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Putting fish welfare at the heart of EU Aquaculture

News Section Icon Published 06/03/2019

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EU Parliament

On 6 March 2019, MEPs, scientists and NGO representatives met in the EU Parliament to discuss fish welfare. The event we organised, titled “How to put fish welfare at the heart of the EU aquaculture,” was hosted by MEPs John Flack (ECR, UK) and Anja Hazekamp (GUE/NGL, Netherlands).

Attendees started the discussions with the above short video about fish sentience, and later saw footage of our recent undercover investigation that reveals the shocking welfare conditions many farmed fish are reared in and the inhumane slaughter methods fish are often subjected to throughout Europe (see short video below).

Millions of fish are silently suffering out of sight in vast underwater factory farms throughout Europe," said Dr. Krzysztof Wojtas, Head of Fish Policy at Compassion in World Farming. "Many are also being slaughtered in the most gruesome of ways. EU citizens want better protection for fish, so it is encouraging to see MEPs supporting our Rethink Fish campaign. This is an important step towards improving fish welfare.

Our compassion should not just be for the cute and cuddly," said John Flack, MEP and a Patron of the British Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation. "We know so much more than previous generations about the way fish experience pain and distress, and we have a responsibility to treat them decently and humanely. Today's event has raised awareness of the issues surrounding factory farmed and wild caught fish and has outlined positive strides that can be taken to improve their welfare. It is one step forward on a long road.

Despite the overwhelming scientific evidence proving that fish are able to experience pain, despite the call from the European Parliament to resolve any animal welfare problems, and despite the growing concern amongst European citizens for the welfare of fish, we have not seen a lot of action from the side of the Commission yet," said MEP Anja Hazekamp. "We urgently need effective rules for protecting the welfare of fish. The numbers of fish affected is high and the suffering of these animals at all stages of their lives is enormous.

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MEPs Eleonora Evi, Anja Hazekamp, Stefan Eck & Tilly Metz, together with scientists & other participants