In the fall of 2020, a fishing magazine printed a photo report on a trout fishing trip. In at least one of the pictures, a dry hand is holding a fish and it is obvious that the animal has been not stunned beforehand and is still conscious. The visibly firm and improper hand grip is clearly exerting significant pressure on the animal's internal organs, particularly its heart.
In agreement with various experts, TIR assumes that in this case the criminal offense of mistreating of animals is fulfilled. Even though it is not clear from the report what exactly happened to the trout, all plausible scenarios suggest that the animal was subject to excessive stress. TIR has therefore filed criminal charges against the author of the report and another alleged offender.
Fish have sense organs on their bodies. What is particularly noteworthy is their highly sensitive lateral line system, with which they perceive vibrations, currents and sounds in the water along the surface of their head and body. Furthermore, the fish skin has sensory hair cells that react to chemical substances, heat, and pressure. They produce a nerve signal when their fine hairy extensions are bent. Scientists believe they are of importance with regards to the pain sensation of the fish. The skin cells produce an antibacterial mucus that keeps the gills and skin clean and protects the animal against parasites and pathogens (click here
for more details). Touching the fish with dry or rough surfaces injures the outer layer of the mucus, which bears the risk of a fungus infection when the fish is returned to the water and in many cases leads to a slow and painful death for the animal.
While contemplating the criminal charges, TIR ran through various possible scenarios: It is plausible, for example, that the fish was caught for the purpose of removal and killed after being photographed. However, the law requires that fish be killed immediately. Stress must be reduced to an indispensable extent.