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Investigations reveal no welfare breaches at Mowi Scotland farm. Investigations have concluded that there is no evidence to support alleged breaches by anti-fish farming activists of salmon welfare standards at Mowi Scotland

A statement from Mowi Scotland said:

Upon immediate investigation of the complaint, the appropriate agencies have concluded that there is no evidence to support allegations of alleged breaches of the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act.

The RSPCA says:

“These farms have now been visited by a specially trained RSPCA Farm Livestock Officer and an RSPCA Assured Assessor. During their visit they did not find any of the problems highlighted in the images taken earlier this month and were satisfied that the fish they saw were being properly managed and cared for. Any allegations of animal welfare issues, or breaches of the RSPCA Assured membership agreement, are taken very seriously and always thoroughly investigated. Thankfully, welfare concerns on RSPCA Assured certified farms are extremely rare, and many millions of farm animals are having a better life thanks to the work of the charity.”

Marine Scotland’s Fish Health Inspectorate (FHI) concludes:

“These investigations by FHI, which include considering sea lice information collected weekly from all sites, have concluded that there are no obvious sea lice or mortality issues at a population level at any of the sites involved in the allegation and that appropriate measures are in place to control sea lice, remove mortalities and ensure adequate fish health management at the sites in question. The Scottish Government takes fish health and welfare seriously and the complaint has been discussed with the Animal Plant Health Agency (APHA) who are responsible for investigating allegations of poor animal welfare on farms.”

APHA has concluded its investigations and found no evidence to support the allegations made.

Activist Don Staniford took to entering into the company’s salmon pens on 16/17th July with an underwater camera to target individual fish showing signs of distress.

Similar allegations filed in March of this year triggered an investigation by The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSCPA). After a physical inspection by RSPCA Assured auditors and consideration of the complaint received, the third-party animal welfare organisation found no evidence to support the claims made by activists.

As is the case with all types of farming, there will unfortunately be times when individual animals are in distress, and these isolated examples can be understandably concerning to the public as well as the farmer. Farmers and veterinarians will do whatever they can to treat animals under their care, or, when circumstances require it, may have to choose to humanely euthanise the animal.

The vast amount of swimming area afforded to salmon in net pens (typically >25,000 cubic metres of space) does present difficulty in immediately tracking and tending to individuals that may flee when approached. Mowi is investing in technology that will help address this issue. Mowi’s “Smart Farming 4.0” includes underwater sensors that will automate animal welfare tracking, alerting experts in real time should extra care and attention be required.

One of the farms targeted by Mr Staniford sent fish for market on the same day he filed an animal welfare complaint (July 19th) to the RSPCA and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA). A total of 8,940 salmon weighing 5.71 kilograms (average) were harvested from Mowi’s BDNC salmon farm. The quality of these salmon from the farm yielded excellent results – over 98.8% graded by experts for scale quality and general condition as top “superior” grade.

Photo credit: Mowi Scotland