THE Countryside Alliance has called for more research, rather than emotional debate, in response to a report by a team of scientists from the Roslin Institute and the University of Edinburgh suggesting that fish do feel pain.
Charles Jardine, Director of the Countryside Alliance’s Campaign for Angling, called for the debate to move on: “Previous research has found that fish do not possess the necessary and specific region of the brain to enable them to feel pain or, indeed, fear as a human would perceive it. I have spent my whole life fishing and I wouldn’t do it if I thought that it was cruel. However, any report that improves the level of understanding is a useful contribution to a debate which is short on real scientific research and still in its early stages”.
Alliance Chief Executive Richard Burge added: “The only sensible way forward for this argument, and the whole animal welfare debate, is for a Royal Commission to be established to examine the use and management of animals by mankind – something which the Alliance has been consistently calling for since 2000. It could take some time, but we would rather that a Commission took years and came up with a logical way forward than live with the consequences of knee jerk legislation resulting from a debate driven by prejudice and sentiment”.