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Fish Killed While Fully Conscious in Scottish Salmon Slaughterhouse


Animal Equality has released undercover footage from a slaughter facility operated by The Scottish Salmon Company, a supplier of major supermarkets Waitrose and Co-op.  Showing how farmed salmon are killed, the pioneering footage is the first of its kind to be released in the UK. The investigation has revealed several extremely serious animal welfare abuses, including a significant number of fish who were killed while fully conscious.

A brave undercover investigator documented:

  • Numerous animals displaying consciousness after failure to stun, evidenced by flapping, wriggling and gasping motions;
  • Salmon’s gills cut without prior stunning, causing pain, and / or salmon being re-stunned with a club after their gills were cut, causing blood to spray from their gills;
  • Salmon being clubbed multiple times, in some instances as many as seven times per animal;
  • Salmon’s gills torn with workers’ fingers, rather than a scalpel;
  • Animals falling or being thrown to the floor and left to suffocate.

This footage is alarming. A significant number of salmon are clearly conscious when their gills are cut, which could result in extreme pain for as long as seven minutes.

Mark Borthwick, Head of Research at the Aquatic Life Institute

Up to 77 million fish are raised and slaughtered in the UK each year – that’s more than two animals killed per second. The Scottish Salmon Company supplies major supermarket chains Waitrose and Co-op as well as high-end retailers and premium restaurants across the UK. It also exports its products to over 20 countries around the world.

Animal Equality UK has coordinated an open letter addressed to ministers across the UK, which has been signed by 70 world-leading aquatic animal specialists, welfare academics and animal protection organisations. Concerned by the investigation’s findings, signatories are calling for specific and meaningful protections to be put in place for fish and other aquatic animals at the time of death, as well as legal training requirements and frequent on-site inspections. This is really the very least these animals deserve and yet currently they are not afforded even these most basic of protections.

Alexander Gould – voiceover actor for much-loved animated clownfish, Nemo, in Disney’s Pixar’s ‘Finding Nemo’ – has also shown his support for the campaign by narrating Animal Equality’s video of the investigation findings.

The Government has a responsibility to farmed animals and this is an unmissable opportunity to make a landmark change. With every day the Government fails to act, thousands of fish are at risk of dying in agony.

Abigail Penny, Executive Director, Animal Equality UK

Animals are suffering like this every single day, all to end up stacked and sold on supermarket shelves. If you’re concerned by this footage, you can act immediately by keeping fish off your plate. Every time you sit down to a plant-based meal instead of one with fish flesh in, you are saving a life!

To find out more and take action, visit: animalequality.org.uk/act/scottish-salmon

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