Uncovering Europe’s “fish feedlots”

This year saw Ecostorm continue its global investigations into industrial farming, with undercover investigators gathering video and other evidence that was subsequently used by UK NGO Compassion in World Farming to highlight conditions on fish farms across Europe. The group said what we discovered – related to species sea bass, sea bream and trout -highlighted how farmed fish can be kept in appalling conditions.

CIWF reported: “Confined to concrete tanks on land or in floating ocean nets by the thousands, these fish spend their short, miserable lives swimming in cramped waters where disease and parasites can thrive. Dead fish were found floating in tanks as live ones swam around them.”

“Equally shocking is the cruel way fish are killed. Sea bass and sea bream are commonly dumped into large buckets of ice slurry, where they thrash about, fighting for their lives, as ice gets lodged in their gills and they struggle to breathe. They can remain conscious throughout this ordeal, and many are still alive when they are packaged for sale.”

“Our team also witnessed trout flailing about in pools of bloody water after having their throats cut, a clear sign that the stunning system wasn’t working properly. This kind of suffering is illegal according to European law, which mandates animals should not suffer unnecessarily while being killed.”

“Not all European countries farm sea bass, sea bream and trout, but these fish are found on supermarket shelves across the continent. There are producers, like some in the UK and Netherlands, who are using more humane slaughter methods for fish but these practices need to be written into national legislation and cover all species.”