Hook, Line and Thinker

Angling and Ethics



Angling and Ethics


Alexander Schwab



Hook, Line and Thinker

Angling and Ethics

Anglers feel instinctively that their sport is not cruel. This book explains why their instincts are right – and exposes the confused philosophy of their accusers. The anti-fieldsports lobby has led the debate on hunting, fishing and shooting for the last decade. Hook, Line and Thinker is a book which turns the tables on the ‘antis’ and takes a fresh look at the assumptions which many now accept as facts. Here is a book which tackles all the key issues from the philosophical viewpoint. It examines the ethics of the anti-fieldsports lobby and takes their arguments back to their roots.

The conclusions expose the precarious philosophical ground of the anti-fieldsports lobby. It is they who should be on the run. Hook, Line and Thinker is published by Merlin Unwin Books. The reviews speak for themselves.

Lines of inquiry

Fish do not feel pain as we understand it, according to a new book. Can this be true asks Charles Clover.

Do fish feel pain? According to one lot of scientists, they do. Others say fish don’t have big enough brains to feel anything like pain as we understand it. Whom do we believe? What do we fishermen do in the face of scientific evidence that we may be taking part in a moral scandal? Call for a philosopher, that’s what.

With impeccable timing, Alexander Schwab has written Hook, Line and Thinker: Angling and Ethics. It rides the present wave of interest in the morality of fishing caused by the publication of two scientific studies this year. His book carries out a robust analysis of the animal-rights case against fishing. His message? Fishing is good. I cannot recommend this book highly enough: it will, at the very least, give us anglers the philosophical ammunition to answer those who want to see the sport banned.

Schwab, 49, is, needless to say, a fisherman, who spends six weeks of the year at his favourite pursuit. He is also a thinker and a writer capable of leavening his prose with glorious anecdotes about humans in pursuit of fish. This is despite the fact that he is Swiss, writing in what is his second (possibly even his third) language.

When I met him for lunch, earlier this summer, he was on his way back from fishing on Lough Currane in Kerry, west Ireland. On the last day, to the relief of his boatman, he caught a salmon. This was a matter of unrepental satisfaction to him, because he believes that fish don’t feel pain in the way that humans do. I tried the latest scientific research on him, which clearly comes from opposite sides from the animal-welfare debate.

There was a study by James Rose, of the University of Wyoming, earlier this year, which concluded that it was impossible for fish to feel pain because they do not have the brain structure for the experience. Then there was the study, by scientists at the Roslin Institute, Edinburgh, which sought to justify the opposite. This study, published in a journal of the Royal Society, was described by some as the first conclusive evidence of pain perception in fish.

In the Roslin’s experiments on rainbow trout, researchers said that they had demonstrated that fish had nervous system receptors – known as nociceptors – which responded to damaging or noxious stimuli. These experiments involved increasing the temperature around the pain receptors of fish and injecting their lips with bee venom. This produced increased respiratory rates and rocking motion in the fish injected with the bee venom, which means, argue the scientists, that fish feel pain more like birds and mammals.

Schwab, the philosopher, is amazed by the fuss. The fact that fish have nociceptors was hardly new. It’s what you make of it that counts. Dr Rose’s point was precisely that nociception does not equal pain. Schwab is worried about the the language the Roslin scientists use to describe their discovery:”What an animal ‘feels'” they write, “is possibly nothing like the experience of humans with a more complex brain structure. However, the animals experience may be unpleasant or cause suffering and their discomfort is no less important in terms of biology or ethics.” These last sentiments, says Schwab, could be straight from animal-rights philosophers, such as Peter Singer or Tom Regan. It was Regan who, when asked in a question-and-answer session who he would save if a boat capsized in the ocean, a dog or a baby:”If it were a retarded baby and a bright dog, I’d save the dog.”

If you give up the fact that the human being is something different, argues Schwab, you open up a moral abyss. “Cruelty to a fish cannot be the same as cruelty to a child,” he says. Schwab’s view is that all fishermen need to be interested in moral values. Wanting to ban is not just a British phenomenon, he points out. One candidate in Berne won 10’000 votes for the proposition that shooting and fishing should be banned immediately.

