Bryan Pratt’s works of fiction.

mos 1 March 2010 60

About five weeks ago, the Canberra Times fishing columnist Dr Bryan Pratt dismissed the idea that fish could feel pain, branding those who suggested they could as “crazies, bigots, Luddites”. He went on to state that, “The full weight of scientific opinion … indicates that fish do not feel pain”.

He’s clearly and demonstrably wrong; there has been significant scientific research and opinion indicating that they can indeed feel pain including:

  • “After reviewing the current scientific evidence and exploring the many arguments, it is irrefutably substantiated that fish are capable of experiencing pain”. (“An HSUS Report: Fish and Pain Perception”, Feb 2008)
  • Norwegian School of Veterinary Science doctoral student Janicke Nordgreen studied nociception and pain in fish and concluded that it is very likely they can feel pain. (Reported in Science Daily, 15 Jan 2010)
  • “Recent suggestions that fish cannot experience pain or suffering do not appear to be supported by the current research. The evidence I have presented suggests that fish do have the capacity to experience pain and fear, and therefore we need to consider how to minimise their potential suffering”. (“Fish Pain Perception”, V.A. Braithwaite)

The following week, Pratt restated his claim saying, “I repeat that the vast body of scientific opinion is that fish do not feel pain. That’s not just my opinion, it’s that of independent scientists worldwide and I am happy to pass on that information without denigrating anybody else’s opinion”.

He was asked on the day that column was published for the offered ‘information’ but despite a couple of reminders it has still not been supplied.

It is one thing for Pratt to hold an opinion – he’s entitled to that – but to misrepresent “the vast body of scientific opinion” while denigrating those who disagree with him is unprofessional and unacceptable.

I suppose his stance is understandable – he makes his living telling people how to catch and kill fish then selling them the gear to do it.

Finally, RSPCA policy states, “RSPCA Australia considers that the available scientific evidence demonstrates that fish are capable of experiencing pain and suffering”. I wonder whether Pratt regards them as crazies, bigots or Luddites.

Pratt should either provide the information he promised a month ago or retract his statements.


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60 Responses to Bryan Pratt’s works of fiction.
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peterh peterh 9:37 am 16 Mar 10
Thoroughly Smashed Thoroughly Smashed 9:42 pm 15 Mar 10

peterh said :

a complex emotional life? FFS. they are fish. never going to hear the end of this, are we?

Probably not. It’s like that with science you know, always discovering new things and such.

peterh said :

I don’t eat fish, I fish with a barbless hook, and I enjoy the struggle between the fish and I when trying to land them after they are hooked. I don’t take photos with them, I put them back with a minimum of fuss. It is the thrill of the capture. it is a sport in its purest form. and if they are hurt by my barbless hook, at least it doesn’t tear the flesh when you pull it out of their mouths.

Imagine how much more pure it would be if you replaced your rod with a sharp stick and the fish with a wild boar!

peterh peterh 1:02 pm 15 Mar 10

a complex emotional life? FFS. they are fish. never going to hear the end of this, are we?

I don’t eat fish, I fish with a barbless hook, and I enjoy the struggle between the fish and I when trying to land them after they are hooked. I don’t take photos with them, I put them back with a minimum of fuss. It is the thrill of the capture. it is a sport in its purest form. and if they are hurt by my barbless hook, at least it doesn’t tear the flesh when you pull it out of their mouths.

mos mos 7:31 pm 08 Mar 10

From the UK Daily Mail;
“scientists are now confident that fish, once symbolic of dumb, primitive stupidity, do not only feel pain, but have a complex emotional life, too.” and

“there is ‘no logical reason why we should not extend to fish the same welfare considerations that we currently extend to birds and mammals'”.

More: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1256228/Do-fish-feelings-Its-slippery-question-science.html#ixzz0hZUSyMiC

mos mos 9:05 am 08 Mar 10

Strangely enough, I do regard horse racing and rodeos as cruel. But that’s a whole other story.

westyonline westyonline 10:20 am 07 Mar 10

mos said :

Hang on you vegephobes, I haven’t mentioned eating fish at all. My concern is Pratt’s/CT’s fiction and recreational angling.

50% of fish caught in Australia are thrown back. They are (according to recent experiment-based research and the RSPCA) being put through pain just for the fun of it.

If done to any other animals, this would be against the law.

Oh,do you mean that horse racing,Rodeo’s and pony rides are also considered cruel!!……Get A Life,and Come and Join US!!

dzasta dzasta 8:52 am 07 Mar 10

I think the OP was about objecting to killing for recreational purposes rather than need.

