Octopus, crab and lobster do feel pain: Brits want to live...

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The UK is one step closer to banning the live cooking of lobster. The British government is going to amend the animal welfare law to include crabs, lobsters and octopuses. A new report confirms that invertebrates can feel pain.

A large review study from the London School of Economics (LSE) is formal: There is “strong scientific evidence” that certain invertebrates have the ability to experience pain, fear or harm. The feelings of certain animal classes have been up for debate for some time. It has long been assumed that all invertebrates were unconscious creatures. But unlike other invertebrates, decapod crustaceans—including crabs, lobsters, crayfish, and shrimp and cephalopods—squids and octopuses—have a central nervous system. This means that they can experience certain sensations.

cephalopod mollusks

“After reviewing more than 300 scientific studies, we concluded that cephalopod molluscs and decapod crustaceans should be considered sensitive and therefore fall within the scope of the Animal Welfare Act,” said Dr. Jonathan Birch of the LSE and principal investigator of the report.

In some countries, including Switzerland, Austria and New Zealand, cooking shellfish live without anesthetic is already illegal. If the British add the invertebrates to the Animal Welfare Bill, a ban will also be one step closer. The animals may first need to be anesthetized with a shock or by cooling. For example, the LSE recommends that no more live animals be sold to amateurs.

The British Animal Welfare Secretary Lord Zac Goldsmith is a strong supporter of an amendment to the law. “Animal welfare is rightly taken into account when developing new laws,” he said. “The science is now clear. ”

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