Mary Finelli, founder of Fish Feel

by | Jul 13, 2016

Mary Finelli, founder and president of Fish Feel, traces her professional path working in animal welfare–including stints at PETA, the Humane Society of The United States, Animal Place (where she launched Farmed Animal Watch)—before launching Fish Feel, which describes itself as “the sole organization devoted to promoting the recognition of fish as sentient beings deserving of respect and protection.” animalskilled2013-1Her impetus for making the shift, she explains, was the staggering quantity of fish wild caught for food, dwarfing the number of chickens, turkeys, pigs and cows killed annually for food in the U.S., the farm animal welfare issues she had dealt with in her previous jobs. Acknowledging that our “Talking Animals” conversation is unlikely to make many fishermen discard their roads and reels, I ask Finelli to outline some facts that have emerged from research about fish that might give fishermen, and the rest of us, pause. As part of her response, Finelli mentions statistics and books, such as fish-feel-logoVictoria Braithwaite’s “Do Fish Feel Pain” and Jonathan Balcombe’s “What A Fish Knows.” She also discusses findings showing that some fish have been observed using rocks as tools, fields listener calls—most, from fishermen politely disagreeing with her assertions about fish—and touches on advances in vegan seafood, in terms of both taste and affordability (

10264308_688530351205134_7635880509301953351_n_FotorALSO: I spoke briefly with Jason Flatt, founder of Friends to the Forlorn (FTTF) Pitbull Rescue, a Georgia-based organization with a national reputation, developed in part through Flatt’s philosophy of rescuing all manner of pit bulls, very much including ones who’ve endured the most horrific circumstances and others who were right on the cusp of being euthanized. As he explains, Friends to the Forlorn “want the unwanted.” He also explains a major fundraising contest FTTF is competing in.(,

COMEDY CORNER: Eddie Izzard’s “Horse Whisperer” (

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: The Marvelettes’ “Too Many Fish In The Sea”


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