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Fishing - Index
SEVERAL STORIES CONNECTED
TO A NEW REPORT BY VIVISECTORS THAT SAYS 'FISH FEEL
Apr 30 2003
by Claire Stoker, Liverpool Echo
FISH do feel pain, according to the latest research
from a Liverpool university scientist.
For years anglers have claimed hooking fish out of the
water and tossing them back in does not hurt.
But Dr Lynne Sneddon carried out research on rainbow
trout and discovered they react when injected with bee venom or if the
temperature is increased.
She said: "If we touch a hot iron, we have a reflex to
pull away - this is down to nociceptors.
"For the first time we have discovered fish have them
When the trout were injected with the venom they
started rocking from side to side, their breathing rate went up and they
rubbed their lips on the tank walls.
The poet Byron famously described angling as "the
cruellest, the coldest and the stupidest of pretended sports" and Max Gastone,
of the Campai gn for the Abolition of Angling, agrees.
He said: "This backs up what we have been saying for
years. Fish don't scream, nor can they display visual pain reactions so
people wrongly think they don't feel pain."
But Charles Jardine, angling director of the
Countryside Alliance, said nobody cares about what fish do or do not
He said: "When people are tucking into their fish and
chips I think all they really care about is whether or not it tastes
Scientist claims fish do feel pain
Alok Jha, science reporter
Wednesday April 30,
For years anglers have claimed that fish feel no pain
when they are hooked. But now a new British study appears to provide evidence
that fish do suffer.
When the lips of rainbow trout were injected with bee
venom or mild acid, the fish displayed a rocking motion similar to that
observed in mammals under stress, and then behaved strangely for several
"Fish have a very similar stress response to us," said
Lynne Sneddon, who carried out the research at the Roslin Institute in
Edinburgh. "Angling is likely to be painful because it causes tissue damage."
Animal rights activists have long called for Britain's
3.8 million anglers to stop their "cruel" sport.
Dr Sneddon and her team discovered that trout had
receptors called "nociceptors" in the skin on their heads. In mammals, these
warn the brain of things that could cause harm. But Dr Sneddon knew the
presence of the receptors was not enough proof of pain.
After the trout were injected with damaging substances
Dr Sneddon said: "I found the responses lasted for quite a prolonged period,
around three hours and that they were performing anomalous behaviour that I
hadn't seen in the fish before."
The findings were welcomed yesterday by animal rights
organisation People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals but they said it was
unfortunate fish had to suffer to show something which was obvious. "It's
shocking that people will still go fishing for fun," said a spokeswoman.
The National Angling Alliance called Dr Sneddon's
"These findings are in direct contrast to the recent
work of Professor James D Rose of the University of Wyoming, who stated ...
that fish do not possess the necessary and specific regions of the brain to
them to feel pain or, indeed, fear," a spokesman said.
Bruno Broughton, a fish biologist and scientific
adviser to the National Angling Alliance, said: "I doubt that it will come as
much of a shock to anglers to learn that fish have an elaborate system of
sensory cells around their mouths. Nor is it a surprise that, when their lips
are injected with poisons, fish respond and behave abnormally.
"However, it is an entirely different matter to draw
conclusions about the ability of fish to feel pain, a psychological experience
for which they - literally - do not have the brains.
April 30, 2003
The hook hurts - will
anglers feel the pain?
By Valerie Elliott, Countryside Editor and
Eds note: Valerie Elliott is a pro-hunt anti animal
rights fanatic. Most of the stuff she rights is complete and utter garbage and
this article is no exception. The article is supposed to be about the report
but she regurgitates the same old lies about animal rights activists being
violent. There is no way she can substantiate any of the claims of violence
including the nail bomb which was sent by someone with no links to animal
rights at all.
BYRON described angling as "the cruelest of pretended
sports". Now, two centuries later, research has finally backed him up by
declaring that fish can feel pain.
If, as the study published yesterday by the Royal
Society suggests, the cod in fish and chips, the salmon in sandwiches and the
prize trout on the wall suffered to get there, then these islands' most
popular sport and a major industry may be in trouble.
In recent years animal welfare activists have become
vehement in their calls for Britain's 3.5 million anglers to give up their
Anglers reject claims that they can be compared to
foxhunters, on the ground that fish are too low a life form to suffer pain.
