The remarkable Gwendolyn Church joins the podcast this week for an awe-inspiring conversation about Friends of Philip Fish Sanctuary, the aquatic animal sanctuary she founded, based in Reno, NV. Gwendolyn tells the tale of Philip, the betta fish that changed the trajectory of her life and inspired the sanctuary. This passionate animal activist also discusses the misconceptions around fish sentience and explains why humans must reframe their thinking when it comes to caring for aquatic animals. Shining a light on the horrors that farmed and wild-caught fishes destined for the pet trade face, she tells us why she is so committed to rescuing all types of fish. We also discuss how Friends of Philip is navigating, and funding, the process of becoming a non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing, and caring for, aquatic animals.
*We are thrilled to expand the accessibility of our podcast by offering written transcripts of the interviews! Click here to read Jasmin’s interview with Gwendolyn Church.*
Gwendolyn Church runs Friends of Philip Fish Sanctuary, an aquatic animal sanctuary, and rescue in Reno, Nevada. Friends of Philip aims to expand the rescue conversation to include fishes and other aquatic animals and foster the connection between humans and aquatic life by sharing their rescued animals’ stories and vibrant personalities. The organization provides sanctuary and rescue for animals in need, and advocates for ending the consumption and commodification of fishes and other aquatic species.
“The simple misconception that fishes don’t feel pain is still so tragically prevalent.” – Gwendolyn Church
Highlights for Episode 644:
- Why betta fish are particularly vulnerable in pet stores
- Why the plural of “fish” is “fishes”
- How the sanctuary is growing, how they’re working to establish and fund themselves as a nonprofit
- What Gwendolyn is looking for in people looking to adopt a fish from her sanctuary
- Where the fishes who arrive at the sanctuary come from, and why pet stores are often open to people rescuing sick fishes
- How rescuing aquatic animals differs from rescuing terrestrial animals
- Why it’s vital to understand the nitrogen cycle and the importance of water quality when caring for fishes
- The different personalities that Gwendolyn sees in her aquatic charges and how she builds a rewarding relationship with them
- Common mistakes that people make when caring for pet fishes and Gwendolyn’s advice for new fish rescuers
- Why pet stores aren’t a great source of information for prospective fish caregivers
- Whether there is a growing sense of awareness of fishes as sentient animals who need to be understood, supported, and most importantly, not consumed as food
- The other Supreme Court case you should be following
- Miyoko’s Creamery is offering 15% off with code HENHOUSE15
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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 awfw.org.