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Do Fish Feel Pain?
Posted: 17 January 2010 01:33 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Norwegian Research Suggests They Can click

At about 7/8ish I remember some friends of my older brother who were great outdoorsmen, in that beautiful 50s/60s style.
In fact, these were the folks who gave this inner city Chicago boy his first taste of the woods and wilderness lore.
They hunted and fished regularly.

in any event, I vividly recall over-hearing one discussion where the papa was explaining that when hunting mammals you should approach it in an Indian, respectful spiritual manner ~ you know, requesting permission/forgiveness and giving thanks, along with realizing soon enough the hunter himself will become fodder.  Then, he went on to talking about fishing and how that was different, they were dumb and cool blooded and it didn’t matter, or something like that.

I was really disturbed by this and butted into this big guys conversation (my brother being 8 yrs older, and papa another 5-8 years older than my brother) and objected.  “How do you know fish don’t feel pain?”  He was very cool and talked to me about it explaining: deer were mammals and warm blooded and a lot like us humans.  They had families and cared about each other.  Fish on the other hand, were cold blooded and just laid hundreds of eggs they never cared for, and were dumb creatures ...

I left understanding him, but never could reconcile it with my gut instinct that of course they feel pain and are aware.  It was one of those things that never left me - echos of that conversation and awareness gap between cold/warm blooded has returned to me time and again.

And now science is starting to vindicate me grin

ps. I’m posting here because considering all the claptrap being posted you folks might like something fresh and interesting to ponder on wink

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Posted: 17 January 2010 01:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Why would you think fish do not feel pain? They avoid painful stimuli, they can be taught to go through a maze and other simple tricks. People with koi, teach them to come when called. There are fish who care for their young. I never understood what was so ‘humane’ about catch and release of fish by fishermen.

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Posted: 17 January 2010 03:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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This seems more appropriate for “science and technology”.

We should correspond with Richard Dawkins and ask where in the “Ancestor’s Tale” the animal no longer feels “pain”.
We probably have to define ‘pain’ but most animals that can move will move away from ‘pain’.

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Posted: 17 January 2010 03:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Is there a “Pseudoscience and The Paranormal” angle to this thread ? or am I missing something ?

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Posted: 17 January 2010 07:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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scepticeye - 17 January 2010 03:41 PM

Is there a “Pseudoscience and The Paranormal” angle to this thread ? or am I missing something ?

Mister,  you miss all sorts of things

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Posted: 17 January 2010 07:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Jackson - 17 January 2010 03:40 PM

This seems more appropriate for “science and technology”.

Your right.

But this category really seemed like it could use something interesting for a change.
sorry I’m being snippy and jerky.

move it if you like, or even delete it.
It was just something interesting I ran into during my review of the latest Science Daily update.

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Posted: 17 January 2010 07:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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asanta - 17 January 2010 01:51 PM

Why would you think fish do not feel pain? They avoid painful stimuli, they can be taught to go through a maze and other simple tricks. People with koi, teach them to come when called. There are fish who care for their young. I never understood what was so ‘humane’ about catch and release of fish by fishermen.

I totally agree.

I never knew about koi though.
As for caring for their young, what’s that fish where the male keeps them in his mouth until they are old enough to fend for themselves?

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Posted: 17 January 2010 08:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Jackson - 17 January 2010 03:40 PM

This seems more appropriate for “science and technology”.

We should correspond with Richard Dawkins and ask where in the “Ancestor’s Tale” the animal no longer feels “pain”.

OH YEA, the paranormal angle.

Welll, that brings me to the rest of the story.

You see, even though I fished with the guys and did everything they did,
and even though I had/have no trouble gut’n, clean’n, cook’n and eat’n ‘em
I always caught way less, often none at all while others were getting hit after hit.

I had the feeling this was because the fish could sense that I really didn’t want to catch them.
we had this psychic thing going on   wink  them fishies an me   wink

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Posted: 20 January 2010 08:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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There are two schools of thought about lobsters and pain. The first is that they’re so stupid, with a brain that’s barely a thickening of its spinal cord and which has a low number of neurons, that they shouldn’t feel pain, never mind feeling awareness. The second is that it has so many nerves connected to its many touch-sensitive hairs that it might feel MORE pain, comparatively, than a human who’d be dropped into a pot of steam or boiling water.

For those in the latter school and who have lots of counter space, there’s apparently an electrocuter, the CrusaStun (http://crustastun.com ). I can’t find a retail outlet for it, though.

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Posted: 20 January 2010 11:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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josh_karpf - 20 January 2010 08:12 AM

There are two schools of thought about lobsters and pain. The first is that they’re so stupid, with a brain that’s barely a thickening of its spinal cord and which has a low number of neurons, that they shouldn’t feel pain, never mind feeling awareness. The second is that it has so many nerves connected to its many touch-sensitive hairs that it might feel MORE pain, comparatively, than a human who’d be dropped into a pot of steam or boiling water.

For those in the latter school and who have lots of counter space, there’s apparently an electrocuter, the CrusaStun (http://crustastun.com ). I can’t find a retail outlet for it, though.

A lobster isn’t a fish, it’s just a tasty, tasty bug! tongue wink

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Posted: 20 January 2010 12:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Regarding the lobsters, boiling seems like such a slow horrible way to die. I believe lobsters do move away when pain is applied, which would be reason enough for me to believe that they feel pain. If someone applied a painful shock to a person, and they moved away, we’d conclude that the person felt it. Why do we doubt the lobster feels it, when they move away from pain as well?

