Let’s Talk Fish

Even now, I am asked if being vegan means that I still eat fish. Some people don’t even class fish as animals. But fish are wonderful creatures!

Fish are amazing animals. They are great communicators who ‘speak’ using squeaks, squeals and even sing to their partners. Some species even tend well-kept ‘gardens’, encouraging the growth of algae and ‘weeding out’ the types that they don’t prefer.

From the tiniest fish that you can barely see, to the much-loved whale, all fish deserve to live free from harm.

Fish feel pain
The suffering of fish is now well documented. Scientific reports have proven that they experience pain, fear and the natural instinct to survive, just as other animals do. The fact that fish may have led a ‘free range’ existence does not make their slaughter any more excusable or their deaths any less brutal and unnecessary.

Factory farmed fish

Industrial farms breed fish in huge sunken pens, like battery cages under water. The fish are unable to swim freely and thrash about in filthy water until their time comes to be killed. Disease runs rife in such cramped conditions, so they need to be dosed with drugs to kill parasites and keep infection at bay. These diseases often spread to local wild fish, killing many.

Fish farms wreak havoc on the environment due to the amount of concentrated effluent that is discharged into the surrounding waters. Huge quantities of wild-caught fish are also fed to farmed fish – even herbivorous ones – further plundering the ocean and damaging the environment.


Aquatic animals have very little protection in law at the time of their slaughter. Killing methods for farmed fish are vicious – some are boiled alive, while others suffer asphyxiation or are bled to death without stunning. This would be considered completely unacceptable for any other kind of animal.

Most wild-caught fish are gutted whilst still alive or are left to suffocate. The whole commercial fishing process, totally ungoverned by humane protocols – let alone laws – could be the greatest animal welfare scandal of our time

For more detailed information, please see Animal Aid’s ‘Dark Waters’ report.