“The scientific literature is quite clear. Anatomically, physiologically and biologically, the pain system in fish is virtually the same as in birds and mammals.”
Dr. Donald Broom, emeritus professor of animal welfare, Cambridge University
While fish may seem so different to us and other mammals, they are animals that deserve our respect as much as any other. It is time to let them off the hook.
Fish are sentient animals (meaning they are conscious), with intelligence and emotions, and they also display complex social behaviours. Scientific research conclusively shows that fish feel pain. Scientists have found that fish have sophisticated social structures, communicate with other fish, show curiosity, have the ability to learn from experience and observation, have long-term memory, and show evidence of tool use, altruism and multi-tasking!
Because of their complex needs fish can also suffer from stress and feel fear. Like all animals, fish deserve to have the freedom to display their normal behaviours in a natural environment. They do not deserve to be the target for sporting competitions or used as bait, or to be raised in the space of a bathtub in factory-farming operations.
Due to the incredible complexity of the marine ecosystem, the multitude of issues facing different fish is not limited to individual fish species, but to the whole of ocean life.
Fish farming, particularly salmon farming, is big business in New Zealand and is looking to expand considerably. The majority of farmed salmon is produced by salt-water operations in the Marlborough Sounds and Stewart Island. The breed used is Chinook, or king salmon, and is non-native to New Zealand.
"All vertebrates should be given the benefit of the doubt and assumed to be capable of suffering."
Dr Penny Hawkins, senior scientific officer of the RSPCA
Eating a plant-based diet is the most important thing you can do to help animals. It's a simple switch, but it makes a big difference. You'll feel great knowing that you are putting your values into action. Challenge yourself to give it a try. We bet you’ll find it tastier and easier than you ever imagined!
As a charity, SAFE is reliant on the support of caring people like you to carry out our valuable work. Every dollar goes towards providing education, undertaking research and campaigning for the benefit of all animals.