Fish can experience pain, study

Fish look so different from us. Whether fish feel pain similar to humans or differently is a contentious issue.

The possibility that fish and other non-human animals may experience pain has a long history. Shedding light on this, many scientists believe that fish lack the biological capacity to feel pain.

Disproving this claim, scientists at the University of Liverpool now suggest that fish do indeed feel pain, with a similarity to that experienced by mammals, including humans.

Dr. Lynne Sneddon, a biologist and one of the world’s leading experts on fish pain, explains that “From hyper-ventilating and loss of appetite to long-term behavioral changes after a painful experience. Pain among fish and across the anima kingdom and explains its shared molecular foundations and the behaviors associated with avoiding and alleviating it.”

“When subject to a potentially painful event, fishes show adverse changes in behavior such as suspension of feeding and reduced activity, which are prevented when a pain-relieving drug is provided.”

“When the fish’s lips are given a painful stimulus, they rub the mouth against the side of the tank, much like we rub our toe when we stub it.”

“If we accept fish experience pain, then this has important implications for how we treat them. Care should be taken when handling fish to avoid damaging their sensitive skin, and they should be humanely caught and killed.”

The study is published in the journal of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B that includes over a dozen articles on pain.

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