Argument: Fish feel pain and should not be made to suffer

Issue Report: Fish farming ban


  • “Fish Feel Pain”. Retrieved 1.23.08 – “While it may seem obvious that fish are able to feel pain, like every other animal, some people still think of fish as swimming vegetables. In fact, regarding the ability to feel pain, fish are equal to dogs, cats, and all other animals. Dr. Donald Broom, scientific advisor to the British government, explains, ‘The scientific literature is quite clear. Anatomically, physiologically and biologically, the pain system in fish is virtually the same as in birds and animals.’
Indeed, neurobiologists have long recognized that fish have nervous systems that comprehend and respond to pain, and anyone who made it through Biology 101 knows that fish have nerves and brains that sense pain, just like all animals. Indeed, scientists tell us that fish brains and nervous systems closely resemble our own. For example, fish (like ‘higher vertebrates’) have neurotransmitters like endorphins that relieve suffering—of course, the only reason for their nervous systems to produce pain killers is to relieve pain. Claiming that fish do not suffer is as intellectually and scientifically sound as arguing that the Earth is flat.”
Fish have pain receptors like us
This complements earlier findings that both birds and mammals can feel pain, and challenges assertions that fish are impervious to it.
The scientists found sites in the heads of rainbow trout that responded to damaging stimuli.
They also found the fish showed marked reactions when exposed to harmful substances.
The argument over whether fish feel pain has long been a subject of dispute between anglers and animal rights activists.
The research, by a team from the Roslin Institute and the University of Edinburgh, is published in Proceedings B of the Royal Society, the UK’s national academy of science.
The researchers, led by Dr Lynne Sneddon, say the ‘profound behavioural and physiological changes’ shown by the trout after exposure to noxious substances are comparable to those seen in higher mammals.”