Who Hijacked Our Country

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Boycott Farmed Salmon

If you eat salmon at all, please do NOT purchase farmed salmon.  EVER.  All over the coasts of British Columbia, the American Northwest, Chile and Northern Europe, farmed salmon have been spreading a deadly virus that’s wiped out millions of wild salmon.

Wild caught salmon might cost a bit more than farm-raised salmon, but there are several supermarket brands of canned salmon (e.g. Safeway) that are wild caught and not expensive.

Salmon are considered a Keystone species.  They’re at the center of their entire eco-system.  Bears and birds of prey would not survive without them.

And the survival of countless local economies depends on a thriving salmon population.

As terrible as these facts are, the scariest part is the government and industry repression of this information.  You don’t generally think of fish farms as being part of some giant syndicate.  But with the power and ferocity that the Canadian government is repressing this information, it sounds like the fish farming industry is powerful and omnipotent enough to make America’s factory farm syndicate look like Ma and Pa Kettle.

Salmon Confidential is the documentary I saw last night.  Alexandra Morton is the biologist whose research has linked a virus spread by salmon farms to the deaths millions of wild salmon.  The government and industry campaign of repression and intimidation against Alexandra Morton and her colleagues is straight out of the wackiest spy and intrigue movies.

For anyone who thinks Canada is just a tiny bit less of a corporate police state than the United States:  sorry, bad news.  If you think the “Ag Gag” laws in Iowa and Utah are bad — and they are — Canada almost passed a federal law making it a crime to report the fact that you found a farmed salmon that was diseased.  This law was aimed specifically at Alexandra Morton.  One of her tactics was to go into a supermarket, buy several whole salmon (farmed-raised) and test them for diseases.  Not only did they test positive, but they looked so deformed and hideous, from the effects of the virus, that you’d have to wonder why anyone would buy them.

This new Canadian law would mandate a 2-year prison sentence and a huge fine for simply reporting the fact that you found a farm-raised salmon that was diseased.  The law hasn’t been passed yet, but it was never officially withdrawn either.  It could be passed any time.

Salmon Are Sacred is an organization that’s working to save the wild salmon population.

Like all powerful syndicates, the fish farming industry has its share of Astroturf front groups, pretending to be just regular folks who can’t imagine what these wacky scientists are going on about.

Here’s just one example.  (I left a comment there, but it didn’t get published for some strange reason.)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's Weird as I always thought the Salmon Industry in BC was mainly run by the first nation's tribes (what we call Native Americans down here), they are relatively independent of the Government and being respectful of Nature and their tribal lands, are known for their attention to quality (ie they are green!)



May 23, 2013 at 2:34 PM  
Blogger Jerry Critter said...

I figure there must be something wrong when you have to feed salmon food with die in it to make their flesh look like salmon flesh.

May 23, 2013 at 3:00 PM  
Blogger Jerry Critter said...

My use of die instead of dye must have been a Freudian slip.

May 23, 2013 at 6:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a vegetarian, but eat canned tuna for health reasons. Don't especially like any salmon. But I bought a pouch of the wild, was cheap too. Didn't know it was available, wild salmon in a can or pouch.

IT WAS HORRIBLE!!! People shouldn't eat salmon anyway!

Kidding, it was ok. Felt like a cat, though, eating it.

Jerry - yuk

Erik - "Canadian Aboriginals"

May 23, 2013 at 8:53 PM  
Blogger jim marquis said...

Important information. Thanks for sharing.

May 24, 2013 at 8:24 AM  
Blogger Lisa G. said...

The wild salmon tastes and looks so much better than farmed salmon. I once had some salmon from Alaska - flesh as red as blood - it was the best salmon I've ever had. It's worth the extra money to eat something natural and good for you.

May 24, 2013 at 8:57 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Erik: I don't think First Nation people have much to do with salmon farming. There are lot of huge battles between the Canadian government and the First Nation. Salmon are sacred to a lot of tribes -- economically as well as spiritually. The government is also trampling a lot of First Nation sovereignty with the Keystone pipeline and other energy development plans.

Jerry: You're right, that's not a good sign.

