LARGE-SCALE LIVESTOCK FARMING: The Silent Desperation of Aquatic Slaves

This series NON-HUMANS, HUMANS, CLIMATE, MACHINES views large-scale livestock farming as an area primarily related to ethics and animal rights, but at the same time draws attention to the fact that large-scale farming is a capitalist mechanism, and is the result of economic and power-related interests and pressures that allow and normalize slaughter on a large-scale. The texts try to identify a network of actors, agents and relationships that are involved in large-scale farming and present them as a complex problem.

The series is published in parallel with the ongoing campaign All Farm Animals Deserve to Roam Free. We call to end this inhumane practice by banning all cages for farmed animals. Cages are cruel.

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The author of the ninth contribution entitled The Silent Desperation of Aquatic Slaves; The Political, Environmental, and Social Economy of the Fishing Industry is Tomáš Uhnák.

He received a Master’s in Food Policy at City, University of London. He is a doctoral student at the Department of Humanities in the Czech University of Life Sciences Faculty of Economics and Management. His research addresses paradigms of agricultural and food systems. He studies the formation of agricultural models through the ideological frameworks of industrial farming and emancipatory agrarian social movements. He works as an analyst and journalist of the political, social, and environmental aspects of food systems, and serves as a parliamentary consultant [tj. poradce sněmovně?] on farming and food systems. He has long been an advocate for the development of community-supported agriculture and is a co-founder of the Food Sovereignty Initiative (Iniciativa potravinové suverenity). With the Association of Local Food Initiatives (Asociace místních potravinových iniciativ, AMPI), he advocates domestically and internationally for community-supported agriculture, reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy, agroecology, and food sovereignty.

A number of impact analyses have shown that if the fishing industry continues to pillage the seas at its current rate, and if we do not reduce the negative effects of climate change, by 2050 sea life will shrink by more than 90% (Worm et al. 2006). Factory fish farms are gradually replacing deep sea fishing and are becoming one of the fastest-growing sectors of the food industry. Although factory fish farms are often presented as a more sustainable solution for acquiring fish and preserving biodiversity in the sea, they have turned out to create a whole range of negative externalities.
This text introduces the main challenges that these farms represent for society, the environment, and ethics. It describes new forms of slavery in the 21st century which largely form the basis of the economic strategy of part of the fishing industry. It focuses on the problems in the operation of factory fish farms, especially on their dependence on catching wild fish, and outlines the legislative gray area thanks to which welfare standards for the killing of fish have not been established. Last but not least, the text discusses contemporary research on the cognitive abilities of fish that is transforming the discourse and a view of fish that sees them as animals that feel and experience and whose dignity must be acknowledged.

This text is not available in English version.