Those who use online encyclopedias will tell you they are not always the most reliable sources of information. A recent case in point is the Wikipedia page on “Pain in Fish”. It seems in recent months wholesale “updates” of the page have been undertaken by certain editors, some of whom describe themselves as “passionate about animal welfare”. Not surprisingly, the same editors have been previously banned from other topics on Wikipedia for infringement of editorial guidelines. It still seems they are allowed to edit in other areas so predictably, these editors have removed key scientific information and references which bring into considerable doubt the ability of fish to “feel pain”, substituting “pro pain” messages into what was once a reasonably balanced and informative source of information on this controversial topic. It seems the same editors have also been active altering pages on pain in crustaceans and invertebrates, rewriting the history of science on these topics as they attempt to sway public opinion.
The fish pain page in particular is now very unbalanced, leaving much anti- fishing innuendo there for all to see. Based on the discussions in the talk page for the article, it seems other editors are trying to use science based arguments to attempt to revert the page back to neutrality. In the meantime, fishers should be aware that such issues constantly exist in today’s electronic world and that the content of these sorts of publicly accessible electronic pages is constantly changing, often due to the actions of activists and others with underlying agendas who would rather see you tied to the dock playing tiddlywinks, rather than fishing.
When in doubt use truly peer reviewed science from professional science journals that have a history of good refereed science. If you are unsure, feel free to ask us at ROFFS™ and if we do not know, we will direct you to the proper sources.
Safe and Successful Fishing,
Mitchell A. Roffer, Ph.D. President