Can Zebrafish Needs Be Met In Captivity?
A Fishes Article from

July 2020

Zebrafish are used widely in scientific experiments, but their welfare is consistently compromised, as there is little understanding of their natural behavior and social needs.

Photo by Lynn Ketchum Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Zebrafishes small striped fish normally found in the wild in Indian rivers are now being used globally in biomedical research. In labs, zebrafish are usually kept in conditions that are very different from their natural habitat. Most countries have no legal protection for fish welfare, apart from in Europe, which now has laws to protect fishes used in research, and in farming.

Zebrafish behavior in the wild, or even in semi-wild environments, has not been studied much, which makes providing any enrichment to their captive lives or even understanding how captivity affects them difficult to say the least.

In this review, the authors cover research done so far on the social behavior of zebrafishes, mostly in labs, and recommend studying natural zebrafish behavior. Of interest to advocates, the review is meant to help us to understand the suffering involved in keeping these fish in unnatural settings such as labs, which limit and change their behavior, and to improve their welfare in those settings.

Zebrafishes are commonly used in labs in many areas of human biomedical research, and are also used to study pain in animals, with the potential to replace rodents as the main animal model for pain. Zebrafish behavior can change because of experiments, such as restricting breathing, or moving the fish to other surroundings, something that causes particular stress and fear....

Read more at Can Zebrafish Needs Be Met In Captivity?

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