Schwab is just what some of us need, someone who can reassemble the unassailable logic of the Judeo-Christian tradition in the face of the determined opposition of people who depend upon that tradition for the tolerance it affords their extremist view – try advocating animal welfare, let alone animal rights in a Muslim country. Schwab’s big idea “is that animals have their place and humans theirs”. It is a traditional view, but one that has served the human race well for thousands of years. He has just explained it to another generation. So all is well: fishing is good, life is beautiful.

Alexander Schwab’s razor sharp book is a must for all anglers, says Nick Fisher

Do fish feel pain? And if they do, does it mean that, ethically, it’s wrong for us to fish for them? But if they don’t feel pain, is it therefore perfectly okay to stick a hook in their gobs and haul them up the bank?

There have been several research experiments into the issue of fish pain. Some research concludes that they do feel pain. Other research insists they don’t. And to a certain extent, there are anglers who hold up the fish-don’t-feel-pain conclusion as a justification and moral licence to continue with their sport.

Personally I don’t give a toss about the research. And I am certainly not waiting for a geezer in a white coat to grant me absolutuion from guilt. In my own anecdotal experience of 25-odd years of fishing, I would conclude that fish don’t like being caught. Whether or not their discomfort equals pain doesn’t concern me because most of the time my aim is to kill that fish and send its corpse with the minimum amount of fuss and maximum of care straight to my dinner table.

I make a conscious decision to take the life of a fish and use it fore my own ends. I am concerned and considerate about the age and maturity of the fish, the overall health and welfare of the environment from which it came. And the number of fish after I’ve removed my quarry. I’m not perfect, yet I am a responsible fisherman who hopes to enjoy a lifetime of sport and leave a healthy legacy for my sons to enjoy.

But as all fieldsportsmen know, there are factions who believe we are self-disillusioned sadists whose reign of torture should be brought to a swift end, in the name of animal rights. Who says that man is an animal and all animals are equal? What is meant by cruelty? If catching a fish is cruel, how cruel is eating one? When fieldsports ghave been banned, will we all be forced to become vegetarians too? And how can an animla rights campaigner justify keeping a pet cat, which tortures before it kills?

All of these moral and ethical questions and many more besides are tackled in Alexander Schwab’s new book, hook, line and thinker. Schwab is an angler and a philosophy graduate who has done a razor-sharp job of not just answering these huge questions but also delving deep deep into the philosophical arguments that lie beneath our current confusions about fieldsports. Using an extraordinary depth of knowledge and array of literary sources to support his arguments, he launches a head-on attack on the dubious philosophy of the antis.

His own arguments are sound and inspired. But he hasn’t just created a book to counter the arguments of the Rightists and Liberationists, he also works hard to create a book that is full of pith, wit and poetry, and a cherry-picking of angling writing has also been tossed among his own delightful experiences of fishing.

My verbal tools of argument are blunt and cheap. I worry that, inadvertently, I’ll do more harm to the cause of angling than good. But Schwab’s book is a clever and measured response to the arguments levelled at our sport.

In my heart of hearts I just want to ignore the antis. I want to bury my head in the sand and hope they’ll get bored and go away. Yet I can see that their zeal and determination to stop me having fun is their raison d’être, as much as mine is to shoot and fish.

If you truly care about your sport and want to protect it, buy this book. Consider and examine the responses he so elegantly lays out, and arm yourself with them to mount not just a defence but an offensive too. We should be grateful to men like Schwab for taking the time to intellectualize what we do instinctively. The modern media has portrayed us as an anachronistic mob on the run – a body of antiquarian sportsmen teetering on the edge of oblivion.

You know, and I know, that what we do is not wrong. Indeed, it’s very right. We are more concerned and in touch with the countryside, with nature and the needs of Britains wildlife than any group of finger-pointing, beard-stroking do-gooders. But we can’t just be lazy in our beliefs, we need to consider and construct sound arguments. Schwab does exactly this. To show your concern and appreciation the very least you can do is buy and read this book.

There must be something in the air, because I can’t recall ever having been sent two books which enquire so deeply into what motivates us to fish before, but then this has been a strange kind of spring. If Ted Leeson writes about time, place, space and relationships; Schwab mounts an in-your-face attack on the antis, and he doesn’t take any prisoners. After reducing the perimeter of our opponents arguments to rubble, he undermines the foundations, carries away the spoil, burns down the neighbourhood and then performs a molecular level examination of the salted earth that remains. To say this is a demolition job is an understatement and Schwab trashes just about every aspect of the animal rights movements’ philosophy in two hundred closely reasoned pages.

