- Hardcover: 194 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (April 19, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0199551200
- ISBN-13: 978-0199551200
- Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 1 x 5.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,351,849 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Do Fish Feel Pain? 1st Edition
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"Braithwaite is at her best when conveying the sophistication of fish behavior. She does an admirable job of convincing readers that fish are smart." -- The Quarterly Review of Biology
About the Author
Victoria Braithwaite is Professor of Fisheries and Biology, School of Forest Resources, Pennsylvania State University. Her research investigates the evolution of animal cognition, focusing on fish learning, perception, and memory. She has advised the UK Government Animal Procedures Committee, has published numerous research articles, and written for the broadsheet media including the LA Times. In 2006 Professor Braithwaite was awarded the Fisheries Society of the British Isles Medal.
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Top Customer Reviews
So this book should get stars simply by being the first to devote an entire book to the topic. A very important topic I believe.
It is a thin book, obviously, but that's hardly the author's fault, as there really is relatively little research done on the topic.
It is an overall well written book. I felt the first couple of chapters of introductory to the main theme sometimes is a little slow, occasionally saying the things most people already know. But once the book started to talk about the author's own scientific experiments investigating whether fish feel pain, it became very interesting. Maybe because I'm not a biologist, so there is a lot of curiosity in me to see how this is done. I'm glad all is described in detail and in a way a lay person can understand. I found her experiments fascinating and it would be a great read for any high school or even middle school kids pondering a career in science.
The following chapters when the author argued in different aspects why fish do feel pain are very convincing and equally fascinating.
The end of the book talked about fish welfare, which is very good. I had not been aware of the inhumane practices in the fishing industry.
It's good the author is not taking a stand on angling. She is quite philosophical about it. I do wish she give more instructions on how to treat fish more humanely when you do enjoy angling, such as what's the fastest and least painful way to kill a fish once you get it.
The book is definitely worth reading, even just for the juicy animal behavior examples, like how two different marine species cooperate to hunt.
I do hope in a few years the author can update the book with new discoveries and new development, and make it a even more authoritative volume on the subject.
Killing and imprisoning animals (dairy cows for example) for food is archiac, needless, and brutal.
Fishing/angling whether by an individual or by commercial interests is brutal.
How would you like it if someone dangled a hook disguised as food in front of your loved ones, hooked them in the throat or lungs, dragged them, gutted them?
Well if you wouldn't want it done to you, don't do it to other sentient creatures. Because yes, fish do feel pain. Leave them alone.
She wrote in the Preface to this 2010 book, "My goal in writing this book has been to provide the background to promote informed discussion... I examine what we know so far about pain in fish, and whether it is meaningful to discuss fish welfare at all. After reading the book, I hope you will be in a position to make up your own mind... It draws us toward difficult, grey areas---if fish feel pain, then what about octopus, squid and lobsters---where do we draw the line?" Later she asks, "Would we really want to accord animal welfare consideration to earthworms?" (Pg. 120)
The questions she and her colleagues attempted to address are, "do fish have the necessary receptors and nerve fibres to detect painful events? ... (whether) a potentially painful stimulus triggered activity in the nervous system... (and) how the experience of a potentially painful event affected the behaviour of fish and the decisions that they made." (Pg. 7) She later states that "To be convinced an animal experiences pain, we had to show that a complex behaviour is affected." (Pg. 66)
While noting that the absence of a neocortex in a fish brain is important, she argues that "various brain imaging techniqes have revealed that these areas (i.e., pain) lie beneath the neocortex." (Pg. 12) She asks, "Certainly the lack of a neocortex will prevent fish from experiencing things we might, but can we really conclude that fish feel nothing?" (Pg. 97)
She concludes that fish "have the mental capacity to feel pain. I suspect that what they experience will be different and simpler than the experience we associate with pain and suffering, but I see no reason to deny them these abilities, and quite a bit which argues that they will suffer from noxious stimuli." (Pg. 112)
This is certainly the most extensive examination of this question in a book, and will be interesting reading for persons on all sides of this debate.