Animal welfare charity Compassion in World Farming has submitted an open letter to the Scottish Parliament calling for a moratorium on salmon farming in Scotland until “a number of animal welfare concerns” have been addressed by the industry.
The letter has been signed by nearly 130,000 people and its presentation to Parliament was attended by a number of MSPs, including Ariane Burgess MSP (Scottish Greens) and Rachael Hamilton MSP (Conservatives).
Presenting the open letter, Sarah Moyes, Compassion in World Farming’s Senior Campaign Manager said: “Salmon are silently suffering, out of sight, in cruel underwater factory farms across Scotland. And despite this evidence, the Scottish Government are still not addressing these concerns! We cannot allow this awful suffering to continue. Rather than progressing with plans to expand the industry, a moratorium is needed – now.”
Last year, Compassion in World Farming published a critical report on the salmon industry in Scotland, alleging maltreatment and poor conditions for farmed fish. The organisation also released photography and video evidence which appeared to show dead and injured fish in pens.
At the time, the industry responded by pointing out that salmon farms in Scotland are routinely audited by RSPCA Assured, and said that independent inspectors could visit farms at any time.
A recent poll, carried out by Ipsos Scotland for the trade body Salmon Scotland, found that a majority of people living in salmon farming areas supported the industry.