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Fish have feelings too: Expert claims creatures experience pain in the same way humans do - and should be treated better


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2662297/Fish-feelings-Expert-claims-creatures-experience-pain-way-humans-better-treated.html

Fish have feelings too: Expert claims creatures experience pain in the same way humans do - and should be treated better

* A scientist claims that fish have the same intelligence as other vertebrates
* Fish have good memories, build complicated structures and show behaviour seen in primates - as well as feeling pain like us, he said
* Expert claims fish welfare and fishing techniques should be reconsidered
* It is the latest claims in a debate surrounding how fish respond to stimulus

By Sarah Griffiths<http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/search.html?s=&authornamef=Sarah+Griffiths>

Published: 04:47 EST, 19 June 2014 | Updated: 05:38 EST, 19 June 2014

Fishing may not seem like such a relaxing sport anymore, as scientists claim to have found that fish feel pain, just like humans.

One researcher believes fish have the same intelligence as other animals and consequently, people should care more for their welfare.

Flying in the face of what is considered popular opinion, he added fish have good memories and exhibit behaviour seen in primates, such as building complicated structures like specially-shaped sandcastles, as well as using tools.

Associate Professor Culum Brown of Macquarie University in Australia, said fish have very good memories, live in complex social communities where they keep track of individuals and can learn from one another.

They develop cultural traditions and can even recognise themselves and others.

They also show signs of Machiavellian intelligence, such as cooperation and reconciliation, according to the study, which focuses on bony fish and is published in Springer's journal Animal Cognition.

Professor Brown said the primary senses of the fish are 'just as good' and in some cases better than that of humans.

The level of mental complexity that fish display is on a par with most other vertebrates, while there is mounting evidence that they can feel pain in a manner similar to humans.

While the brains of fish differ from other vertebrates, fish have many comparable structures that perform similar functions.

Professor Brown believes that if some comparable animals are sentient, fish must be considered to be so, too, and therefore their welfare needs should be reconsidered.

'Although scientists cannot provide a definitive answer on the level of consciousness for any non-human vertebrate, the extensive evidence of fish behavioural and cognitive sophistication and pain perception suggests that best practice would be to lend fish the same level of protection as any other vertebrate,' he said.

'We should therefore include fish in our 'moral circle' and afford them the protection they deserve.'

While the implications of the research could have a big impact on the fishing industry, fish are also used in a similar way to mice in scientific research, so lab conditions would have to be reviewed too.

Professor Brown thinks there is little public concern about the creatures' wellbeing as many people only think of the animals as pets or food, and do not give them credit for being conscious and intelligent.

A recent study has found that crayfish feel stress in the same way that humans do and can be similarly calmed down using drugs.

This is the first time that clear signs of anxiety - normally associated with more complex forms of life - has been observed in a spineless species.

In a study released last week, researchers explained that anxiety is different from fear, which is an emotion that even the simplest animals show.

They built a specially-constructed maze to put the lobster-like creatures under pressure and found that their levels of brain chemical serotonin rose.

Injecting crayfish with the neurotransmitter was enough to make them anxious, but they could be calmed down with another drug called Chlordiazepoxide (CDZ) which is also used to treat humans.

Dr Daniel Cattaert, from the University of Bordeaux said: '[Our results] emphasise the ability of an invertebrate to exhibit a state that is similar to a mammalian emotion.'



http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/animal-emotions/201406/fish-are-sentient-and-emotional-beings-and-clearly-feel-pain

Fish are Sentient and Emotional Beings and Clearly Feel Pain
Fish deserve better treatment based on data on their emotional lives
Marc Bekoff, Ph.D. <http://www.psychologytoday.com/experts/marc-bekoff-phd>

