European Attitudes Toward Fish Welfare
A Fishes Article from

December 2020

Welfare standards for fish hover between abysmal and non-existent. Would public opinion support campaigns for fish? This analysis is cautiously optimistic.

Photo by Bruce Warrington on Unsplash

While the animal movement has had a great deal of success in campaigning for chicken welfare, there’s concern among many advocates that campaigning on behalf of fishes will require a different strategy. Fishes are more distant from us on the evolutionary tree, and we tend to empathize with them less than with other animals we eat.

In light of this, winning public support for fish welfare may be difficult. However, an analysis posted on the Effective Altruism Forum indicates that public sympathy for fish runs deeper than our intuitions might suggest.

In the post, the author reviewed six European surveys in-depth, and briefly discussed five others that may be less representative. Of the six main surveys, three took place between 2005 and 2010, and the other three took place between 2015 and 2019. The largest survey (Eurobarometer 2005) involved almost 25,000 consumers across 25 E.U. countries, and the smallest (Frewer et al. 2005) involved 1,000 Dutch consumers. The most recent study was conducted in the U.K. in 2019....


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