Pain versus suffering: what is it like to be a fish?

Brian Key asks whether fish feel pain, and decides in the negative here.

I disagree in part: I think pain is a vertebrate, c-fiber, sensory perception which drives avoidant behavior, all of which fish definitely have. There may be an analog to such function in invertebrates, but there I am less certain about pain.

Suffering, though, requires the higher cognitive faculties which Dr. Key says are required for pain as such. He gives a very good review of the relevant neuroanatomy in his post.

So we have what amounts to a mere difference in definition. I'd say Dr. Key's "pain" is what I term "suffering." I agree that it is unlikely that fish can suffer. So go ahead, bait that fishhook. Or, if you find yourself feeling badly for the fish (for a rather unconvincing counterpoint, see here), you can confine yourself to eating just the nori :).

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