[UK] Do Fish Feel Pain? (condensed)
- From CNN web site, April 30
Do Fish Feel Pain
EDINBURGH, Scotland -- Anglers and animal rights activists were further apart than ever on Wednesday after scientists said they had proved for the first time that fish feel pain.
The scientific study on rainbow trout by scientists in Scotland found evidence, researchers said, that fish have feelings, including stress and pain. But the main angling group in Britain cast doubt on the research, saying that the findings contradicted previous studies.
The Royal Society published on Wednesday the latest findings of experiments on bees stinging trout lips, which caused some of the fish to display a "rocking" motion, according to the Press Association.
The study at Edinburgh University and the Roslin Institute in the Scottish capital concludes that fish have nervous system receptors, or "polymodal nociceptors," in their heads that respond to damaging stimuli. The ones in trout were the first to be found in fish and have similar properties to those found in amphibians, birds and mammals including humans, PA said.
Dr. Lynne Sneddon, who led the study, told PA: "Our research demonstrates nociception and suggests that noxious stimulation in the rainbow trout has adverse behavioral and physiological effects. This fulfils the criteria for animal pain."
The National Angling Alliance (NAA), which represents one million anglers in the UK, described the conclusions as "surprising." A spokesman said: "These findings are in direct contrast to the recent work of Professor James D. Rose of the University of Wyoming, who stated in the Reviews of Fisheries Science that fish do not possess the necessary and specific regions of the brain -- the neocortex -- to enable them to feel pain or, indeed, fear."
Dr. Bruno Broughton, a fish biologist and scientific adviser to the NAA, added: "I doubt that it will come as much of a shock to anglers to learn that fish have 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."
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