The commercial fishing industry and anti-rape campaigners have criticised an animal rights advertisement that equates catching and eating fish to the suffering of sexual assault and domestic abuse victims.
The PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) video shows a girl screaming as she watches a man beat her mother, an attacker grabbing an elderly woman’s blouse and a bloodied schoolboy being kicked to the ground. It then depicts a fish on a chopping board, silently opening its mouth, with the words 'Some screams can't be heard'.
The graphic advertisement, which carries no warning, has been viewed almost 52,000 times on YouTube. PETA is also urging supporters to tweet celebrity chefs such as Gordon Ramsay and Mario Batali, calling on them to 'put down the knife'.
A PETA spokeswoman, Claire Fryer, defended the campaign as 'an effort to instil empathy for animals, specifically fish'.
The media commentator Catharine Lumby said she endorsed PETA’s motives but not its method. 'I am concerned about the use of violence against women and children being used as bait for political campaigns.
Animal rights is very important but let's not muddy the waters – we have a long way to go with rights for women and children.'