Crowded conditions in fish farms are comparable to those in battery chicken farms
Free range chickens at Ayrshire Farms in Virginia.
There are different sorts of half-assed vegetarians and the type I chose to be some years ago was pescetarian, meaning that the only animals I ate were fishes. The general theory of this, put forward by, among others, Peter Singer, was that fish were not exploited when they are alive. They got to have a nice life swimming about the sea before they became my dinner. They were not kept in pens like chickens or habitually mistreated like cows. The Omega 3 fatty acids were just a bonus.
That’s all changed now. 90% of the larger fish species such as tuna have been killed off, and 70% of fisheries have been over-exploited. We are fishing whole species to the point of extinction.
Famous pescetarian Jillian Michaels
So the answer people came up with to solve this difficulty is the fish farm. About half of the fish consumed in the world today come from fish farms. The living conditions of fish in such enclosures are cramped and rather horrible. I will not attempt to describe them in detail here.
Almost all fish contain mercury.
Today, if I must eat animals, I am going to eat chickens.
Most chickens are also treated horribly while alive, but their living conditions are getting somewhat better, and in many places, free-range chicken is available. Chickens are not faced with extinction. Organic chicken is available that is not polluted with hormones and antibiotics.
When being vegan is just not practical, being pollotarian is superior to being pescetarian.
California is the first state to require that all whole eggs sold in California come from hens that are able to stand up, extend their limbs, and spread their wings without touching either one another or the sides of the cage.
In Ohio, secret negotiations between farmers and the Humane Society of the United States resulted in an agreement to bar new construction of egg farms that pack birds in cages, and to phase out the tight caging of pregnant sows within 15 years and of veal calves by 2017.
Millions of chickens spend their entire lives in cages smaller than 8 x 12 inches in area
Perhaps seeing the writing on the wall, the United Egg Producers, a national industry organization, have joined with the U.S. Humane Society to back legislation in Congress that would:
- require the nationwide elimination of battery cages
- require that birds be able to engage in natural behaviors currently denied to them in barren cages, such as perches, nesting boxes, and scratching areas
- require labeling on all egg cartons nationwide to inform consumers of the method of egg production, such as “eggs from caged hens” or “eggs from cage-free hens”
- prohibit forced molting through starvation–an inhumane practice which is inflicted on tens of millions of hens each year and which involves withholding all food from birds for up to two weeks in order to shock their bodies into another laying cycle
- prohibit excessive ammonia levels in henhouses and require standards for euthanasia practices
- prohibit the sale of all eggs and egg products nationwide that don’t meet these requirements.
Many of those provisions would be implemented over time, but passage of such legislation would be a major victory for animal rights.
Here’s a video that might be somewhat revealing about the feline psyche. The cat is doing a pretty good dog imitation, but when he notices he’s being watched, he quickly switches to a normal meow.
Thanks to @Alyssa_Milano for tweeting about this.
Photo by Pilar Olivares / Reuters – Peruvian surfer Domingo Pianezzi loves to ride the waves–so much so, in fact, that he’s made it his mission to share the experience with different animals he comes across.