This is a helpful book and one that needed to be written, although animal rightists aren’t likely to be persuaded, given that their beliefs stem from conviction, rather than reason. Once you have read it, you’ll find yourself in the happy position of being able to defeat ninety-nine percent of all after-dinner ‘How on earth can a person in your position justify being so cruel to poor defenceless fish?’ gambits without breaking into sweat. But Hook, Line and Thinker is no light read; on the contrary, it is a densely written text, and given that the author wastes few opportunities to point out the bleak future that lies in wait for us, hardly relaxing either. But necessary.

The anti-fieldsports lobby has led the debate on hunting, fishing and shooting for the last decade. ‘Hook, Line and Thinker’ is a book which turns the tables on the antis and takes a fresh look at the assumptions which many now accept as facts.

Alexander Schwab, the author of ‘Hook, Line and Thinker’, grew up in Switzerland and gained a Masters Degree in philosophy and history at Aberdeen university. He now lives in the beautiful Emmental region of Switzerland and fills the gaps between fishing trips by working as a management consultant.

He is author and photographer of a widely acclaimed book on Lake Thun, which is his local fishing ground. His hobbies include mushrooming, cooking, exploring the countryside and reading poetry.

In the book, Alexander asks:

  • What is meant by cruelty?
  • How do you measure pain?
  • Who says man is an animal and that all animals are equal? Is man a fish without scales or is he something different?
  • If catching and releasing a fish is cruel, then how cruel is eating one?
  • When fieldsports have been banned, will we be asked to become vegetarians too?
  • Where does religion fit in with fieldsports?
  • How can one justify keeping a pet cat which tortures before it kills?

Here is a book which tackles these issues from the philosophical viewpoint. It examines the ethics of the anti-fieldsports lobby and takes their arguments back to their roots.

The conclusions expose the precarious philosophical ground of the anti-fieldsports lobby. It is they who should be on the run.

Those who read this book, when asked to justify their ‘cruel’ pastime, will know to ask the challengers to justify their grounds for attempting to ban it. And to pick them up on their answers

This is a thinking man’s book, for those anglers who know instinctively that fishing is as natural as breathing, who know instinctively that fishing is not cruel but are unable to express why they feel that way.

This book will help you to understand why you fish (apart from the pleasure you get from doing so) and will help enormously when you have to counter the arguments of the antis.

One of my favourite passages from the book is:

“Anti-anglers are, as we have seen, not really interested in fish at all. Anglers are, and that is why there are still fish in rivers and lakes. Aesthetics is a branch of philosophy dealing with questions of beauty in nature and art and how beauty affects us. A pike is a beautiful being. Fishing for pike thus could be the quest for beauty.

One of the pleasures of angling is the hope of experiencing something extraordinary, something beautiful, something sublime. Rod and line are, in Wordsworth’s words, the

True symbol of the foolishness of hope,
Which with it’s strong enchantment led us on
By rocks and pools, shut out from every star
All the green summer, to forlorn cascades
Among the windings of the mountain brooks
Unfailing recollections! …

This is the romantic version. And there is also the match fisher’s hope for success on the big day. All anglers are looking for something – beauty of some sort. All fishing has this aspect in it which has to be cultivated in order to raise the standard of the sport and its overall acceptance. Much has been done in terms of educating young anglers, and – more still needs to be done. First and foremost the ditches between the different types of angling have to be filled. Remember: if one type of angling is wrong, so are all the others!”

But that’s enough from me for some of my writings have been quoted extensively in the book and I can do nothing but heap praise on it.

The nature of ‘fishing books’ has changed quite dramatically in the past thirty years or so. Rapid growth of interest in angling – especially in fly fishing – in the 1970s and into the early ’80s triggered an avalanche of ‘how-to-do-it’ works of very variable quality. The UK market for books about fly fishing is far more modest than may be supposed. Some publishers had their fingers burnt; others were swallowed up by much bigger companies interested only in publishing books with initial print runs far greater than could be justified for any fishing book. The mid- to late-1990s, saw an understandable reining-in on publication of books on fly fishing.

Over the past two or three years, though, there has been a cautious increase in the numbers of new fishing books, albeit with a marked change of emphasis. Nowadays, only the very best instructional books ever find their way into a market in which they rub shoulders with truly exceptional biographies, histories and descriptive memoirs. (One reason for the success of these more ‘literary’ works may be that they cross the Atlantic, in both directions, far more successfully than do ‘how-to-do-it’ books.)

