As many as 40 percent of farmed fish die before the farmer is ready to slaughter them. Fish who survive are starved before they are sent to slaughter in order to reduce waste contamination of the water during transport. Salmon, for example, are starved for 10 full days.
Fish slaughter plants in the U.S. make no effort to stun the fish, who are fully conscious when they start down the slaughter line. Their gills are cut, and they are left to bleed to death, convulsing in pain. Large fish, such as salmon, are sometimes bashed on the head with a wooden bat called a “priest,” and many are seriously injured but still alive and suffering when they are cut open. Smaller fish, like trout, are often killed by simply draining water away and leaving them to slowly suffocate or by packing them in ice while they are still fully conscious. Because fish are cold-blooded, allowing them to suffocate on ice prolongs their suffering, leaving them to experience excruciating pain for as long as 15 minutes before they die.
The crude methods used to kill fish for human consumption are truly ghastly. Cutting their gills, beating them with bats, suffocating them, or freezing them—all these slaughter practices are completely legal and unregulated. If the victims were dogs, cats, cows, or pigs instead of fish, fish farmers could be charged with felony cruelty to animals. The best way to put an end to cruelty against fish is to stop eating them.”