* Fish don't feel pain
Fish have a complex nervous system and all the sensory
organs necessary for the sensation of pain. It's therefore logical to
assume that they do feel pain.
A three year investigation by a panel of scientists and
representatives from angling and shooting organizations ( the Medway
Report) concluded that fish, like other vertebrates are capable of
* Some points concerning fishing
If a fish is not landed quickly it can become exhausted,
fish muscle takes a long time to recover and an exhausted fish may be
virtually unable to move for several hours.
Once out of the water, the change in air pressure can
lead to bleeding from the gills. Handling the fish can damage its
delicate outer skin of mucus making it vulnerable to disease causing
Fish kept in crowded keep nets are susceptible to the
spread of disease, aggression from other fish and suffocation caused by
the slow diffusion of gasses in the water.
All this is in addition to the suffering caused by being
dragged out of the water in the first place by a (usually) barbed hook
which is sometimes (fatally) swallowed.
* Most anglers only do it for relaxation
Surely people can find a way to relax without causing
the suffering and death of others?
* Most of the fish get put back
But it is catching them in the first place that causes
* Fish are free-range
Why should a free-range animal be any more deserving of
an unnecessary death than any other animal? The suggestion that
individuals should pay for their freedom with their lives is moral
nonsense. All animals should be free and we have no right to deprive
them of that freedom or their lives for such trivial reasons as money,
the taste of their flesh or the pursuit of 'sport'.
* Some points concerning fish slaughter
UK fishing vessels alone catch 500,000 tons of fish
every year and there are no specific regulations governing their
They die of shock, asphyxiation, crushing by the weight
of the catch and freezing on ice bedding. Many, like cod, haddock,
plaice, skate and sole can still be alive when landed and gutted. Eels
are killed by burying in salt (it takes 2 hours) or are chopped into
pieces and boiled.
Farmed fish such as salmon and trout are bled to death
with or without stunning. Trout are starved for 3-6 days beforehand and
may simply to taken from the water and packed in ice for transport to
the market, taking up to 14 minutes to die.
* Fish is good for you
The North Sea. where 40% of our fish is caught, has
become so polluted that some fishermen now wear protective face masks to
prevent the rashes and other skin disorders that contact with the water
Moderate amounts of fish from unpolluted waters (if
there are any) are undoubtedly good for you. But there are three things
to remember here: firstly, it has been clearly established that fish can
and do suffer when they are caught, secondly, fishing has already had a
disastrous effect on the environment (fish stocks are now at their
lowest level ever); and thirdly, all benefits of eating fish can be
easily obtained from a vegan diet. The ethical choice is clear.
Go on to CAFT/LCA
Return to 23 April 2000 Issue
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