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Welfare charity urges better care for fish used in research

Fish should be treated with the same ethical considerations as other vertebrates used in research, according to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The RSPCA says that fish are still perceived as presenting less of an ethical and animal welfare problem, despite laws acknowledging that they should be protected by the same welfare rules as other groups. The call follows an increase in the numbers of fish being used in laboratory studies.

“Many people now recognise that fishes can experience pain, suffering and distress and positive emotions, can have complex social lives and are capable of thought processing that can rival many other so-called ‘higher’ animals,” said Penny Hawkins, head of the RSPCA’s research animals department, in a statement to coincide with the World Day for Animals in Laboratories on 24 April.

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