The two-year study at the Roslin Institute and
Edinburgh University is the latest in a series of contentious reports on the
issue that have been championed by each side of the increasingly
acrimonious, and sometimes violent, debate. It claims to be the first to find
nervous system receptors that respond to painful experiences in the brains of
Their experiments could be the precursor to new
regulations for fish caught by commercial fishermen and reared in fish farms.
It also gives the thousands of "demi-vegetarians", who
eat no meat because of welfare concerns, but do eat fish, food for thought.
Dr Lynne Sneddon, the head of animal biology at
Liverpool University, said that she wanted to establish once and for all
whether fish could feel pain. "What I set out to do was to find pain receptors
in fish like those in higher mammals and humans. If we, as humans, touch a hot
iron, we have a reflex to pull away immediately. This is down to things called
nociceptors. For the first time we discovered that fish have them too."
The next step was to prove that these nerves reacted in
the same way as in other animals when subjected to pain. The trout were
subjected to various unpleasant experiences, such as extremes of temperature.
The lips of ten fish were also injected with bee venom - a standard substance
used to test pain - and also with acetic acid.
"We found that the fish reacted very strangely. They
rocked from side to side when injected with bee venom, a rocking motion
strikingly similar to that seen in animals and humans suffering stress," she
said. "When acetic acid was injected, the gill respiratory rates of the fish
doubled and they were seen rubbing their lips against the tank walls. The fish
injected with venom also did not eat food until the effects of the experiments
subsided. All in all, the results fulfil the criteria for animal pain."
She said that only bony fish such as cod, trout and
salmon would show these responses. Previous research on boneless fish, such as
stingray, dogfish and shark, which have cartilage, had not shown they had
nerves or felt pain in the same way as mammals.
"At present there are no rules on killing fish and I
would like to see painkillers used if fish are tagged or have fins clipped to
identify them," she said.
"I don't have a problem with people getting fish out of
the water quickly, killing them quickly and humanely and taking them home to
eat. But people also catch fish and let them go for sport and hold them in
keep-nets, and I don't think these are welfare-friendly practices."
The research dips its toes into troubled waters.
Although the RSPCA, which is against hunting with dogs, is not opposed to
fishing, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), an international organisation, has an aggressive anti-fishing campaign.
Dawn Carr, of Peta, said that the latest research
strengthened the organisation's position. "Fish may not be cute and cuddly but
it does not mean they can't feel pain just like dogs and cats," she said. "If
you're angling for entertainment, or on fish farms, or the sea, the animals
are suffering. Just because the suffering undergone by a fish in your fish and
chips is out of sight does not mean it isn't real."
Peta has run a series of adverts calling for a ban on
fishing, one of which featured an image of a dog with a hook in its mouth.
In February 2001 Peta wrote to Scottish Natural
Heritage demanding a ban on plans to capture the Loch Ness Monster with
fishing nets. Recently it has complained about a government-backed scheme
called Hooked on Fishing, which aims to get troubled youths off the
"You have to question the wisdom of this scheme, which
gets these boys to engage in a violent activity," Ms Carr said.
Other groups have gone further, turning canals and
riverbanks into something of a battleground. Clare Persey, an activist for the
Campaign for the Abolition of Angling, snapped a competitor's rod at the
European angling championships in 2001 then jumped into the Trent to
disrupt the competition.
In March 2001 animal welfare protesters wearing
balaclavas and armed with baseball bats and pickaxe handles terrorized a
disabled angler fishing on the Granta, near Harston, Cambridgeshire. Peter
Rainbow, 62, was alone when about 20 demonstrators began shouting abuse
such as "How would you like a hook through your mouth?" through loudhailers.
They fled when he called the police.
On January 11, 2001, a letter bomb packed with nails
exploded at a fish and chip restaurant in Holywell, North Wales. No group
admitted responsibility, but a spokesman for the Animal Liberation Front said
at the time that fish-and-chip shops would be considered "legitimate targets"
for animal welfare protesters.
"Fish are dragged out of the water into an alien
environment in which they slowly die. There is no pretence of humane
slaughter," the group said.
