Aquaponic Gardening

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Every so often when I talk about aquaponics someone brings up issues around either the captive culture, or humane slaughter of fish.  These are important, relevant questions that we are going to need to wrestle with in aquaponics.

 

Here is a link to a short PETA editorial that just came out in our local paper about this subject.  Treehugger.com regularly brings this up.

How do you answer these questions?  Are fish humanely treated in aquaponics?  How do you humanely slaughter a fish?

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I love it ...Very well put Oh! Enlightened One :-)

AJ Grottke said:

I believe the purge and ice bath methods to be the most "humane" if you would. The purge will help with flavor of the fish as well.  I believe rather than just clubbing their head straight out of the purge tank, which most likely still carries some level of pain to it, an ice bath is in order if at all possible.  The lowest temp that the fish could survive in would be ideal, and as soon as that temp is reached either a decapitation or a club to the head would be ideal in my eyes.  Beyond the actual harvesting of the fish, try to put as much appreciation into the fish as possible.  Realize that animal life on this earth has only existed because of eating other organisms, including other animals, which is in my opinion natural.  I believe Native Americans exemplified this respect for all life in a beautiful manner.  They would kneel and say a prayer for the animal killed. Maybe that is one other addition to keeping a high level of respect.  Whether this "prayer" is religious, vocal, mental, etc. i believe in taking some time out to respect the cycle of matter in this universe; and how it is beyond human comprehension.  I also believe when one takes this time to show respect he/she will feel connected to the universe.

In regards to "how can killing of anything be "humane"".  I believe that many people overdo the word "humane".  How "humane" is human existence in it of itself; we currently are analogous to a virus infecting the other life on this planet (which they were here first)? I believe respect is much more important than what most people believe is "humane".  How "humane" is one bird stealing babies from another birds nest and ripping the baby birds to shreds; sometimes not even eating all of them? Yet this is natural. Samsara.  Existence is suffering.  Enlightenment is the only way out.  I believe realizing that suffering is what makes enlightenment exist is somehow saying that death and decay must exist. This now creates a journey and a goal, of becoming enlightened.  Struggle and hardship make one feel, feel human.  I personally believe that i would be bored if i was born enlightened.  It is our destiny to live in a world of pain and suffering, and to work towards overcoming this within ourselves.  Though enlightenment may not be attainable for everyone all the time; it is a worthy goal to work towards.  So, trying to bring this full circle, we should attempt to think of the world as matter and souls that inhabit that matter.  And realize that things must die in order for others to live on the material side of things.  This is the cycle of matter.  Our souls are just getting moved and shuffled around.  I believe that just like matter, souls are not created or destroyed just rearranged. Thus, killing an organisms does not kill their soul. The soul moves on to the next part of its journey, the journey to enlightenment... The mere fact of growing your own food already minimizes so much pain and strain on the earth.  Some death must occur.  Even plants are provided nutrition through death and decay, its called A COMPOST PILE. Living micro-organisms kill and consume each other all the time to complete the cycle of matter on the earth.  So killing things in my opinion can be "humane".  Its just western thinking going "Awwww, that baby rabbit is so cute; don't let a fox eat it. (then the fox dies later from starvation)"  If we don't kill and consume we will die, how "humane" is a human death?

 

This is all just my opinion and insight on this subject. To each his own.

I'm thinking we rename AJ "The Buddha" .  Incredibly well said.

I've heard good things about putting the tilapia in a purge tank - tho I've heard 24-48 hours - if your fish have a slightly "muddy" flavor.  I don't know it affects health or behavior.

 

But as to humane killing - if you have a warm-water fish like tilapia, putting the fish into a bucket of ice will kill it instantly and painlessly.  That's the most humane method I've heard of.  I don't know what to use for coldwater fish that naturally survive winters under ice, but a smack on the head sounds like a good choice.

 

I'm nominally vegetarian, but being of an omnivorous species, I recognize that people eat organisms including animals.  My criterion is quality of life for the animal before is death.  Schooling fish, kept in tight conditions, fit and fed a healthy organic diet, with fresh water and daily attendance - particularly of a species that's largely domesticated already - I'm ok with.  Same with pasture-raised, grass-fed hoofed meat.

 

If the animal only had one bad day, I'll eat it.  It's my beloved relation, and as it gives of itself I'll be honored to accept its sacrifice, and give of my body when it's my turn.  Dying's the price we all pay for living.  And everything dies so that something else may live.  Make it worth it.

haha, I'd missed that there were two more pages to this discussion.  I could pretty much have said 'ditto AJ' and been done with it. :)
I struggled with the idea of killing animals to eat many years ago when I met my Hawaiian husband who said..."just because you cannot hear the carrot scream when you cut it does not mean it is not alive and does not feel.  Everything on this planet must kill to survive.  Just because someone else killed it, it is still killed and you are eating it.  More better you come to terms with this."  So, I act in a sacred manner....sacrificing the first and giving it back and then saying a prayer of gratitude and that what I eat then lives on in me.  Einstein's E=mc squared...energy can only be transformed....

