Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by guppiesandpuppies, Aug 6, 2017.
Lol I just found this and I want to show it to anyone I meet who thinks harming fish is ok:
That is very interesting. I have observed intelligence first hand many times and in many different experiments both as an aquarist and as a fisherman, so that isn't really a new one to me. I knew that fish were capable of feeling through touch, but I never knew that they felt actual pain though. This is a GREAT article, thank you for sharing this.
Worms feel pain, bacteria feel pain. It is a system to make the organism recognize a hazard to its health. As for intelligence vs. sentience, that is a long philosophical debate that cannot be resolved on a fish forum.
My fish are sentient, in fact they control me!!
I think the higher the animal, the more that people care about it. So it's not that people around the world didn't think fish can just be harmed in any way, it's more that there is more outrage about certain living things over other living things. For example, even in a science class where the teacher is trying to teach about fish as an organism we should love and respect, the teacher would still allow the fish tank to become a horrible living environment for the fish, before giving the fish up to some unsuspecting child to take home and put into a smaller tank.
An interesting read. What I find amazing is that some people think such biologically similar organisms must function in different ways just because of differences, which on an evolutionary and functional basis, are fairly superficial. The belief that fish and other animals don't feel pain, have memories, or social interactions, is probably more a way of justifying our actions than based on any form of observation.
Fish lack the central nervous system complexity to feel pain the way we do. It doesn't affect the way I treat them in any way but a guppy and a chimp or a labrador are not quite the same.
If you read the the article linked by the OP, it makes, IMO, a compelling argument that fish do feel pain in the section -Fish pain perception and consciousness-. In other words, it doesn't seem to be simple stimulus aversion. Your opinion may vary.
My opinion does vary. I am an avid catch and release fly fisherman and the goal for most of us is to not cause unnecessary pain, and more importantly long-term harm. So based on the many studies I have read, there is no evidence fish possess the complex central nervous system capability to sense pain anything like a mammal.
Not to beat a dead horse here, but you said you don't want to cause 'unnecessary pain' to the fish while fishing, but simultaneously assert that fish don't feel pain in a way analogous to mammals. If the fish doesn't feel pain -in other words it's incapable of feeling distress or suffering- because of its 'primitive' central nervous system, then why does it matter?
I think OnTheFly meant that he or she believes that if fish can feel pain, which OnTheFly believes may or may not be true, the system that causes them to do so is not similar to that of a mammal and that most catch-and-release fishermen, including OnTheFly, don't intend to cause pain or harm for the fish, but also don't believe that a fish is likely to be able to feel pain. I think that if a fish can feel anything physically, it can feel pain and that it can feel things physically. My reasoning: A fish can tell when another fish has bitten it, even if the first fish is looking away and it seems to me that everything that can feel anything physically can feel pain. Cattle make noises when they're branded, lizards in captivity move off of their heated surfaces if they get too hot, birds seem to try not to fly as much when they have broken wings and such, dogs sometimes snap at veterinarians for giving them injections, and humans feel pain. Also, pain is an important part of survival. If we can't feel pain, there are a lot of ailments that we won't detect until it's too late. Fish survive, and sometimes that can only happen because they show us symptoms of an illness, so I doubt that they don't feel pain. Like, for instance, why would they ever shake and stay in place if they aren't in pain, suffering? If they can only feel what's going on and not be in pain, why would they care about it enough to stay in place and shake? They don't seem smart enough or evolved enough to me to know without pain that what's happening is/may be dangerous for them and know that because of that they should act differently. But if they just randomly start doing it and find that it eases the pain, that makes sense. I suppose they could be having seizures or something and that would make sense, too.
The field of animal consciousness is fascinating. The whole question about pain is whether they have any more consciousness than a plant. Is their reaction to pain simply a sub-conscious stimulus reaction, there because it improves the chances of reproduction and passing those stimulus response genes on, or is there real feeling? I can't answer that. I know there's been a lot of research on mammals recently which suggests their feelings and emotions, if not intelligence and memory, are exactly the same as ours. My guess is the ability to feel pain and respond on what we would call an emotional level is so important to survival that it would evolve quite early. Since I can't be sure, I treat my aquatic animals as if they can feel- and though not scientific, my little Betta shows actual excitement at feeding time, just like a dog. He doesn't just come to the spot the food will appear and wait, but becomes increasingly agitated if the food isn't forthcoming. Perhaps I'm anthropomorphizing him, but it seems to be more than a subconscious reaction. I'm not saying fish are equal to humans or even other mammals. I'm just saying that there may be more going on behind those unblinking eyes that generations of people have assumed.
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