A study from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) unveiled strong scientific evidence that crabs, lobsters, and octopuses can feel pain and distress. In light of this revelation, the UK will put forward a motion to have the creatures recognized as sentient beings and therefore offered protection under the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill.
- Why has this taken so long? It’s been known for decades that lobsters, octopuses, and crabs have complex central nervous systems, which is considered one of the key qualities of sentience. However, it wasn’t until now that they’ve been recognized as sentient beings. Better late than never, I guess?
- The study reviewed 300 existing studies regarding sentience in cephalopods and decapods. The proof from all of them proved that the creatures can feel pain and have a sense of awareness of when they are in peril or being harmed.
- Researchers suggested laws be introduced to protect lobsters by shocking them before boiling them. While this method will still cause them pain, it should be less torturous. “Electrical stunning with appropriate parameters for the species can induce a seizure-like state in relatively large decapods, and that stunning diminishes, without wholly abolishing, the nervous system’s response to boiling water. We interpret this as evidence that electrical stunning is better than nothing,” the study said. “We recommend that the following slaughter methods are banned in all cases in which a more humane slaughter method is available, unless preceded by effective electrical stunning: boiling alive, [and] slowly raising the temperature of water.”
- The report suggested other ways to kill the animals more humanely. Relying on current evidence, the scientists concluded that “the most reasonable slaughter methods are double spiking (crabs), whole-body splitting (lobsters), and electrocution using a specialist device on a setting that is designed and validated to kill the animal quickly after initially stunning it.”
- Of course, we could just not eat these creatures at all. However, that’s a whole other conversation that society is not necessarily in the place to seriously consider quite yet, which is a shame.