15 September 2010

Dusting off the soap box

One of my big problems with the commercial fishing industry is the way the fish are killed. Or, rather, the way they are left to suffer and die. Terrestrial commercial animals are killed as humanely as we know how (short of, you know, not killing them), but fish simply suffocate. Would you eat chicken if you knew someone locked it in a room and sucked out all the oxygen so that it died gasping for breath? No. Even I wouldn't. So why is it okay for fish?

There is research that suggests that fish feel pain (of course they do) and that they may even be sentient. History has taught us sentience won't be enough to keep them alive, but maybe it will earn them a more dignified death. Unbeknown to me, there been a whole group of people in the UK advocating for humane commercial fisheries.  I suppose since my vision of a world where no one eats fish is never going to happen, humane fisheries seem like a step in the right direction. 

The group (Fish Count) has produced a report on the welfare of wild caught fish. They have also generated what they claim are the first estimates of annual world-wide fish catches. It's pretty staggering: 0.97-2.7 trillion fishes.  Now, the fact that it doesn't look like any of this has been published in a peer reviewed journal raises some red flags for me, but I'm not going to let that stop me from telling y'all about it.

1 comment:

Justin said...

***Steps on soapbox***

I think chickens are an unfortunate example of an animal that is somehow "better" to eat. Farmed chickens have some of the worst living conditions of any commercial animal, wild fish included. Have you read what factory-farmed chickens go through? Not much of a life.

The "humane" slaughter of commercial animals is sometimes botched, leading to animals being processed alive. Wild caught fish suffocating is not a nice thought. But let's not pretend that terrestrial commercial animals have it any better.

***Steps off soapbox***