An Animal Equality undercover investigation reveals the tunas’ massacre, which takes place each year, between late May and early June, just off the coast of the most populated area of the island of San Pietro, south-west Sardinia.
Hundreds of bluefin tunas are caught in traps while they migrate to their breeding grounds and are later slaughtered. During a careful and painstaking investigation, Animal Equality recorded and photographed both the natural behavior of tunas underwater, and the plight of the bluefin tunas who are brutally killed every Spring in Italy.
Contrary to popular opinion, recent science proves that fish are highly sentient, complex, and intelligent beings, extremely sensitive to physical and emotional sensations of pain and fear. See our earlier report on fish for more details.
The investigation has been featured in The Times this morning:
Katherine van Ekert, president of Sentient, the Australian institute for animal ethics said the tuna could feel pain. “The suspension of the tuna’s body weight is expected to cause pain and stress to the animals, as too would the tearing of their tissues as a result of gravity working against the hook.”
“Pain and stress can be witnessed through the struggling and thrashing movements of the tuna while suspended in the air.”
This old and cruel ritual takes place traditionally during this time of the year. Hundreds of these gigantic animals are forced to swim through a system of fixed nets which leads them into the ‘killing zone’. The tonnara – mobile nets – slowly push the tunas towards the water surface, leaving the terrified animals stacked on top of each other. Once crowded together, the animals injure themselves as they thrash violently.
The sea turns red and they begin to run out of oxygen – that’s when the killing starts. The heavy tunas are hooked and lifted from the water surface to waiting boats, where are then violently struck with harpoons – one after another – whilst struggling, choking and bleeding to death.