There are plenty of outlets for folks to buy fish, meat,venison and like.

ricci ricci 5:00 pm 03 Mar 10

Katietonia – I don’t think most people think vegetarians are loonies and fanatics; just people like Mike O’Sh…who insists on trying to shove his views down our collective throats ad nauseum. He is actually doing the vegetarian cause a huge disservice.

p1 p1 3:20 pm 03 Mar 10

What on earth is the alternative? Remove the laws (that were put in place to protect the fishing populations) and make fishermen kill all catches? Ban fishing? Introduce kinder hook alternatives? MOS – do you have any ideas?

I played that fishing game on someone’s iphone the other day….

motleychick motleychick 3:18 pm 03 Mar 10

Trunking symbols said :

All God’s creatures have their place – right next to the chips and veges.

That’s on a billboard on the way to Sydney!

deezagood deezagood 12:58 pm 03 Mar 10

As for the fish issue … I guess pain and suffering comes with being at the lower end of the food chain. Most of the fishermen that I know (including my dad) actually have a lot of respect for the fish, and do everything they can to minimise any unecessary suffering. I am also quite sure that they already know that the fish don’t really enjoy having hooks through their mouths/cheeks/eye-sockets etc… They continue their fishing anyways, so I am not sure how any studies proving that fish feel pain will impact on their behaviours. And how would you police a ‘kindness to fish’ scheme anyway? Most fishermen would love to quickly and humanely kill the fish that they catch; they only throw them back because of the fishing laws. What on earth is the alternative? Remove the laws (that were put in place to protect the fishing populations) and make fishermen kill all catches? Ban fishing? Introduce kinder hook alternatives? MOS – do you have any ideas?

deezagood deezagood 12:48 pm 03 Mar 10

Why are vegetarians dubbed to be loonies and fanatics? Vegetarianism actually makes a lot of sense; purely in practical terms. It is a LOT cheaper. It can also be healthier (f you do it properly). You can grow your own food (more difficult to do with meat, unless you have a farm). There are less steps in the food harvesting/preparation process. Grains and vegeis don’t tend to go off as quickly as meat. Ecologically; you can feed far, far more people by eating the crops, instead of growing the crops to feed the cows that will then be eaten. Human digestive systems closely resemble those of herbivores; not carnivores, who tend to have short, straight, uncomplicated intestines (for quick and efficient processing of meat). Some people don’t really like meat. Some people feel bad about the suffering of the animals. Some people’s bodies work better if they don’t eat meat. Why on earth does being a vegetarian make somebody a ‘loony’ or a fanatic?? I find the anti-vego comments here really weird. What have you got against the food choices of others? Seriously – get some perspective. (p.s. – I am, myself, a raging carnivore … but I don’t think people who are vegetarians are, in any way, ‘weird’).

chewy14 chewy14 10:44 am 03 Mar 10

And can you answer the points made by Skidbladnir above?

chewy14 chewy14 10:42 am 03 Mar 10

mos said :

Hang on you vegephobes, I haven’t mentioned eating fish at all. My concern is Pratt’s/CT’s fiction and recreational angling.

50% of fish caught in Australia are thrown back. They are (according to recent experiment-based research and the RSPCA) being put through pain just for the fun of it.

If done to any other animals, this would be against the law.

So a more humane fishing method such as cyanide fishing would be more to your liking MOS?

Jim Jones Jim Jones 10:06 am 03 Mar 10

colourful sydney racing identity said :

mos said :

Hang on you vegephobes, I haven’t mentioned eating fish at all. My concern is Pratt’s/CT’s fiction and recreational angling.quote]

Out of interest, and, in all sincerity, do you oppose eating fish?

Are you calling Mos a fishandchipocrit?

CoffeeGeek CoffeeGeek 9:37 am 03 Mar 10

If we were meant to be vegetarian, why are animals made out of meat!?

Vegetarians are killing our forests.

colourful sydney racing identity colourful sydney racing identity 9:28 am 03 Mar 10

mos said :

Hang on you vegephobes, I haven’t mentioned eating fish at all. My concern is Pratt’s/CT’s fiction and recreational angling.quote]

Out of interest, and, in all sincerity, do you oppose eating fish?

mos mos 8:02 am 03 Mar 10

Hang on you vegephobes, I haven’t mentioned eating fish at all. My concern is Pratt’s/CT’s fiction and recreational angling.

50% of fish caught in Australia are thrown back. They are (according to recent experiment-based research and the RSPCA) being put through pain just for the fun of it.

If done to any other animals, this would be against the law.

Pandy Pandy 10:32 pm 02 Mar 10

Complain to P.E.T.A.!!!!!!!!!

They would be offended that anyone would think fish experience pain.

BTW: P.E.T.A. stands for People Eating Tasty Animals

Grail Grail 10:26 pm 02 Mar 10

Pain or no pain, the easiest way to reduce human consumption of fish is to reduce the number of humans.

Human populations used to be controlled by famine, plague and war. Since we’ve improved farming practises, medical services and made a habit of being friends with our neighbours, humans have turned into a plague upon the planet.

Perhaps it’s time to start developing a taste for long pig?

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