Fish Slaughtering

Thank you for contacting me regarding your concerns about the current level of protection for farmed fish at the point of slaughter.

Whilst the Scottish Government do have some responsibility for animal welfare and aquaculture, some of which is overseen by the Rural Affairs, Islands and Natural Environment Committee, the UK Government has responsibility for policy in respect of the slaughtering of farmed fish. The UK Animal Welfare Committee (AWC) has called for evidence about this issue and they will publish their report once their investigations are complete. They will then update Defra and the devolved Governments on this. They may also provide an update in their work to the Scottish Animal Welfare Commission.

I will study the findings of the AWC carefully but I agree that the time has come to consider updating the law with detailed provisions that better protect the welfare of farmed fish during the slaughter process. Whether it is fish or any other famed animal, it is important that we have the highest possible welfare provision and that is something I and my Labour colleagues in the UK Parliament take very seriously. My colleague Colin Smyth, Scottish Labour’s Rural Affairs Spokesperson has also tabled parliamentary questions seeking asking the Scottish Government what action they are taken to seek to improve the welfare and protection for farmed fish at the point of slaughter.

I hope the above information is useful to you. Thank you for bringing this matter to my attention, please be assured I have noted your concerns.