Fish Have Feelings, Too, Gasps 'Drowning' Joaquin Phoenix

Joaquin Phoenix struggles underwater, panic in his eyes and on his face. The award-winning actor may be best-known for roles such as his Oscar-nominated turn in The Master, but in this brand-new PETA video, he plays a new part: re-enacting the terror of a fish who is pulled from the water. The eye-catching ad was shot by shark expert and fellow animal advocate Michael Muller.
 

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Joaquin has been devoted to the well-being of animals from a tender age. He recalls the moment when he first realised that fish, just like us, suffer and feel pain:


I was 3-years-old – to this day it is a vivid memory. My family and I were on a boat, catching fish. As one fish was caught, he was writhing, then he was thrown against the side of the boat. You couldn't disguise what it was. This was what we did to animals to eat them. The animal went from a living, vibrant creature fighting for life to a violent death. I recognised it, as did my brothers and sisters.

As the compassionate leading man knows, fish are intelligent animals with unique personalities – and as research has shown, many of them have long-term memories and can learn and retain new information. Scientists who study pain are also in complete agreement that the pain response in fish is basically identical to the pain response in mammals and birds. However, the fish industry slaughters more than 6 billion fish for food each year.

Every single one of these fish is caught in a net or impaled with a hook and stolen from the water or bred on a cramped fish farm. Each one fights for breath, feeling his or her chest move slower and slower before finally dying an agonising death. Without any legal protection from cruel treatment, these complex animals are maimed, crushed, suffocated or cut open and gutted, all while they're still conscious.

Fish don't want to suffocate on land just as we don't want to drown in water. You can stop their suffering by refusing to eat them. Take the pledge to go vegan.

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