Group Points to the Hypocrisy of Serving Intelligent Aquatic Animals in Aquarium Café
For Immediate Release:
10 December 2013
Napier – Serving fish at an aquarium is like serving “poodle burgers” at a dog show. That’s the message that was sent to Rob Yarrall, manager of the National Aquarium of New Zealand, in a letter fired off this morning by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Australia asking that all fish dishes be removed from the menu. Despite the fact that fish are intelligent animals who feel pain and that part of the aquarium’s role is to act as an educational facility, the Fish Bowl Cafe includes fish and chips on its menu.
When they are dragged from the ocean’s depths, fish undergo excruciating decompression, which often causes their eyes to pop out of their sockets and pushes their stomachs out through their mouths. When they are tossed onto ships’ decks, many fish slowly suffocate or are crushed to death. Fish on fish farms spend their entire lives confined to cramped, filthy tanks before being violently killed and are often cut open while still alive. The journal Fish and Fisheries has cited more than 500 research papers on fish intelligence that prove that fish can use tools and have impressive long-term memories and sophisticated social structures.
Serving fish also places National Aquarium of New Zealand customers at risk. None of us would dream of drinking water tainted by sewage, pesticides, heavy metals and other contaminants, yet we’ll unthinkingly eat fish who are pulled out of such a toxic brew. Fish absorb the chemicals that are in water and can pass them on to people who eat their flesh. Food Standards Australia New Zealand found that 16 per cent of Australian farmed fish tested positive for the fungicide malachite green. The Victorian government has issued warnings to reduce the consumption of fish and eels caught in Australian rivers because of contaminants.
“We’re calling on the National Aquarium of New Zealand and the Fish Bowl Cafe to get their act together”, says PETA Australia Director of Campaigns Jason Baker. “How can people take the aquarium’s supposed respect for fish seriously when they open their menus and choices of fish’s body parts are staring them in the face?”
PETA’s letter to the National Aquarium of New Zealand is available upon request. For more information on how fish suffer before they’re killed for their flesh, please visit FishingHurts.com.