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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerfully argued, 21 April 2010
This review is from: Do Fish Feel Pain? (Hardcover)
I approached this book with from a rather skeptical perspective, but found myself won over by the strength of the author's argument. It would be easy to slip into simple advocacy, but Braithwaite artfully avoids this trap - instead, she allows the data to speak for themselves, and takes the reader through the series of well designed experimental steps that are necessary to defend her contention that fish do indeed feel pain. It is science at its best - clear, methodical, and rational. I'd recommend it highly to students, not just as a study in fish biology, but also as an example of how to present an emotive argument without letting emotion cloud the issue.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Measured, balanced, fascinating...., 13 April 2010
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This review is from: Do Fish Feel Pain? (Hardcover)
Refreshingly intelligent book, which trusts the reader and maintains a thoughtful and balanced tone throughout. The author explores the issues around fish pain, suffering and welfare, identifying the questions we might ask, the ways we might try to answer them, and what the answers really mean. At each stage the book gives clear but detailed descriptions of the scientific research supporting each conclusion, making the story accessible to non-specialists and crucially moving the text from a 'trust me, I know' harangue to a 'here's what we know' dialogue.
Considering the general philosophical issues around animal welfare as well as the scientific questions of what fish can experience, the book scrupulously fails to find a bogeyman or call for any knee-jerk instant solutions. Nonetheless, it raises some hard issues, and in a world where we're ready to pay more for free-range poultry, it may be timely to be hearing some unpalatable facts about many of the standard commercial fishing practices used to produce the fish on our plates.
Alongside the exploration of the book's main themes comes plenty of fascinating biology, including the extraordinary and rather delightful story of the grouper and the eel, which I've had to repeat to everyone since reading it. The author is a fish biologist, and the book tells a perhaps unintended third story, that of the scientific process, the honest search for the right question, and then the ingenuity and elegance applied to finding an answer. When the predominant exposure to science is about dramatic breakthroughs or headline-grabbing controversy, this readable, thoughtful and informative book is a tribute to the people quietly getting on with it, trying to find out how things really work. I'm grateful one of them has found the time to share the process, as well as raising some very important issues about our understanding of and interactions with these fascinating and diverse animals.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eminently readable, 11 May 2010
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Mr. R. P. Mountford (Tonbridge, Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Do Fish Feel Pain? (Hardcover)
Do fish feel pain? This book makes it clear that they do. The author, a respected scientist in her area, presents a wealth of evidence. Although this is drawn from scientific papers, the book is eminently readable.

The book flattens the argument that fish are robot-like in responding to painful events. It shows that they have numerous pain receptors in their mouths, and sites in their brains that receive pain messages. Fish change their behaviour when experiencing pain, and avoid similar situations in the future.

It will make uncomfortable reading for people who fish for a living and those who do so for pleasure.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well Researched Book, 9 May 2010
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This review is from: Do Fish Feel Pain? (Hardcover)
I'm a zoology student. I've read about pain in mammals, amphibians and in birds. I was therefore interested to see what was the current opinion is on fish. As fish can't tell us whether they are in pain or not, they have to be observed in experiments. This well researched book, draws the conclusion that they are capable of feeling pain.

I'd certainly recommend this book for those interested in animal physiology like myself, and also for the general reader.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The jury's still out, 16 Aug. 2010
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Bristly Badger (Deep underground, UK.) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Do Fish Feel Pain? (Hardcover)
Braithwaite gets full marks for this excellent book because she avoids drawing excessive conclusions from the research that she carefully discusses. Instead, she recognises that the research only takes us so far and that we need to know more before we clamour for an end to fishing. It's the best kind of science book, explaining experimental designs clearly and recognising their limitations. The essence of her conclusion is that fish do feel pain and, in some species, there is evidence that they also suffer and have a sense of their own selves. But she avoids stating that their suffering equates to human suffering, because it's impossible to draw that conclusion from the evidence.
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Do Fish Feel Pain?
Do Fish Feel Pain? by Victoria Braithwaite (Hardcover - 25 Mar. 2010)
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