Throughout a Sunday evening airing of Countryfile, a BBC present centered on British farming, U.Okay. viewers witnessed dying farmed fish left to endure in netting or useless salmon discarded in bins and tankers.  

The particular emphasised the hovering mortality price of salmon in Scotland earlier than reaching slaughter. The U.Okay. is liable for slaughtering round 77 million farmed fish every year, however tens of millions extra die earlier than they attain the slaughterhouse; final 12 months, 16.5 million Scottish salmon died on farms.

So, what causes these deaths? Because it seems, the reply lies beneath troubled waters.  

What the BBC Program Missed

Whereas the Countryfile program pointed to rising sea water temperatures, algae, and micro-jellyfish for the hovering price of untimely salmon deaths, aquatic animal welfare consultants argue that is solely a part of the story.

A serious contributor to those on-farm deaths is the widespread presence of flesh-eating lice on salmon farms. Not solely do flesh-eating lice inflict ache on fish – whose our bodies and faces are coated in delicate ache receptors – however the majority of open-net farms in Scotland have been reported to have exceeded sea lice ranges deemed acceptable by the Code of Good Apply for Scottish Finfish Aquaculture in 2022.

Whereas the BBC program briefly acknowledged these issues, consultants and aquatic animal advocates level out that it didn’t fairly do the subject justice. 

Even much less publicity was given to water air pollution, chemical therapies, and the usage of antibiotics, regardless of the danger that these practices can have an effect on fish welfare, aquatic ecosystem well being, human well being, or environmental sustainability. 

That’s why Animal Equality’s Govt Director within the U.Okay. interviewed an aquatic animal professional, Professor Jennifer Jacquet, who weighed in on the shortage of concern for farmed fish welfare. 

Picture by Serge Hoeltschi

Business Response Misses the Mark

Regardless of rising mortality charges on Scottish salmon farms,the Scottish salmon business nonetheless hopes to construct new farms. 

However after making use of to construct a brand new kind of farm at Loch Lengthy–outfitted with tank-like gear referred to as semi-closed pens–the business was denied by the native workplace on account of environmental issues. 

Past issues over water air pollution and biosecurity hazards, fish farming requires vital assets our planet can’t maintain.

Identical to cows and sheep, every fish requires a lifetime of meals to supply a small quantity of animal product for grocery retailer cabinets. As salmon are carnivores, that affect is heightened, as they have to devour different fish flesh to outlive. Every farmed salmon consumes a mean of 150 wild fish earlier than dying, elevating issues about aquatic ecosystem well being and wild animal welfare. 

Moreover, whereas the business claims to offer employment alternatives and contribute to the financial system, aquatic animal professional Professor Janet Jacquet remained skeptical. She cautioned towards constructing financial dependence on an business identified for being unsustainable.

There are large quantities of subsidies behind salmon farms. This actually is essentially unsustainable, it doesn’t have a future, and it’s inflicting numerous short-term points for the animals and the native environments.

Professor Jennifer Jacquet, Aquatic Animal Skilled 

She highlights that as individuals turn out to be more and more conscious of the issues related to fish farming, the business may face a future downturn. This would go away employees–and the financial system–hanging within the stability.  

Moral Considerations and Corruption in Aquaculture

Throughout an investigation launched earlier this 12 months, Animal Equality used drone footage to disclose animal cruelty on fish slaughter boats off the coast of Scotland. Two main suppliers with ties to the US have been implicated. The investigation obtained consideration from mainstream media retailers like The Unbiased

Footage confirmed that even earlier than reaching the boats, fish endure from overcrowding in nets, illnesses, and visual indicators of stress. On the boats, employees are seen mishandling the fish, possible inflicting severe bodily and psychological misery. Smaller fish are left to suffocate in empty buckets, whereas injured ones are thrown backwards and forwards, usually slamming towards partitions and railings. Many useless and dying fish are thrown overboard, introducing biosecurity hazards, as they might go on illnesses to wild fish and even mate with wild salmon. 

This investigation aligns with earlier findings from 2021, which uncovered comparable points in on-land salmon slaughterhouses within the U.Okay.. Investigators discovered employees tearing gills from aware fishes’ our bodies and clubbing them to dying. 

Taking Motion for Farmed Fish

Since Animal Equality within the U.Okay. launched its marketing campaign towards the Scottish fishing business, its work has been coated by respected information sources like The Observer, The Guardian, The Day by day Report, and The Scotsman. After the BBC program aired, The Solar joined the dialogue. 

In the meantime, hundreds of individuals have voiced their outrage on social media.

Animal Equality within the UK is taking a proactive stance by calling on the Scottish Authorities to intervene. We urge the Authorities to halt the enlargement of the fish farming business by refusing to approve new amenities in Scotland. That is important, because the business is because of double over the subsequent decade.

Hearken to the scientific recommendation. Fish farming has been advisable towards for the reason that Seventies, scientists have been urging us to maneuver away from carnivorous species [like salmon].

Professor Jacquet

With proof mounting towards the business, the transition to plant-based meals is gaining momentum. 

Not solely does fish farming negatively affect the atmosphere, however scientists have constantly discovered that fish are able to experiencing ache and struggling. This consciousness is prompting shoppers within the U.Okay. and the U.S. to rethink their meals selections and go for alternate options that scale back animal struggling.


Scientists affirm: Fish have wealthy emotional lives and the capability to really feel.

Defend these delicate beings by selecting plant‑primarily based alternate options to animal meals merchandise.

How You Can Battle Fishing Business Corruption

In a world grappling with sustainability and moral issues, the fishing business finds itself more and more below scrutiny. Animal Equality is main the cost in demanding accountability. 

However what units Animal Equality within the U.Okay. aside in its struggle for change? It’s not simply the group’s strategic campaigning and undercover investigations; it’s additionally their dedicated community of month-to-month supporters. These supporters enable Animal Equality to acquire investigative footage that the BBC has deemed newsworthy. 

Month-to-month donors additionally present the monetary stability required for impactful campaigns. With the help of devoted month-to-month supporters, Animal Equality within the U.Okay. is in a main place to take the Scottish fishing business to process.

Due to month-to-month supporters, Animal Equality within the U.Okay. is poised to go away a constructive mark on the longer term. And on this future, all animals are afforded the dignity and respect they deserve.


As a compassionate month-to-month supporter, you’ll be able to shield animals from cruelty on daily basis. Your help is vital to ending their confinement in cages, mutilations, and different abuses.

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