Goldfish have feelings too, say fish researchers by Jack Grimston
VETS are calling on goldfish owners to take better care of their pets after research finding that the creatures have long memories, may feel pain and can even pine for their owners when they are away. They claim the idea that goldfish have memories of only three seconds is outdated. “The public probably think it’s a bit quirky, but owners and all veterinary surgeons need to take fish seriously,” said Richmond Loh, a vet from Launceston, Tasmania. He presented a review of fish awareness science last week to a conference of the Australian Veterinary Association in Hobart, Tasmania.
The findings give some support for the arguments of Elliot Morley, the former environment minister, who argued for a ban on goldfish being given away at fairgrounds on the grounds of cruelty. He was forced to back down because Labour feared mockery in the run-up to the general election.
Among the studies cited by Loh was one carried out by British scientists in which fish learnt to push levers at particular times of the day to gain access to food. In another, two fighting fish were placed with an observer fish in a tank. For a long time afterwards the observer avoided swimming too close to the fish that had won the fight.
The studies also found substantial evidence that fish have the brain structures to feel pain and avoid dangers which may hurt them.
Loh said that many university committees looking at the ethics of experimenting on animals now gave equal consideration to fish.
In their paper — Ornamental Fish: Making Fish Smile, Sing and Dance — Loh and Matt Landos, his colleague, write: “Experiments on fish have examined the capacity of the fish to retain learnt information and be aware of consequences of certain responses . . . It has been established that fish do have some memory which can be recalled.”
Landos said: “We’re wanting to get the message out to vets to start looking more closely at fish and considering their welfare like they do other animals.”
I knew a girl who did marine biology, she conducted an experiment to see if fish became stressed and responded to good/bad attention & concluded that they do. After all they are just like any other animal, as previously stated we all know its true because we've see it on a daily basis.
Can't believe only just noticed this thread! Like many of u already said I always thot they did anyway but am sick getting ridiculed for talking to them and caring for them, worrying bout them, at the level that I do etc Fantastic article and I will be printing it off to show several people!