WARNING: Contains footage of animal cruelty
Imagine a world without Nemo. A place where we only encounter the beauty of sea creatures through silver screens and plexi-glass aquariums.
We can all agree it’s not a world we’d like to live in, yet, our fishing industries, at the helm of this slaughter ship, are slowly but surely sinking the number of fish in the sea.
Experts now warn there’ll be none left in a matter of decades.
Don’t believe me? Here’s why we might have fishless oceans by 2048:
Katie Powell, an animal rights activist, told UNILAD, 2.7 trillion animals are dragged out of the ocean every year, adding:
We could see fishless oceans by 2048.
Among those fish are over 50 million sharks, which are killed in fishing lines and nets - needlessly - every year.
Powell described the 'domino effect of every single animal in the ocean' as being devastating to the natural food chain, the waning ecology and longevity of the life in our seas.
Dr Callum Roberts, a Professor of Marine Conservation at the University of York, explained the human consequence:
If the oceans die we certainly will. Yet we kill more fish per year than all the humans who have lived on Earth, ever.
Many of the fish we catch are simply thrown over the side because they're over quota or the wrong species, or they're not quite big enough. We can't take as much as we like. We're overfishing the oceans. We're causing a decline in marine life.
What's needed is a political leadership which says this is a real problem. If we act decisively, we can bring them back from the brink.
Professor of Animal Welfare & Ethics at the University of Winchester, Andrew Knight, said:
The impact we're having on the other animals is devastating, but these industries are worth hundreds of millions worth of pounds or dollars.
Not only does human consumption directly lead to a decline in marine life, it's also destroying the marine environment.
Indeed, 75 per cent of the world's fisheries are exploited or depleted and as many as 40 per cent of the fish caught globally every year are discarded.
Keegan Kuhn, who co-created Cowspiracy, told UNILAD:
The leading cause of water pollution around the world is animal agriculture. Animals produce a tremendous amount of waste and that waste ends up in our waterways.
That water is washed out to sea and creates zones so polluted with nitrogen, they're devoid of all life because there's no oxygen left in the water.
However, Dr Mark Williams, a professor of Palaeobiology at the University of Leicester, says 'we shouldn't portion blame'.
Instead, he implores us to acknowledge the development of our ocean agriculture and the damage it has caused and proceed with a solution.
Powell added something must be done to halt and reverse the consequences of overfishing:
We can't wait until 2048 when the ocean is dead and it's already happened. We have to do something about it now.
It's not too late to save the oceans, but we just have to change our behaviours.
However the mass cruelty doesn't just occur on our coastlines.
Before you finish reading this sentence, 15,000 animals will have been killed in the UK alone: that’s 15,000 animals every minute killed for consumption on your dinner table.
I’ll fess up. I'm a meat eater. I eat steak and ribs and chicken and fish – I especially love fish. The excessive time I spend thinking or talking about food is invariably spent mulling over the deliciousness of certain meat groups and livestock.
So this footage came as somewhat of a sickening shock to me:
As a meat-eater and an animal-lover I admit to burying my head in the sand about the mistreatment of innocent animals happening right here in the UK, instead choosing to live in a world of cognitive dissonance, fine dining and blissful ignorance.
Yet footage like this is hard to ignore. It shows pigs screaming as they head to the slaughterhouse, chickens being pulled apart and pecking at the carcasses of those who've collapsed alongside them.
It shows the guts spilling from sharks that were only moments before, swimming in the ocean. It reveals the dark truths which lurk behind the slaughterhouse doors, out to sea on shipping boats and the realities of our very own livestock industry.
As Paul McCartney once said, 'If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.' After seeing this footage, I'm starting to understand why.
Professor of Animal Welfare & Ethics at the University of Winchester, Andrew Knight, told UNILAD:
We develop these mental justifications which allow us to justify what we do; that it's okay to subject them to all sorts of invasive husbandry procedures, to tail dock them, to castrate them.
But they have exact the same capacity to experience pain as our companion animals do in our homes - or even ourselves for that matter.
Powell points out, there's a real 'disconnect' between how we treat domesticated pets and our willingness to eat livestock - animals with countless biological similarities to cats and dogs - who've been subjected to torturous conditions.
But the matter is not just about humanity sacrificing our personal tastes for the welfare of animals; creatures we are programmed to perceive as inferior. The matter is one of global sociological, economic proportions for all living beings; humans included.
This is why we can't, as a society, 'Meat The End', in this way:
Dr Marco Springmann, Lead Researcher at the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food, sums up the debate, saying:
It's clear that if everyone had a Western diet, we couldn't exist and the world would be eaten up.
The question of which we value more remains: the luxury of dietary preferences, or the welfare of millions of animals and the potential to end world hunger?