Can Fish Feel Pain?

CC Image from Wikimedia

CC Image from Wikimedia

By: Matthew W.

Recently an act was passed in Germany that punished those who inflict unnecessary pain on fish. According to the act, fish are sentient vertebrates that must be protected. This poses the question whether or not fish can truly feel what we consider pain. Researches from around the world have found evidence that suggest most fishes cannot feel pain, or at least they do not feel it the same way as mammals do. For humans, pain is processed in the cerebral cortex which fishes do not have, therefore they most likely do not feel pain the same way we do. Many people believe that fishes can feel pain because they react to injuries, however it is possible for an organism to unconsciously react to “pain” without consciously feeling it as we do. In fact, pain killers were shown to have nearly no effect on fish unless given in ridiculously high doses that would kill a mammal. If fishes do feel pain, it is likely in a way completely different than ours, and it would be futile to try to understand the way a fish feels from a human viewpoint. Although evidence strongly suggests fish do not feel pain as we do, it is not an excuse to pointlessly harm fish without any good reason. (Read more…)

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