I think we all know at the back of our minds that we should waste less water but any consequences are pretty indirect and easily slip to the back of our minds. Imagine if every time you used too much water it threatened the safety of a living creature. This is the concept of artist Yan Lu and he’s called it Poor Little Fish. As you pour water from a tap you can see the level of water in the bowl of a goldfish drop.

As well as using up less water, if you had one of these in your office it would make it easier to spot the psychopath teasing the fish by using more water than necessary.

You might be thinking that it can’t be very hygienic using water that a fish has been swimming in but apparently the water in the bowl isn’t actually drained but gets lowered and raised and the water from the tap is piped from a different source.

Have a look at the prototype in this video.

If you were going to mention that it didn’t sound very responsible and could be damaging to the welfare of the fish PETA have already made a formal complaint.

Dear Mr. Lu [sic];

On behalf of PETA and our more than 2 million members and supporters, we appreciate your desire to raise awareness about water conservation, but subjecting a fish to a barren life alone in a tiny bowl that has constantly fluctuating water levels is the wrong way to go. You could make the same point without causing the suffering of an intelligent, sensitive animal by replacing the fish in your “Poor Little Fishbowl Sink” prototypes with a fake one and ensuring that future commercial sales of your product include a fake fish so that buyers won’t be tempted to purchase a real one. With all due respect, to ignore the suffering of an individual who is part of our ecosystem seems to echo the same arrogance that has led us to have a problem in the first place.

Although it may be easy to ignore the fact, fish are smart and curious animals who form complex social relationships, but they are doomed to dull, unfulfilled, and lonely lives when confined to tiny glass bowls. An issue of Fish and Fisheries cited more than 500 research papers proving that fish are intelligent, have impressive long-term memories and sophisticated social structures, and can use tools. Fish learn by watching what other fish do, and “they are capable of learning quickly,” according to Dr. Chris Glass, director of marine conservation at the Manomet Centre of Conservation Sciences in Massachusetts. People the world over have begun to see fish for the intelligent, social creatures they are and are refusing to condemn them to life in a tiny bowl. In fact, the city of Monza, Italy, recently banned keeping goldfish in bowls because these containers do not even come close to meeting the needs of fish. Subjecting a fish to constantly changing water levels adds to the cruelty, even if the water never entirely runs out–imagine being trapped in a room with constantly shifting oxygen levels.

Environmental education does not require cruelty to animals. Please let us know that you’ll replace the real fish in your sink with a fake one. We would be most appreciative, and so would the fish. Thank you.

Tracy Reiman
Executive Vice President

Maybe this time around they have a point.