Wearing little more than bodypaint and hanging several feet above the sidewalk from hooks pierced through her back, a PETA “mermaid” greeted attendees of the SeaWeb Seafood Summit near The Westin Seattle Hotel on Monday with a sign reading, “Fishing Hurts.”
While spectators gawked in awe at our lovely mermaid, PETA supporters passed out leaflets and vegan starter kits urging people to stand for “Sea Life, Not Seafood.”
Fish feel pain and fear, just as dogs, cats, and humans do.
Fish suffer enormously when they’re dragged from the sea in nets or impaled on hooks. They’re sensitive, intelligent animals with their own unique personalities. Studies have shown that fish not only feel pain but also learn tasks, have long-term memories, use tools, and show affection. When they’re hauled up from the ocean depths, they endure the excruciating pain of decompression, and the pressure often damages their internal organs.
Eating fish is also harmful to humans and the planet. Fish flesh contains massive amounts of toxins like methylmercury and PCBs, which can cause cancer, brain damage, and birth defects. Commercial fishing has virtually emptied millions of square miles of ocean and pushed many marine species to the brink of extinction. Fishing boats indiscriminately pull as many fish as they can out of the sea, leaving ecological devastation and the bodies of millions of nontarget animals in their wake.
Fish factory farms also contribute to suffering and environmental degradation. Roughly half the fish killed for food are now spending most of their lives on fish farms, crowded into filthy tanks where injuries, infection, and parasites run rampant. These farms create enormous waste, as the concentrated feces are often contaminated with large amounts of drugs that were fed to the fish.
Scale back cruelty by going vegan today.
PETA is calling on people everywhere to choose vegan meals and spare sensitive aquatic animals the agony of being impaled, crushed, cut open, and gutted. With so many delicious vegan options on the market today, there’s no reason not to!