Why Fish Welfare Matters
It’s tragic that fish are often left out of the conversation when we talk about animal welfare. Fish are one of the most widely abused animals on the planet, and deserve the same consideration as other animals. That’s why we launched the first-ever Respect for Fish Day on August 1 with the support of more than 250 organizations nation-wide; to get fish the understanding, welfare, respect and protection they deserve.
Fish Cruelty Often Goes Unnoticed
Every year, trillions of fish who are kept as “pets,” held in aquariums, farmed, used in scientific experiments and killed recreationally or for food, suffer immensely and die. Yet they are left with little to no protection and their treatment hasn’t made it into mainstream discussions about their welfare, or raised to the same level of concern other animals receive.
Demand End To Petco Betta Fish Killing
Fish Are Excluded from Animal Welfare Laws
Despite conclusive scientific evidence that fish suffer, they are excluded from many laws that would give them even a modicum of protection, including the Animal Welfare Act, the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, and the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act. Many states also exempt fish from their cruelty laws, or exempt cruel fishing practices from compliance by labeling them as “standard.”
Real Fish Welfare is Long Overdue
The way we see and treat fish has to change, not only because it’s been established that they are capable of feeling pain in a way we can relate to, but because there’s so much more to these amazing animals than many of us are yet to realize.
Fish have shown us they share many traits that we once thought were distinctly human. Many species have long-term memories, recognize themselves and others, can count and perform multiple tasks simultaneously. They play, form bonds with each other and learn from past experiences — and those are just a few examples of things we currently understand about them.
We hope that Respect for Fish Day will lead more people to support changes in our habits and policies that surround fish, and we’re thrilled by the response to this campaign. It was covered by numerous outlets, including One Green Planet, Veg News and Lady Freethinker. Activists wrote Letters to the Editor about how fish are being harmed in their own communities, and many people took to social media to spread the word with the #Respect4Fish hashtag.
We also hope that more awareness about fish and their plight will encourage people to respect fish every single day.
What You Can Do To Promote Fish Welfare:
- Become a fish defender by signing up for an In Defense of Animals membership.
- Join us in working to end this unacceptable animal exploitation by supporting Respect for Fish Day.
- Ask your organization to become an ally for fish.
- Sign up to our Social Media Leaders Group for Fish.
- Report illegal fishing wherever you see it.
- Take action for fish by signing our active alerts.
- Leave them off your plate.