Humane Fish?

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Is there a humane way to slaughter a fish? It’s a fair enough question, but it’s not one we usually ask. Why is it that even people who are sensitive to animals often fail to consider the lives of sea animals?

Given all that scientists have learned in recent years about the robust pain systems fish have and their complex social interactions, the lack of concern doesn’t come from what we know objectively about fish themselves. It is simply harder for us to empathize with sea animals than with other primates, or with mammals like cows and pigs. Unfortunately, the difficulty we often have in relating to fish has contributed to a bleak situation for the welfare of these animals and led to ecologically reckless fishing methods.

At present, there is no humane method to kill fish either aboard fishing boats or in the increasingly common aquaculture installations known as fish farms. Nor are there are any known methods of humanely catching fish or raising them in captivity without severely affecting their welfare. As consumers, we can be fairly certain that any fish we buy had a painful and, often, protracted death. As far as Farm Forward is aware, no existing producer even claims to be providing humanely raised or killed fish.

Consumers are often misled into thinking that eating fish and chicken instead of beef reduces the negative effects of meat consumption. But as far as animal suffering and the health of the largest ecosystems on earth—the oceans—are concerned, the opposite is true.

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Cows and Calves

Cattle are the only farmed animals that typically spend part of their lives unconfined and outdoors. Does that mean cattle raised for beef have the best lives of any farmed animal?

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Pigs

More than 97 percent of America’s hog farmers have been driven out of business, but we’re producing more pork than ever. Genetically engineered pigs raised in intensive confinement have become the industry standard. How did it happen?

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Poultry

Americans eat more than 100 times as much chicken meat as we did a century ago. But the whopping 9 billion chickens we eat each year are genetically engineered, drugged, and sick. What happened?

  • Anything Goes - Chickens are the most abused of all farmed animals, and yet they are completely unprotected under US federal law.
  • Chicken vs. Chimp - New studies suggest chickens have some intellectual abilities that surpass primates. Is it true?
  • Chickens and Turkeys Raised Right - Meet America’s last poultry farmer.

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Sea Animals

Fish factory farms and industrial fishing are emptying our oceans. In some industries, up to 98 percent of the sea animals caught are thrown back, dead, as "bycatch." Can we fish better?

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