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Fish Are Getting Their Animal Rights Moment

MARC GUNTHER: ‘Life is improving for billions of farm animals. Pregnant pigs are being liberated from gestation crates. Laying hens have more room to roam. Cows are humanely slaughtered. But fish? They’re the “forgotten victims on our plate,” says the philosopher and animal-rights activist Peter Singer, even though more of them are killed each year for food than all other animals combined. Of the dozens of investigations of factory farms done by advocates for animals, just one—a 2011 exposé of a Texas catfish farm—looked at fish. And unlike cows and pigs, fish are not covered by U.S. federal law requiring humane methods of slaughter. Can consumers be persuaded to care?…

We’ll soon see whether attitudes will change: The Open Philanthropy Project, a leading funder of the animal welfare movement, last year made three grants totaling $1.2 million to support European groups that advocate on behalf of fish, and awarded $1.5 million in funding to strengthen standards that address the well-being of fish. The hope is that reforms achieved in Europe, where consumers and governments are more attuned to animal welfare issues, will make their way to the U.S…

Much of the groundwork for improving fish welfare is being laid in Europe. Dyrevernalliansen, a Norwegian animal protection group, is working with fish farmers and retailers to identify practices that can be improved in Norway, the world’s largest producer of farmed salmon. The Albert Schweitzer Foundation, which is based in Berlin, is developing fish standards in cooperation all the big German food retailers. “They seem to be very interested,” says Mahi Klosterhalfen, the group’s CEO, noting that German retailers were the first in Europe to agree to stop selling cage-free eggs’. SOURCE…

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