Aquarium Fish Deserve to Have the ‘Five Freedoms’

Aquatic animals, including fish, are the most popular pets in the U.S. if you calculate popularity based on the number of owned pets.4

While fish are often viewed as simply “display animals” that are their for your viewing enjoyment, it’s important to provide adequate stimulation in the form of an enriched environment. A review published in the Veterinary Clinics of North America: Exotic Animal Practice journal noted:5

For a long time, there was debate over whether or not fish were able to experience pain or form long-term memories. As that debate has reduced and the consciousness of more aquatic animals is accepted, the need to discuss enrichment for these animals has increased.”

The review explains that fish in hobby aquariums, backyard ponds and aquariums should be afforded the five freedoms of welfare, which include:

  1. Freedom from hunger
  2. Freedom from discomfort
  3. Freedom from pain, injury or disease
  4. Freedom to express normal behavior
  5. Freedom from fear and distress

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