AN American professor has completed the most comprehensive study ever carried out on nervous systems and responses of fish and has proved that fish do not feel pain.

The academic study is the work of Professor James Rose (60), a professor of zoology and physiology at the University of Wyoming.
Professor Rose said: “We compared the nervous systems and responses of fish and found that their brain is not sufficiently developed to allow them to sense pain or fear. The awareness of pain depends on functions of regions of the cerebral cortex which fish do not possess.”

This is the largest study into piscine neurology ever carried out and represents a massive set-back for anti-angling groups like the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) who boast they have £2million to spend to see that angling is banned in the UK.

Professor Rose has also attacked previous studies (like the Medway Report) that indicated fish can feel pain. “They confused nociception (responding to a threatening stimulus) with feeling pain,” said Professor Rose.

NFA President Ken Ball commented: “Although the study has only confirmed what we all know, it is a great victory for the sport in the sense that the animal rights activists must now look elsewhere; our victory is a knockout blow for the American branch of PETA who must accept these findings as conclusive proof that fish do not feel pain.”

Martin Salter MP, the Parliamentary spokesman for angling said: “This report is terrific. It will help nail the lie that fish feel pain.”

Bob Clark, NFA membership services manager, agreed: “At last the sport has got the up-to-date scientific support it needed.

“All anglers know that fish don’t feel pain but many people out there need convincing. I can see this study resulting in thousands of people taking up the sport and many commentators, who have previously had their doubts about angling, changing sides and giving us the publicity the sport deserves.”

The academic study will be great news to potential sponsors who have previously had mixed feelings about putting their brand name behind the sport.

“Some school teachers have had mixed views about angling but the in-depth report by Professor Rose has given angling the green light and a clean bill of health.” commented Bob Clark.