Amongst the most intriguing examples of this new genre is Hook, Line and Thinker, by Alexander Schwab. As timely as it is engaging, for it sets out clearly and convincingly the arguments we need to deploy against those who would deny us the right to fish, and it does so in a delightfully readable style. As a bonus, it has been produced to Merlin Unwin’s famously high standards and is illustrated with a substantial number of Mr Schwab’s magical photographic waterscapes.

Sub-titled, Angling & Ethics, the book confronts the arguments used by the ‘antis’ and demolishes them one after another – What is meant by cruelty? How do you measure pain? Who says that man is an animal and that all animals have equal rights? If catching and releasing fish is cruel, then how cruel is eating one? If field sports were top be banned, would we be asked to become vegetarian, too? Where does religion fit in with field sports? And, how can one justify keeping a pet cat which tortures before it kills?

The press release sent out with the review copies of the book suggest that, “those who read this book, when asked to justify their ‘cruel’ pastime, will know to ask the challengers to justify their grounds for attempting to ban it, and to pick them up on their answers.” I believe that Hook, Line and Thinker is more important to us even than that. Relatively few fly fishers have really thought about the ethics of their sport; fewer still have been able to bring trained philosophical minds to bear on those ethics. Now Mr Schwab has done that for us. I believe that anyone with more than a passing interest in our sport would greatly enjoy reading his work and that they would benefit greatly from it.

Anglers in North America may not worry much about the impact that the ‘Animal Rights’ groups may have on angling here in North America, but if the truth be known, organizations such as PETA seriously want to ban angling everywhere. And they are making inroads and influencing people with their philosophy.

So, what exactly is the philosophy of these ‘Animal Rights’ groups? What is it that they actually believe? What motivates them?

Alexander Schwab has written an informative book that every hunter and angler should read. Even non-anglers and non-hunters, who don’t quite know where to take a stand on these issues would benefit from Schwab’s work as he examines the philosophies behind the two major animal rights movements in the world today. Schwab points out in his introduction that “If fishing is going to be banned, restricted or otherwise meddled with it will be on philosophical grounds.” The author further points out that many anglers dismiss absurd anti-angling propaganda: “But what about non-anglers? If things come politically to a head it’s the non-anglers who will carry the day.”

While being sure to distinguish between ‘animal rights’ and ‘animal welfare’, Hook, Line and Thinker examines what exactly the implications are if ‘animal rights’ are granted. What does this mean for the sport of angling? What does it mean for other outdoor activities? Many in the ‘animal rights’ camp are not merely proposing animal welfare. The are proposing legal standing for animals which seem to even go beyond ‘equal rights’ with humans, to a degree where the rights of animals exceed those of human beings.

Schwab, who has a Masters degree in Philosophy from the University at Aberdeen, has obviously fully acquainted himself with the premises of the movers and shakers in the animal rights movements. Equipped with his training in philosophy, he exposes it for what it is, debunks their ideas, and shows what a world with these ‘animal rights’ could look like. And it’s not exactly like Walt Disney’s Bambi movie, either. But unfortunately, many who have bought into the animal rights religion probably haven’t understood the premises from which their leaders preach. 

I found this book to be extremely informative. Prior to reading it, I didn’t really understand the animal rights movement or what exactly their basic beliefs and premises were. Alexander Schwab has done a tremendous job in showing me that I cannot simply dismiss absurd propaganda. Rather, it’s our job to understand what men like Tom Regan and Peter Singer have advocated, how they have persuaded, and what we can do to meet their tenets of faith head on in order to assure our aesthetically pleasing and beautiful right to fly fish.
Getting back to Schwab’s introduction, he admits to taking “liberties of style.” It is perhaps in this liberty that I have my biggest complaint with Hook, Line and Thinker. Schwab intersperses poems and personal vignettes (most of them quite funny and entertaining) in places where I think he could have done a bit more to examine the points he wants the reader to think about. But for other readers, this style would be welcome – I know that my father would have enjoyed Schwab’s style of writing and his use of good poetry. I found it a minor annoyance at times.

Minor annoyances aside, the book is packed full of information, thought provoking ideas, and vital facts about the beliefs (some of the quotes that Schwab provides us, courtesy of animal rights leaders are bound to shock you) of the animal rights proponents. This is a book that I will refer to often, and is already influencing my own dedication to helping expose the animal rights people for what they really are. As Schwab points out, “anti-angling is not about fish. It’s about what you should think about the world, how you should live and what you should or should not enjoy.”

