Earlier this month, Mercy For Animals – a national animal rights organization released new hidden camera footage from their latest undercover investigation into a Texas slaughter facility.
The video, secretly shot at Catfish Corner in Mesquite, Texas, shows workers cutting, slicing, skinning, suffocating and dismembering live and fully conscious catfish – an excruciatingly painful practice harshly condemned by veterinarians.
The organization is calling on all 181 Texas House and Senate members to address the abuse by introducing new legislation to specifically prohibit "skinning and dismembering of all live, conscious animals" during this legislative session.
It is now widely accepted that fish feel pain. In fact, fish process pain in much the same way as mammals. The fish in the video exhibit pronounced aversive responses to their handling, such as violently flopping and attempting to move away, suggesting that they indeed feel pain and are suffering immensely.
In December, MFA presented the Dallas County District Attorney's office with evidence from this case. However, the District Attorney declined to file charges, citing the limitations of Texas animal cruelty laws. Not a single federal law protects fish from cruelty – allowing such abuse to run rampant in the fishing industry nationwide.
“All animals deserve to be protected from needless cruelty. It’s blatant animal abuse to violently stab, cut and rip off the skin of animals who are alive and conscious,” says Mercy For Animals’ Executive Director, Nathan Runkle. “Fish suffer pain and deserve the same protection as other animals from such egregious abuse.”
Photo credit: video capture MFA