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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 75:155-158 (2007)  -  doi:10.3354/dao075155

Contribution to the DAO Special 'Welfare of Aquatic Organisms'

The welfare of fish

George K. Iwama*

Acadia University, Wolfville, Nova Scotia B4P 2R6, Canada

ABSTRACT: Our interactions with fish cover a wide range of activities including enjoying them as pets to consuming them as food. I propose that we confine the consideration of the welfare of fish to their physiology, and not join the discussion on whether fish can feel pain and suffering, as humans. A significant proportion of the papers on animal welfare center on whether non-human animals can feel pain, and suffer as humans. This is a question that never can be answered unequivocally. The premise of the present paper is that we have an ethical responsibility to respect the life and well-being of all organisms. Thus, we should concentrate on the behavioural, physiological, and cellular indicators of their well-being and attempt to minimize a state of stress in the animals that we have in our care or influence.

KEY WORDS: Fish · Stress · Welfare · Well-being · Pain

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