Last Saturday I wrote about Yan Lu's Poor Little Fishbowl sink, a cute way for getting people to consider how wasting water affects other living creatures around them. At least one commenter thought that PETA would be all over the designer. Turns out that was a good call.
Now bear in mind that the Poor Little Fishbowl, if it exists at all, doesn't actually kill any fish, and Mr. Yan has carefully engineered it so that the little fishy will always have enough water to swim in. Still, just the stress imposed on the fish by repeatedly seeing its life-sustaining water supply draining away appears to be too much for the PETA folks to bear.
Here's PETA's letter to Mr. Yan:
Dear Mr. Lu [sic];
On behalf of PETA and our more than 2 million members and supporters, we appreciate your desire to raise awareness about water conservation, but subjecting a fish to a barren life alone in a tiny bowl that has constantly fluctuating water levels is the wrong way to go. You could make the same point without causing the suffering of an intelligent, sensitive animal by replacing the fish in your "Poor Little Fishbowl Sink" prototypes with a fake one and ensuring that future commercial sales of your product include a fake fish so that buyers won't be tempted to purchase a real one. With all due respect, to ignore the suffering of an individual who is part of our ecosystem seems to echo the same arrogance that has led us to have a problem in the first place.
Although it may be easy to ignore the fact, fish are smart and curious animals who form complex social relationships, but they are doomed to dull, unfulfilled, and lonely lives when confined to tiny glass bowls. An issue of Fish and Fisheries cited more than 500 research papers proving that fish are intelligent, have impressive long-term memories and sophisticated social structures, and can use tools. Fish learn by watching what other fish do, and "they are capable of learning quickly," according to Dr. Chris Glass, director of marine conservation at the Manomet Centre of Conservation Sciences in Massachusetts. People the world over have begun to see fish for the intelligent, social creatures they are and are refusing to condemn them to life in a tiny bowl. In fact, the city of Monza, Italy, recently banned keeping goldfish in bowls because these containers do not even come close to meeting the needs of fish. Subjecting a fish to constantly changing water levels adds to the cruelty, even if the water never entirely runs out--imagine being trapped in a room with constantly shifting oxygen levels.
Environmental education does not require cruelty to animals. Please let us know that you'll replace the real fish in your sink with a fake one. We would be most appreciative, and so would the fish. Thank you.
Executive Vice President
The Poor Little Fishbowl is just one designer's concept, and like most concepts, the chances of it actually making it into production are pretty slim. The sink shown in the pictures probably isn't an actual working object — just somebody's skillful Photoshop rendering.
I agree to at least some extent with a few of PETA's goals, but geez guys, don't you need to pick your battles a bit more carefully? If fish welfare is the priority of the day, I can assure you that simply picketing a Red Lobster for a couple of hours would save many more fish than the time taken to chastise Mr. Yan and his ecologically minded sink concept.