I recommend that you read this book. You’ll refer to it often, and learn what the anti anglers think you should enjoy, and what you should not enjoy. Learn to fight back in ways that are effective.

Hook, Line and Thinker is a fascinating analysis of whether angling is or can be cruel. It is amusingly off-beat and anecdotal in places – just enough to lighten the load of involved ethical and philosophical gymnastics.

The author has tackled the central theme in a refreshing way. Each of the chapters starts with a summary of the argzument to follow, which turns the soil helpfully. The book analyses the nature of the animal rights movement and the thinkers who fuel it, drawing links with their literalist interpretation of evolution, and a philosophy that includes, with anglers, the enemy as Christianity and Western culture in general. There are some excellent passages.

The book is well written and approachable. I can’t go along with all the arguments, however. The author concludes that angling simply can’t be cruel, as fish do not feel pain in the sense we understand the word and therefore can’t suffer. I don’t know – if I caught a fish, pulled out its eyes for amusement and put it back, I’d have been cruel in my understanding of the word. Later the writer, perhaps with his tongue in his cheek, says:”Surely it’s only because big fish don’t yelp and whimper that otherwise decent people think it a gopod idea to sponsor and worship a bird [the cormorant] causing so much suffering in the world of fish.”
In a book of this ambition, you can’t have your ethical cake and eat it. It’s a good read though – a thought provoking and original take on an issue of burning importance to all anglers.

Sitting round a fire with a cup of coffee and a whisky enjoying the twilight of an Arctic summer night, is probably as good a place as any to discuss angling behaviour and ethics. Whilst we didn’t reach any firm conclusions, the conversation set me thinking and so it was opportune that I found a copy of Alexander Schwab’s challenging and thought-provoking book, hook, line and thinker Angling & Ethics, waiting to be read and reviewed. I’ll start my review with two quotes that set the tone:

“Implementation of animal rights means the end of fishing. Don’t be lulled into thinking that ethics is of no importance to angling! Your angling stands or falls with it – fish and think!”
“The animal rights movement has gathered such momentum and influence that it has the ear of governmental circles all over Europe and the United States.”

The argument as to whether or not fish do – or can – feel pain continues to run and Schwab has plenty to say on this contentious topic: “Fish certainly don’t experience . . . . the agony of deep wounds as inflicted by cormorants, seals or other fish. An injury like that would cause a human to faint with pain. The fish doesn’t faint, (but) it tries to and often does survive – with a human pain experience it wouldn’t.”

In some respects this book is not the easiest of books to read as the flow of the text is interrupted by all the quotes and extracts from books and articles published in magazines and on websites, all of which are referenced meticulously. I’ve fallen into the same trap but there are lots of important things to quote. For example: “Anti-anglers are, as we have seen, not really interested in fish at all. Anglers are, and that is why there are still fish in rivers and lakes.”, and “There is pleasure in all types of angling. This pleasure is in every respect legitimate, for there is no cruelty involved.”

In a book that has the potential to play a vital role in the support of angling in the face of “the seductive power of these (animal rights) ideas”, one can overlook some of the short-comings of the writing – too many adverbs in front of verbs and a certain over-enthusiasm for exclamation marks, for example. I do hope that all those anglers who still think that we have nothing to worry about and that they should (in the UK at least) have nothing to do with those nasty blood thirsty people who hunt with “dogs”, will read this book and understand why they are so wrong. If the animal rights movement succeeds in achieving only a part of its many aims as detailed in this book, that is a truly frightening prospect.

Alexander Schwab grew up in and lives in Switzerland where he fishes on Lake Thun. He has a Masters degree in Philosophy and History at Aberdeen University. He forages for mushrooms, cooks, enjoys exploring the countryside and reading poetry, when not fishing.
To end with yet another quote: “There is nothing wrong with fishing. Fishing is good.” United we stand, divided we fall. “Hook, line and thinker – Angling & Ethics” by Alexander Schwab is published by Merlin Unwin Books in hardback at £17.99. 224 pages.

A Good Book Essential For All

… Fortunately I had a good book entitled Hook, Line and Thinker by Alexander Schwab. It covers the thorny subject of angling and ethics and is required reading for anyone involved in fieldsports. It may even be the book that convinces anglers they are not immune to the animal rights movement.

