PETA slams Qld restaurant’s ‘unnerving’ menu choices

ANIMAL protection group PETA has called on the Cairns Aquarium's onsite restaurant to stop serving seafood after likening the practice to eating elephant burgers at a zoo.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals senior outreach and partnerships manager Emily Rice has written to Dundee's following comments from aquarium director Daniel Leipnik about the brainpower and emotions of fish.

"Experts agree that fish are sensitive animals who feel pain, form complex relationships, have good memories, and possess cognitive abilities that can actually surpass those of dogs and some primates," she wrote.

Dundee’s manager Jacob Low and co-owners Tina and James Wort at the restaurant at the Cairns Aquarium PICTURE: ANNA ROGERS
Dundee’s manager Jacob Low and co-owners Tina and James Wort at the restaurant at the Cairns Aquarium PICTURE: ANNA ROGERS

"Yet, as victims of fishing, trillions of fish each year are yanked from their homes - gasping for breath - and bludgeoned or left to suffocate before being beheaded and gutted.

"It's as unnerving for your diners to tear apart the flesh of sea animals alongside tanks full of their brethren as it would be for zoo visitors to devour elephant burgers outside the elephant enclosure."

Emily Rice is outreach and partnership manager at PETA. PICTURE: SUPPLIED
Emily Rice is outreach and partnership manager at PETA. PICTURE: SUPPLIED

The letter said replacing the sea animals on the menu with vegan fish would "reflect your values, protect animals and the planet, and enable you to tap into the global vegan food

market, which is projected to be worth around $49 billion by 2026".

In a statement to media, Ms Rice said people understood the concept of ditching plastic straws to but argued fishing was the most damaging practice for marine life.

 

The Cairns Aquarium is currently closed to the public due to government imposed restrictions on COVID-19, however, all of the attraction's animals still need to be fed and cared for. Aquarists Josh Milne and Alistair Maloy feed sharks, rays and fish in the aquarium's Great Barrier Reef oceanarium tank. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
The Cairns Aquarium is currently closed to the public due to government imposed restrictions on COVID-19, however, all of the attraction's animals still need to be fed and cared for. Aquarists Josh Milne and Alistair Maloy feed sharks, rays and fish in the aquarium's Great Barrier Reef oceanarium tank. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

"Every year, hundreds of thousands of tonnes of nets, lines, pots, and traps used in commercial fishing are discarded in the sea, where this 'ghost gear' kills countless more sea animals," she said.

"To claim to be a conservationist while selling or eating fish makes no sense."

Dundee's proprietor Gary Low has been asked for comment.

The restaurant is currently closed, although Dundee's on the Waterfront is back in business accepting a maximum of 10 diners at a time.

The aquarium is also closed and struggling to make ends meet after months with no customers.

Read PETA's full letter here.