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Fish (Pain)

Volume 401: debated on Friday 14 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent research she has evaluated concerning whether fish feel pain; and if she will make a statement. [100360]

The maintenance of high standards of welfare for all animals including fish is a priority for DEFRA. The FAWC Report on the Welfare of Farmed Fish which was published in September 1996 considered the applicability of the term pain to fish. Since this report was published we are aware of further research on this topic.Projects have been conducted at centres of expertise in the Roslin Institute in Scotland as well as in the University of Edinburgh. We are aware of the recent report by the Fisheries Society of the British Isles on Fish Welfare published in 2002 as well as reports from Canadian sources on this important topic of pain in fish.While such research suggest fish do not experience pain in the same way as species such as mammals, further detailed research is required before a definitive position can be taken.