Like humans, fish feel pain too

Washington, Dec 7: A new book by Penn State professor Victoria Braithwaite has suggested that fish, like most other organisms, are capable of experiencing pain and that humans can cause fish to suffer.

In her book "Do Fish Feel Pain?" Braithewaite said that fish have the same kinds of specialized nerve fibers that mammals and birds use to detect noxious stimuli, tissue damage and pain, reports Discovery News.

She also explored whether fish are sentient beings and whether an organism must possess "awareness" to experience pain.

"We now know that fish actually are cognitively more competent than we thought before-some species of fish have very sophisticated forms of cognition," she said in a press release.

"In our experiments we showed that if we hurt fish, they react, and then if we give them pain relief, they change their behavior, strongly indicating that they feel pain.

"Electrical stunning may change the way we harvest fish at sea.

"We have a responsibility, I think, to make clean and quick kills of fish we eat. Certainly, most of us are not comfortable with piles of fish slowly suffocating on the decks of fishing trawlers at sea and in port. People are rightly asking: 'Isn't there a better way?" she said.

To do this on a wide scale, commercial level, protection related to pain and suffering that are now given to birds and mammals should be widened to include fish.

"There is a perception that fish have simple brains and are incapable of feelings, and this has somehow made them different from birds and mammals when it comes to our concerns for their welfare," she said.

"But we now have strong evidence that suggests fish are more intelligent than previously thought and their behavior more complex," she added.

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