Fish Feel Emotions and Stress, According to New Study
Anyone who has been vegan for more than a day has surely encountered someone who has challenged the need for leaving fish off their plates. “But fish don’t feel anything!” they might say. A new study published in The Proceedings of the Royal Society B journal details how fish have been found to exhibit clear biological signs of stress, effectively shutting down pescetarian arguments everywhere.
Researchers studied six different groups of zebrafish and their reactions to being confined in a net – a measure to purposefully induce stress. Each of the groups’ temperatures were monitored and the experimental group was found to have signs of stress-induced hyperthermia, or a rise in body temperature following a stressful event. Temperatures rose 2-4 degrees Celcius, in fact! The phenomenon, called “emotional fever,” was thought to only exist in mammals, birds, and reptiles, yet this study shows that the response extends to our underwater bretheren, as well. The researchers say:
“While the link between emotion and consciousness is still debated, this finding removes a key argument for lack of consciousness in fishes.”
In other words, those who argue that fish aren’t cognizant of their lives and when they are threatened are being proved incorrect. Just like other living creatures who respond biologically and emotionally in the face of stress, it seems we have finally observed how fish do the same. Bottom line: every creature wants, and deserves, to live.
Photo credit: Wikipedia