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If hundreds of thousands of cows died due to cold weather, our guess is that it would be big news. Even if the victims were chickens, one of the most abused animals in Florida farms, the story might generate some compassion among average Floridians. But it says a lot about how our society views different animals that when well over one million farmed fish died earlier this year after temperatures dropped below freezing, the catastrophe barely made it into the newspaper.

Last week the St. Petersburg Times reported that fish farms in Florida have finished tallying their economic losses from January’s cold weather. Over one million tropical fish bred for the aquarium trade–  “feeder” guppies as well as popular species like swordtails, cichlids and plecostomus– died overnight or in the weeks following the freeze.

Fish are amazing animals who suffer in the incredibly overcrowded tanks common in aquaculture facilities in Florida. Sadly, these fish are considered a “crop” not unlike the strawberry fields that were also damaged by the cold snap, and their deaths were regretted only as lost profits.

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