The National Federation of Anglers rejected these
claims, citing a report released in February by Professor James Rose, at the
University of Wyoming. It claimed that although fish responded to a
threatening stimulus, as shown in yesterday's report, this was not the same
as them feeling pain.
Bob Clark, of the federation, said that he supported
Professor Rose's findings. "Anglers have known all along that fish do not feel
pain, or certainly not pain as other animals know it," Mr Clark said.
"To attribute the same sensory reaction to fish as you
would to mammals is not supported in science at all. Even this report says not
that fish feel pain, but that they 'could' feel pain."
Dr Bruno Broughton, a fish biologist and scientific
adviser to the federation, said: "I doubt that it will come as much of a shock
to anglers to learn that, when their lips are injected with poisons, fish
respond and behave abnormally.
"However, it is an entirely different matter to draw
conclusions about the ability of fish to feel pain, a psychological experience
for which they, literally, do not have the brains."
More ignorant rubbish from a reporter in the Times:
May 01, 2003
We should ignore this codswallop hook, line and
By Ross Clark
If the piranha fish charged with the task of
dispatching Dr Goldfinger's adversaries could speak, their last words to Mr
Bond would be: "This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you." However much
their gormless expressions might tempt us to think otherwise, fish can, and
do, feel pain, according to Lynne Sneddon, head of animal biology at the
University of Liverpool. She says she has found evidence of "pain receptors"
in trout and proved that they work by injecting bee venom into the lips of the
poor creatures and watching them writhe in agony.
Unsurprisingly, the angling lobby, which has long
suspected that its sport would be the next to be targeted by animal rights'
activists, has reacted angrily. "Anglers have known all along that fish do not
feel pain or certainly not pain as other animals do," says Bob Clark, of the
National Federation of Anglers. "To attribute the same sensory reaction to
fish as you would to mammals is not supported in science at all."
When I hear anglers use the language of cod science -
if you will pardon the expression - I know their sport is doomed. There is
little point in them involving themselves in the philosophical debate over
piscine intelligence. Much as I dislike the RSPCA, I can't fault the statement
by its senior scientific officer, Penny Hawkins: "All vertebrates should be
given the benefit of the doubt and assumed to be capable of suffering."
If anglers want to save their sport, they should say
instead: "Fish can feel pain? So what?" The truth is that it impossible for us
to go about our business without some little creature biting the dust. If one
takes the arguments of animal rights' activists to their logical conclusion,
it is unethical for humans to do anything other than lie still and wait
for rodents and microbes to feast on us.
I can't remember from school biology lessons
exactly how many bacteria are supposed to die every time we place a foot on
the ground, but I am sure it was up in the millions. Who is to say that they,
too, cannot feel anything as their bodies are ground by our boots?
think of all the little bugs and beetles run down every time an animal rights
activist climbs on his bike and pedals off to a meeting of People for the
Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta). God help the cycling lobby when
scientists discover evidence of pain receptors in arthropods. (Ed shows the
level of stupidity this reporter will go to and his complete lack of any
As Dr Sneddon's work leaves it, bony fish such as
salmon and trout can feel pain but boneless fish cannot. For some class
warriors, that is very convenient, because it provides a justification for
eliminating the sport of toffs while still allowing the common man his skate
But the science of animal suffering certainly isn't
going to end there. It might not even end with animals. Plants, too, have
rudimentary sensory devices; it is thanks to a sense of touch that bindweed
is able to wind itself around your drainpipe. If touch, why not feeling, and
if not feeling, why not pain? If you are prepared to believe that a codfish
can feel a hook stuffed through its cheek, it is illogical to deny the
possibility that your lawn cannot feel a thing when you attack it with your
Once Peta has had its way and we are all leading
impeccably vegan lives, it won't take a minute for that organisation to
transform itself into People for the Ethical Treatment of Vegetables. We have
Either we go along with the fundamentalist approach to
animal rights and commit ourselves to banning fishing, along with everything
else that science may one day rule is unkind to some beast or other. Or we
carry on fishing, accept the inevitability of animal suffering and comfort
ourselves with the thought: "What the hell? It's a jungle out
I'd like to see this man survive a day in the jungle -
without a gun - It is not a jungle and we as human beings can live and thrive
without consuming the flesh of any living being.