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Don't buy salmon this Christmas!

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18 Dec 2022

If you’re one of the 10% of the population planning to have a salmon starter to go with your Christmas dinner, you might want to read this before tucking in.

A new investigation has uncovered a big dirty secret about salmon farming – the ‘healthy’ fish you’re eating may come with a side order of lice and poison.

As a nation, the UK consumes 63,300 tonnes of salmon each year, but footage from the investigation shows devastating disease and cruelty, and the shocking use of banned poisons such as formaldehyde at salmon farms across the country.

The film below shows several farms across Scotland and includes sometimes distressing scenes of salmon being eaten alive by parasites or being dispatched inhumanely. Viewer discretion is advised.

Salmon parasites, diseases and poisons

The investigation also revealed the terrible conditions that farmed fish have to live in – small nets that hold up to 100,000 fish. There’s no space to swim, and the salmon that makes it to your plate is surrounded by dead and dying fish throughout its life.

These conditions are perfect for two things to thrive – parasites and disease spread rapidly amongst the salmon.

As if that wasn’t enough to put you off your lunch, there’s also the use of poisons such as Formaldehyde, which are rightly banned in all other types of animal farming. These poisons are impacting other marine life around the farms including, crab, fish and otters. 

Dale Vince OBE, funder of the investigation, Founder of Ecotricity and UN Ambassador for Climate Change says:

‘Firstly, the fact that it takes over seven tonnes of wild fish to produce just one ton of farmed salmon is ludicrous. It’s a monstrous waste and is totally unsustainable. I urge the British public to make different choices this Christmas – why not try seasonable favourites such as chestnuts, cranberries, beetroot, or even smoked tofu or mushroom pate to replace salmon on your festive menus. Surely cruelty doesn’t taste good, does it?'

What’s the healthy option?

You might think that wild salmon is the healthier option but even those fish are being cross-contaminated with the parasites and poisons as they swim past the fish farms as part of their migration. 

This has contributed to a dramatic 70% fall in the numbers of wild salmon in Scottish rivers since the turn of the century.

So, if you’re planning to buy salmon for your festive celebrations (two million Brits are!), we suggest you pick something healthier and tastier than lice-infested fish.

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The Climate Clock is a version of the Doomsday clock that has been running since 1947 - this tracks the risk of global man-made disaster, through man made technology (like nuclear weapons) - displaying the minutes and seconds left before midnight, when disaster strikes. The climate crisis is a small part of the calculations made.
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