waterboarding as "a form of torture that consists of immobilizing a person on his or her back, with the head inclined downward, and pouring water over the face and into the breathing passages. Through forced suffocation and inhalation of water, the subject experiences the process of drowning in a controlled environment and is made to believe that death is imminent."
Every year in February (this year beginning Feb. 15), during the International Eelpout Festival in Walker, Minn., fishermen and women will practice the technique of airboarding.
That is, they will drag unwary or unlucky fish to the surface and throw them onto the ice until they can be weighed en masse. The choicest of those fish will end up hanging from racks near the festival tents during the festivities, gasping for oxygen for minutes if not hours before they die. Take a look at the photos at to see.
I don't believe it's torture, any more than the Justice Department believes it's torture when they subject a person to waterboarding. After all, festival-goers are trying to win prizes for the most fish, or the greatest weight or something, and they're just eelpout, after all. While the Justice Department is just trying to capture the most terrorists, or the greatest terrorist or something, and they're just Muslims.
It isn't that the eelpout, or burbot, is valuable. Even though, again according to Wikipedia, the burbot's liver--which is six times the size of the average freshwater fish's-- is also 3-4 times more potent in vitamin D, and 4 – 10 times more potent in vitamin A than 'good grades' of cod liver oil."
Apparently it's such an ugly fish it deserves to die by slow strangulation, hanging, gasping its life away. Because for these critters, death IS imminent.

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