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Fish Have Feelings, Too

September 2023

MYTH: Fish don’t feel and so don’t suffer in industrial fishing. FACT: Fish are sentient animals who deserve to live free from pain and fear and should be protected, but minimal protections and knowledge contribute to their cruel exploitation.

porcupine fish
A Porcupine Fish (The Ocean Agency/Adobe Stock)

A recent presentation for the “Animal Matters” series through Tufts Center for Animals and Public Policy tackled the topic of fish and their overwhelming classification by society as “commodities” — rather than individual, sentient beings — and whether the future could hold a more compassionate shift in perspective.

The U.S. Animal Kill Clock, which tracks the number of animals slaughtered for people’s food, estimates that more than 3.7 trillion fish and 43 trillion shellfish are killed each year in the United States.

Jennifer Jacquet, a professor of environmental science and policy affiliated faculty with the Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy, noted in her Tufts’ talk titled “Fish Are Not Natural Resources” that people’s perceptions about fish, as well limited scientific data published about their sentience, are key factors that need to change.

Jacquet noted that fish endure conditions uncommon to many other wild animals, such as being used as commercial “feed” for other farmed aquatic animals or having their oils worked into supplements for people.

Because so little has been investigated or published about fish sentience, fish and other aquatic species have minimal – if any — welfare protections while they are being farmed or captured from the wild. That limited knowledge also has led to some dangerous misperceptions that society typically uses to justify the existing mass killings under atrocious conditions.

Here are some highlights from the talk about what you should know about fish in today’s world, as well as some recommended actions you can take to help them.


Please read the ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE.


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