PETA Europe’S Shimmery Topless ‘Mermaids’ Make A Splash Outside Fish-Farming Conference

For Immediate Release:
17 April 2007

Karen Chisholm +44 (0)20 7357 9229, ext 229

Activists Highlight Cruelty in Seafood Production

Edinburgh − Wearing hardly more than a fishy “tail” and holding signs which read, “Fishing Hurts, Go Veg”, members of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Europe will encourage fish-eaters to leave the fish alone and get hooked on compassion. Other activists will be on hand to distribute leaflets and free vegetarian starter kits to passers-by on the opening day of the “Aquaculture Today” fish-farming industry conference:

Date:  Tuesday, 17 April
Time:  12 noon sharp
Place:  Outside the Sheraton Hotel, Festival Square, Lothian Road

Fish on fish farms spend their entire lives in cramped, filthy enclosures, and many suffer from parasitic infections, diseases and debilitating injuries, including cataracts, deformed fins and tails, hunched-backs and so-called “death crowns” (where parasitic sea lice eat into the fish’s head, leaving the skull exposed). Stocking densities are so high that up to 50,000 salmon can be confined to a single sea cage. This means that 2.5-foot-long salmon, which in the wild can travel distances of up to 30 km a day, can spend their entire lives in a space smaller than a bathtub. Mortality rates are high, with official figures showing death rates between 10 and 30 per cent.

Fish flesh is certainly not “health food”. It contains artery-clogging cholesterol, and unsafe amounts of carcinogenic PCBs can abound in fish flesh – even in fish who are wild-caught. A study released by the journal Science reveals that flesh from Scottish-farmed salmon is dangerously contaminated with PCBs, dioxin, dieldrin and other carcinogenic toxins, which can lead to brain damage, birth defects and various types of cancer. The Food Standards Agency has warned pregnant women about the mercury in tuna, and children under 16 were cautioned not to eat shark, swordfish or marlin flesh – also because of dangerous mercury levels. On an encouraging note for sea-dwellers as well as the National Health Service, vegetarianism is on the upswing. Thousands of Britons every year swear off animal products.
“Farmed fish are now the second-most intensively farmed creatures in Britain – second only to chickens. Eating any fish, regardless of how they were caught, is like playing Russian roulette with your health”, says PETA Europe campaign coordinator Yvonne Taylor. “The best way to help fish and be healthy is by not eating them.”

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