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Fish Killed While Conscious at US Catfish Slaughterhouse


Animal Equality has released disturbing scenes of animal suffering filmed at a Simmons Farm Raised Catfish slaughterhouse located in Yazoo City, Mississippi, United States. Simmons, which raises fish in intensive confinement pods, slaughters approximately 21,000 of these animals per day making it one of the largest catfish slaughterhouses in the United States. The company supplies major grocery stores and national restaurant chains in the US.

Our investigation revealed catfish were kept out of water for prolonged periods – up to an hour – before they were killed by beheading. The fish passed through an electrical stunning device during the process, however many regained mobility, gasping and moving their fins, long before they were decapitated. Rejected catfish, mudfish, and turtles were removed from production lines, placed in buckets without water, then later placed onto a conveyor and transported to a macerator where they were ground up alive.

The undercover footage revealed:

  • Hundreds of catfish regularly left out of water to slowly suffocate
  • Fish being decapitated while conscious
  • Turtles and fish placed in buckets to be later ground up alive and, according to one employee, used as feed for catfish raised for the company
  • A turtle thrown onto a moving conveyor which was carrying severed catfish heads, who desperately tried to crawl in the opposite direction as they were carried towards the macerator 
  • Ill and parasite-scarred fish left alive in bins without water on the slaughterhouse floor for hours            

Mississippi law states that any person who is responsible for the care and handling of living creatures, including fish, may not cause those animals to be tortured or tormented, nor deprived of necessary sustenance (such as oxygen). In causing hundreds of fish each day to be subjected to such treatment, Simmons management and owners should be held responsible. Animal Equality has submitted evidence to the County Prosecutor, detailing the violations of Mississippi’s animal cruelty laws we documented during the month-long investigation.

Animal Equality has also filed complaints in several states, alleging that Simmons’s false and misleading claims about its products and production practices constitute unfair or deceptive trade practices under those states’ consumer protection laws.

This is not the first time Animal Equality has uncovered the suffering of farmed fish at slaughter. Our investigation into a Scottish Salmon Company slaughterhouse also revealed fish being killed while they were still conscious, causing salmon to be in prolonged agony as a result.

You can make a difference for fish by sharing this investigation and leaving them off your plate.

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