When we dive deep into the complex lives of fish, we learn that they’re impressive beings with distinct personalities, behaviors, wants, ways of communicating, and needs. Some species of fish sing or create artworks to impress potential partners. Some use tools to access food or communicate. As unique as these individuals are, they share one thing in common with us and all our other fellow animals: the capacity to suffer. The fishing industry kills billions of fish each year, inflicting almost unimaginable cruelty and devastating the ocean’s ecosystems.
Each Scale Tells a Story—PETA’s Fish Empathy Quilt Inspires Compassion for Sea Life
One way that we can turn the tide against the fishing industry is to foster empathy for fish and other sea life. PETA’s Fish Empathy Quilt marks a profound shift in society’s attitude toward the billions of fish who are killed each year for consumption or “sport.”
Crafted into each colorful square is a reminder that fish are not ours to exploit or kill—they are sentient beings with interests of their own and should be admired, respected, and left in peace. Composed of more than 100 squares thoughtfully contributed by PETA members and supporters, the quilt is still growing as it makes its way across the U.S.
With every stop on its tour, PETA’s Fish Empathy Quilt will inspire more people to show fish the respect they deserve. Keep reading to learn how our Fish Empathy Quilt is making an ocean-size impact.
PETA’s Fish Empathy Quilt Goes Up in California
Kim Bergel, the mayor of Eureka, California, invited PETA to present our Fish Empathy Quilt to City Council and to display it outside City Council’s chambers. With every stop on its tour, PETA’s Fish Empathy Quilt will inspire more people to show fish the respect they deserve.
Compassionate Quilters, Send Us Your Squares!
Help us expand the Fish Empathy Quilt by sending us a square! Mail your fish-friendly creation (measuring 17 inches by 17 inches with an additional ¼-inch seam allowance around the design) to Fish Empathy Quilt, 501 Front St., Norfolk, VA 23510. Together, we can make the world a better place for everyone, including sea life.
Fish Belong in the Ocean, Not on Our Plates
Humans kill more fish for food each year than all other animals combined, even though fish feel pain just as mammals and birds do. In addition to “target” fish, many millions of other animals are caught and killed in fishing nets as “bycatch” each year, including 50 million or more sharks and rays, 300,000 whales and dolphins, and 250,000 turtles. There’s no getting around it: If we don’t work to end the fishing industry’s profit-hungry, destructive, speciesist practices now, we won’t have any ocean-dwelling lives left to save.
Fish are fascinating animals! They can remember other individuals and build complex social networks. Some can even recognize themselves in a mirror, a test called the “gold standard” in animal intelligence. They know when they’re being watched by others and change their behavior accordingly.
“The neurochemistry [between humans and fish] is so similar that it’s scary.”
—Julian Pittman, biology professor at Troy University
Our individual choices may seem like a drop in the ocean, but if the Fish Empathy Quilt teaches us anything, it’s that every act of empathy matters. It’s up to us to protect fish and the ocean—and the best way we can do that is by going vegan. Order a vegan starter kit to make the compassionate switch today: