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Do fish feel pain?


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I know there was one study with trout where fish were said to feel pain. There are piranha in my office that on of the groups put in a tank. One of them lost it's eye it is hollow. I claimed that fish felt pain. I want to prove that to them. I heard it before by animal rights people but is it proven?


Please point me to evidence. One of the managers made a crack at me when he heard that I said that. Said Oh where did you hear that from ... to one of my co workers ... you mean the granola eater... (refering to me) and plants feel pain too.



hitting the fish on the head (fisherman abuse)

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I guess they feel pain, I don't see why not... perhaps there's one or two kind of sea creature that don't have any pain sensors... people say all kinds of things, like pigs and all animals don't feel pain, lol! They think: animals don't suffer so let's kill 'em all ! Let's give anti-pain to humans, so we can kill and eat them all, that would solve the problem of overpopulation. In fact, I heard that cannibal idea many times from the mouth of meat-eaters. They say they would want to eat all the vegans.

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A better question is why would fish NOT feel pain? Pain is an essential survival mechanism for all mobile creatures that have a nervous system and a brain. Pain serves as an incentive for the animal to flee or fight, without it, the animal does not know that it is in danger. Plants, for example, have no need to feel pain, because they can't fight or flee from an attacker.


However, if you have a mobile creature that has a nervous system and brain, and we know that evolution has provided this basic mechanism to let a creature know that it is in danger, and for all intents and purposes we can see that an animal reacts when something painful is done to it, it seems to me that the burden is on those who claim that the animal does NOT feel pain to prove that they don't, not the other way around.

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I found this article that explains. Seems pretty valid to me.


Fish Feel Pain


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 that “The scientific literature is quite clear. Anatomically, physiologically

and biologically, the pain system in fish is virtually the same as in birds and animals.”1


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.2 Indeed, scientists tell us that fish brains and nervous

systems closely resemble our own.3 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.4 Claiming that fish do not suffer is as

intellectually and scientifically sound as arguing that the Earth is flat.


Interestingly, scientists have created a detailed map of pain receptors in fish’s mouths and all

over their bodies. A team of researchers at the University of Guelph in Canada recently surveyed

the scientific literature on fish pain and intelligence. They concluded that fish feel pain and that

“the welfare of fish requires consideration.”5 Dr. Lynne Sneddon, a scientist of fish biology in

the United Kingdom, explains, “Really, it’s kind of a moral question. Is your angling more

important than the pain to the fish?”6


Scientists at Edinburgh University and the Roslin Institute in the United Kingdom report that in

response to pain, fish also feel emotional stress and engage in “a ‘rocking’ motion strikingly

similar to the kind of motion seen in stressed higher vertebrates like mammals.”7 The research

team concluded that fish clearly experience pain in the same way as mammals, both physically

and psychologically.8


As you would expect from animals who we now know to be intelligent and interesting

individuals with memories and the capacity to learn, fish can also suffer from fear and

anticipation of physical pain. Researchers from universities across America have published


Dr. Lynne U. Sneddon, Dr. Victoria A. Braithwaite, and Dr. Michael J. Gentle, “Do Fish Have Nociceptors:

Evidence for the Evolution of a Vertebrate Sensory System,” The Royal Society Scientific Academy, 7 June 2003

. research showing that some fish use sound to communicate distress when nets are dipped into

their tanks or they are otherwise threatened.9 In a separate study, researcher William Tavolga

found that fish grunted when they received an electric shock. In addition, the fish began to grunt

as soon as they saw the electrode, clearly in anticipation of the torment that Tavolga was

inflicting on them.10


According to Dr. Michael Fox, D.V.M, Ph.D., “Even though fish don’t scream [audibly to

humans] when they are in pain and anguish, their behavior should be evidence enough of their

suffering when they are hooked or netted. They struggle, endeavoring to escape and, by so doing,

demonstrate they have a will to survive.”11


What happens to fish before they end up on your plate is nothing short of cruelty to animals—

whether they’re farmed or pulled from the ocean, fish are treated in ways that would warrant

felony charges if other animals were so horribly abused.





Richard H. Schwartz, “Do You Eat Fish?” Tikkun, Nov. 1999



L.S. Chervova, “Behavioral Reactions of Fishes to Pain Stimuli,” J. Ichthyol, 1997



L.S. Chervova.


K.P. Chandroo, I.J.H. Duncan, and R.D. Moccia, “Can Fish Suffer?: Perspectives on Sentience, Pain, Fear, and

Stress,” Applied Animal Behavior Science, 2004, p.11



K.P. Chandroo, p. 15.


Jennifer Smith, “Debate: Do Fish Feel Pain?” Newsday, 21 Aug. 2003



Alan Cowell, “Cruelty to Fish? Anglers in Britain Are Left Smarting,” International Herald Tribune, 7 May 2003.



Dr. Lynne U. Sneddon, Dr. Victoria A. Braithwaite, and Dr. Michael J. Gentle, “Do Fish Have Nociceptors:

Evidence for the Evolution of a Vertebrate Sensory System,” The Royal Society Scientific Academy, 7 June 2003




Martin A. Connaughton, Michael L. Lunn, Michael L. Fine, and Malcolm H. Tayor, “Characterization of Sounds

and Their Use in Two Sciaenid Species: Weakfish and Atlantic Croaker,”



Vantressa Brown, “Fish Feel Pain, British Researchers Say,” Agence France-Presse, 1 May 2003



Michael Fox., D.V.M., Ph.D., “Do Fish Have Feelings?” The Animals' Agenda, July/Aug. 1987, pp. 24-29.

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All creatures living have some way to tell when damage is being done.

Even plants, though much slower, move away from pain.

unicellular beings move away from conditions not suitable for them, people just dont understand things like this, its not their fault really, just underinformed and go with "common sense", you know we all do it, untill we are schooled

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