For Immediate Release:
February 1, 2024
Sara Groves 202-483-7382
Provo, Utah – Following the arrest of a teenager who allegedly duct-taped fish to ATMs and other objects across Provo, TeachKind, PETA’s humane education division, sent Provo City School District Superintendent Wendy Dau an urgent letter today, along with kindness-to-animals materials for teaching empathy and its new Language Guide, an extensive resource for facilitating compassionate communication. PETA is also arranging to send tasty fish-free fillets from Gardein to Timpview High School for students and staff to enjoy—and is running its “Try to Relate” video appeal starring Joaquin Phoenix on YouTube in Utah to help promote empathy for fish.
TeachKind’s “Empathy Now” guide for educators is among the materials being offered to local schools. Credit: PETA
Images of the fish—some with cigarettes stuffed into their mouths—duct-taped to several ATMs and even a police car were posted to a social media account along with mocking captions. A 17-year-old was arrested and charged with two counts of misdemeanor property damage in connection with the incidents, which police say occurred over a dozen times between August and October 2023.
PETA points out that fish are smart, empathetic, and playful beings with nervous systems that are virtually identical to those of mammals. They share knowledge and have long memories as well as cultural traditions. Yet they’re impaled, crushed, suffocated, or cut open and gutted by the billions—often while they’re completely conscious.
“If you can teach a child not to disrespect a fish, you do as much for the child as for the fish,” says PETA Senior Director of Youth Programs Marta Holmberg. “Compassion and empathy are especially important in these troubled times, and TeachKind is here to help young people learn that everyone, whether a carp or a classmate, deserves respect.”
TeachKind and PETA—whose mottos read, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—point out that Every Animal Is Someone. For more information, please visit TeachKind.org or follow the group on Facebook or Instagram.