All Things Wild

Do fish feel pain? (with Dr. Lynne Sneddon)

October 13, 2021 Martin Season 1 Episode 29
All Things Wild
Do fish feel pain? (with Dr. Lynne Sneddon)
Show Notes

Today we have Dr. Lynn Sneddon of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, she is a

leading researcher of animal welfare and is particularly interested in aquatic animals. She

asks questions like “do fish experience pain?”, how can we minimise the suffering of fish

when we catch them and overall promote a better and more humane fishing industry. We

chat about recreational fishing, spearfishing and commercial fishing and how they compare.

She also gives us some tips and advice on caring for your catch, the best way to dispatch

and store your fresh catch and how catch and release fishing can better look after the fish.

The best way for you to care for your catch is using barbless hooks, knotless nets and if you

are going to eat them, kill them quickly and efficiently. Do NOT let them suffocate, it is bad

for the fish and it spoils the meat. Is harvesting your own meat or buying it from the store

more ethical? Send us your thoughts on this topic, we’d love to hear from you! Let us know

what you think of this episode!

● 00:11 Intro

● 01:09 Dr. Lynn thanks for being on the show! Tell us about your background and the

subject you study

● 03:15 Testing if animals have the same brain structure for pain

● 06:20 The effects of pain

● 07:28 The difference between pain and the desire to not be eaten

● 08:08 Where did the idea of “fish can’t feel pain” come from?

● 12:10 What does pain and consciousness have to do with each other?

● 16:35 Emotional vs sensory pain

● 18:43 Reflex response vs actual pain, does the animal’s behaviour change

permanently or is it just a reflex?

● 21:11 Crabs and lobsters

● 22:13 Speciesism: what is an animal's life worth?

● 27:27 Where do you draw the line?

● 30:41 We are not in a position to judge and rank an animal's pain as more or less


● 31:14 Basic fish physiology: how do they experience their world?

● 32:30 They live in a visual and chemical world that can detect movement well. Some

fish even use electricity!

● 33:49 Rainbow trout’s lateral line detection

● 34:25 How do rainbow trout see at night?

● 35:22 Fly Fishing at night

● 36:00 Recreational fishing, how do you feel about it?

● 38:11 Improving fish welfare: using barbless hooks, knotless nets, killing quick and

efficiently and not letting them suffocate. Do not let them suffocate!

● 40:09 The best way to dispatch a fish

● 40:19 What do you recommend for catch and release fishing?

● 41:09 Catch and release mortality rates

● 42:23 Would it be more humane to kill an injured fish than to let it die out in the wild?

Common myths and misconceptions

● 43:28 Scaling care up to commercial fishing

● 44:26 Bringing up the catch slowly, get better at avoiding by catch, cameras on the

bait and some boats stun the fish with electricity

● 45:13 The public drive the push for animal welfare

● 46:07 Harvesting your own meat vs from the shop: which is more ethical?

● 48:45 Better welfare products are more expensive, the public pushes the prices down

when they demand it

● 50:04 Do you have a book or any way that people can support your work?

Follow Dr Lynn Sneddon on Twitter! @LynneUSneddon