Fish Are Friends – Not Food!
Many people have never stopped to think about it, but fish are smart, interesting animals with their own unique personalities. Studies have shown that fish are smart, that they have impressive long-term memories and sophisticated social structures and that they can experience pain and fear. A new report by PETA India shows why fishing, whether for profit or "sport", cannot be considered a harmless or humane activity.
Dragging huge, heavy nets along the sea floor is environmentally devastating. The large metal plates and rubber wheels attached to the bottom of these nets crush nearly everything in their path, and deep-water life forms are very slow to recover from such damage, if they recover at all. Commercial fishing has exterminated 90 per cent of large fish populations over the past 50 years.
Fish FarmsFarmed fish fare no better. Investigators repeatedly found cramped ponds kept in extremely unhygienic conditions, no better than drainage water, causing many fish to become infected with skin diseases. On one farm, the investigators could not even see the fish because of the filth in the water. Fish farms squander resources – it takes around 2.5 kilograms of wild-caught fish to produce just 400 grams of farmed fish. The concentrated filth spills over into the surrounding waterways, polluting them with massive amount of faeces, drugged feed and animal corpses, along with non-native fish who take over indigenous species' habitats.
Marketing Cruelty and FilthDespite wildlife laws intended to protect endangered animals, investigators found that sharks and dolphins were killed in government-owned ports and sold at market while officials paid no attention to the obvious violations. Local fish markets also flout basic hygiene and sanitation norms. Fish are kept and slaughtered in the open, with blood strewn about. Pieces of fish fall onto the grimy floors, and flies swarm everywhere. Live fish were found struggling for life on trays that contained very little water, making it hard for them to breathe, and they often fell off the trays and onto the filthy floor. This dirt and filth could cause severe contamination since the same fish are sold without being washed or cleaned.
Health HazardsFish live in water so polluted that you would never dream of drinking it, yet you ingest this toxic brew every time you eat fish. Fishes' bodies absorb toxic chemicals from the water around them – including PCBs, dioxins, radioactive substances, lead and arsenic – and the chemicals become more concentrated as they move up the food chain. Mumbai has the country's most polluted coastline, and many of our waterways are contaminated with faeces, which carries dangerous pathogens like E. coli.
For animals, for the planet, and for our own well-being, the best choice is to leave fish alone and enjoy healthy, humane and environmentally friendly vegetarian foods instead.
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