Thursday, 4 July 2013

Article: Do Fish Feel Pain? The Debate Continues

Do fish feel pain? The question is as old as angling itself, but it has never been answered definitively.

A recent study now concludes that fish lack the necessary pain receptors in their brains to experience pain the way humans and other animals do.

While fish have nociceptors — sensory receptors that respond to physically damaging objects and events by sending warning signals to the brain — these receptors don't function in the same way in fish as they do in humans, according to the study's authors.

"Even if fishes were conscious, it is unwarranted to assume that they possess a humanlike capacity for pain," the authors of the study, published in the latest issue of Fish and Fisheries, wrote in the study's abstract.

The researchers claim that one group of nociceptors, known as C-fiber nociceptors, is responsible for pain in humans but is rare in finned fishes and absent in sharks, ray and skates.

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