What would the Babel fish say?

Monica Gagliano

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


Starting with its title, Key’s (2016) target article advocates the view that fish do not feel pain. The author describes the neuroanatomical, physiological and behavioural conditions involved in the experience of pain in humans and rodents and confidently applies analogical arguments as though they were established facts in support of the negative conclusion about the inability of fish to feel pain. The logical reasoning, unfortunately, becomes somewhat incoherent, with the arbitrary application of the designated human criteria for an analogical argument to one animal species (e.g., rodents) but not another (fish). Research findings are reported selectively, and questionable interpretations are invoked to support the author’s position. In this commentary, I briefly examine two of the analogies presented in Key’s target article and highlight the role (and consequences) that personal opinions and preconceptions have in issues concerning human ethical responsibilities toward the welfare of non-human species.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-4
Number of pages4
JournalAnimal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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