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Fish farms in England, Wales, and Scotland are facing animal cruelty charges if they do not align their business practices with animal welfare.

This came after the government admitted that there were no routine welfare checkups on fish meant for slaughter. As a result, these slaughterhouses and fish farms could treat the fish in any way that they pleased, without regarding the animals’ welfare.

Animal Equality‘s undercover investigation into a salmon slaughterhouse uncovered the horror of how the fish were bludgeoned, clubbed, and left to suffocate on the floors. The investigation shined a light on the fact that many fish slaughterhouses are free to decide what they think is humane for the fish, which usually results in the fish being treated with extreme cruelty.

Cordelia Britton, from the Humane League UK, said, “It is alarming that apparently, zero government officials are inspecting fish welfare at slaughter. From our correspondence, it seems clear that no relevant agency knows what’s going on, with each institution passing the buck to another. Without proper oversight, cruelty goes unnoticed. It is time for the government to take responsibility for how farmed fish are slaughtered, as they do for other farmed animals.”

Further investigation showed a serious lack of welfare checks at any fish slaughterhouses and fish farms – a serious oversight considering that strict protocols are in place for farm animals.

Fish are intelligent, sentient beings that can feel pain, just like any other animal. Sadly, they are often treated and viewed as inanimate objects or lesser than other sentient beings. These speciesist notions of fish and how they deserve to be treated result in them suffering extreme cruelty at the hands of humans. Hopefully, these investigations will spark and conversation about fish sentience and spur a new wave of care and protection for these intelligent and emotional creatures.

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