Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling

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Invited Commentary


Brian Key, Why fish do not feel pain


Arguments against the fact that fish feel pain repeatedly appear even in the face of growing evidence that they do. The standards used to judge pain perception keep moving as the hurdles are repeatedly cleared by novel research findings. There is undoubtedly a vested commercial interest in proving that fish do not feel pain, so the topic has a half-life well past its due date. Key (2016) reiterates previous perspectives on this topic characterised by a black-or-white view that is based on the proposed role of the human cortex in pain perception. I argue that this is incongruent with our understanding of evolutionary processes.

Author Biography

Culum Brown CulumBrown@yahoo.com studies the behavioural ecology of fishes with a special interest in learning and memory. He is Associate Professor of vertebrate evolution at Macquarie University, Co-Editor of the volume Fish Cognition and Behavior, and Editor for Animal Behaviour of the Journal of Fish Biology. https://sites.google.com/site/culumbrown/