BANG. Her head and body hit the side of the tank. 

She turns around. Swimming away to the back of the tank, she starts preparing to go. She spreads out her arms and launches herself from the wall… BANG! She hits the glass wall using the full force of her body. Her soft body crumples against the glass, unable to break through. 

Brenda was a common octopus I saw being held captive at an aquarium in Brighton where I was investigating undercover. I stood watching whilst she did this distressing action. I had no doubt what she was trying to do: she was trying to break through the glass to escape. She used her strong arms to push herself against the glass, searching for a way out. 

Just last week our undercover footage of Brenda, showing her desperation to be free, was shared with the world. We secured national interest as the story went to press and thousands saw the investigation footage online. And once again we have unearthed the horrors of life in a glass prison for wild animals. 

Today I wanted to ask for your help. Investigations are crucial to document and expose what is happening to animals but now we must take action to help these animals and prevent others from suffering the same fate. Please can you send a donation today to fuel the fight against aquariums?

DONATE NOW

This octopus was not the only animal I saw in great distress due to their aquarium imprisonment. Across the course of my investigation I watched with sadness as fishes swam up and down the edges of the tank, again and again, searching for a way out. I witnessed rays who were swimming with their heads sticking out of the water, an abnormal behaviour only seen in captivity. I saw a smooth-hound shark driven so mad by his confinement that he spiraled in circles like a corkscrew, for no apparent reason.

This smooth-hound shark was spiralling - a stereotypic and unnatural behaviour caused by captivity

I saw injured and sick animals too. I saw rays with their barbs removed (the part of the body they use for defence). I saw fishes with severe skin damage with scales missing from their heads and bodies. Tragically I even saw a dead fish left to float in their tank, with other live fishes still in there. Common smoothhound exhibiting stereotypical behaviourCommon smoothhound exhibiting stereotypical behaviour

This was all on display for me to witness at a selection of these cruel businesses across Britain. Not hidden away behind the scenes. How can it be allowed to continue?

That is why I am asking for your help today. We are taking our findings right to the top, to take action for these animals, both those still alive and those tragically no longer with us. We are demanding that DEFRA, who oversee animal welfare law, take immediate action against these aquariums. Will you please send a donation today to help us do this? 

DONATE TO HELP ANIMALS

I tried to find out more about the octopus I saw that day, so desperate for her freedom. I believe her name was Brenda and she had likely been in her glass prison for 9 months. I wonder if on the day I saw her she had just had enough and wanted out. Or if she was always that distressed. 

What I do know is that what we humans are doing to her, and the thousands of other animals in aquariums, is horrifically cruel. Their suffering might not be gory or violent, but it is great and can never be justified. 

So please, I implore you today to make a donation to support this vital and life-changing work, to end their suffering and to keep animals as they should be - wild and free.

By giving a gift today, you will fuel our action to DEFRA demanding they take action at the aquariums we investigated and carry out an urgent review of aquarium industry practices. You will support our public awareness campaign to encourage people to boycott aquariums and speak out against the cruelty animals face within their tanks. Your generous donation will fund the only campaign in the UK completely dedicated to fighting for ALL animals in aquariums. 

Natasha Brown*
Investigator
Freedom for Animals
*Name changed to protect identity

P.S. Animals like Brenda the octopus are living a life of misery and suffering in aquariums. Driven mad by captivity, sick and injured and some even left to die. Please send a donation today to stop this and protect these animals. Thank you.

Your donation will be used in this campaign and possibly others, to help free animals suffering in captivity. Thank you.