3/17/2006

The Dilbert Blog: Ouch Said the Fish

"My comic of 3/12 ended with a fish saying "ouch." When my website becomes unbroken you can see it here:

http://dilbert.com/comics/dilbert/archive/dilbert-20060312.html

This caused one concerned reader to straighten me out on the subject of whether fish feel pain.

This begs the question of what exactly constitutes pain. When you put a hook through a fish’s mouth, then pick him up and watch him twist and suffocate in the air, is that a fish’s way of saying “I am indifferent to this situation”?

I’m no scientists but it sure looks like fish are expressing a preference with all that flopping around and gasping for water. But where is the line between pain and simply not getting your way? It sounds like a Gitmo situation to me. Maybe those fish aren’t gasping for water after all; they’re probably being treated in a humane way and trying to confess where they hid the WMD.

I should note that I’m a vegetarian, but only for selfish reasons. Saving critters from pain is an excellent goal if it’s practical. But I can’t reconcile that goal with what would happen if humans stopped killing animals. The alternative is to wait until the bears – for example – are about to copulate and then swoop in and place the condom on the boy bear without him noticing. Otherwise it seems to me that we’d have too damned many bears. If that happened you’d be all “Where’s that remote control for the TV?” and your spouse would be all “A bear is sitting on it” and you’d be all “Again?!!” And you know how much you hate it when people say “I’m all” instead of “I said.” That has to be at least as bad as killing animals. That’s my only point."

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