The Fish Shop of Dr. Moreau - About Dyeing

On a deceivingly beautiful island in the South Seas exists the sinister kingdom of Doctor Moreau. Shipwrecked in this seeming paradise, the unfortunate Edward Prendick stumbles upon the wild beastly creations of the sadistic doctor and enters into a bizarre and terrifying world of a doctor who plays an evil God and cruelly creates monstrosities of living creatures - A synopsis of the book
The Island of Dr. Moreau written by H. G. Wells

What's Wrong with a painted Angel?

From the above link:


What's Wrong with a Painted Angel?
- by Dr Jim Greenwood

Since the mid 1980's Glassfish of the family Chandidae that have been injected with fluorescent dye have been imported into Australia from South East Asia. These fish have been painted by injection along the dorsal and ventral body surfaces and are sold as "Painted Angels". In 1998 I became concerned when I noticed several fish species appear on the Australian market that had been injected with dye or paint.

It was common knowledge that these fish have progressive problems. The painted areas fade and break up and the fish become less clear or glass like. The fish become thin and debilitated, and tend to become lethargic and easy to catch. They frequently develop multiple proliferative skin lesions and have a reputation in the industry for 'not living very long', in contrast to the unpainted Chandas which usually remain healthy.

I set myself the challenge of documenting what was wrong with the "Painted Angels".

Histopathological investigation of Painted Angels and normal Chandas by Dr John Humphrey and Dr Malcolm Lancaster of the Victorian Institute of Animal Science (VIAS) revealed lesions that included microgranulomas in the kidney, severe hepatocellular vacuolar change and degeneration. See images below.

In some cases the kidney tissue was almost completely replaced by microgranulomas, fibrosis and inflammatory cells. These lesions were not detected in the normal Chandas and appear to be associated with the presence of fluorescent dye. The proliferative skin lesions were caused by Lymphocystis Virus and showed the characteristic severe cytomegally. These viral lesions were extensive and common on the "Painted Angels" but were rare and of minor significance in the normal Chandas. This difference is probably due to immunosuppression or stress invoked by the injected paint.

 1 2 3 4   5 6 7 8 

1. Normal Skin
2. Lymphocystis
3. Enlarged Lymphocyst
4. Paint Pigments in Tissue
5. Skin with Goblet, Melanin, and inflammatory cells
6. Normal Kidney
7. Damaged Kidney
8. Microgranuloma in Kidney
9. Enlarged Microgranuloma

This investigation proved that injecting dye or paint into fish causes severe pathological changes. This results in progressive degeneration of body tissues in the fish known as Painted Angels. Because of these findings I believe that we should not condone the act of injecting paint or dye into any fish. This is definitely an animal welfare issue and anyone dealing in or importing Painted Angels demonstrates support for this cruel practice.

By making this information known to the aquarium trade and recommending that we should not support this practice by importing paint or dye injected fish into Australia, the appearance of these fish in aquarium retail shops has dropped dramatically.

Histopathological slides were processed by Dr John Humphrey and Dr Malcolm Lancaster of the Victorian Institute of Animal Science (VIAS), Attwood, Melbourne. Please contact Dr Jim Greenwood if you would like to discuss any details with regards to the slides.

Dr Jim Greenwood B.V.Sc.
Canterbury Veterinary Clinic
182-184 Canterbury Rd.
Canterbury, Victoria, 3126
Ph: 03 9836 6009

Note: This documentation of Dr. Jim Greenwood's study as well as the accompanying photographs belong to Dr. Jim Greenwood and not Death by All photographs and text are Copyright Dr. Jim Greenwood.

Why it's cruel to Dye

From the above link:


Why it's Cruel to Dye
- By Dr. Stan MacMahon and Dr. Peter Burgess

Some fish keepers, and possibly even a few traders, may be puzzled as to why so much fuss has been made about dyed fish. On the face of it, the practice of dyeing or “painting” the fish seems fairly innocuous and the artificially dyed specimens are certainly very eye-catching in their various “day-glo” colours. So why push for a voluntary ban on selling them? Our investigations have revealed the truth behind the dyed fish saga.

