Defining and assessing animal pain

  title={Defining and assessing animal pain},
  author={Lynne U. Sneddon and Robert William Elwood and Shelley A. Adamo and Matthew C. Leach},
  journal={Animal Behaviour},

Tables from this paper

Defining pain and painful sentience in animals

This commentary examines the list of 17 criteria used by Sneddon et al. to conclude that fish have conscious pain and addresses the logic behind this definition and the scientific evidence that it and similar definitions require for the strong implication of pain in non-human species.

Can Fish Experience Pain?

Experiencing pain is one of the key drivers of deciding whether to protect an animal under legislation and guidelines. Over the last two decades empirical evidence for fish experiencing pain has

Evolution of nociception and pain: evidence from fish models

  • L. Sneddon
  • Biology, Psychology
    Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B
  • 2019
There is ample evidence to demonstrate that it is highly likely that fish experience pain and that pain-related behavioural changes are conserved across vertebrates.

Animal Studies Repository 2015 Pain in Aquatic Animals

This review will assess the field of pain perception in aquatic species, focusing on fish and selected invertebrate groups to interpret how research findings can inform the understanding of the physiology and evolution of pain.

Analgesia, anesthesia, and euthanasia in zebrafish

Nociceptive pain and anxiety in equines: Physiological and behavioral alterations

It is necessary to conduct objective evaluations of both sensations using behavioral scales, like the horse grimace scale, complemented by assessments of blood biomarkers to analyze their correlation with physiological parameters: Heart rate, respiratory rate, HRV, theparasympathetic tone activity index, lactate and glucose levels, and temperature.

Acute and chronic stress prevents responses to pain in zebrafish: evidence for stress-induced analgesia

Exposure of zebrafish to acute or chronic stress prior to fin clipping prevents behavioural changes normally seen after fin clip; naloxone treatment prevented this effect, demonstrating stress-induced analgesia.

Opportunities for refinement in neuroscience: Indicators of wellness and post-operative pain in laboratory macaques.

Despite considerable individual variation, behaviour and facial expressions could offer important indicators of pain and wellness and should be routinely quantified, and appropriate interventions applied to prevent or alleviate pain, and promote positive welfare.

Pain in aquatic animals

  • L. Sneddon
  • Biology, Environmental Science
    The Journal of Experimental Biology
  • 2015
How aquatic animals may differ in their neurobiological and behavioural responses to injurious stimuli compared with terrestrial animals is discussed, which has interesting implications for the evolution of pain.



Pain perception in fish: indicators and endpoints.

In this review, recent evidence for pain is discussed in terms of the physiological properties of nociceptors, central responses to noxious stimulation, and changes in behavior and physiology that are indicative of nOCiception and are responsive to analgesia.

Identifying and monitoring pain in farm animals: a review.

Overall, this literature review shows that several indicators exist to assess pain in mammals, a few in birds and very few in fish, but research is needed to build and validate new indicators and to develop systems of pain assessment adapted to each type of situation and each species.

Recognizing pain and distress in laboratory animals.

Pain and stress are not inherently bad for an animal, unless these biologic strategies fail to protect the animal from stress or the biologic cost of coping takes too great a toll on the animal.

Pain and suffering in invertebrates?

Criteria that might distinguish nociception from pain are reviewed and an ability to use complex information suggests sufficient cognitive ability for the animal to have a fitness benefit from a pain experience is suggested.

Affective state and quality of life in mice

The Evidence for Pain in Fish: The Use of Morphine as an Analgesic

Pain Perception in Fish: Evidence and Implications for the Use of Fish

The standards for fish perceiving pain are discussed and can be summarized in three parts: the possession of the neural apparatus to detect and process pain; adverse behavioural and physiological responses in vivo to a painful stimulus; and whether the individual has a conscious experience of pain.

Assessment of pain in animals

Can fish really feel pain

Overall, the behavioral and neurobiological evidence reviewed shows fish responses to nociceptive stimuli are limited and fishes are unlikely to experience pain.

Do painful sensations and fear exist in fish

Together, these results demonstrate that pain is an important stimulus for a trout and it should seek to minimise and alleviate pain where possible.