Next in our series on the writers of “VEGAN VOICES –  Essays by Inspiring Changemakers”, we introduce you to MARY FINELLI.  Mary is the founder and president of Fish Feel, the first organization focused on promoting the recognition of fishes as sentient beings deserving of respect and compassion.  Mary also chairs the Save the Rays Coalition.  She has a BS in animal science and has been active in animal rights advocacy since the mid-1980s.  Mary has worked with various animal protection organizations, primarily focusing on farmed animals.  She produced Farmed Animal Watch, a weekly online news digest sponsored by numerous animal protection organizations, and co-wrote a chapter of In Defense of Animals: The Second Wave.

“Such organisations as the Smithsonian Institution and the American Veterinary Medical Association have recognised that fishes can experience pain, and there is a growing public realization that fishes do indeed suffer fear and pain and are admirable beings who deserve respect, compassion and moral consideration.  

As ethologist Jonathan Balcombe, author of the very informative book ‘What A Fish Knows’ points out: “fish have personalities, they plan, recognise, remember, court, parent, innovate, manipulate, collaborate, communicate with gestures, keep accounts,  deduce, deceive, show virtue, form attachments, have traditions, fall for optical illusions, get depressed, use tools, learn by observation and form mental maps.”

– Mary Finelli