Award-winning actor Joaquin Phoenix struggles underwater, panic in his eyes and on his face. Joaquin has won many awards for his performances and has been nominated for an Academy Award this year for his role in The Master, but his devotion to the well-being of animals is no act. In this video, Joaquin reenacts the terror that fish experience in the last moments of their lives.
“I was 3-years-old—to this day it is a vivid memory. My family and I were on a boat, catching fish. As one fish was caught, he was writhing, then he was thrown against the side of the boat. You couldn’t disguise what it was. This was what we did to animals to eat them. The animal went from a living, vibrant creature fighting for life to a violent death. I recognized it, as did my brothers and sisters.”
Fish are smart, interesting animals with unique personalities, and just like dogs, cats, and humans, they feel pain. Scientists who study pain are in complete agreement that the pain response in fish is basically identical to the pain response system in mammals and birds. But the fishing industry slaughters billions of fish for food each year. Every single one of those billion fish are stolen from the water, fighting for breath, feeling their chest move slower and slower, until they finally die an agonizing death. Without any legal protection from cruel treatment, these complex animals are impaled, crushed, suffocated, or cut open and gutted, all while they’re still conscious.
Sharks and fish have a purpose in life, just as humans do—and when that life is ripped away, they feel pain, fear, and distress, just as we do. Joaquin captures their panic and helplessness in this video.
Posted by Edwina Baier