Kansas governor rejects payment offer from PETA

TOPEKA | An animal rights group is offering to help the state with its persistent budget problems — but with a catch.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals on Thursday offered to pay the state to erect an anti-fishing sign at Miami State Fishing Lake in Fontana. The group said it would then pay rent for the sign as long as the state left it up, although it did not propose a specific rent amount.

The sign shows a dog with a fish hook through its lip and reads, "If You Wouldn't Do This to a Dog, Why Do It to a Fish?," The Lawrence-Journal World reported.

However, Gov. Mark Parkinson was not hooked by the idea. He declined the offer through a spokeswoman, saying that the state's budget woes will require "more substantial solutions."

Some state legislators have discussed the possibility of the state selling some assets, such as office buildings and state-owned land, to address a $500 million revenue deficit.

"Our proposal would help Kansas stave off the sale of valuable assets and help the fish in Miami State Fishing Lake live in peace," said PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman.

PETA said in an e-mail to the governor that scientific research has shown that fish are smart animals that suffer when caught by fishermen.

"If people impaled dogs or cats in the mouth and yanked them into an environment in which the animals couldn't breathe, they would be charged with cruelty to animals," Reiman said.

Parkinson's spokeswoman, Amy Jordan Wooden said, the governor "appreciates the long-standing history and tradition of fishing in Kansas.

"Further, funding the important services in the state budget will require more substantial solutions and he hopes that the incoming governor and legislature will work together to craft a responsible budget."