Sunday, May 31, 2009

Vegan on the Weekend: Interesting Article

It's a working weekend for me; not much shopping or online browsing happening. But a friend did send me an interesting article about a study purporting to show that fish feel pain (or something similar to our conception of pain). It's aptly titled: "Frying Nemo: Do Fish Feel Pain?" I grabbed the left illustration (by Charlie Powell) from Slate because I found it mesmerizing. Michael Agger, the author of the article, comes down on the side that it is rather impossible to know whether fish feel pain comparable to the pain we feel. I tend to agree. In the end, that seems to permit the author to kill (he's a part-time angler) and eat fish. In contrast, in the end, as I wrote my friend, whether it's pain fish feel or merely a reflex, my opinion is that it's wrong for me to use them when I don't need to.

In other non-vegan news, I also enjoyed this article in The Nation -- Amber Waves of Blame -- by Katha Pollitt.


Anonymous said...

Has it occurred to you that, if aliens beamed down on Earth and experimented on us to see if humans could feel pain, they would reach the exact same conclusion as the author of this article? My point is that, short of being psychic or being able to actually communicate with animals, we will never have 100% confirmation that they feel pain like humans do. That doesn't mean they don't.

In addition, you should also consider that Descartes cut open live dogs and experimented on them and, much like the author of this article, wrote off the dogs' cries of pain as simple "reflexes." How convenient. Do you think dogs don't feel pain? And if you think they feel pain, as I think you do, why do you think fish are any different?

In the end, all animals, including humans, display "reflexes" that seem to indicate pain. As humans, we know we comprehend pain through our personal experience. We have no reason to believe otherwise for other animals. This, I think, tips the scales in favor of concluding that animals, including fish, DO feel pain.

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