Should we pull down Gore’s trout statue?

There were mixed reactions when this photo and headline, which first appeared in an anti-Vegan Facebook group as a hoax, was re-posted on a personal Facebook page.  For me, I laughed my head off!  After all, if statues of human abusers are deemed offensive, then statues honouring animal abuse are equally offensive.

Gore to remove trout statue

This pretend-threat by an “offended vegan” has come hot on the heels of the removal the statue of a colonial white man, that local Maori found offensive, by the Hamilton City Council.  But there is indeed a statue of a trout standing at the entrance to Gore.  It’s a beautiful statue – but it isn’t there for us to admire it’s beauty.  This is a statue that celebrates the pleasure of putting a hook through the mouths of trout for the enjoyment it gives to do that.  Yeah – humans are a swell bunch, eh?  We’re pretty good at both the best and worst of behaviours.

Gore is a small farming town in the lower part of the South Island of New Zealand.  Farming, fishing, hunting, and all manner of outdoor activities are its current lifeblood, and entrenched in the psyche of the general population.  Vegans are few in number and looked upon strangely, but tolerated as long as they stay in their lane.  Even though the supermarkets in Gore do provide some vegan foodstuffs, it’s not the permanent Gore residents who tend to buy them up.  The mental shift required for a widespread vegan lifestyle will be a much longer time coming in this place.  That’s not ridicule, just the plain truth.

So, why not pull down and destroy a statue dedicated to gratuitous violence towards an innocent sentient being?  If the Gore Town Council won’t remove it voluntarily because it’s offensive to Vegans, do Vegans have the right to take matters into their own hands?  There’s a big part of me that would cheer this on.  Then there’s the sensible part of me that wouldn’t, because it’s counteractive to progress.  I understand that a physical protest action can sometimes seem like the only way to be noticed.  And it can work.  Escalating that into destruction or violence gives dubious rewards, though.

However angry we feel at people’s (often willful) ignorance towards animal rights, however urgent it is for animals to be included in justice for all, good strategy tends to win the long game.  Impulsiveness feels good in the moment – especially after a few bevvies (who hasn’t been there?) – but can have a shite long term outcome.

Having said that, I can’t deny that it’s more exciting to be angry than having a measured approach to an issue.  Anger makes us feel like we care, and strong feelings can make us feel like we’re doing something.  It can drive us to take positive action, too.  It’s good to have good anger.  Like the proverb, though: “fire is a good servant, but a bad master”, the same goes for anger.  Using it strategically to serve us is good – letting it rule us is wasted time and energy.  I confess that I have been as guilty of the latter as anyone.

So, with the wisdom of hindsight, I say to any Vegans getting ready to head to Gore on a mission, don’t pull down and destroy the trout statue proudly displayed at the entrance to Gore, offensive as the reason behind it being there is.  It deserves more respect than an ignominious end.  Whether or not this particular fake news item is just a jolly good jape by anti-Vegans  – and I for one am still getting a laugh out of it regardless – in this instance, I suggest playing the long game.

The time for re-defining said esteemed trout statue with a much better story, or giving or a much better home, will come.

Not that I’m planting ideas, or anything 🙂


5 thoughts on “Should we pull down Gore’s trout statue?

  1. Hi Katrina! I’ve fallen behind on a number of grand blogs — such as yours of course — because of all the time that an intensive Arabic language course has required (four hours per week plus homework) but next week are the final two sessions. We are down to four and I am about 50 years older than each of the other three. Hey, I haven’t forgotten about researching feminist interpretations of the Qur’an — a full month ago now it seems, time flies when you’re studying Arabic it seems. The topic is still important and vital to me.
    As a fellow vegan, I share your feelings about the incalculable horror that homo sapiens visit upon fellow sentient beings who do no such thing — and to be blind about the whole sentient-being-to-meat process that is considered to be normal day-to-day “living.”


    1. I look forward to your ventures into feminist interpretations of the Qu’ran, when time is on your side once again. Today, I found a book at the library called If the Oceans Were Ink, by Carla Power. It is an account of an American journalist, Carla Power, and Sheikh Mohammed Akram Nadwi working through the Qu’ran together. I haven’t started it yet, so I can’t comment on it, but it seems to have had mixed reviews on Goodreads


  2. Hi Bill, always a pleasure to hear from you, regardless of the the time in between 🙂 Yeah, life can get in the way of life sometimes. I’m impressed with your venture into learning the Arabic language – and sticking it out as well, when others have clearly found it burned their brains too much (I think I might have one of those, if I’d been in your group).


  3. This is why I’m against the pulling down of statues. In the future, maybe 100 years or 200 years – I don’t know, we’ll all be vegan and will that mean we’ll have to pull down everything that was created at a time when humans were predominantly not vegan? I don’t think so. It will be a reminder of our past.

    The Gore statue is interesting though because you could argue that it is causing real harm today in a way that the statues around the world being pulled down are not. The Gore statue it is encouraging fishing and harm to fish but the difference here is that harming fish is still legal in a way that racism is not.

    Kudos to the vegan who complained about it. I think the’re making a point about the toppling of statues and how if we respond to everyone who is offended by public art we probably would end up removing all of it.


    1. The complaint was a hoax, but yes it’s a good parody of how if we pull down every statue that offends someone, where does it end? And will it end with statues?

      I like your confidence of a vegan world to come. I’m in two minds about whether that will happen once laboratory-produced animal flesh is available at affordable prices. However, even that means that animals will no longer be farmed for human consumption like they are now. As far as the matter of hunting and fishing for ‘sport’ goes, we will need a large-scale change of consciousness for that to no longer happen – but we can’t go on like we are, so it’s highly likely that it will take place.


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