Philip Hoare

Not so cold-blooded

Jonathan Balcombe’s disquieting book shows just how intelligent and sentient fish are, and how scandalously we abuse them

The recent furore over a freakshow ice rink in Japan, with hapless fishes embedded beneath the skaters’ feet, was inexplicable to some. The fish were dead already, weren’t they, bought from the market? What’s the difference between eating them and gliding over their artlessly strewn bodies, posed as if in a frozen shoal like the porpoises Virginia Woolf’s Orlando glimpses in an iced-up Thames?

The difference is us.

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