The NSPCA is currently on-site rescuing fish found in putrid and inhumane living conditions at an aquaculture fish farm in the Karoo, Eastern Cape.

Today, during a proactive inspection trip, the NSPCA stopped at a fish farm that was inspected earlier this year. Alarmingly, the farm appeared to have been abandoned, with no one but the security guard on the premises.

Further investigation by the NSPCA revealed live fish eating one another as they had not been fed and maggots eating and burrowing into the rotting flesh of the fish that had already died. The dried-up carcasses and skeletal remains of other fish were also found scattered across the floors of the farm. The number of surviving fish remains undetermined as the tanks are too filthy to clearly see how many fish there are.

The NSPCA now has to work through several large tunnel houses filled with fish tanks to rescue a large number of fish suffering as a result of severe animal cruelty.

Although the aquaculture sector markets itself as a remedy for the condition of our overfished oceans, there is a significant catch: Aquaculture facilities, just like the one the NSPCA is currently investigating, subject millions of farmed fish to conditions where rampant cruelty is revealed.

Had the NSPCA not taken the initiative to conduct an inspection and urgently intervene, all the fish at the facility would have faced a slow and torturous death. Action will be taken for the cruelty and abuse that the fish were subjected to as the investigation by the NSPCA unfolds.

The plight of fish often goes unseen and unheard, because they are barely recognized as the sentient beings that they are. Instead, they are seen as products, grown for the sole purpose of becoming food. The NSPCA fully recognizes the critical role that aquatic animals play in society and in the ecosystem, they are sentient beings with intrinsic worth and they should be treated that way.

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