Bangkok – After hearing that Miss Universe Thailand, Amanda Obdam, plans to wear a costume inspired by betta fish (also known as Siamese fighting fish) at the upcoming Miss Universe pageant, PETA rushed a letter to the beauty contestant to inform her that betta fish suffer terribly in Thailand and to ask her if she will wear a special pin made with crystals on her costume to raise awareness of the suffering of these fish.
PETA’s pin for Obdam reads, “Betta Fish Deserve Better”.
In the letter to Obdam, PETA Director Ashley Fruno writes, “I hope you will agree that betta fish deserve better and will do your part to help them. You have already used your public prominence to make an important difference by raising awareness of mental-health issues. Will you please also help these abused fish?”
PETA’s investigation into Thailand’s betta fish industry revealed entrenched neglect and cruelty to fish who are bred into a life of suffering only to be sold as pets or forced to fight to death in fish-fighting rings. At every fish facility PETA visited, bettas were confined to small containers in water that barely covered their bodies. Bettas were also left out of the water for long periods of time while workers carelessly sorted them for shipping. Dead fish were found at every location – many of them on the ground, where they had likely suffocated to death. Those with tails that were considered imperfect were deemed unprofitable and dumped into a nearby canal or pond to fend for themselves.
Thailand’s betta fish are also packed without food and left to starve for days while they are shipped to countries all over the world, and worker told PETA’s investigator that tranquiliser is added to the water to keep the fish from eating their own tails during the arduous journey. These are common practices in the industry, meaning many more bettas die before reaching their final destination.
PETA’s letter to Obdam is available to read in full here.
PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way” – urges kind people like Obdam never to buy betta fish or support this cruel trade.
Broadcast-quality video footage and photos from PETA’s investigation are available upon request.