In our fast-paced, human-centered lives, we are often oblivious to the remarkable capacities of so many animal species, like those of our underwater cousins: fish.

Article: The Globe And Mail, February 09, 2019

Author: Jonathan Balcombe

Website: The Globe And Mail


I have spent years exploring the inner lives of fish. What I’ve uncovered indicates that we grossly underestimate these fabulously diverse aquatic vertebrates, including the striking betta fish – who are so often treated as mere trinkets by pet stores.

Our own false sense of superiority allows us to devalue these animals who seem so foreign to us. Having evolved in a fundamentally different environment to the air-breathing vertebrates, fish look and function differently than us, at least superficially. They cannot breathe air, and we cannot breathe water.

It is as if we hailed from different planets. Their eyes, while served by the same six ocular muscles that serve our eyes, are unblinking and appear fixed. (There is, of course, no need for eyelids to spread tears over eyes that are constantly bathed in water.)

But a closer examination reveals that appearances can be deceiving. Not only has science essentially put to rest the malevolent myth that fish do not feel pain, we now know that they are sentient beings with meaningful lives.

To read the full article in The Globe And Mail – please click here.