Starving Fish for Pedicures?
An Animal Rights Article from


Global Animal
June 2012

A new trend from Asia made its debut across countless spas in America and Great Britain in 2008. The unsightly process of a “fish pedicure” involves Garra Ruffa fish, also nicknamed “doctor fish,” who are starved in order for them to gnaw away at the dead skin on your feet. After 15 minutes this process is supposed to leave you with smooth baby skin, but instead some people found themselves left with a bacterial infection.

fish Garra Ruffa starve pedicure

The U.K.’s Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science did a study on the fish involved. ”To date there has been only limited information on the types of bacteria associated with these fish,” lead researcher David Verner-Jeffreys told The Medical Express. “Our study identified some of the species of bacteria associated with this fish species, including some that can cause infections in both fish and humans…The (strep) strain we isolated typically only causes disease in fish…We then went on to look at other consignments of apparently healthy imported G. rufa and found some other species of bacteria that can cause disease in humans and fish.”

They found bacteria such as Aeromonas, Mycobacteria, and Streptococcus. All of these cause skin infections in humans. The study also showed that the bacteria are very resistant to drugs. Thankfully this gross practice is banned in 14 states including California. It’s not worth harming little fish and giving yourself a possible infection to achieve results that can easily be obtained by a regular old fashioned pedicure.

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