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Author Topic: Do fish feel "pain"?  (Read 10306 times)
dang
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« on: August 14, 2011, 01:33:23 PM »

  I was going to add this to my in Karen's post about school size, but didn't want to highjack her thread.

  In the article she cites, (sorry, due to my lack of skill in this area, I am unable to quote it here) they imply that some people don't think that fish feel pain.  As far as I know, almost all living creatures feel "pain".  It is the body's warning to avoid a particular situation.  They might not feel pain exactly as we do, but I think they do feel pain.

  On the other hand, I have seen a fish partially engorged by another fish still attempting to feed, and in several instances, have seen fish with half of their body gone (bitten off) schooling, feeding and otherwise acting "normal".

  Your thoughts on this?
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Kim
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« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2011, 03:14:20 PM »

the survival instinct is enormous, that I think accounts for fish who, although mortally wounded, still try to function. Likely there is also something about their make up, neurologically or whatever...that makes it possible for them to do so, unlike most mammals that simply go down with that much bodily damage. Of course the fish in that kind of condition is going to die too, just might take a bit longer.

as for pain. I don't have a clue either, it would stand to reason, as you said, pain is a warning that something is wrong and needs to be avoided but I'm not sure if we'll ever really know how it is with non mammals.

Stress we know they suffer from, that's observable.
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Ruthy
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« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2011, 04:09:56 PM »

I'd say that if it has a central nervous system, it would feel pain. I also agree that a fish would use pain to avoid a situation. Shrimp too: Shrimp gets a leg bitten off by a grumpy betta, it immediately disappears.
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Belinda
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« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2011, 08:10:16 PM »

I completely agree that fish  do feel pain .
However; I doubt that they have the connection between pain and emotion that we do .

 An injured creature will do anything to survive ..
I believe that the instinct to survive is what makes any injured fish or animal to continue on in natural behaviors so that it does not get marked off by predators as prey.
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Netti
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« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2011, 08:43:31 PM »

Animals (creatures) may just be more tolerant to pain! It could very well be because of how Belinda explained, that they may lack the emotional response to pain, or that it is a survival technique to fool predators.

I've observed my dog nursing her slightly injured leg after jumping/falling off the bed while playing with our other dog (she was fine within 6 h), and how a pregnant platy was hovering in the corner, near the surface of the water before giving birth. I don't doubt that they feel pain and discomfort.

I liked Ruthy's response, making the connection to the central nervous system. I have a friend who could not feel labor pain, she did not know that she was in labor and gave birth in the hospital parking lot, lol! Something did not connect somewhere, so she could not feel pain, only pressure!
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Frisby
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« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2011, 07:19:03 AM »

I wouldn't see why they would not feel pain, after all they are alive. Everything *nearly* living feels pain like someone mentioned above  happy
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Karen
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« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2011, 07:44:14 AM »

I wouldn't see why they would not feel pain, after all they are alive. Everything *nearly* living feels pain like someone mentioned above  happy

Nothing that lacks a nervous system feels pain.  Sorry.  There are 5 (or 6 if you count super kingdoms) of living things on this planet.  Four (or 5) of those kingdoms lack a neurological system.  Within the Animal kingdom there are 9 major phyla ( and a LOT of minor phyla)  Of those 9, only 6 have a nervous system, of those six, 3 of them only use their nervous system to detect light/dark and coordinate movement.

So we are left with:
Molluscs -snails, clams, octopus/squid,
Arthropods- insects, crabs, shrimp, spiders
Chordates- fish, birds, reptiles, mammals

ALL chordates have sensory neurons.  Pain is the excessive triggering of a sensory neoron.  YES with out a doubt, fish feel pain.  


The best study of it was done in 2009 at Purdue it is well published in both scientific and common literature.
This is a really cute and NON scientific article about fish pain.  Its well written for a general audience.
http://www.slate.com/id/2219276/

A more comprehensive article about that study:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090430161242.htm
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Netti
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« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2011, 01:23:15 PM »

That was a very interesting read, Karen, thank you for the links. I've sent the links to my son's GF who works with Zebra Danios (some sort of environmental effects study) at her University!Again, thanks!  Smiley
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FishyFace
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« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2011, 01:59:11 PM »

I totally agree that fish feel pain, but not in the way we do. Fish feel pain but don't experience the emotions that we do when we feel pain, like Belinda said.
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russ
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« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2011, 09:45:44 AM »

This sounds like a good topic for a formal chat presentation. There is a couple of past presentations on fish sensory systems. Perhaps a expanded or 're-visited' subject could be arranged.
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Kim
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« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2011, 06:42:06 PM »

thanks Karen!
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Tiktaalik Owner
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« Reply #11 on: August 26, 2011, 10:32:52 AM »

Consider the Lobster is an excellent article on the subject: http://www.gourmet.com/magazine/2000s/2004/08/consider_the_lobster. Gourmet Magazine sent the author to cover the Maine Lobster Festival. He gave them a piece on the ethics of lobster boiling. I wish I could have seen the editor's face as he read it! (David Foster Wallace, shine on you crazy diamond.)

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russ
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« Reply #12 on: August 26, 2011, 02:56:21 PM »

That is one heck of a read. I got through the first page and saw 9 more to go. I'll need to reserve more time for this a bit later.
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"For every difficult question, there is an answer that is clear and simple and wrong."
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dang
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« Reply #13 on: August 26, 2011, 04:57:33 PM »

  Great article Tiktaalik!

  It hits right to the heart of this post.  It seems to be accurate and well reasoned, at least to my limited understanding of the issue.  (but I still don't want to stop eating meat)
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