Braithwaite, Victoria A. and Droege, Paula (2016) Why human pain can’t tell us whether fish feel pain. Animal Sentience 3(3)
Brian Key, Why fish do not feel pain
In his target article, Key (2016) reviews the neuroanatomy of human pain and uses what is known about human pain to argue that fish cannot experience pain. We provide three reasons why the conclusions reached by Key are unsupported. They consider (i) why it is not sufficient to conclude that only human neural structures can process conscious pain, (ii) why an understanding of pain in humans and non-human animals needs to be based within a framework of consciousness, and (iii) evidence already exists that fish treated with noxious stimuli lose the ability to perform normal behaviours: This was a behavioral proxy that Key proposed would provide good evidence for an animal to feel pain.