An academic study comparing the nervous systems and responses of fish and mammals has found that fishes’ brains are not sufficiently developed to allow them to sense pain or fear.
The study is the work of James D Rose, a professor of zoology and physiology at the University of Wyoming, who has been working on questions of neurology for almost 30 years. He has examined data on the responses of animals to pain and stimulus from scores of studies collected over the past 15 years.
His report, published in the American journal Reviews of Fisheries Science, has concluded that awareness of pain depends on functions of specific regions of the cerebral cortex which fish do not possess.
Professor Rose, 60, said that previous studies which had indicated that fish can feel pain had confused nociception – responding to a threatening stimulus – with feeling pain.”