I've used a number of methods, but my favorite is salted ice water (very cold). they're unconsious almost immediately and dead soon after. and it is much easier than thumping every fish between the eyes. . .although that works on small quantities.  In response to are they happy, I always say, they're better fed, better cared for and longer lived than wild fish, and thier end is swift and painless, unlike every death I've ever witnessed in the wild- and as someone who lives miles back in the wilderness, I witness many many wild animal deaths and they're never pleasant.  I've never seen an otter or mink kill a fish before eating it, nor eagles, nor ospreys.  I"ve never seen a bear kill a fish before eating it.  Amost all the fish i've observed being eaten in the wild have still been alive when their captors began to eat.  By any comparison, my fish are much "happier" than wild fish.  Although I think using the term happiness with a lower vertebrate is a dangerous thing.  I genuinely do not think that fish can be "happy."  I think they can be hungry, tired, agressive, etc., but not "happy."  I think that the best thing that you can do for a fish is to treat it with the respect due all of God's creatures, and appreciate it for what it is and what it provides you.  That is much more than any wild fish will ever recieve.

I'm all for honouring the food I eat...

Honour the plate... honour the table... honour my fork...

  While I can see the danger of personifying our food too much, I w...

 

Provide them with enough space to swim and turn comfortably and an appropriate stocking density to reduce stress (in some situations this is actually higher instead of lower since some species will actually exhibit territorial behavior at too low a stocking density which will definitely cause stress in the fish.)  Reduce stress and keep the water quality high and as far as I'm concerned, my fish appear quite FAT and HAPPY.

 

(And there is no way anyone is going to convince me that I don't have Happy chickens and ducks.)

 

Yes I do raise them to eat, and I honor them thus they are given as good a life as possible before the ceremony.

Like your perspective Nate.

Nate Storey said:

I've used a number of methods, but my favorite is salted ice water (very cold). they're unconsious almost immediately and dead soon after. and it is much easier than thumping every fish between the eyes. . .although that works on small quantities.  In response to are they happy, I always say, they're better fed, better cared for and longer lived than wild fish, and thier end is swift and painless, unlike every death I've ever witnessed in the wild- and as someone who lives miles back in the wilderness, I witness many many wild animal deaths and they're never pleasant.  I've never seen an otter or mink kill a fish before eating it, nor eagles, nor ospreys.  I"ve never seen a bear kill a fish before eating it.  Amost all the fish i've observed being eaten in the wild have still been alive when their captors began to eat.  By any comparison, my fish are much "happier" than wild fish.  Although I think using the term happiness with a lower vertebrate is a dangerous thing.  I genuinely do not think that fish can be "happy."  I think they can be hungry, tired, agressive, etc., but not "happy."  I think that the best thing that you can do for a fish is to treat it with the respect due all of God's creatures, and appreciate it for what it is and what it provides you.  That is much more than any wild fish will ever recieve.

hum, seems about a paragraph is missing from my post above.  some odd formatting things ning must have done because I put smilies on either side or something?
I have to say I love this thread - thanks for re-energizing it Loke. My huge tilapia should be quivering right now because I can definitely see using Nate's technique, and great points.  Rupe, I'm still laughing....

Nate, Do you think this would work for trout - being coldwater fish? I guess they wouldn't like the salt.


Nate Storey said:

I've used a number of methods, but my favorite is salted ice water (very cold). they're unconsious almost immediately and dead soon after. and it is much easier than thumping every fish between the eyes. . .although that works on small quantities.  In response to are they happy, I always say, they're better fed, better cared for and longer lived than wild fish, and thier end is swift and painless, unlike every death I've ever witnessed in the wild- and as someone who lives miles back in the wilderness, I witness many many wild animal deaths and they're never pleasant.  I've never seen an otter or mink kill a fish before eating it, nor eagles, nor ospreys.  I"ve never seen a bear kill a fish before eating it.  Amost all the fish i've observed being eaten in the wild have still been alive when their captors began to eat.  By any comparison, my fish are much "happier" than wild fish.  Although I think using the term happiness with a lower vertebrate is a dangerous thing.  I genuinely do not think that fish can be "happy."  I think they can be hungry, tired, agressive, etc., but not "happy."  I think that the best thing that you can do for a fish is to treat it with the respect due all of God's creatures, and appreciate it for what it is and what it provides you.  That is much more than any wild fish will ever recieve.

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