What's Happening To Salmon On Scottish Salmon Farms?
Unnatural, Crowded Conditions
Salmon are migratory animals that would normally travel many miles in the wild. Cruelly, the industry confines them in unnatural and crowded conditions.
Flesh-eating lice – caused by the unnatural conditions – literally eat the salmon alive. It’s an agonising experience for the fish whose heads and bodies are covered with sensitive pain receptors.
Predation and Cannibalism
Salmon can be attacked by seals, birds, jellyfish and other animals who can approach the sea-pens, either killing the salmon or leaving them with raw gaping wounds.
Salmon are also solitary predators and will attack and cannabilise each other when brought into close contact.
Dead Fish Are Thrown Away
Scotland is already feeling the effects of climate change and it’s affecting salmon too.
Salmon farms at sea are open to the elements, causing fish to die from the violent sea conditions and rising water temperatures. Many salmon are simply thrown away into huge bins.
How You Can Help Fish
1. Sign the petition
Animal Equality is calling on the Scottish Government to stop the expansion of the Scottish salmon industry. The industry is due to double in size in the next decade. Without action, millions of fish will be forced to suffer in silence. It must stop now.
Animal Equality is campaigning to stop salmon suffering but we need your help. Your signature will allow us to persuade politicians to take action.
2. Choose plant-based alternatives to salmon
You can stand up for fish by choosing to leave them off your plate. It’s never been easier to make compassionate choices with our diets, so why not start your plant-based journey today?
Sign up to Love Veg for a free plant-based cookbook and tips on going plant-based.
Progress So Far
Raising Public Awareness
Animal Equality has conducted multiple investigations into the Scottish salmon industry. In 2021, Animal Equality investigated a salmon slaughterhouse in Scotland operated at the time by The Scottish Salmon Company.
At the time of release, the company was a known supplier of salmon to Waitrose and Co-op. Our investigator found several serious animal welfare abuses, including a significant number of fish who were killed while fully conscious.
In 2023, we used drones to film boats slaughtering salmon and trout at farms off the coast of Scotland. This footage showed workers failing to stun fish properly, violently throwing fish around, and leaving fish to suffocate.
We also worked with The Observer and $calmon $cotland to draw attention to record salmon deaths on farms in 2022.
We’ve secured mainstream media coverage with our investigations in The Observer, The Times, The Independent, The Scotsman, and Scotland’s most-widely read newspaper, The Daily Record.
Animal Equality has secured cross-party support from several Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs). We’ve also secured support from world-leading fish welfare experts.
Working together with influential people and organisations, we’ve submitted letters to the Scottish Government to raise concerns about the industry and provide expert insight.
In 2023, Animal Equality sent a letter with Scottish NGO OneKind calling for a moratorium on the expansion of the Scottish salmon industry. The ask was endorsed by MSPs Ariane Burgess, Maggie Chapman, Foysol Choudhury, Monica Lennon, Pauline McNeill, Mark Ruskell, Colin Smyth and Mercedes Villalba, and supported by English MP Henry Smith of the Conservative Party and MP Wera Hobhouse of the Liberal Democrat Party.
Following our 2021 investigation at a Scottish Salmon Company slaughterhouse, the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) announced that welfare inspections would be made mandatory for one year in Scottish fish slaughterhouses from February 2022.
Fighting Against Onshore RAS Farms
While the majority of the UK’s farmed Atlantic salmon are confined and slaughtered in Scotland, concerningly the industry is making moves to expand into England too. In 2023, a controversial super-sized salmon farm was given the green light by North East Lincolnshire Council’s Planning Committee. If constructed, it will be the UK’s first fully onshore RAS salmon farm and one of the largest fish farms in the world. It is estimated the farm would kill hundreds of thousands of fish each year, produce as much effluent as 400,000 humans, and that one salmon fillet would need as much freshwater as a human would drink in an entire year.
We are using the legal system to fighting back. Watch this space!