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Thursday November 18, 2004
Intermediate +

THE ARTICLE

New findings from the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) reveals that fish have feelings, and are sensitive, intelligent creatures. From this they argue that we should treat fish the same as we do other animals, and not eat them. They started a new campaign yesterday called the Fish Empathy Project to increase our awareness of fish rights. They also deem other aquatic life forms such as crabs and seashells to have the right not to be eaten. PETA spokesman, Bruce Friedrich, director of vegan outreach, said “No one would ever put a hook through a dog’s or cat’s mouth … Once people start to understand that fish are just as intelligent, they’ll stop eating them.”The campaign has come under fire from major groups such as the American Heart Association, which recommends fish as part of a healthy and balanced diet. John Connelly of America’s National Fisheries Institute said, “It’s irresponsible to discourage people from eating fish at a time when doctors and dietitians advise eating it twice a week … If anything, we should be eating more fish.” The fears are that if fish welfare groups such as PETA encourage removing fish from our diets, the population will be left with too few nutritional choices and a whole spate of health problems will emerge due to a poor diet. Man cannot live on tofu alone.PETA highlight the health hazards of eating fish, stating a “toxic brew—bacteria, contaminants, heavy metals” reach us through the food chain. Dangers include PCBs, dioxins, radioactive substances, and cadmium, mercury, lead, chromium, and arsenic, which can cause liver and kidney damage, nervous system disorders, fetal damage, cancer and impaired mental development. Seafood is also the number one cause of food poisoning in the USA as fish eat human and animal feces carrying dangerous bacteria like E. coli. The Food and Drug Administration fails to test fish for many of these chemical and bacterial health hazards, which are stored in our body fat for decades.

WARM UPS / COOL DOWNS

1. CHAT:  Talk in pairs or groups about Finding Nemo, Shark Tale, aquariums, fish, sushi, fish and chips ….

2. BECOME VEGAN: Students talk about whether they could (why they do) refrain from a) meat, b) fish, c) other animal products such as dairy produce, honey ... What would (d0) they eat every day?

3. 2-MINUTE DEBATES: Students face each other in pairs and engage in the following (for-fun) 2-minute debates. Students A are assigned the first argument, students B the second. Rotate pairs to ensure a lively pace and noise level is kept: Fish are friends, not food vs, Fish are food and pets; Fish are intelligent and sensitive creatures vs. Fish are as intelligent and sensitive as cabbages; We don’t need to eat fish vs. Fish is healthy and delicious; Fish are cold-blooded vs. Fish feel no pain; We must respect the right to life of all living creatures vs. Hey man, we’re numero uno …

4. WHATEVER NEXT?: Brainstorm a list of rights on the board (human, women’s, children’s, animal, fish …) and then add the following rights – ‘fruit rights’, vegetable plant rights’, ‘flower rights’, ‘soy-bean / tofu plant rights’ … Students rank which are legitimate.

PRE-READING IDEAS

1. COLLOCATION SEARCH: Check in a dictionary or on the Web for collocations of the words ‘rights’, ‘campaign’, ‘nutrition’ and ‘hazard’:

2. TRUE/FALSE: Students predict whether they believe the following statements are true or false:
a. The organization, PETA, helps only pets/ T / F
b. Fish have feelings. T / F
c. Crabs and shellfish should not be eaten T / F
d. People will stop eating fish. T / F
e. The American Heart Association recommends fish as part of a healthy and balanced diet. T / F
f. Doctors advise eating fish every day. T / F
g. Man can live on tofu alone. T / F
h. Eating fish can be dangerous. T / F
i. Fish spread bacteria like E-coli. T / F

3. WORD MATCH: Students match the following words taken from the text:

  animal life forms
  aquatic fire
  increase our hazard
  come under rights
  food poisoning
  balanced damage
  poor diet
  health awareness
  kidney diet
  

4. MINI-DISCUSSION: Students talk about the following article-based issues in pairs / groups:a. Fish have rights.
b. Whales have rights.
c. A vegetarian diet would reduce health problems around the world.
d. Fishing is cruel.
e. Animal rights activists are too extreme.
f. Meat is an essential part of our diet.
g. We think fish are safe to eat, but they contain many poisons because of toxic waste in the oceans..


 
 

WHILE READING ACTIVITIES

1. GAP-FILL:  Put the missing words under each paragraph into the gaps.

Fish are Friends, Not Food

New __________ from the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) reveals that fish have feelings, and are sensitive, intelligent creatures. From this they argue that we should __________ fish the same as we do other animals, and not eat them. They started a new campaign yesterday called the Fish Empathy Project to increase our __________ of fish rights. They also deem other __________ life forms such as crabs and seashells to have the right not to be eaten. PETA spokesman, Bruce Friedrich, director of vegan outreach, said “No one would ever put a hook through a dog’s or cat’s mouth … Once people start to understand that fish are just as intelligent, they’ll stop eating them.”
 

 

awareness
aquatic
findings
treat

The campaign has come under __________ from major groups such as the American Heart Association, which recommends fish as part of a healthy and __________ diet. John Connelly of America’s National Fisheries Institute said, “It’s irresponsible to discourage people from eating fish at a time when doctors and dietitians advise eating it twice a week … If __________, we should be eating more fish.” The fears are that if fish welfare groups such as PETA encourage removing fish from our diets, the population will be left with too few nutritional choices and a whole __________ of health problems will emerge due to a poor diet. Man cannot live on tofu alone.
 

