Copied from the web: "Pain in Fish Fishing means intense pain and stress for millions of fish every year. Fish are treated in ways which would cause an outrage if cute, furry creatures were involved - but fish suffer just as much. Pain begins when the hook pierces the mouth and the fish is reeled in. Many people remove the hook while the fish is still alive. Anyone who has ever had a fish hook stuck in their own flesh needs no convincing that this is extremely painful. Pain is further increased if large fish are landed with a gaff hook. This large hook on a handle rips into the flesh of the live fish to pull it out of the water. Livebaiting is another barbaric activity that increases pain. A live small fish is threaded up as bait for larger fish. Here is one description of how to do this, taken from a fishing magazine: "The needle is passed through the front of the eye socket of both eyes. The material is then pulled through so that the hook sits on the head of the baitfish." Remember that the baitfish is alive and feels pain, just like a dog or a cat (or indeed a human) would. Stress Once out of the water, fish suffocate rather like we do underwater. In their death throes fish writhe, gasping and flapping their gills as they desperately try to get oxygen. Anyone who has ever been unable to breathe even for a short time won't need convincing that this is a terrifying experience. Intense stress is also caused by livebaiting and "playing" fish on the line, as is done particularly with big game fish such as marlin. Research has compared the behaviour of fish in these two situations with the behaviour of fish in a tank into which alarm substance had been released. Alarm substance is normally released by injured fish. This chemical causes panic in other fish, who flee as quickly as possible. In the experiment, the behaviour produced by the alarm substance was very similar to behaviour produced by livebaiting and game fishing. So, these activities cause panic, like alarm substance, but the fish can't escape and the panic may go on for hours. Attitudes to Fish It's hard for fish to arouse our compassion. They can't show their agony by screaming. They don't have the sad eyes of a seal pup or a dog. In an article in The Adelaide Advertiser, Professor Bill Runciman, professor of anaesthesia and intensive care at Adelaide University, was quoted as saying: "Fish constitute the greatest source of confused thinking and inconsistency on earth at the moment with respect to pain. You will get people very excited about dolphins because they are mammals, and about horses and dogs, if they are not treated properly. At the same time you will have fishing competitions on the River Murray at which thousands of people snare fish with hooks and allow them to asphyxiate on the banks, which is a fairly uncomfortable and miserable death." Since fish have the same nerve endings, the same chemicals for transmitting and blocking pain, and the same receptor sites for anxiety-reducing chemicals as mammals, it is absolute nonsense to suggest that fish do not feel pain or fear. Experiments Animal experimenters acknowledge that fish feel pain and stress. In one of its newsletters, the Australian Council for the Care of Animals in Research and Teaching advised researchers to reduce the pain and stress suffered by cold-blooded vertebrates (including fish) used in experiments. The article recommended that: "humane restraint, analgesia and anaesthetic should be adopted whenever necessary. Adequate levels of analgesia reduce apprehension and stress, and decrease or suppress the perception of painful stimuli." Fish Feel Pain If fish can't show their pain, how can we know whether they feel pain at all? There is very strong scientific evidence to show that they do. Fish have nerve endings near the skin which are very similar to those of humans and other mammals. We all have receptor cells (called nociceptors) near the skin, which are stimulated by events severe enough to cause damage to body tissues. The lips and mouth of fish are particularly well supplied with nerve endings. Fish produce the same pain-transmitting chemicals as humans. There are two main chemicals involved. When a nerve ending is damaged, a substance called bradykinin is released. This causes the nerve cell to fire, sending an electrical impulse along the nerve. When bradykinin is released near the skin, a second chemical, called substance P, is released near the spinal cord. Both substances are known to be involved in transmitting pain. For example, if bradykinin is injected into humans, it causes intense pain, even if a local anaesthetic is used. Both bradykinin and substance P are found in mammals, birds, frogs and fish. Fish produce the same pain-blocking substances as humans. When in severe pain, humans and other vertebrates (animals with backbones) produce pain-killing chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins block pain by stopping the release of substance P. Fish Feel Anxiety For any chemical to be able to affect our brain, there must be special areas in the brain, called receptor sites, to which the chemical can attach. Fish, like mammals, have receptor sites for anxiety-reducing chemicals, such as the valium group of drugs. Dr Andrew Rowan, a Dean of Veterinary Science, has said: "This suggests that most vertebrates are capable of experiencing a form of anxiety which is physiologically similar to that seen in humans." HAVING NOW READ THE ABOVE, I AM NOW CONVINCED THAT EATING FISH IS EVEN WORSE THAN EATING RED/WHITE MEAT AS THE SUFFERRING CAUSED IS MUCH GREATER. You may elect to disagree, if as vegetarian who eats fish, these facts may not suit your higher moral ground.