Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Death by Dyeing...

Have you ever heard of painted glass fish?  They look like this:

Very pretty, right?  Well, the name implies that they were painted, but the store assured us that it was a naturally occurring color.  So we bought three, and put them in our new fish tank (we have three tanks now).  A few hours later one of the fish began to show signs of ich (small whitish dots on its fins which are a sign of disease).  We still had the receipt so we took it back and they said that they would refund the money and treat the rest of the fish in that tank.

We came home and did a little research about them and it turns out that this is a horrible, horrible thing that is happening to tons and tons of fish.  The fish are injected with brightly neon colored paint.  This is not just one injection, but many injections with a large gauge needle.  On top of that, the fish need to be dunked in some sort of chemical which strips them of their protective outer slime coating and then after they are injected they are dunked in another chemical that stimulates their bodies to reslime themselves. 

This process is so shocking for the fish that there is an 80% mortality rate.  Even the fish that do survive will be prone to disease and will most likely die within a few months after purchase.  And if they do survive, the paint will fade off of their bodies in a matter of time.  It just stays long enough for the unsuspecting customer to be fooled into purchasing them!

Doesn't this sound like cruelty to animals?  Well, it is not technically classified as cruelty to animals because those laws only apply to mammals.  The dyeing process occurs in places like Malaysia and Thailand where unskilled, low wage workers are injecting the fish.  Any shop that sells these kind of fish should be boycotted, and we are abandoning our favorite fish shop because of this as well.  We were going to the small mom and pop fish store, because we like to patronize small businesses whenever possible.  But just the fact that either the help has been instructed to lie, or they do not know what they are talking about at all, makes us not want to go back there.

I feel so stupid for not having thought about the fact that a freshwater fish probably does not have a naturally occurring blue, green, yellow, orange, or purple stripe in it.  Fish are so beautiful in their own natural state, there is no reason we need to torture them for our own sick purposes.

If we wouldn't have been lied to (or if we would have done some reasearch first) this would never have happened.

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