Photo credits: ©Essere Animali
The Guardian released a shocking investigation conducted by Essere Animali that uncovers terrible conditions on European ‘factory farms’ for fish. These largely unregulated, cruel practices expose the lack of fish’ legal protection in spite of being widely accepted as sentient beings.
The distressing footage filmed by Essere Animali shows sea bream, sea bass and trout in ice-filled containers enduring suffocation that sometimes lasts up to an hour. Some fish never manage to reach containers or slabs, ending up on the floor where they get squashed and left to slow, painful death. Part of the footage exposes an aggressive act of squeezing out fish roe which causes a lot of stress for the animals.
Stating that fish farms are just another example of the cruel system of industrial farming in Europe, Claudio Pomo warns about the lack of EU regulation that would protect fish. ‘After spending their lives in a crowded cage, hundreds of millions of them are being left to die of asphyxiation every year’, he adds. For this reason, Essere Animali’s next step is targeting biggest supermarkets that support such cruel practices by selling fish to customers all over Italy.
The Guardian quotes numerous sources confirming that fish are not only sentient beings, but have cognitive functionality and consciousness that causes prolonged reactions to painful stimuli. Although the European Commission condemns fish farming practices in several EU countries, it still only provides recommendations for voluntary industry reforms regarding slaughter practices. Anja Hazekamp, a Dutch MEP and a member of European parliament’s Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals, told the Guardian that ‘Animal welfare is not a priority of this Commission, especially where fish are concerned. Commercial interests are always given higher priority, unfortunately’.
Eurogroup for Animals and its member organisations, including Essere Animali, will continue to advocate for proper corporate, policy and legislative standards for improved fish welfare across Europe.