End Tropical Fish Cruelty

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We, the undersigned, are asking your for help in preventing a barbaric form of animal abuse.

Animal cruelty comes in many forms. One type that many people are unaware of is the painting of fish commonly practiced now. We strongly encourage consumers to purchase only naturally coloured fish and to request that pet stores in your area not carry dyed fish. We are also requesting that you boycott any stores that continue to stock dyed fish after you bring this horrible practice to their attention.

Several varieties of fish are being artificially coloured to improve marketability. Amongst these fish are the coloured skirts, painted glass fish, painted tiger barbs, and coloured botias. None of these are natural colour morphs. These fish are actually painted. They are dipped into a mild acid solution to dissolve their protective "slime coat," a vital part of their immune system. They are then painted with semi-permanent fluorescent dyes, after which they are placed into an irritant bath so that they will regenerate their slime coat (as if any more irritation was necessary). Of the few fish that survive this process, most will die within the two months following the trauma, and those that still survive will have lost their coloration within six to ten months. Only about 10 percent of the fish that survive for sale will keep their coloration for any length of time. The practice of painting these fish has nearly eliminated the availability of the unpainted variety in the pet industry.

Other fish that are coloured by man to improve saleability:
The lutino and albino morphs of the black skirt tetra (Gymnocorymbus ternetzi) are injected with dyes and fed dye laced foods as fry to produce blue skirt tetras, red skirt tetras, purple skirt tetras, blueberry tetras, grape tetras, strawberry tetras, patriot tetras, Halloween tetras, and mixed fruit tetras.
Some skunk botia (Botia morleti) are injected with dyes and painted to produce purple, red, and blue loaches.
Painted tinfoil barbs (Barbus schwanefeldi) are available, and seem to have difficulty seeing (they would bump into stationary objects in the water) and have drastically reduced lifespans.
Red painted tiger barbs and green painted tiger barbs are produced from gold, albino, and red colour morphs of the tiger barb (Barbus Tetrazona) that have been injected with red and green dyes.
Recently, the bala shark (tricolour shark) is being dyed to produce a gold bala shark.

The carcinogenic pigments used on the coloured tetra and coloured botia are stored in vacuoles in cells creating a faint background colour. The more intensely coloured areas are created by injecting the fish with more of the dye in strategic locations. The fish's immune system then proceeds to fight this infection until the dye has been removed from the system. This added stress makes these fish highly susceptible to any other infection that they may be exposed to, since they are unable to defend themselves from it. In all of these situations, the coloration of the animal eventually fades, but only those specimens hardy enough to survive significantly after the fact.

In addition to the cruel treatment these fish are subjected to, untrained labourers paid below poverty level wages in third world countries perform these processes. By purchasing painted fish, you are not only encouraging cruelty to animals, but also encouraging these appalling working conditions. Remember, never purchase any animal at a pet store if you feel sorry for it; this just encourages a store to get another to replace it.
Source: http://honors.montana.edu/~weif/firsttank/painted.shtml

For more information, please visit The Tropical Tank at http://www.thetropicaltank.co.uk and feel free to join the forum.