Stop salmon suffering

Stop salmon suffering

Millions of salmon need your help

SAFE is participating in the launch of a global campaign about fish farming, organised by our friends at Compassion in World Farming (CIWF). We urgently need your voice to help our underwater friends, who are suffering out of sight on Scottish salmon farms.

Deformed. Diseased. Eaten alive by parasites


In the wild, Atlantic salmon will travel for thousands of miles. But, confined in barren, overcrowded cages on Scottish farms, they can do nothing more than swim aimlessly for up to two years.

A shocking major investigation has revealed countless salmon on Scottish farms are suffering every day. What’s more, planned industry expansion means that the size of the problem is set to double by 2030. It’s crucial we act now to help these sensitive, intelligent animals.


Join the global campaign to help salmon!

Sign the open letter urging the Scottish Government to halt the reckless expansion of the fish farming industry and help stop more animal suffering.

Scottish salmon industry exposed

Widespread suffering

The biggest exposé ever undertaken into the Scottish salmon industry has revealed suffering on an industry-wide scale, with widespread parasitic infestations and shocking mortality rates.

Scotland is the third-largest producer of farmed Atlantic salmon worldwide. Every year, between 24 to 56 million salmon are farmed and shipped to over 50 countries across the globe. But as the industry expands, the animals pay the price. The new footage exposes awful conditions at five of Scotland’s largest salmon producers, who account for over 96% of the industry.

Watch with caution: video contains distressing footage.

Investigators found:

  • Salmon with parasites eating away at their skin
  • Seaweed growing from open wounds, and chunks of flesh missing
  • Fish in dirty, deoxygenated water
  • Dead fish dumped in open pits, creating a potential biosecurity risk
  • Dead fish floating in overcrowded, barren cages

Some of these horrifying conditions breach animal welfare law, but much of what was found is simply ‘standard practice.’ The conditions on one farm visited were so poor that they were reported to authorities.

Despite all this, the Scottish Government is backing the irresponsible expansion of these underwater intensive farms. Millions more fish will suffer, and precious wild habitats could be damaged beyond repair.

Please, join this global action: sign the open letter to the Scottish Government now. Demand a moratorium to stop the runaway growth of Scottish salmon farming.

Take Action

Please, sign the open letter today. Urge the Scottish Government to halt the reckless expansion of the fish farming industry and help protect these sensitive, intelligent animals.

Open letter to the First Minister of Scotland

Dear First Minister,

We, the undersigned, urge you to issue a moratorium to halt continued expansion of the Scottish salmon farming industry. A global network of NGOs has recently launched an investigation into Scottish salmon farms, which exposes horrific conditions that cause suffering and environmental damage. The investigation, and an accompanying report, include extensive evidence of sea lice infestations, seaweed growing in open wounds, fin erosion, infections, diseases and dead salmon exposed to wildlife. These horrifying conditions are entirely unacceptable and, we believe, in some cases breach existing animal welfare law.

Welfare issues are endemic across the industry. The appalling conditions shown in the investigation were documented on farms owned by all five of Scotland’s largest salmon producers, which together account for over 96% of the industry.

The inquiries carried out by the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee and the Rural Economic Committee (REC), and the ongoing work of the Farmed Fish Health Framework Steering Group to improve industry standards, are welcome. However, insufficient progress has been made towards the REC’s 2018 recommendations for “urgent and meaningful action…before the industry can expand”.

Unnecessary salmon deaths due to disease, parasites, injuries, and negative reactions to handling remain incredibly high. In fact, up to a quarter of salmon die in cages before slaughter.

Sea lice loads are far higher than those considered acceptable to ensure good welfare. This causes direct suffering, and the methods used to reduce the number of lice (e.g., thermolicers) are cruel and ineffective.

Cleaner fish (used to remove sea lice) also suffer from many welfare issues, and mortality rates are extremely high. Any surviving the production cycle die inhumanely, without prior stunning.

Huge quantities of dead salmon are dumped in landfill sites, exposed to wildlife – a serious biosecurity risk. Fish faeces and other organic waste from farms can cause algal blooms – from which fish cannot escape – and chemical waste released can be toxic to other fish, birds and mammals.

The Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 places a duty of care on those responsible for farmed salmon to safeguard them from unnecessary suffering, promote their welfare and prevent distress. This includes providing a suitable environment, diet, opportunity to express normal behaviour and protection from diseases, pain and suffering. However, this investigation suggests that many of these requirements go largely unmet by the industry.

Scottish salmon is a globally renowned product, but that reputation is being undermined by widespread failings to protect animal welfare and the environment. Plans for massive industry expansion by 2030 are irresponsible, given the serious problems found on these farms.

The Scottish government must urgently instate a moratorium on the growth of the salmon farming industry with a view to phasing out intensive salmon farming.

Yours sincerely,

Give to help animals

Help New Zealand salmon

The reality of salmon farming in New Zealand is not common knowledge. This year SAFE will be starting an ambitious campaign to expose what is happening beneath the surface of New Zealand salmon farms – but we need your help. Help us bring the plight of farmed salmon in Aotearoa into the public eye with a gift!

Fish farming in New Zealand

Fish farming, particularly salmon farming, is big business in New Zealand and is set to expand. The shocking conditions found by Compassion in World Farming investigators in Scotland are likely also a reality for salmon farmed in New Zealand.

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