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Episode 573: Do Aquatic Animals Matter? ft Becky Jenkins

By Jasmin and Mariann — January 02, 2021

Becky Jenkins, who is the Executive Director of the Aquatic Life Institute, joins us on Our Hen House to explain why aquatic animals should be a primary focus of the animal protection movement and why the Institute decided to focus on the fish farming aspect of animal agriculture. She also provides a brief overview of this far-too-little-known but huge industry, including why fish farming is not only hideously cruel, but is not the sustainable business it is reputed to be. Becky also reflects on whether there is a disconnect between the advocates of effective altruism and other animal activist groups, and how the Aquatic Life Institute promotes improved welfare for aquatic animals without condoning animal exploitation.

Becky has a passion for holistic, international, and pro-intersectional approaches to animal issues. She has spoken at conferences and been published in academic journals worldwide and is currently co-authoring a textbook on aquatic animal law. Becky studied at the Aquatic Animal Law Initiative at the Center for Animal Law Studies in Portland, Oregon, and also holds a law degree from Trinity College Dublin and a Master’s degree in Animal Law from Lewis & Clark Law School.

“Our mission is to accelerate activities that positively improve aquatic animal lives, focusing on farmed fish as they are the greatest in number.”
– Becky Jenkins

This Week in Our Hen House:

  • The coalitions the Institute is building, including the Aquatic Animal Alliance, and the shared projects they are currently involved in with their partners
  • Why horribly inhumane slaughter methods are still used in aquatic animal farming and how the Aquatic Life Institute hopes to impact the industry
  • A brief look at current research on the consciousness of fishes and what the evidence shows us about their realities
  • How the program at Lewis and Clark Law School on aquatic animals and her studies with Kathy Hessler influenced Becky
  • Why seafood certifications often aren’t what they seem
  • How we know that fishes have the capacity to have pleasurable and positive experiences and how they play and interact with each other, according to Professor Rebecca Franks recent research
  • What the future holds for aquatic animal agriculture
  • Becky’s hopes for what the Aquatic Life Institute can achieve in the short and medium-term with their program of humane education
  • How can we engender the same level of compassion and empathy for aquatic animals that land animals receive
  • How Becky first connected with Our Hen House and Mariann and why the show has significantly influenced her life

Connect with Becky Jenkins:

Connect with Our Hen House:


This episode is brought to you in part through the generosity of A Well-Fed World. A Well-Fed World provides the means for change by empowering individuals, social justice organizations, and political decision makers to embrace the benefits of plant-based foods and farming. Learn more at


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Don’t forget to tune into Our Hen House’s other two podcasts: The Teaching Jasmin How to Cook Vegan Podcast, and The Animal Law Podcast.

The Our Hen House theme song is written and performed by Michael Harren.

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