Pain is such a basic, primal thing, necessary for survival. I’m not sure a brain has to be well developed to interpret pain. If it moves away from it, it probably hurts.

My husband likes lobster, but I don’t eat it. I don’t eat much of anything meat based though.  wink

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Posted: 20 January 2010 01:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Jules - 20 January 2010 12:53 PM

Regarding the lobsters, boiling seems like such a slow horrible way to die. I believe lobsters do move away when pain is applied, which would be reason enough for me to believe that they feel pain. If someone applied a painful shock to a person, and they moved away, we’d conclude that the person felt it. Why do we doubt the lobster feels it, when they move away from pain as well?

Pain is such a basic, primal thing, necessary for survival. I’m not sure a brain has to be well developed to interpret pain. If it moves away from it, it probably hurts.

My husband likes lobster, but I don’t eat it. I don’t eat much of anything meat based though.  ;-)

“When pain is applied” begs the question, though. Not every stimulus from which something moves away is painful, e.g., top 40 music.

I’m fine with cooking lobsters whole. But I’ve stopped splitting them down the middle for broiling since they ARE so primitive that even if I cut their spinal cord first, if they’re any chance they do feel pain, they’ll feel it while I roast them alive.

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Posted: 20 January 2010 05:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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josh_karpf - 20 January 2010 01:32 PM

“When pain is applied” begs the question, though. Not every stimulus from which something moves away is painful, e.g., top 40 music.

OK so we’ll have to set up a test - play Brittany Spears songs and see if the Lobsters all scuttle away to the far side of the aquarium. Although I’m not sure I’d stick around to see the end results, without ear plugs.  tongue rolleye

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Posted: 20 January 2010 05:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Hey, what makes you think the Top 40 isn’t extremely painful to me?  LOL

All animals, even amoeba, will move away from a damaging stimulus, and I’ll define that as a response to pain.  So I don’t think the argument of whether or not the animal feels pain.  Next, is the proposal that it’s OK to cause pain if the animal is too stupid (whatever “too” is).  Then we can argue by taking it to an extreme then seeing how far we can back off before it becomes reasonable. ( reductio ad absurdum )

I propose, according to this reasoning, that anyone with an IQ of over 140 should be allowed to boil and eat anyone with an IQ below 100.  If you don’t buy this conclusion, where would you draw the line between allowing painfully killing of a “stupid” animal, and not painfully killing one that’s above a certain level of intelligence, and not killing one that’s some distance above that?

Occam

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Posted: 20 January 2010 06:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Interesting and fun examples, Occam!

What about plants? Some respond to painful stimuli, right? They can’t move away but some can “react” or release toxins on the surface of the leaves? I have read of different species having different mechanisms to deal with marauding animals.  Hmmm interesting to think about.

As for the meat debate - I don’t want to start “meat wars.” Although I don’t really eat meat myself, I don’t try to stop others. It’s a personal decision. I just wish that farm animals were raised in a more humane manner, and slaughtered in the least painful and least traumatic way possible. Ever see that movie, “Food, Inc.” I think the movies is called? Horrible, the slaughterhouses. Then they showed a family farm where the animals were treated wonderfully, eating fresh food in the sunshine, piggies wagging their tails happily like doggies in a nice field. Happy hens in a nice barn set up and clean yard, until the day of slaughter, and then they were slaughtered one at a time, carefully and quickly by the farmer. Nothing like the horrid assembly line at the slaughterhouse. Nothing like the feed lots and horrible stank chicken houses of mass markets with dead birds up to their neck in feces. So to meat eaters who are concerned about animal welfare, I’d suggest local farms and farmers markets. Grass fed, free range, etc. as local as possible. For your own health as well as the welfare of the animals.

As for the lobster, I would not suggest people not eat them. I’d simply want to explore the most humane method of dispatching the ugly bugs. I suppose I would assume that they feel “pain” and that is “hurts” them. Assuming this, my question would be - is boiling a fast and relatively pain free way to die? I would think not, because it sounds horrible. “Boiled alive” how long does it take to die? A few seconds? A minute? Is there a more humane way (besides purchasing a lobster stun gun, as pointed out earlier?  LOL )

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Posted: 20 January 2010 06:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Oh gosh,
You guys just brought back a totally lost memory from way back in 1978.  I spent a year doing a Chef’s apprenticeship at Hotel Hirsch, Bad Wurzach, AllgaĆ¼, Germany.  We had live lobster’s in season* and I was told to get a couple and drop them into the pot of boiling water with all the assurances about them not feeling nothing. 
So I drop them in and put the lid on and jezuz kee-rist, I practically had to climb onto the lid to keep them poor bugs from scrambling out of the pot.  Seemed like for a minute or more… who knows.  It was a mind blower for me.

It was the only time I had anything to do with boiling lobsters.

Have any of you lobster-boilers out there had a similar experience?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

* before you pick on me—- lobsters in season??
All I can say is, we had one Mitchelin Star and the menu changed three, four times a week, focusing on the best the market had to offer at that time.  Actually a very cool experience, except the owner/chef was an abusive madman - but that goes with the “fine restaurant landscape” especially in Europe   wink

now that I’m reflecting on it, I realize it was the beginning of a life time of being disillusioned by supposedly great people.

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