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HomeHomeIn The TankIn The TankFishesFishesThe ethics of glofishThe ethics of glofish
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5/31/2018 5:49 PM

I have been questioned about why we do not sell glofish in our store. 

Can some of you back me up on why this is unethical.



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5/31/2018 9:52 PM
Maybe some of the arguments with parrotfish apply?

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6/1/2018 8:32 AM

Here's an article explaining why glofish are banned in California.


New Post
6/1/2018 5:31 PM

Here's a link to the reversal of the CA ban.


Glofish are a very tricky topic. Transgenic animals are banned in the EU, but the US FDA has determined that the production of glofish causes no discomfort to the animals, and that their release into the wild in the US poses a very low risk either to wild populations  or to other species of fish. The arguments in the UK seem to center around animal rights - the rights of animals to be free from specious human interference. Traditional religious arguments within the judeo-christian-muslim faiths defending human's right to genetically modify animals point to the dominion of man over the animals.  Others within those same faiths might argue the opposite based on concepts of intelligent design. Matters become further complicated when you consider that many humans willingly become transgenic by accepting transplants from other animals, such as replacing human knee tisssue with pig tissue. You've definitely stepped into a hornet's nest.

Many object to the creation of artificial or transgenic animals for purposes other than scientific research that clearly benefit humans or animals due the possibility that harm or suffering will be caused to the research subject or the risk that the modified animal will escape into the wild and cause harm to the ecosystem. In the US, we tend to err on the side of allowing new technologies to proceed unless we can identify the risk of harm.  It's a judgment call with no clear black or white answer, in my humble opinion.

That being said, if I were managing a pet shop, I would likely choose not to offer hybrids, genetically modified animals, or even tankbusters arguing nothing more than that my focus is on naturally occurring animals that can be kept healthy and comfortable by fishkeepers using generally available equipment and decor.

Tough call. Will be interested to hear where you fall.

New Post
6/1/2018 11:27 PM
Here's the long and the short of it. Creating Glofish causes no harm to the fish whatsoever. Its not a temporary additive, like dunking them in dye, so the customer gets and keeps what they're paying for. There is NO ETHICAL ISSUE except for "I don't like genetically engineered stuff because I don't understand it and its scary." Its from the same crowd that thinks GM corn is dangerous, or that eating a glofish will turn you blue. :p

We've been genetically modifying fish for thousands of years, and produced some truly unethical creatures as a result -- bubble eyed goldfish, longfin bettas, heck, orange goldfish. The GloFish has a number of ethical advantages over other fishes.

1. Super coloured fish, e.g., "Fruit" Tetras and "Painted" Glassfish are going to exist, period. GloFish have destroyed this market. Its not temporary, and it doesn't harm the fish.
2. GloFish are environmentally friendly. I've actually argued that they should be the only baitfish allowed. There's a negligible chance of a bright yellow / red / whatever fish surviving in the wild for any significant period of time. We should be making GM shiners for this purpose.
3. GloFish are incredibly colourful and a wonderful trigger for novice hobbyists. They're a great entry fish.

The BIGGEST problem I see in the current aquarium hobby is condescending hobbyists. My fish are somehow better than your fish. Your fish suck, and you're not a real hobbyist because you keep that kind of fish. You shouldn't keep fish like that, get some of these, because you're not as good as me if you're not keeping them. It's complete and utter ... four letter word alert worthy stuff. And it destroys the hobby by driving hobbyists out in a time when the hobby is in a decline. Let's welcome people who keep parrot cichlids, king kongs, flowerhorns, and GloFish -- they're just as "good" as people who keep red brick swords (artificially produced hybrid), and frankly just as good an aquarist as someone keeping CARES fish. (After all, there's no rule that says you can't keep both). Tastes change and meander...
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