Anonymous: The world's ecology would be a lot better off if we were all vegetarians. (I'm not, so I'm not preaching.)

Jim: Thanks. The more people know about this, the better.

Lisa G: You're right, wild vs. farmed is the difference between night and day.

May 24, 2013 at 10:23 AM  
Anonymous Jess said...

Wild anything is the way to go, if you are into eating animal flesh. We've all seen the horror that is a cow farm or a pig farm, this is the same thing except with fish. I'm a vegan myself and until they find out vegetables have feelings, I'll be good for a while.

May 24, 2013 at 6:27 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Jess: Agreed, vegetarian is the way to go. Second choice -- don't eat any animal that was raised in a net pen or factory farm.

May 24, 2013 at 8:00 PM  
Blogger Demeur said...

The bass turds! (like my sneaky play on words :-) ) It's bad enough we have to dump our garbage into the oceans now we get Frankenfish. Next thing you know Monsanto will design one that will walk to the processing plant.

May 24, 2013 at 11:56 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Demeur: This new Monsanto fish might not even need to walk to the processing plant. It'll be already self-cooked and ready to eat from the moment it's caught.

May 25, 2013 at 11:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

maybe we should leave the Salmon Population alone for a few years and mandate all of our culinary energy to eating those invasive Asian Carps (the ones that jump out of the waters into boats) that are taking over the South, Midwest, and the Great Lakes.


May 25, 2013 at 11:47 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Erik: Excellent idea. Just add the right colorings and flavorings, and everyone will say "it tastes just like chicken," or sirloin steak or salmon or whatever we want it to be.

May 25, 2013 at 1:51 PM  
Blogger S.W. Anderson said...

I must admit to mixed feelings about this. The growing world population and increasing affluence in some very populous countries is going to create greatly increased demand for protein, including the animal and fish kind. I don't want to see the proliferation of inhumane large-scale factory farming operations of cattle, pigs and chickens. I especially don't want to see it occur in other countries where it's liable to be even less humane. Salmon farming seems at least comparatively less inhumane and could help meet rising demand for protein.

Many fish populations are depeleted for various reasons, including commercial overfishing. Other fish populations are precarious. This problem has proven extremely hard to do anything about.

For those reasons, I hope the virus problem can be effectively contained and immunized against.

May 26, 2013 at 11:51 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

SW: "The growing world population and increasing affluence in some very populous countries is going to create greatly increased demand for protein."

Let them eat insects :) The United Nations is actually pushing this idea, for the exact reasons you cited.

I think this salmon virus is serious enough to put a tight lid on salmon farming. Alexandra Morton's research might not be 100% conclusive, but it's still very alarming. And I can't imagine her having any ulterior motive for publicizing her research. The net pen industry, on the other hand, does have plenty of motive for intimidating her and setting up all these Astroturf groups to discredit her.

And as I half-jokingly said in an earlier comment, the public might have to develop a taste for common but less savory kinds of fish, like carp. For example, canned mackerel. It's not exactly a gourmet item, but it's much cheaper than salmon and has all the nutrients. Chopped up and mixed with lots of mayonnaise, chopped onions and spices, a formerly bland item can be transformed into something delectable.

May 26, 2013 at 1:46 PM  
Blogger Jerry Critter said...

Farmed salmon are already loaded with antibiotics. Are we now going to load them up with antiviral drugs as well. The only ones coming out ahead on this deal will be the drug companies, the ones that profit off of illness instead of health.

May 26, 2013 at 2:32 PM  
Blogger S.W. Anderson said...

Tom, FTR, I don't want to see Morton vilified or bullied out of doing her research. I also don't want information about the virus to be suppressed so the public remains unaware. If quarantines for infected or suspect salmon operations is necessary, so be it.

Your point about less-popular fish is a good one, too.

All that said, for the longterm I stand by what I said in my previous comment.

May 26, 2013 at 7:39 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Jerry: Yup, antibiotics and antiviral drugs for our farmed salmon. And don't forget the growth hormones too.

SW: I'm glad we agree on popularizing some of the less-popular fish.

May 26, 2013 at 8:09 PM  

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