Whether you realise it or not, fish have a special position in our society. For example: Vegetarians are asked whether they nonetheless consume fish, and there is a lack of public discussion on unsedated killing of fish, while this is illegal with mammals.
While dog or pig welfare is commonly recognized as relevant, fish are not on the public agenda. Also from an ethical point of view, fish traditionally are considered a borderline case between mammals and other natural entities, such as rocks. However, due to recent research into the cognitive and other capacities of fish we have reasons to reconsider this moral position on fish, according to ethicist dr. Franck Meijboom. What do we owe to fish?
Dr. Franck Meijboom studied theology and ethics at the Universities of Utrecht and Aberdeen. As Associate Professor he is affiliated to the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Utrecht University and the Ethics Institute of Utrecht University (Faculty of Humanities).
His fields of interest are in ethics of animal use and veterinary ethics, in agricultural and food ethics, and the role of public trust and debate in these domains.
In his work the link between ethical theory and moral practice plays an important role. For instance, a number of my projects were initiated by or in close cooperation with the Dutch government, such as the drafting of a general ethical framework for biotechnology and the organization of a series of public debates on animal biotechnology.