Fish offer and deserve Friendship
July 30, 2009
No fishing off the Friendship TrailBridge?
That's what People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals wants. And the group will pay for it.
"We'd be open to contributing funds to keeping the bridge open," said PETA spokeswoman Virginia Fort. The catch is that fishing must be banned from the bridge and the structure renamed the Sea Kitten Memorial Trail Bridge.
"Save the Sea Kitten" is a light-hearted campaign by PETA to change the perception of fish from food to friends.
PETA is not saying how much money it might contribute to preserve the former span of the Gandy Bridge, which for almost a decade served as a recreational trail before authorities closed it last fall, citing engineering reports showing that the structure's underpinnings have deteriorated.
"Fish feel pain and suffering," Fort said. "There is no more acceptable reason to kill them because they aren't cute and cuddly."
Fort said PETA representatives have contacted Frank Miller, executive director of a nonprofit group that is urging officials to reopen the recreational trail. Government consultants say it would cost $15 million to shore up the 53-year-old bridge.
"It's very interesting that this has attracted the attention of a national organization," said Miller, a dog owner and self-professed animal lover. He said any decision to ban fishing or rename the bridge would be up to the Hillsborough and Pinellas county governments.
Fort said PETA has made similar offers on other projects across the nation, but none has taken the deal.
"Friendship implies kindness," Fort said. "We want to turn the Friendship TrailBridge into a peaceful refuge for all people and animals."
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