Why Fish?

Respect for Fish Day home
Science has proven that fish feel pain, yet they are exploited and killed by the trillions in the food industry, in the pet trade, for sport, and in laboratories.

Fish Are Sentient
Over the past decade, a large body of scientific evidence has proven that fish are capable of feeling pain and emotions. Fish are also highly intelligent. They can learn by imitation, count, recognize the faces of group members, and use tools. 

Fish Farming
Fish are the most commonly farmed animals on the planet. Farmed fish are confined in overcrowded ponds, or in underwater cages in natural bodies of water. Farmed fish are genetically selected to grow much faster than their wild counterparts, which weakens their immune systems and makes them susceptible to health problems including deafness and bent spines. Since fish are usually not protected under humane slaughter legislation, they are killed in barbaric ways, which include being suffocated, frozen to death or butchered while fully conscious. 

Commercial Fishing
Trillions of wild fish are slaughtered every year in the commercial fishing industry. Wild fish are killed by being frozen to death or are simply left to suffocate. They may also be decapitated, stabbed, or beaten to death. Large fish, like tuna, are extracted from nets by having sharp hooks jabbed into their faces or other body parts. 

Every year in the U.S., over 300 million fish are captured by recreational fishermen. After being dragged to the surface, fish suffocate when they are removed from the water. They also sustain severe injuries from the hooks that pierce their mouths and bodies. Up to 51 percent of caught fish succumb to their injuries and die if they are released after being caught. Fishing is a bloodsport since it involves the torture and killing of animals for personal pleasure, competition, or entertainment.

The Pet Trade
The commercial capture, breeding, and selling of fish as pets are rife with brutality.  Most saltwater fish are caught from the wild where they are often stunned with explosions. Freshwater fish are mass bred in the underwater equivalent of puppy mills. Fish sold as pets frequently die from improper care and neglect following purchase. Fish are not covered by animal cruelty laws in many states. Even where they are, abuse and neglect of pet fish are rampant, conditions are seldom reported, and abusers are rarely pursued by law enforcement.  

The use of fish for experimentation is dramatically increasing. Most of this increase is due to the breeding of genetically modified animals who are engineered to have genetic defects or to be susceptible to chronic diseases. Fish in laboratories are subjected to a range of cruel procedures: being force-fed poison, having portions of their brains chemically destroyed, and being afflicted with cancer.

To learn more about Respect for Fish Day and the ways in which fish are abused, please see our campaign brochure.

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