Posted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 1:25 pm Post subject: Fish Feel Fear, Pain and Stress
The jury’s verdict is in, and it is unanimous: fish feel pain. “In the scientific community, the question of whether fish are capable of experiencing stress, pain and fear is nearly undisputed,” the Food Empowerment Project states.
“Fish feel pain too,” agrees Discovery News’s Jennifer Viegas in her analysis of Penn State professor Victoria Braithwaite’s book on the subject, Do Fish Feel Pain?. A 2009 study published in Applied Animal Behaviour Science also concluded that fish feel pain and that, even after the pain is over, they alter their behaviour in response to their memory of it. A 2003 study found ”profound behavioural and physiological changes” akin to those higher mammals exhibit in response to pain.
That throws a wrench into the arguments of a couple different interest groups. One is people who fish. They often justify their pastime with the claim that it doesn’t hurt their prey. Those who throw fish back in the water after hooking them claim “no harm, no foul,” as though the hook they ripped out of a fish’s mouth (or left in) didn’t hurt. Those who keep the fish they catch can’t possibly watch the desperate thrashing and believe the fish are not suffering, but if they do, they are now on notice - the fish are feeling pain, stress, and fear as they struggle to breathe.
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