A shocking new investigation by Italian animal rights group Essere Animali exposes horrific animal abuse at fish factory farms.
Heartbreaking footage shows schools of sea bream, sea bass, and trout being ripped out of cramped nets and dumped into plastic containers to slowly suffocate. Most of these poor animals spend their last moments flapping helplessly, struggling to survive.
Those who survive the farm gasp for up to an hour on slabs or in containers filled with slush and ice at the slaughterhouse. Some are eventually killed with blows to the head from metal batons. The video also reveals workers manually squeezing roe out of some fish—likely causing extreme stress and pain.
The fish in the video were shipped to some of Italy’s biggest supermarkets.
See the shocking footage yourself.
This isn’t the first time the commercial fishing industry has been caught abusing animals. Earlier this year, footage from Israeli animal rights group Anonymous exposed heartbreaking animal abuse at a fish factory farm.
And an undercover video of salmon factory farms off Vancouver Island uncovered blind, emaciated salmon swimming in their own feces. According to the video, a 17-year report revealed that sea lice from one of the fish farms had been killing young wild salmon.
Because fish factory farms confine so many fish in small, filthy enclosures, they are perfect breeding grounds for parasites. In fact, in 2016 an outbreak of sea lice spread from Scandinavia to Chile. To combat the growing epidemic of sea lice, salmon factory farms import tons of wild-caught wrasse. As “cleaner” fish, wrasse consume parasites, but importing wrasse wreaks havoc on native fish populations.
Factory-farmed fish endure lives of misery in crowded, waste-filled pools. A 2016 study notes that farmed salmon become “so depressed they give up on life.” Whether they’re farmed or caught, fish experience pain and fear much like land animals. Not only is killing them for food unnecessary; it’s inhumane, unsustainable, and unhealthy.
To make matters worse, fish are slaughtered in incredibly cruel ways. In 2011 Mercy For Animals conducted an undercover investigation at a fish slaughter facility and exposed fish being skinned alive. They thrashed and fought to escape the workers’ knives. As the fish gasped for oxygen, workers ripped off their skin with pliers.
Additionally, a recent report from the British Columbia Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy found that a whopping 70 percent of fish slaughterhouses failed to comply with environmental regulations.
Sadly, unlike mammals, fish have almost no legal protections in the EU and the United States.
Clearly the seafood industry values profits over the environment and the well-being of fish.