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Farmed fish should be stunned before slaughter

Compassion is delighted that the UK government’s Farm Animal Welfare Committee (FAWC) has recommended farmed fish should be stunned before slaughter to ensure they don’t feel pain.

Fish are the ‘forgotten’ farm animal and there is a casual assumption that they are unable to feel pain, which is not true.

Farmed fish deserve a good life and should be treated humanely when they are slaughtered. Currently, farmed fish are not protected by law at slaughter in the same way as other farmed animals are, something we need urgent action to address.

The FAWC says:

Society should provide farmed animals with ‘a life worth living’ and an increasing number with ‘a good life’. We affirm that these principles should extend to farmed fish. Both ‘a life worth living’ and ‘a good life’ encompass a whole life up to and including death.

If the recommendations of the FAWC were implemented it would ensure that all of the millions of fish that are farmed in the UK would have a more humane death.

Dil Peeling, Compassion’s Director of Campaigns said:

I welcome this new report which gives a clear message to government and fish farming industry that we can and should reduce the suffering of farmed fish at slaughter.

It also challenges the casual assumption that fish are not able to feel pain, which the science proves is not true.

There is no justification to treat fish any differently from other farm animals. We should treat them with the same compassion as any other animal.

As far as Compassion understands, the majority of salmon and trout slaughtered in the UK will be stunned before slaughter.

If you want to ensure the farmed fish you buy is stunned, look for RSPCA Freedom Food and Soil Association.