Daily Smart Fact

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Posts Tagged ‘fish

Daily Smart Fact #19: Fish can feel pain, you murdering murderer

with 2 comments

Key Takeaway: UK scientists have found “conclusive evidence” that fish do feel pain.  But what does this mean?  And does anyone care?

I don’t go out looking for information about fish (like I do birds), nor do I find fish articles to be that particularly interesting – however, I never really put thought into the question “do fish feel pain?” but it looks like a lot of other people have.

In 2003, some British scientists did some studies on trout and determined that fish DO feel pain.  (BBC source) They injected bee venom in the lips of trout (haha, trout lips) and regular saline solution in the control group’s lips.  The trouts who had bee venom exhibited signs of stress and more importantly, kept rubbing their lips on the gravel floor – a response that was not a “reflexive response.”  Also, it took them 3 times longer to resume feeding than the control group.

It is important to note that although this study may show that fish can “feel” pain, the question still remains “what does it mean to feel pain?”  In order to feel pain, do you need the brain capacity to register pain as a psychological experience or is a physiological response to pain enough?

Whatever the answer might be, what does this mean for us fish eaters?  It may not mean much unless you were eating fish only because you thought they didn’t feel pain.  In that case, congratulations to you.

But more importantly, what implications does this have on sports fishing.  If its now shown that fish do feel pain, are you damaging and ultimately causing pain to fish for your own enjoyment?  I’m honestly not very passionate about this subject but I find these scientific findings and their implications quite intriguing.

What do you think?

Written by Bea

June 6, 2011 at 12:56 pm

Posted in Biology

Tagged with , ,