Victoria Braithwaite obituary

Biologist who demonstrated that fish feel pain and caused a revolution in animal welfare researchUntil the early 2000s everyone knew that fish do not feel pain. The biologist Victoria Braithwaite, who has died aged 52 from cancer, showed that everyone who thought that was wrong.

Her demonstration that fish do feel pain caused a revolution in animal welfare research, resulted in changes to Home Office regulations and even featured in Ian McEwan’s novel Saturday (2005) as a concern of its central character, Henry Perowne, when shopping for dinner at a fishmonger. More than that, while provoking some members of the angling community and causing scientists and philosophers to argue over what it means to experience pain, her work has begun to change the way that fish are treated in the pet trade, in the laboratory and in aquaculture.

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