Disco fish
Our first encounter with dyed fish was back in the late 1980’s. Thousands of artificially coloured glassfish, Parambassis ranga (formerly Chanda ranga) were imported into the UK.

The glassfish, so named because of its naturally semi-transparent body, obviously makes it an ideal subject for “painting”.

They were seen with fluorescent shades of either blue, purple, red, yellow, orange or green produced by dyes.

They were (and still are) imported under the names “painted glassfish” or “disco fish” (presumably because their almost fluorescent colours resemble discotheque lights).

How is the dye applied?
Intrigued as to how the dye was applied we decided to carry out a little research. A few coloured glassfish were sedated in MS222 anesthetic and observed under a binocular microscope. It became apparent that the dye is not on the surface of the fish, but lay under the epidermis.

Furthermore, the dye appeared fluid and could be moved slightly by gently squeezing the coloured area.

This suggested that it must have been injected into the fish at various sites over the body in order to form the distinctive colour patterns. Our fears were confirmed a few years later when we were shown photographs of the colouring process, revealing that each fish is individually injected using a syringe and needle.

The practice of dye injection is undertaken by fish farmers in some regions of Asia (but not Singapore as far as we know). Clearly, the common name “painted glassfish” is a cruelly misleading description.

If one considers the relative bore size of the injection needle with that of a glassfish, it would be the equivalent of us receiving several jabs using a needle of pencil-sized diameter - not a pleasant thought.

As experienced fish scientists, we would never dream of injecting fish of such small size. No wonder the injection process is alleged to cause high mortalities.

Increasing the risk of disease...
A survey which we carried out in the south of England revealed that over 40% of painted glassfish appeared to be suffering from Lymphocystis virus. This disease manifests itself as a small whitish growths on the fish’s body and fins.

An examination of the white growths under the powerful electron microscope confirmed our diagnosis. In contrast, less than 10% of the natural (unpainted) glassfish had Lymphocystis.

It is possible that the injection process increases the risk of this disease, perhaps by transmitting the virus from fish to fish via the needle (the same needle is used to inject tens or even hundreds of fish).

Alternatively, the stress of being injected with the dye may lower the fish’s natural immunity to Lymphocystis. It must be said that, in our experience, those glassfish which survive the injection process go on to live fairly normal lives, despite the gaudy dyes present within their bodies. In time, the dye fades.

Moral issue
Many people believe that fish do not feel pain and so injecting them with dyes is perfectly acceptable. In fact, increasing scientific evidence suggests that fish are indeed capable of feeling pain, though we have no way of telling whether they perceive painful events in the same way as we do.

So dye injection is likely to be a painful experience for the poor glassfish. In fairness, many traders and hobbyists were mislead, just as we first were, into thinking that these fish were simply painted with the dye.
Now that the truth is out, it’s time to stop this cruel practice, once and for all.

Other species which are sometimes dyed
Glassfish are not the only species which are subjected to artificial colouring.

Many types of albino fish also make ideal “white canvasses” for colouring. We have observed the following artificially coloured fish in the UK, and suspect there may be others.

Albino versions of Corydoras catfish, such as aeneus; Tiger barbs; Albino Epalzeorhynchus (formerly Labeo) such as the Red-finned shark; Black widow tetras; Rams and some Botia species.

Typically these exhibit red or blue on part of the body, but the dyes are not as bright or gaudy as those used to inject glassfish.

Fish which have pale or semi-transparent bodies such as the glassfish, Kryptoterus, also suffer.

Note: The above text documentation of Dr. Peter Burgess and Dr. Stan MacMahons' study belongs respectively to Practical Fishkeeping Magazine and is copyright Practical Fishkeeping.

Deadly Dyes
Induline, Nigrosine, and Benzinide dyes, commonly used in printers, are also used in the dyeing of fish.

From the above link:


Induline/Nigrosine Dyes

A potential source of exposure to recognized Bladder Carcinogens arises from Induline dye and Nigrosine dye. Bulletin No. 20 from the British Rubber Manufacturers Association, dated 21st September, 1977, refers to the presence of the bladder carcinogen 4-aminodiphenyl (4-ADP) in Induline/Nigrosine dyes.

