Animal Aid

Giant 'fish' leads protest against Bedford aquarium

Posted 10 February 2005

Animal activists urge council to drop controversial NIRAH project

BEDFORD - A giant "fish" waving a placard reading, "Life in a tank - No Thanks!", will join members of Animal Aid, the Captive Animals' Protection Society (CAPS) and Bedford Animal Action as they protest against Bedford Borough Council's plans to host the world's largest freshwater aquarium.

Date: Wednesday, 16th February
Time: 12 noon to 1pm
Place: Bedford Town Hall, St Paul's Square

Bedford Borough Council has recently entered into exclusive talks with the NIRAH Project over plans to construct a controversial aquarium in Bedford. The NIRAH Project - National Institute for Research into Aquatic Habitats - will hold thousands of species of freshwater fish, amphibians and reptiles in an artificial, captive environment. Funds raised through visitor entrance fees will be used to "explore the scientific potential of freshwater animals", including research into animal toxins, venoms and secretions for use by the pharmaceutical industry as well as ways to farm fish and reptiles for their meat.

A recent study published by CAPS found that 79% of animals currently held in UK aquaria were wild-caught. Abnormal behaviour and physical health problems were also observed in virtually all aquaria visited. The 2004 study, the most in-depth of its kind, was conducted across the UK by an independent scientist commissioned by CAPS.

Animal Aid campaigner, Toni Vernelli, says:

"Bedford Borough Council would be foolish to spend large sums of taxpayers' money supporting this project. The British public is becoming increasingly aware of the suffering all animals endure in captivity and are rejecting such outdated forms of entertainment. The fact that these prisoners will also be used as research subjects will only add to the public revulsion over this project."

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