Today is world oceans day. Most of the exploited beings on earth are fishes, what makes the oceans the greatest exploitation arenas on earth. However, even in the animal liberation movement the center of attention is not on the fishes’ suffering rather on the fact that consequent of the fishes’ exploitation the oceans are hurt. In other words, directing attention to all the suffering individuals is shoved aside in favor of the argument that humans must stop eating fishes since “the oceans are getting empty”.
The use of egocentric and anthropocentric arguments in veganism advocacy is notoriously popular in the animal liberation movement (an issue that should and is broadly discussed separately). In the case of advocacy for fishes, it is not by chance that egocentric and anthropocentric reasons (an ecological one in this case) are at the front stage.
To state the obvious, the ocean can’t feel. Fishes can feel, but humans can’t feel for them. So instead of fishes feelings activists talk to humans about the oceans as if they are the moral entities. They know that most humans relate much more to an abstract concept of nature collapse than actual sentient beings who are hurt individual after individual. Activists know that telling humans that when they consume fishes they hurt “their” and “their children’s” oceans will affect them much more than telling them that when they consume fishes they hurt fishes. (Of course there are some who unfortunately do cherish the environment as a sacred end in itself, instead of a mean for the sentient individuals who live in it, but the debate about eco-fascism which is specifically discussed in the article The Anthropocentric View of the Environmentalists, is not the point here. In this case the environmental rhetoric is recruited as part of the human oriented disposition of the animal liberation movement).
The notion of empty oceans is extremely popular among activists, not because they mistakenly focus on the insentient environment instead of its sentient inhabitants, but because activists focus on humans instead of the ones humans hurt.
This is another clear indication of the despair from humans’ morality but unfortunately without the clear conclusion that must be drawn. Instead of reclaiming the power they shouldn’t have given to humans in the first place, activists continue to play into humans’ hands. It is another case of focusing on the victimizers and what they are willing to do instead of the victims and what they desperately need.
Many activists are far from having expectations from humans. That’s why in private forums some express the claim that empty oceans are a turnout for the better, since they believe it is the only way for the fishes to stop being abused by humans. Considering the past and present state of affairs, the only likelihood that the exploitation will ever stop isn’t that someday humans will figure out that fishes are capable of feeling pain and suffering, but that humans would devour all the commercially captured species of fishes, a scenario predicated for 2048.
Historically that’s how many species’ abuse was ended. Almost all the large land animals were hunted down to the last individual when humans reached their habitats. These are the lucky ones, as several species instead of being wiped out were captivated, confined, controlled, manipulatively bred until being totally domesticated, and to this day are the poorest species in the history of this planet.
Of course we agree that a world with empty oceans is not a problem but an improvement. However, unfortunately the fact that the oceans are becoming empty of fishes humans like to consume doesn’t decrease the number of victims, since humans once again “solved” the “problem” of “depleting prey” by farming their victims.
Humans have been “farming” fishes in net enclosures, ponds, vats and even woven baskets for thousands of years now. However in the last few decades, as the worldwide demand constantly rise while wild population is decreasing, the industry became extremely intensified, aiming at producing more fishes, bigger, faster and cheaper, to meet humans’ insatiable demand.
As in the case of the rest of humanity’s victims, the new inventive systems are far crueler as they cause intense suffering from birth to death for the fishes (the next post will regard another cruel aspect of the new systems – these are the billions of fishes caught in the oceans to be grind up and fed to the farmed fishes).
The sad thing about the 2048 ocean depletion forecast, is not that the only way the torture would ever end is that the victims would, but that even that hopeful thought won’t come to be since humans engineered another abusive system that enables the exploitation to continue unabated.
Fish farming is already where most of the fishes’ flesh consumed by humans is coming from. Humans are so motivated to keep their abusive habits that even their incontrollable greed doesn’t stop them but even intensifies their exploitation.
That’s why empty oceans are not enough. We need an empty world.
Activists shouldn’t wait that by 2048 the oceans would be empty, but actively work on that by 2048 the whole world is empty.