"In May this year information was received from Williams (Hounslow) Limited, manufacturers and suppliers of dyestuffs chemicals, which indicated their intention to cease the manufacture of indulines and discontinue the marketing of the product. This decision had been taken because it was discovered that in the manufacturing process there was formation of a chemical impurity, which was identified as the aromatic amine 4-aminodiphenyl (also known as 4-aminobiphenyl or xenylamine). This amine is known to be one of the small group of aromatic amines which are recognized as being human bladder carcinogens, and within this group it is generally accepted that 4-aminodiphenyl has a high potency...

...Induline dyestuffs have, in fact, had very limited applications in the rubber industry. They have been more extensively used in printing and as leather dyes."

The two names Induline and Nigrosine appear to be used interchangeably and the dyes have been extensively used in printing inks.

Page 246 of "The Printing Ink Manual", (Biset et al 1979) refers to the hazards of Induline and its use in toners for cheap letterpress, news and gravure inks in particular.

The GPMU has several letters from manufacturers of printing inks which confirm the use of these materials.

In 1977 Usher-Walker Ltd confirmed that as a result of the information from Williams (Hounslow) Ltd they were stopping the use of Induline dyes "which we have used in the News Ink departments ..... for many years."

Similar indications have been given by other ink makers, in 1987 Ault & Wiborg referred to the fact that "Induline oleate dyestuff used as a blue/violet toner in newspaper inks contained a small proportion (less than 1%) of amino diphenyl [4-ADP]". Manders stated in 1991 that "in common with other ink makers, Manders used small quantities of Induline blue."

4-Aminodiphenyl is a recognized carcinogen

Relevant to c23 claims

Benzidine-Based Dyes

E.A. Apps "Printing Ink Technology", page 160, refers to the use of Benzidine-based dyes in ink pigments, in addition to dianisidine and alpha-naphthylamine-based pigments.

In August 1982 the Health and Safety Executive issued Guidance Note EH34, "Benzidine based dyes: health and safety precautions". This guidance note states that:

"Benzidine based dyes have been found to contain very small residues of Benzidine, typically about 0.001-0.003% Benzidine can also be regenerated from the dyes on contact with reducing agents, and there are some indications that similar processes could occur in the body.

After a review of the available medical and scientific evidence, the employment Medical Advisory Service (EMAS) has concluded that the risk of the development of bladder cancer in workers exposed to Benzidine-based dyes cannot be reduced to the lowest level that is reasonably practicable".

This provides further evidence that regular contact with printing inks could have led to exposure to Benzidine, a bladder carcinogen.

Garrod and Manson (1986) refer to several aromatic amines implicated as carcinogens and which have been used in the manufacture of dyes and inks. These include Benzidine, 1-naphthylamine, 2-naphthylamine and 4-aminodiphenyl, all of which are chemicals relevant to C23 prescription.

Note: This documentation of a study on the carcinogenic properties of the dyes used commonly in dyed fish belongs and is copyright GPMU Health & Safety.

Fish Feel Pain

From the above link:


Scottish Research Team Concludes that Fish Feel Pain

Researchers at the Roslin Institute and the University of Edinburgh have produced convincing evidence that fish can perceive pain. The study revealed that rainbow trout possess receptors (called nociceptors) that respond to damaging stimuli. Moreover, the receptors also respond to the application of short-acting noxious agents by undergoing significant physiological and behavioral changes that are comparable to those observed in mammals following exposure to painful stimuli.
The Scotland-based researchers used electrophysiological recordings to monitor anesthetized fish following the application of mechanical, chemical, and thermal stimuli to the head. Additionally, the researchers injected bee venom and acetic acid into the fishes' lips. "Anomalous behaviors were exhibited by trout subjected to bee venom and acetic acid," stated Dr. Lynne Sneddon, who led the research team. She noted that fish demonstrated a "rocking" motion, "strikingly similar to the kind of motion seen in stressed higher vertebrates like mammals."

Sneddon explained that the research "demonstrates nociception and suggests that noxious stimulation in the rainbow trout has adverse behavioral and physiological effects. This fulfills the criteria for animal pain."

Note: This documentation of the Roslin Institute and University of Edinburghs' Study is written and Copyright © 2004 The Humane Society of the United States.