The government minister rejected including fish in regulations that would mandate the use of CCTV in slaughterhouses because he said the footage “would not be viewed.” Defra minister Jo Church said that because fish slaughterhouses do not have official veterinarians and are not subject to routine animal welfare inspections, and CCTV footage would be ignored.

Source: NowThis News/Youtube

According to the Humane League UK, farmed fish processing premises are not considered slaughterhouses under the law, and therefore, they are exempt from the Mandatory Use of Closed Circuit Television in Slaughterhouses (England) Regulations 2018.

Amro Hussain, Senior Public Affairs Lead at The Humane League UK, said, “Fish are animals who can feel pain and fear, and whose welfare deserve our attention. Instead, they are routinely forgotten, receiving worse protections than other animals, particularly at slaughter. The minister confirmed what many working in animal welfare have long known – that the welfare of millions of fish is being brazenly neglected by institutions too callous or idle to care.”

In 2021, The Humane League UK launched The Forgotten Fish Campaign, which is to pressure the government to update the law to mandate pre-slaughter stunning for farmed fish. Pre-slaughter stunning is standard for most farms in Britain, but the legal change would allow for public transparency and inspections of slaughterhouses.

Source: The Humane League UK/Youtube

The government Animal Welfare Committee will update its Opinion this year on the welfare of farmed fish at the time of killing. However, both of its previous opinions in 1996 and 2014 stated that the law SHOULD be updated to mandate the stunning at slaughter.

As of July 2017, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists 455 critically endangered fish species, including 87, which are tagged as possibly extinct. The fewer fish in the ocean, the less food the larger marine animals have to survive on, leading to an imbalance in marine food webs.

The industry wants us to believe that to solve overfishing, we need to fish more. However, this is incredibly unsustainable. Apex predators are disappearing, bottom trawling is tearing the ocean apart, and fishing vessels wage war on the oceans. GMO fish are not the answer to overfishing. If we want to save marine wildlife, dietary choices will have the most impact.

According to Counting Animals, “An individual who chooses to take on a vegetarian diet can save over 225 fish and 151 shellfish a year. If just half of the U.S. population (about 150,000,000 individuals) eliminated seafood from their diets, that would mean about 33,750,000,000 fish would remain in the ocean every year.”

Everything nutritious that people believe they are getting from fish can get from other sources. Check out How to Ditch Fish Oil for Plant-Based Sources and Why Flaxseed Oil is Healthier than Fish Oil. Fish often have been exposed to many toxic chemicals like mercury which the consumer then eats when they eat the fish. Fish are also sentient creatures and can feel pain. There is no reason that we need to continue to eat these animals.

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