I always love it when scientific researchers provide solid empirical data on the cognitive <http://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/cognition> and emotional lives of nonhuman animals (animals) that some take to be a "surprise" because in their (uninformed) opinion "this just can't be so." I recently wrote about this sort of surprise in an essay called "The Emotional Lives of Crayfish: Stress and Anxiety <http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/animal-emotions/201406/the-emotional-lives-crayfish-stress-and-anxiety>". And, now, Culum Brown <http://bio.mq.edu.au/research/groups/beef/beef.html>, a professor at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, has published a review paper in the journal Animal Cognition titled "Fish intelligence, sentience and ethics <http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10071-014-0761-0>" that clearly shows that fish are sentient and emotional beings and clearly feel pain in much the same way that humans do. The abstract of this significant essay available only to subscribers reads as follows:

Fish are one of the most highly utilised vertebrate taxa by humans; they are harvested from wild stocks as part of global fishing industries, grown under intensive aquaculture conditions, are the most common pet and are widely used for scientific research. But fish are seldom afforded the same level of compassion or welfare as warm-blooded vertebrates. Part of the problem is the large gap between people's perception of fish intelligence <http://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/intelligence> and the scientific reality. This is an important issue because public perception guides government <http://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/politics> policy. The perception of an animal's intelligence often drives our decision whether or not to include them in our moral <http://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/morality> circle. From a welfare perspective, most researchers would suggest that if an animal is sentient, then it can most likely suffer and should therefore be offered some form of formal protection. There has been a debate about fish welfare for decades which centres on the question of whether they are sentient or conscious. The implications for affording the same level of protection to fish as other vertebrates are great, not least because of fishing-related industries. Here, I review the current state of knowledge of fish cognition starting with their sensory perception and moving on to cognition. The review reveals that fish perception and cognitive abilities often match or exceed other vertebrates. A review of the evidence for pain perception strongly suggests that fish experience pain in a manner similar to the rest of the vertebrates. Although scientists cannot provide a definitive answer on the level of consciousness for any non-human vertebrate, the extensive evidence of fish behavioural and cognitive sophistication and pain perception suggests that best practice would be to lend fish the same level of protection as any other vertebrate.

Professor Brown's findings, consistent with the excellent research of Victoria Braithwaite (see and <http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/animal-emotions/201004/fish-do-feel-pain-yes-they-do-science-tells-us> and <http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/animal-emotions/201101/do-fish-feel-pain-redux-interview-the-author-who-shows-course-they-do>) are reviewed all over the web and this essay called "Fish have feelings too: Expert claims creatures experience pain in the same way humans do - and should be treated better <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2662297/Fish-feelings-Expert-claims-creatures-experience-pain-way-humans-better-treated.html#ixzz356UdsSGB>" nicely captures the essence of his review. Some snippets that should entice you to read the full essay include:

-- They [fish] develop cultural traditions and can even recognise themselves and others

-- They also show signs of Machiavellian intelligence, such as cooperation<http://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/teamwork> and reconciliation

-- Professor Brown said the primary senses of the fish are 'just as good' and in some cases better than that of humans.

-- The level of mental complexity that fish display is on a par with most other vertebrates, while there is mounting evidence that they can feel pain in a manner similar to humans.

Fish should be included in our moral circle

Professor Brown also noted that, "Although scientists cannot provide a definitive answer on the level of consciousness for any non-human vertebrate, the extensive evidence of fish behavioural and cognitive sophistication and pain perception suggests that best practice would be to lend fish the same level of protection as any other vertebrate ... We should therefore include fish in our 'moral circle' and afford them the protection they deserve."

In her very interesting book called Do Fish Feel Pain?<http://www.amazon.com/Fish-Feel-Pain-Victoria-Braithwaite/dp/0199551200/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403197358&sr=8-1&keywords=of+fish+feel+pain> Dr. Braithwaite concluded, "I have argued that there is as much evidence that fish feel pain and suffer as there is for birds and mammals -- and more than there is for human neonates and preterm babies." (page 153).

It's high time that use what we know on behalf of fish and other animals who are used and abused in the countless billions. Fish clearly are not things nor disposable objects, but rather sentient and feeling beings, a point stressed in Farm Sanctuary's "Someone, Not Something<http://www.farmsanctuary.org/learn/someone-not-something/about-the-someone-not-something-project/>" project.


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