AR-News: Live Kittens Used On Bait Hooks To Lure Fish

Pat Wolff wolffnm at
Sun Jul 13 18:54:04 EDT 2003,5478,6741856%255E663,00.html

Live kittens used to lure giant catfish

July 13, 2003

LIVE kittens are being used as bait by professional
fishermen hunting giant catfish for European

The cruel practice came to light when police boarded a
fishing boat on the Po River in Northern Italy and
found a stash of frightened kittens ready to be placed
on hooks. 

The case, which police say is not isolated, has
outraged European animal rights groups. 

Police believe greedy fishermen are using kittens as
bait because their anguished thrashings attract
catfish, the flesh of which is regarded as a delicacy.

Others hunting the fish, with its jutting lower jaw
and long curling whiskers, are dangling live,
harpooned eels in the water. 

The freshwater catfish - also known as sheatfish -
grows to a length of 2m and can weigh up to 225kg. 

Large specimens have been known to charge anglers'
boats, and sometimes the fierce fish eat each other. 

The sheatfish, found in central and eastern Europe, is
the Po River's largest predator. Having consumed all
eels and carp, it has been seen eating ducks and large

Italian police officer Giuseppe Lagana, who detected
the first case of kitten-baiting in May, said the
incident was not isolated. 

He told the European Independent Digital news
organisation many fishermen using live kittens were
taking desperate measures to avoid detection. 

"During a nocturnal patrol this week, one boat managed
to evade our checks," Mr Lagana said. "It ignored
warnings and cleared off with its lights extinguished.

"We suspect this was also one of these fishermen
without a conscience. Using live kittens to catch
sheatfish is an unheard-of cruelty." 

Mr Lagana said authorities had little hope of stamping
out the practice. 

Thousands of anglers go to the Po River district to
hunt the big, omnivorous fish from boats and

"Last year, the voluntary guards in the region covered
15,000km," Mr Lagana said. 

"But to catch these squalid people in the act is very
difficult, even using co-ordinated land and water
night patrols.",5478,6741856%255E663,00.html

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