Animal Aid

FISH FEEL PAIN - New research confirms suffering

Posted 1 May 2003

New Scientific Research confirms that fish feel pain, and that angling and commercial fishing cause suffering.

The new research from the Roslin Institute showing that fish feel pain is backed up by earlier research from the Government's own Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) and by the RSPCA Medway report.

The FAWC found that fish experience fear, stress and pain when removed from water, and that the physiological mechanisms in fish for experiencing pain are very similar to those in mammals. Similarly, the Medway report concluded that all vertebrates (including fish and people) experience similar sensations in response to painful stimuli.

The evidence is clear, and means that angling is cruel and unjustifiable. It also means that eating fish is just as cruel as eating meat, and that fish farming is particularly cruel. Salmon and trout are kept in sea cages that are so overcrowded that many fish become injured as they collide with each other, when trying to get exercise without there being sufficient room. The overcrowding also means that parasites spread rapidly, with sea lice being a particular problem. The fish suffer both from the lice and from the chemicals used to deal with them.

Wild-caught sea fish also suffer greatly. When hauled up from the deep, fish undergo excruciating decompression. Frequently, the intense internal pressure ruptures the swimbladder, pops out the eyes and pushes the stomach out through the mouth.

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