 

anything
fire
balanced
spate

PETA highlight the health __________ of eating fish, stating a “__________ brew—bacteria, contaminants, heavy metals” reach us through the food chain. Dangers include PCBs, dioxins, radioactive substances, and cadmium, mercury, lead, chromium, and arsenic, which can cause liver and kidney damage, nervous system __________, fetal damage, cancer and impaired mental development. Seafood is also the number one cause of food poisoning in the USA as fish eat human and animal feces carrying dangerous bacteria like E. coli. The Food and Drug Administration fails to test fish for many of these chemical and bacterial health hazards, which are __________ in our body fat for decades.

 

hazards
disorders
stored
toxic

 

 

2. COLLOCATION SEARCH: Students check to see which of the collocates they found were in the text.

3. TRUE/FALSE:  Students check their answers to the T/F exercise (many are subjective and therefore have ‘no’ answer (?).

4. WORD MATCH: Students check their answers to the word match exercise.

5. QUESTIONS: Students make notes for questions they would like to ask the class about the article.

6. VOCABULARY:  Students circle any words they do not understand. In groups pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find the meanings.

POST READING IDEAS

1. GAP-FILL: Check the answers to the gap-fill exercise.

2. QUESTIONS:  Students ask the questions they thought of above to their partner / group / class.

3. VOCABULARY: As a class, go over the vocabulary students circled above.

4. FISH-TALK:  Students ask each other the following questions based on themes taken from the article. Make things more interesting / fun / conversational by asking students to play devil’s advocate:
a. Have you ever eaten raw fish or sushi?
b. Would you like to be a fisherman / fisherwoman?
c. Have you ever been snorkeling or scuba-diving?
d. What is your favorite fish?
e. Could you give up eating fish?
f. Do fish have feelings, are they intelligent?
g. Do you agree with the arguments of PETA or the NFI?
h. Do you worry that the food we eat is becoming more contaminated?
i. Could you kill, gut and clean a fish to eat yourself?
j. If we gave up eating fish, many industries (fishing, sushi restaurants…) would die. Is this acceptable?
k. Is fish an essential part of our diet?
l. All fish-eating ‘vegetarians’ should immediately give up eating fish for moral reasons.
m. Your questions (especially if they are pertinent to the cultures of the students you are teaching).

5. STUDENT-GENERATED SURVEY: Pairs/Groups write down 3 questions based on the article. Conduct their surveys alone. Report back to partners to compare answers. Report to other groups / the whole class.

6. ROLE PLAY: Students form pairs / groups to brainstorm ideas before taking part in the role plays on the ‘Fish are friends, not food’ theme. Roles include a fisherman, a sushi restaurant owner, the head of the Fish Empathy Project, a fish, a soy-bean farmer (tofu is made from soy beans), a dietician …

HOMEWORK

1. VOCAB EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or the Google search field to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find more information on PETA or the NFI. Share your findings with your class next lesson.

3. RESEARCH: Search the Internet and write your own article on fish rights.

4. MY DIARY: Students write a diary entry based on one day in the life of a fish.

ANSWERS

WORD MATCH: Students match the ending to the following phrases taken from the text:

  animal rights
  aquatic life forms
  increase our awareness
  come under fire
  food poisoning
  balanced diet
  poor diet
  health hazard
  kidney damage

 

GAP FILL:

Fish are Friends, Not Food

New findings from the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) reveals that fish have feelings, and are sensitive, intelligent creatures. From this they argue that we should treat fish the same as we do other animals, and not eat them. They started a new campaign yesterday called the Fish Empathy Project to increase our awareness of fish rights. They also deem other aquatic life forms such as crabs and seashells to have the right not to be eaten. PETA spokesman, Bruce Friedrich, director of vegan outreach, said “No one would ever put a hook through a dog’s or cat’s mouth … Once people start to understand that fish are just as intelligent, they’ll stop eating them.”The campaign has come under fire from major groups such as the American Heart Association, which recommends fish as part of a healthy and balanced diet. John Connelly of America’s National Fisheries Institute said, “It’s irresponsible to discourage people from eating fish at a time when doctors and dietitians advise eating it twice a week … If anything, we should be eating more fish.” The fears are that if fish welfare groups such as PETA encourage removing fish from our diets, the population will be left with too few nutritional choices and a whole spate of health problems will emerge due to a poor diet. Man cannot live on tofu alone.PETA highlight the health hazards of eating fish, stating a “toxic brew—bacteria, contaminants, heavy metals” reach us through the food chain. Dangers include PCBs, dioxins, radioactive substances, and cadmium, mercury, lead, chromium, and arsenic, which can cause liver and kidney damage, nervous system disorders, fetal damage, cancer and impaired mental development. Seafood is also the number one cause of food poisoning in the USA as fish eat human and animal feces carrying dangerous bacteria like E. coli. The Food and Drug Administration fails to test fish for many of these chemical and bacterial health hazards, which are stored in our body fat for decades.

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