Do Fish Feel Pain? The age old question!
Hey everyone! Ocean conservation and marine
life expert Jaclyn Friedlander here and today at the request of Jarrett Sullivan, we are
going to talk about weather or not fish feel pain. This is an interesting topic that has been
under scientific debate for many years. I did a lot of research on the topic this week
so I will share everything I learned and then we will have to draw our own conclusions because
scientists still do not say definitively one way or the other. In my research, I traced the beginning of
the theory that fish do not feel pain to Rene Descartes, a 17th century French philosopher
but his philosophy wasn’t specific to fish. His philosophy was that animals don’t feel
pain because they don’t have the same consciousness as humans. This has long since been debunked.
If you step on a dog’s tail he will absolutely yelp in pain. According to some scientists, some fish do
not have the same neuro-physiological capacity as other animals to feel pain because they
don’t have all of the correct so called pain receptors. They did many tests on their reaction
to different things like venom and toxins that would cause pain to see how fish reacted
and their conclusion was that it couldn’t be proven that fish do feel pain. The problem
with this particular study was that had the scientists found that fish do feel pain, it
would have had a negative effect on the fishing industry and future scientific research as
there are very specific laws in place against causing animals pain. A different study that was conducted under
similar conditions, found the exact opposite. Scientists who conducted a different study
that also inflicted pain on fish concluded that they reacted as if they were under distress
with increased breathing, writhing around, plus as they put it, fish like higher vertebrates
have neurotransmitters such as endorphins that relieve suffering and the only reason
for their nervous systems to produce these painkillers is to alleviate pain. The problem
with this study, was that it was conducted for an animal rights group. From my own experience of keeping fish as
pets, I have seen first hand when a fish is nipped by another fish or accidentally injured
on a tank ornament, often times they don’t eat for a few days or if I put them in a hospital
tank separate from the main tank and introduce medicine, as their condition improves, so
does their behavior and seemingly their mood. My conclusion would be that fish do feel pain.
Weather or not this pain is perceived as pain or discomfort or something totally different,
they are still experiencing something unpleasant as fish are in fact animals. Thank you to Jarrett Sullivan for this topic
suggestion. If you have an ocean related question or an animal you want to learn more about,
leave your episode suggestions in the comments below and if you want weekly ocean and conservation
information, click subscribe. See you next Friends with Fins Friday! Thanks for watching.