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Proposed Land-based Salmon Farms An Animal Welfare Disaster Waiting To Happen

SAFE Is Urging The Ministry For Primary Industries (MPI) To Reconsider Plans For A Proposed Land-based Salmon Farm In Light Of Growing Animal Welfare Concerns With Fish Farming. The $16.7 Million Project, Led By Mt Cook Alpine Salmon And Backed By MPI, Is Reportedly Set To Be Developed In The Mackenzie Or Waitaki Districts.

While MPI Has Labelled The Prototype ‘innovative’ For Its Focus On Sustainability, Their Public Statements Regarding The Proposed Plans Include A Glaring Lack Of Animal Welfare Consideration.

SAFE Campaigns Manager Anna De Roo Said It’s An Animal Welfare Disaster Waiting To Happen.

"The Crowded Conditions Required For Salmon Land-based Farming To Make A Profit Make It Akin To Battery Hen Farming, Which Has Already Been Accepted By New Zealanders As Unlawful. Each Salmon Receives Minimal Space And Is Compelled To Swim In Small Circles For The Rest Of Their Short Life," Said De Roo.

Salmon In Land-based Farms Are Held At Extremely High Stocking Densities, Which Huon Aquaculture Estimates To Be Up To 15 Times Higher Than Current Maximum Sea Cage Levels.

Current Sea Cage Conditions Already Cause Salmon To Suffer Through Overcrowding, Poor Water Quality And Disease, Resulting In Mass Salmon Deaths Every Year.

"Further, It Is Concerning That These Farm Plans Are Being Developed Before The Release Of The National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee’s Code Of Welfare For Farmed Fishes. Given The Stress And Suffering This Very Intensive System Would Impose On Salmon, I Would Expect A Code Of Welfare To Advise Against It," Said De Roo.

"Fishes Feel Pain And Have The Ability To Experience Positive And Negative Emotional States Similar To Other Animals, But It’s Clear The Needs Of Salmon Are Being Ignored."

"At The End Of The Day, Salmon Farming Is Factory Farming, Which Is Inherently Cruel. Argentina Banned Salmon Farming Last Year And Aotearoa Needs To Look At Banning It Too, Certainly Not Ramping It Up."

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