Proposal for a council regulation laying down measures concerning incidental catches of cetaceans in fisheries
1. We welcome any measures to lessen the toll inflicted on the wildlife in the seas, as well as those in intensive farming in fresh and salt waters. Therefore the revised Regulation would offer what seems to us only small mercies in a context in which public opinion and concern are focusing increasingly on the exploitation of animals (in the widest expression) and the environment (also in the most comprehensive purview); early revisions of measures implicating these factors seem likely.
2. In this regard we are therefore reflecting DEFRA’s intentions for a comprehensive Animal Health and Welfare Strategy for Great Britain, with these considerations to the fore.
3. Exemptions of fish from legislation applicable to other livestock can no longer be brooked, because the evidence is strong that fish are sentient and intelligent, and thus suffer common pain, distress and fear. Definitions of, say, dolphin-friendly tuna delude with false assurances of earnests of welfare: they conceal an enormity inflicted on the fish.
4. Attitudes to hunting, whether in the acquisition of food (or as an adjunct to it) or in the pursuit of forms of "enjoyment", illustrate a quickening concern over angling and then to commercial fishing, which is an intensified relic of hunting for food and industrial products, for which less objectionable commodities may be obtained by other means.
5. Reform in the fishing industry must ensure at least that the regulations applying to the "humane" slaughter and culling of farmed livestock apply to catches, intentional and otherwise, from aquatic domains. Conditions for trapping, impoundment and restraint must, likewise, apply broadly.
6. In environmental terms Regulations must be laid that heed what will increasingly accrue from research on environmental pollution of seas and waterways, with corollaries in the health and well-being of all species, including humans. Noise pollution is an important factor in this connection.
Dr. Alan Long