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Protocol for assessing brain function in fish and the effectiveness of methods used to stun and kill them
  1. S. C. Kestin, BSc, PhD1,
  2. D. H. Robb, BSc, PhD1 and
  3. J. W. van de Vis, BSc, PhD2
  1. 1 Department of Clinical Veterinary Science, University of Bristol, Langford, Bristol BS40 5DU
  2. 2 DLO-RIVO, Postbus 68, 1970 AB UJmuiden, The Netherlands


A method for the evaluation of brain function in fish has been developed which is based on assessments of self-initiated behaviours, responses to stimulation, and reflexes. These assessments were validated in several freshwater and marine species and applied to evaluate the brain function of fish while they were anaesthetised and while they were being killed by a variety of methods. The results of these investigations were compared with published neurophysiological observations and it is concluded that some of the tests can be used to identify, with reasonable confidence, the state of awareness, and thus the capacity to experience suffering of several species of fish.

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