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Cognitive evidence of fish sentience
Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling
  • Jonathan Balcombe, Humane Society Institute for Science and Policy
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Publication Date
Commentary Type
Invited Commentary
I present a little-known example of flexible, opportunistic behavior by a species of fish to undermine Key’s (2016) thesis that fish are unconscious and unable to feel. Lack of a cortex is flimsy grounds for denying pain to fish, for on that criterion we must also then deny it to all non-mammals, including birds, which goes against scientific consensus. Notwithstanding science’s fundamental inability to prove anything, the precautionary principal dictates that we should give the benefit of the doubt to fish, and the state of the oceans dictates that we act on it now.
Author Biography

Jonathan Balcombe is Director for Animal Sentience at the Humane Society Institute for Science and Policy in Washington, DC. He has published over 50 scientific papers on animal behavior and animal protection. Jonathan has written four books, with the most recent, What a Fish Knows, scheduled for publication in 2016.

Citation Information
Jonathan Balcombe. "Cognitive evidence of fish sentience" (2016)
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