Toggle High
Contrast On
Categories
Body icon
Body
We celebrate all shapes and sizes because we see nothing but beauty.
View Topic
Life icon
Life
GR8NESS isn’t something you do; it’s how you live.
View Topic
Mind icon
Mind
Infuse mindfulness and awareness into everything you do.
View Topic
Self Care icon
Self Care
Refresh, renew, and reconnect with your inner self to nurture your wellbeing.
View Topic
Soul icon
Soul
Connect with all of humanity and discover your true self.
View Topic
Body
We celebrate all shapes and sizes because we see nothing but beauty.
View More
Categories
A life in motion is a life well lived. Move. Discover. Grow.
View Topic
True health lies in finding the perfect balance of mind, body, and spirit.
View Topic
Chronic pain can be debilitating. Regain control of your body and mind.
View Topic
Remedies sourced from nature help heal pains, both seen and unseen.
View Topic
Feed your body properly and you’ll nurture more than just the physical.
View Topic
Life
GR8NESS isn’t something you do; it’s how you live.
View More
Categories
Ease the way you move through life with simplicity and intelligence.
View Topic
Strengthening your relationships helps you celebrate who you’ve become.
View Topic
Raising children is the job of a lifetime. And you never get to retire.
View Topic
Our planet is a marvelous gift. Become the change the world needs by helping it heal.
View Topic
They’re an extended part of your family. Care for them the way they deserve.
View Topic
Mind
Infuse mindfulness and awareness into everything you do.
View More
Categories
While you cannot escape the stresses of life, you can find shelter inside yourself.
View Topic
Calming anxiety, easing depression, and discovering peace of mind are within your grasp.
View Topic
Everyday tools, training, and techniques to convince your brain it can be so much more.
View Topic
From mantras for self-love to changing the way you look at wellness.
View Topic
category alt tag
Self Care
Refresh, renew, and reconnect with your inner self to nurture your wellbeing.
View More
Categories
The journey of self-discovery is never-ending. Embrace your journey.
View Topic
Feeling good about your outside impacts how you feel about your inside. Feel beautiful both ways.
View Topic
Soul
Connect with all of humanity and discover your true self.
View More
Categories
Dive into your practice and experience something new every day. Give your mind some space to grow.
View Topic
Feed your mind with powerful positive statements to help you believe in yourself.
View Topic
In a fast-paced world, sometimes the best thing you can do is to breathe.
View Topic
GR8NESS expert Expert Reviewed
shark swirling
268 Views
4 Min Read Time
0 Shares

Why Some Animals Can’t Feel Pain

GR8NESS RATING
0
gr8 vote
GR8
0
meh vote
MEH
1
pass vote
PASS

Animal rights activists, scientists, and biological ethicists debated this for years, and still do today: Can animals, insects, and other living beings feel pain?

It’s an interesting topic, both from a scientific reasoning perspective and a moral perspective. After all, there are various sports and activities around the world that involve animals and may be painful for them.

There are two main problems when determining if animals feel pain:

  1. Most animals, especially wild animals, are very good at hiding pain and injuries. If something injures them in the wild, they can’t show vulnerability or a predator will take advantage of them.
  2. They can’t tell us if they are in pain.

Sure, most animals will react to something that should be painful. If you have domestic pets, you likely experience this and feel sympathetic toward them.

But does this mean they experience pain in the same way we do?

There are some interesting studies on this topic that revealed more than we could know on the surface by studying the physiological makeup of different species.

Here’s what we know now:

How Do We Feel Pain?

The ISAP (International Association for the Study of Pain) defines pain as follows:

“An unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage or described in terms of such damage.”

The interesting thing about pain is that it’s subjective. Everyone has a different tolerance for pain and finds different experiences more painful than others. Even pain awareness differs from person to person.

One of the things that is consistent is how the human body processes pain. When we hurt ourselves, pain receptors (nociceptors) in that area send electric signals through our spinal cords to our brains.

Our brains then direct these signals to the cortex, which is an area within our brains that perceives and processes pain. Signals also go to our limbic system, an area of our brain that controls emotional responses to pain.

We then feel pain based on how our brains interpret the signals. It’s a way of letting us know we have an injury to attend to, and to recognize the same dangers in the future.

Here’s Why Some Animals Can’t Feel Pain

If an animal lacks the pain receptors and parts of the brain we use to process pain, it’s a good indication that they do not feel pain. Here are some examples of organisms that lack some of these key pieces of anatomy:

Why Fish Can’t Feel Pain

Studies into the anatomy and physiology of some fish discovered that fish do not possess a neocortex, the part of our brains that is responsible for sensory perception. This is a strong indication that fish do not feel pain, or at least not in the same way we do.

In addition, almost all the fish studied lacked the nerve fibers we have that send pain signals to our brains. The study concluded that the fish lack these two parts in their anatomy and do not feel pain.

The study explains that some bony fish do possess simple nociceptors. So, there is a possibility that these fish are aware of some kind of pain. However, scientists don’t fully understand how they process pain and what it feels like.

Why Insects Can’t Feel Pain

Insects – like spiders, flies, butterflies, bees, etc. – also lack the neurological structures and parts of the brain that process pain.

From an observational standpoint, insects also lack the ability to learn from doing something that would be painful. For example, if we touched something sharp and it hurt, we would know to avoid doing it again. Insects, on the other hand, repeat actions that should cause pain, showing they are not feeling pain and learning from the experience.

Do Mammals Feel Pain?

Other mammals are a lot closer to us genetically and share a lot of the same features. They share the same nervous system, emotions, perceptions, and neurochemicals as us. Despite some mammals not showing it, we believe they do feel pain.

It’s still not clear exactly how they interpret pain and what they feel. Whether or not it’s similar to what we would feel if we had the same experience, we can’t be completely sure. Read more about how animals function to discover how their senses differ from ours.

GR8NESS RATING
0
gr8 vote
GR8
0
meh vote
MEH
1
pass vote
PASS
Matt
GR8NESS Writer
Matt is a GR8NESS contributing writer on such subjects as pets, CBD, pain relief, sexual health, time management, and family & parenting. When he's not placed in the awkward position of referring to himself in the third person, Matt tries to keep two Dachshunds, an 18-year old daughter, and one wife blissfully happy but not necessarily in that order.
Learn More
Related Articles
GR8NESS expert Expert Reviewed
Image by Tiffany Goerlich / Unsplash

Are You Feeding Your Pet Correctly? [Quiz]

We're all adoring if not outright obsessed with our pets. They become integral parts of our lives, and to some, family (I have yet to hear an argument otherwise). We care for them deeply, but as life has it, caring for them becomes another part of our busy days. How...
GR8NESS expert Expert Reviewed

7 Best Toys for GR8 Puppies

Puppies love toys. And since we love puppies, we want them to have as many toys as possible. The best way to keep a puppy occupied – and out of trouble – is to have plenty of toys for them to chew on and play with. Get a variety of...
GR8NESS expert Expert Reviewed
Image by FLOUFFY / Unsplash

A Tribute to Pet Moms [Video]

Pet moms, we see you. Some may say that pet moms are not really moms, but the dictionary disagrees. It mentions protective care and maternal affection, but it doesn’t specify that this affection is for humans only. Whatever you lavish your motherly devotions on, whether dog, cat, rabbit, horse, or...
GR8NESS expert Expert Reviewed

7 Clean Up Essentials for Pet Owners [Slideshow]

Every pet owner out there is battling the same fight every day – keeping their home clean. If you’re a pet owner, you’ve most likely tried every life hack out there to keep your home smelling fresh and looking picture-perfect, only for your dog or cat to come back with...
The URL has been copied