To eat fish or not to eat fish…
Some vegetarians choose to continue eating fish (they are technically called “pescatarians”) for a variety of reasons:
1) Fish is a leaner, healthier meat than land-based meat.
2) Many people believe that fish do not feel pain (which is completely untrue).
3.) People think that fish are caught in the wild, instead of raised on farms like livestock (also untrue).
Although they may seem alien to us, fish are unique and intelligent beings that feel pain, just as all other animals.
Because we are exhausting our natural supplies of fish, Fish Farms (or Aquafarms) have rapidly become a billion-dollar industry. The aquaculture industry is growing 3 times faster than land-based animal agriculture. Billions of farmed fish are slaughtered every year.
Fish in aquafarms spend their entire lives in cramped, filthy enclosures (overcrowded pools of fish feces, hormone and antibiotic-laden fish feed, and diseased fish carcasses). Many suffer from parasitic infections, diseases, and debilitating injuries. Fish on farms will live their entire lives never being able to swim without constantly bumping into other fish.
Conditions on aquafarms are so awful that on some farms, 40% of the fish die before they can even be killed and packaged for food. Those that survive are starved before they are slaughtered to reduce wast contamination in the water during transport. Salmon are starved for 10 full days before slaughter.
In the US there are no regulations to ensure the humane treatment of fish. They are not stunned prior to slaughter, so they are fully conscious as they start down the slaughter line. Their gills are cut & they are left to bleed to death, convulsing in pain.
Large fish (like salmon) are sometimes bashed on the head with a wooden bat, but only some die from this, others are just left in pain as they are cut open. Smaller fish may be killed by draining the tank to suffocate them, or by packing them on ice, alive. Because fish are cold blooded, suffocation on ice prolongs the suffering, leaving them to experience a slow, painful death for up to as long as 15 minutes.
Aquafarms can be land-based or in the ocean. Land-based farms raise thousands of fish in ponds or concrete tanks. Ocean-based farms pack fish into a net or mesh cage along a shoreline.
Contaminants from ocean-based farms (that stew of feces, antibiotics, and diseases) spreads to the surrounding ocean, passing diseases to ocean fish and in some cases, increasing sea lice by 1,000-fold.
Sea lice are a regular occurrence on salmon farms. They eat at the fish, causing their scales to fall off and creating large sores. In severely crowded conditions, lice even eat all the way down to the bone on the fish’s faces. Fish farmers call this the “death crown.”
In crowded conditions, small fish are bullied and killed by larger fish, so the fish are constantly sorted to separate faster-growing individuals into size-groupings. At each sorting, they are netted or pumped out of their tanks and dumped onto a series of bars and grates with varying space gaps to divide them by size. This practice of “grading” is not only stressful, but also painful, resulting in scrapes and loss of scales.
Since fish are designed, by evolution, to navigate the vast oceans, and use their senses to do so, many fish literally go insane from the cramped conditions. They lose their ability to navigate properly and knock against the sides of the enclosures, or each other, damaging their fins and causing bodily sores.
Additionally, approximately 40% of the fish on fish farms are blind, due to injuries & deformities cause by disease. Nothins is done to address this since it does not effect the farmer’s bottom line.
Stocking densities (the number of fish per cubic foot of water) are purely a function of profit. They are raised until the death losses outweigh the benefit of cramming in more fish.
Many species of farmed fish are carnivorous, which means that more fish must be raised or farmed to feed them. It can take more than 5 pounds of fish from the ocean to produce 1 pound of farmed salmon or seabass. But, for the herbivores, aquafarms have begun feeding them fish oil and fish meal in an effort t make them grow faster. This is exactly what caused the spread of Mad Cow Disease (feeding rendered cow parts to herbivorous cows). And, of course, the feed is laced with antibiotics and hormones to force fast growth and combat the diseases that are prevalent when too many animals are crammed in to too small of a space.
Breakfast: Fresh cut pineapple!
Lunch: Peanut butter & jelly sandwich
Dinner: Spaghetti with meatless meatballs (from the frozen aisle)