This week, animal-rights group Compassion Over Killing (COK) released footage from its first-ever undercover investigation of industrial fish farming. The gut-wrenching video exposes animal abuse and disgusting conditions at Cooke Aquaculture, a massive Atlantic salmon hatchery in Bingham, ME, whose subsidiary, True North, has partnered on a new seafood brand with television personality Martha Stewart. Inside the Cooke hatchery, millions of salmon are raised each year, living in extremely crowded tanks in their own waste. The footage revealed workers slamming and stomping on fish to kill them, and throwing them into buckets, leaving them to suffocate in piles of other dead and dying fish. The hatchery’s foul environment is the perfect breeding ground for parasites, and COK’s investigator documented fungus eating away at the faces of fish. Investigators also found fish that had painful spinal deformities and conditions so filthy that fish have to be vaccinated. COK’s investigator documented a worker saying, “Hopefully by Monday morning, all the fish aren’t dead in here.” “While the aquaculture industry sells itself as a solution to the state of our overfished oceans, there’s a big catch: Millions of farmed fish are languishing inside filthy tanks, and disease and pollution from fish factory farms take a toll on wild populations, too,” Mike Wolf, COK director of investigations, said. “It’s long past time the fish farming industry is put on the hook for the suffering it’s forcing upon animals.” COK has submitted evidence to local authorities and is urging prompt enforcement action.
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