Target: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Assistant Administrator Eileen Sobeck
Goal: Stop the inhumane farming of fish
Cruelty to fish is not a concern that may enter many people’s minds, especially in light of cruelty in the meat business. Yet aquafarms, which provide forty percent of fish on the market, are just as inhumane and ethically problematic as factory farms. Help put an end to inhumane conditions on aquafarms.
Fish on aquafarms live in filthy, overcrowded conditions that cause rampant disease and injury. They are raised in pools that offer only tiny spaces in which they can move, spending their lives in filth and enduring constant stress. Larger fish will cannibalize smaller ones, and so they are frequently separated as they grow, a process that often causes injuries or tears off protective scales when fish are dumped through grates into new pens. Parasitic infections are also problematic, as are deformities and stress-induced injuries. On some farms, blindness is a common occurrence but is not treated at all because it does not impact profit. Farmed fish are dosed with antibiotics to combat illness, which accounts for high levels of toxic chemicals found in farmed fish that exceed those of wild-caught fish.
On an environmental level, fish farms may not be sustainable. For example, it takes about five pounds of fish taken from our already-exhausted oceans to feed one pound of farmed salmon, and fish that feed on plants may be given fish oil to increase growth. Furthermore, oceans pens produce contaminants, including parasites that attack wild populations, and introduce antibiotics into the environment.
Though fish may not have the higher mental capacity of mammals and birds, it is still reprehensible that they are raised in such inhumane conditions. No animals deserve to spend their lives in filth and disease, under constant stress and packed in so tightly they can barely move. It is inhumane and deplorable
Dear Assistant Administrator Eileen Sobeck,
Fish farming may be touted as a sustainable alternative to wild-caught fish, but it comes with its own set of problems, notably the inhumane conditions in which fish are raised. To maximize profit, fish are raised in cramped, overcrowded, and often filthy pools that offer hardly any room in which to move. Many suffer from injuries, illness, and parasites that proliferate in crowded conditions. They are also subjected to painful and stressful moves to keep them from cannibalizing each other. Fish farms are also responsible for contamination of the environment: antibiotics and parasites enter natural waterways and the ocean and may have long-reaching impacts on both wildlife and human beings.
Fish may not have the capability to suffer or feel pain in the same manner as other vertebrate species, but they deserve to be treated with greater standards of care. I urge NOAA to enact welfare regulations that would end inhumane practices on aquafarms. There must also be greater review and control of antibiotic use in the aquafarm industry because of environmental concerns. It is a human duty to ensure animals used for food are treated humanely, regardless of species.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Vera Kratochvil via Wikimedia Commons