We don’t even know where to start with all the disrespect and cruelty we see being inflicted on live fish everywhere. China is selling live fish in sealed keyrings, fish are being tattooed more and more and one Japanese man is producing ‘art’ consisting of hyper-transparent fish and animals with fluorescent colored organs. From an outsider’s point of view the aquarium hobby is also cruel, and indeed some reef life suffer at our hands, but overall we’re trying to grow more fish and more corals and we do so in a respectful manner.
What makes our blood boil is the thought that the people buying fish (and turtles) in sealed containers with no food or gas exchange must know that they are buying a condemned animal and supporting more cruel handling of live fish and turtles. Even before they starve we can’t imagine what it must be like to be shoved in someone’s warm pocket, thrown about like keys and what kind of hot and cold temperature swings the poor keyring-captives must endure before finally expiring.
Then you’ve got the continuing saga of dying and tattooing fish. What was once a practice restricted to the already-freaks blood parrot cichlids and glassfish, fish tattooing has now spread to all manner of livebearers, goldfish and other colors of blood parrot cichlids. In addition to the hypodermic injection of acrylic paint, some fish are now being tattooed using lasers with more elaborate patterns, hearts and Chinese characters. How do you like the sound of a longfin balloon molly with the Italian flag tattooed on it’s side? Ughh, that just sounds grotesque.
Finally, a Japanese ‘artist’ is turning fish, squid, salamanders, turtles, crabs and birds into see through objects with brightly stained internal organs. This last transformation of living things into display objects is right on the boundary between educational and sepulchral; if the finished pieces are few and they are mainly used for display the see-through animals could be appreciated by many observers without having to process so many living animals, but if they are being mass produced and sold to the public then that is another matter.
Definitions of what is morally and ethically acceptable in regards to ornamental animals will vary, but somewhere along the way some merchants of life became merchants of death and disfigurement. We’re not saying that the aquarium hobby is beyond reproach but where animal welfare is concerned, we wholly support the healthy and respectful treatment of aquatic life and we rebuke businesses who blatantly put money above the life and welfare of any living thing.
[youtube width=”680″ height=”400″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FsKWu3qPQro[/youtube]