Years ago I reviewed Fishing and Thinking by A.A. Luce another book on angling ethics, and Schwab mentions it in his book. The difference between the two is that Luce was a game angler who fished in Irish waters in the first three quarters of the 20th-Century, whereas Schwab seems to be a hunting and sporting angler of more recent vintage.

Schwab cuts away the cloak of “goodness personified” from the vegetarian vegan, and animal rights arguments and shows them for what they really are – nothing short of a determined attack on Western values in a world which is becoming far too fundamentalist for most decent people.

For years, anglers, shooters and hunters have relied on commonsense to protect their heritage, but such quality is in increasingly short supply and a little intellectual philosophy is well worth taking on board.

This is possibly the answer to all that pseudo philosophical mumbo jumbo which we all had to listen to from the anti fieldsports lobby and especially from the virulent vegan extreme vegetarian side of the argument.

Alexander Schwab has an academic background which has been honed by a practical and genuine involvment in fishing and what he describes as his other great passion “mushroom stalking” – and there are those that would not be very keen on that either.

You can feel the passion this writer has for the hunterer/gatherer style of life and the anticipated pleasure he feels when he sees a treasure for the supper table or fresh fish that can be harvested. Many years ago, I reviewed the only other such book I know of the ethics of angling “Fishing and Thinking” by A.A. Luce but while mentioned in this volume, it was coming from a different time and experience having been written in the first three quarters of the twentieth century when the pressures were not quite so pressing.

Schwab is bang up to date and fishes near his home in Switzerland and regularly in Ireland and the UK. He cuts away the cloak of self-righteous goodness so loved of the antis and exposes the root of their loved objections to our traditional sports as an attempt to destroy Western tradition. Don’t be put off by the thought of ethics or philosophy as he has a gift for plain English and well constructed argument that won’t “blind you with science” but will equip you with many a retort for the jibes we hear so often.

He has two very interesting appendices entitled “Key words” and “Animal Rights Quotes” which are worth the price of the book on their own and will give you plenty of ammunition for the coming argument. He is able to point out the ridiculousness of many of their attacks where “only man is vile” and should really be disposed of as and as quietly as possible which fieldsports followers have been far to polite to mention in the past. He makes no apology for fishing and, rather than taking the defenisve position which many of us feel forced into by the Antis, he deals with their arguments in a very pro-active way and does not allow himself to be an apologist for fieldsports.

Definitely a book worth having on the bookshelf and, in fact, every school library should have one as well – so think about buying two copies and send one to your old school or the local second level establishment as the antis are already bombarding them with their warped version of the way society should be and attack is often a very effective defence. Available from your local bookshop or David A.H. Grayling books ( by mail order.

The Publication of Hook, Line and Thinker is timely, relevant and fulfils a much needed niche in the angler’s library. Her Alexander Schwab, an ardent angler, describes the nature of views of people opposed to angling. His comments are not unrelated to the fact that Government and the pharmaceutical industry have announced new legislation and financial help to support animal research. This may be, however a phyrric victory since threatening letters to shareholders prevented an 18 million animal research centre built at Oxford while the University of Cambridge in January withdrew its support of a Primate Research Centre.
Up until now angling has deservedly won many plaudits including the “gentle art” and the “contemplative man’s art”. Few writers on angling have touched on the subject of ethics except rarely where they have discussed the concept of fish feeling pain. However, the upsurge of activities by various groups, namely animal rights, animal liberation and PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) have made the angler aware of a variety of pressures to curb his art. A perpelxing fact is that modern man has little to guide him in his treatment of the animals in the three great religions. Whilst Thomas Aquinas’ and Aristotle’s philosophy are held to represent Christianity’s view, this doctrine acts as a red rag to the various animal rights groups.
Alexander Schwab reviews the development of animal rights movements, delves into the history of ethics and philosophy in regard to angling and makes it crystal clear what the various objectives of such groups are. Indeed, he helps us to understand the dividing line between animal rights and our obligations to animals. Whilst it is hoped that moderation and common sense backed by good science will allow government to draw up sound rules and regulations, this book provides disconcerting facts as to the enormous difficulties this will entail. It is to be recommended however, for its unusual approach, its relevant topicality and, whilst it can be highly recommended for anglers, it could equally be read with enormous profit by members of Parliament and modern day philosophers.