Letter: Fish do feel pain

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THANK YOU Tom Hudson for pointing out the environmental damage caused by angling (Letters, 19 September).

There is also, of course, the animal welfare issue. The RSPCA panel of inquiry into shooting and angling, chaired by Lord Medway, concluded that "all vertebrates including fish ... experience similar sensations to a greater or lesser degree in response to noxious stimuli". In other words, fish feel pain. They therefore suffer when they are hooked. The Medway report also stated that fish suffer from being taken out of the water. The reduced pressure in air, compared with water, tends to cause bleeding from the gills and they begin to suffocate. Handling can damage the epidermis, which is a delicate tissue covering the scales. This can kill the fish through infection or circulatory failure.

Angling is cruel. It should not receive government subsidy or commercial sponsorship and parents should not encourage their children to take part in it. It should be banned.

TONI VERNELLI

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

London SW18

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