If You Wouldn’t Eat Monkey Nuggets at a Zoo …
Respecting an animal and serving up his or her dead body on a plate are two very different things.
That’s why we’ve just written to aquaria across the country – including Anglesey Sea Zoo, Blue Planet Aquarium in Cheshire, Oceanarium in Bournemouth, Bristol Aquarium, Deep Sea World in Fife, Sea Life Centre in Great Yarmouth, the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth and The Deep in Hull – to ask that they remove fish from the menu at their in-house restaurants, as serving them contradicts these institutions’ invitation to the public to appreciate the wonder of living fish.
Anyone who genuinely cares about fish would want to spare these animals the painful, lingering deaths inflicted on them by the fishing industry. Fish, although just as sensitive to pain as other animals, are denied even the basic rights of protection afforded to land animals who are raised for food and may die slowly from asphyxiation on the decks of fishing boats, have their bellies sliced open while they’re still alive or struggle for hours when they’re snagged on longline hooks.
Here’s an extract from the letter that we sent to the aquaria:
[A]fter inviting people to look on these glorious, fascinating animals in awe, it’s odd that your café then invites people to stick a fork in them. Serving fish in an aquarium is like serving monkey nuggets at a zoo.
Talk of sustainability and ingredients that are “sourced ethically” fails to consider the implications for individual fish, but the fact remains that the seafood in your café is made from living sea animals who treasured life and were needlessly subjected to pain and fear.
And human consumption of sea animals is the very cause of the catastrophic destruction of life in the Earth’s oceans. Fish farms introduce non-native animals into sensitive ecosystems, and commercial fishing ships “clear-cut” the ocean floor and inadvertently maim and kill billions of non-target marine animals, including porpoises and sea lions. By encouraging people to eat sea animals, you perpetuate the problem.
Although fish may not always express suffering in ways that humans can easily recognise, experts around the world agree that fish are sensitive, interesting animals who feel pain and have complex social structures. In fact, a 2014 study from the University of Cambridge showed that fish have good memories, work collaboratively to achieve goals and have cognitive abilities that can actually surpass those of dogs and some primates. Leading marine biologist Dr Sylvia Earle said, “You know, fish are sensitive, they have personalities, they hurt when they’re wounded”.
What You Can Do Our letter to aquaria has already made headlines in newspapers across the country. Please add to the pressure by contacting any aquaria near you and politely asking that they show respect for sea life by keeping fish off the menu.
Of course, you can also help fish every day by refusing to eat them. Instead, check out some of the available cruelty-free “seafood”, such as fish-free fish fingers, faux-fish cakes and even vegan prawns. These options are delicious, environmentally friendly and free of the toxins and cholesterol found in fish flesh, and – most importantly – no one has to die for them!