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More than 150,000 people call for EU fish welfare standards

News Section Icon Published 12/5/2022

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A petition calling for new standards to protect the welfare of farmed fish signed by more than 150,000 people, has today (5th December) been handed in to the European Commission.

We want to make sure that fish welfare standards are included in a review of EU animal welfare legislation announced by the Commission in May 2020 as part of the EU Farm and Fork strategy.

Underwater factory farms

Each year in the EU, around a billion fish suffer silently in underwater factory farms. Until recently, many people were not aware that fish were sentient or feel pain. More recent scientific research, however, has discovered that fish not only feel pain and experience fear but also – like many other animals – explore, travel, socialise, hunt and play.

All farmed fish would benefit from humane slaughter, gentle handling, conditions that provide good water quality, and environments that meet their physical, mental, and behavioural needs. Farmed fish welfare legislation is crucial to ensure these needs are met.

Good welfare standards

The petition, which as of today has gathered 150,000 signatures from across the EU and beyond, calls on the EU to set good fish welfare standards during rearing, transport, and slaughter. We launched it across the EU earlier this year and it was supported by non-profits Essere Animali and WeMove.

Olga Kikou, our Head of EU, said: “Today, thousands of people across Europe and beyond have asked the EU to stop ignoring the issue of fish welfare. People are increasingly aware that fish are being tortured in underwater factory farms, yet most politicians have so far turned a blind eye to the issue.

“In the EU, we farm about a billion fish every year, yet we have almost no rules to prevent abuses. We must absolutely set standards to avoid overcrowding, diseases, mutilations, rough handling during transport and painful slaughter.

Like other farmed animals, fish deserve better. We now call on the EU Commission to take action to deliver this request from EU citizens.”

Read more about our Rethink Fish campaign.


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