The Pain in Fish Farmed Trough Aquaculture Essay

The Pain in Fish Farmed Trough Aquaculture Essay

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This paper confines itself to the study of pain in fish farmed through aquaculture and its alleviation. Welfare concerns the physical and mental state of the animal (Lembo & Zupa 2009). It involves the animal’s physiological and psychological capability to cope with its environment (Lembo & Zupa 2009). Under the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare, an animal is entitled to be free of pain, injury and disease (Lembo & Zupa 2009). This paper concerns the optimal slaughter method given that the fish is capable of experiencing pain. The paper discusses the issue of whether fish experience pain. The paper then discusses the growth of the sector and the inhuman methods of slaughtering fish. The human alternative of electrical stunning and killing of fish is then discussed with its advantages and potential problems. Using fish behaviour, the use of electrical stunning and killing of fish will be evaluated for the farming of barramundi.
Animal welfare is a complex issue that includes freedom from pain (Ashley 2006). Pain as an element of animal welfare involves understanding the subjective experience of an animal, in this case, fish (Ashley 2006). Fish are traditionally viewed as not having the capability to experience pain (Ashley 2006; Rose 2002). This position has been challenged by other researchers who claim that fish experience nociception and therefore are capable of experiencing pain (Braithwaite & Huntingford 2004; Dunlop & Laming 2005; Sneddon 2003). The possession of an opioid system in fish is strong evidence that they feel pain (Posner 2009). Given that it seems apparent that fish do feel pain, their welfare is important.
Aquaculture is an expanding industry showing strong growth of 6.2% per annum with 52.5 million tonnes of f...


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...e, vol. 216, pp. 363 – 369.
Rose, JD 2002, ‘The neurobehavioral nature of fishes and the question of awareness and pain’, Reviews in Fisheries Science, vol. 10, pp. 1 – 38.
Schipp, G, Bosmans, J & Humphrey, J 2007, Northern Territory Barramundi Farming Handbook, Department of Primary Industry, Fisheries and Mines, Darwin.
Sneddon, LU 2003, ‘The evidence for pain in fish: the use of morphine as an analgesic’, Applied Animal Behaviour Science, vol. 83, no. 2, pp. 153 – 162.
Stevenson, P 2007, Closed Waters: the welfare of farmed Atlantic Salmon, Rainbow Trout, Atlantic Cod and Atlantic Halibut, Compassion in World Farming, Surrey.
Wilkinson, RJ, Paton, N and Porter, MJR 2008, ‘The effects of pre-harvest stress and harvest method on the stress response, rigor onset, muscle pH and drip loss in barramundi (Latescalcarifer)’, Aquaculture, vol. 282, pp. 26 – 32.

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