The Case Against Phish’s Name: Why It Seems Like PETA’s Press Releases Are Being Written By “The Onion” Editorial Staff

Maura / June 19, 2009

So People For The Ethical Treatment Of Animals has taken time out from defending the honor of houseflies against President Barack Obama to give some shine to its Sea Kittens campaign, in which it tries to get people to call fish “sea kittens” because then who would want to fillet, saute, and feast on an adorable little kitty cat? (An example of their felinized version of the sea’s creatures is at left.) To spearhead this campaign, they have asked the jam-band titans Phish to temporarily rename themselves “Sea Kittens.” (The regular spelling would, oddly, be intact.) Feast on PETA’s open letter to Trey et al after the jump.

To: Trey Anastasio, Jon Fishman, Mike Gordon, and Page McConnell
From: Michelle Cho
Subject: Request From PETA for Phish

Dear Trey, Jon, Mike, and Page (aka Phish),

I am writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our more than 2 million members and supporters worldwide–many of whom are Phish fans, of course. We have a new campaign in which we generate empathy for fish by rebranding them as “sea kittens.” Would you contribute to our efforts and end your tour on a high note by temporarily renaming Phish “Sea Kittens?”

We launched our “Sea Kittens” campaign because few people are aware that fish are actually smart animals with personalities. For example, they communicate and develop relationships with one another, feel pain when injured (their lips are particularly sensitive, and they use them like we use our fingers), show affection by gently rubbing against other fish, and even grieve when other fish they like die. However, billions of them are kidnapped (er, kitten-napped) from their watery homes each year. As they are dragged from the ocean depths, fish endure an excruciating decompression process (which often causes their internal organs to rupture) before suffocating on the ship’s deck. Our campaign aims to convince people to choose tasty vegetarian meals instead of fish flesh and to pick harmless outdoor activities such as hiking instead of impaling fish with metal hooks for fun. Whether they are catfish or cats, bass or basset hounds, all animals deserve lives free from needless pain.

Phish has a long history of promoting social justice. Renaming the band Sea Kittens would be a great way to help sea kittens rock on, free from fishing nets and hooks, even if just for a day. Please let me know what you decide, and best of luck with your future endeavors.

Michelle Cho
Special Projects Manager

It seems absurd on its face, sure–but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I felt bad when I read the part about fish grieving. That’s what being around three dogs all day will do to you, I suppose.

Will Phish Change Its Name? [PETA]