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Yes, Lobsters Do Feel Pain

California spiny lobsterFor those who like to tell themselves that it's OK to boil lobsters alive, life just got a bit more complicated.

A new study offers the most definitive evidence yet that crustaceans – crabs, lobsters, shrimps, etc. – feel pain. That's something the fishing industry  has been trying to deny since forever. (They're even still pretending that fish don't feel pain.)

The new study comes from Professor Bob Elwood and his team at Queen's University in the U.K., who demonstrated the reaction of crabs to a mild electric shock.

“Ninety crabs were each introduced individually to a tank with two dark shelters. On selecting their shelter of choice, some of the crabs were exposed to an electric shock. After some rest time, each crab was returned to the tank. Most stuck with what they knew best, returning to the shelter they had chosen first time around, where those that had been shocked on first choice again experienced a shock.

"When introduced to the tank for the third time, however, the vast majority of shocked crabs now went to the alternative safe shelter. Those not shocked continued to use their preferred shelter.

“Having experienced two rounds of shocks, the crabs learned to avoid the shelter where they received the shock. They were willing to give up their hideaway in order to avoid the source of their probable pain.”

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None of the crabs in the research experiment were harmed beyond the mild shock, and all were returned to their homes in the rock pools of County Down, Northern Ireland. 

Dr. Elwood told reporters that the convenient belief that crustaceans don't feel pain allows people to treat them in ways that are completely impermissible in relation to other animals.

"In the food industry around the world, billions of crustaceans are used each year but are regarded as not being able to suffer. They suffer extreme treatments which would not be allowed in the fishing or farming industries."

He also told The Guardian that he decided to do the experiment after a well-known chef asked him whether crustaceans experience pain.

"Even if there's a slight chance they feel pain, I feel we should start attending to that now. Crabs in some fisheries around the world have their claws just torn off and the live animals are thrown back into the sea – because it's only the claws that are required by fisherman.

"You have lobsters being processed, prawns that are being processed live by the front end, the head and the thorax being torn off. And the head with the brain will carry on being a viable nervous system and will continue to go on like that for an hour or so."

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20 comments
DairyboyS
DairyboyS

I would go one step further and say that the entire planet feels pain and is doing so at an increasingly accelerated pace.  We can see this by the degradation in the world’s climate and the increase in global seismic and volcanic activity.

 

Despite the fact that mankind has been on the planet for thousands of years we still have not managed to grasp the basic principles of equality and shared wealth; the net result being that the majority of the world’s population starves while the small percentage accrue wealth that they could never realistically used in a lifetime

.

Cruelty abounds; species that man has contact with are coming under manipulative management or persecution.  Any creature capable of producing profit has no voice and this is the latest topic of obscenity when we consider crustaceans that suffer pain when being boiled alive.  I believe they feel pain but there will be plenty of, so say erudite people, who insist that they don’t.

 

This is where we are, NOW; a voice for the voiceless!

DairyboyS
DairyboyS

I would go one step further and say that the entire planet feels pain and is doing so at an increasingly accelerated pace.  We can see this by the degradation in the world’s climate and the increase in global seismic and volcanic activity.   Despite the fact that mankind has been on the planet for thousands of years we still have not managed to grasp the basic principles of equality and shared wealth; the net result being that the majority of the world’s population starves while the small percentage accrue wealth that they could never realistically used in a lifetime . Cruelty abounds; species that man has contact with are coming under manipulative management or persecution.  Any creature capable of producing profit has no voice and this is the latest topic of obscenity when we consider crustaceans that suffer pain when being boiled alive.  I believe they feel pain but there will be plenty of, so say erudite people, who insist that they don’t.   This is where we are, NOW; a voice for the voiceless!

atticuss
atticuss

I'm an ethical vegetarian, almost vegan, and I still appreciate what this scientist was trying to prove, and I am going to cite this study when I write to Food Network.  Chef Morimoto is constantly tearing apart live lobsters, and Alton Brown is always accepting of it, pretending that the lobsters don't experience pain...

atticuss
atticuss

I'm an ethical vegetarian, almost vegan, and I still appreciate what this scientist was trying to prove, and I am going to cite this study when I write to Food Network.  Chef Morimoto is constantly tearing apart live lobsters, and Alton Brown is always accepting of it, pretending that the lobsters don't experience pain...

atticuss
atticuss

I think people are still not understanding the "need" for proof- many people do not want animals to feel pain, some people don't care if it's a chicken or a lobster, and a few rare b@stards think meat tastes better if the animal DID feel pain during slaughter.   Some scientists claim invertebrates don't feel pain because they don't have the same nervous system as we do.  This study proved that the crabs remembered where they received the shock and actively avoided it the third go around.  If people think an animal is avoiding a painful stimuli just out of reflex, then they say the animal doesn't feel pain, and then don't give a d@mn about boiling it alive.  This study proves the crabs felt pain- so maybe one day anyone who tries to boil a lobster alive will be treated as an animal abuser, instead of lauded for their culinary skills.  p.s.- we can't even get chefs to understand that foie gras production is cruel to geese and ducks- so can you see why we need PROOF of pain perception to have any credibility?

atticuss
atticuss

I think people are still not understanding the "need" for proof- many people do not want animals to feel pain, some people don't care if it's a chicken or a lobster, and a few rare b@stards think meat tastes better if the animal DID feel pain during slaughter.   Some scientists claim invertebrates don't feel pain because they don't have the same nervous system as we do.  This study proved that the crabs remembered where they received the shock and actively avoided it the third go around.  If people think an animal is avoiding a painful stimuli just out of reflex, then they say the animal doesn't feel pain, and then don't give a d@mn about boiling it alive.  This study proves the crabs felt pain- so maybe one day anyone who tries to boil a lobster alive will be treated as an animal abuser, instead of lauded for their culinary skills.  p.s.- we can't even get chefs to understand that foie gras production is cruel to geese and ducks- so can you see why we need PROOF of pain perception to have any credibility?

TMR
TMR

I wrote a little piece on this issue about crustaceans a few days ago. "What? Desperately trying to avoid being boiled alive didn’t tip you off?" http://veganismisnonviolence.com/2013/01/18/ignoring-the-obvious/

And in the end as a friend said : "Proof is overrated. I can't prove the sun will appear to rise tomorrow morning, nor can I prove solipsism is false, but I don't need proof to accept certain phenomena as obviously and practically true. Further, the neurological gear lobsters carry strongly suggests they not only feel pain, but feel it more than humans. All that said, the experience of pain is irrelevant if a being exhibits flight or flight behavior."

TMR
TMR

I wrote a little piece on this issue about crustaceans a few days ago. "What? Desperately trying to avoid being boiled alive didn’t tip you off?" http://veganismisnonviolence.com/2013/01/18/ignoring-the-obvious/ And in the end as a friend said : "Proof is overrated. I can't prove the sun will appear to rise tomorrow morning, nor can I prove solipsism is false, but I don't need proof to accept certain phenomena as obviously and practically true. Further, the neurological gear lobsters carry strongly suggests they not only feel pain, but feel it more than humans. All that said, the experience of pain is irrelevant if a being exhibits flight or flight behavior."

TMR
TMR

I wrote a little piece on this issue about crustaceans a few days ago. "What? Desperately trying to avoid being boiled alive didn’t tip you off?" http://veganismisnonviolence.com/2013/01/18/ignoring-the-obvious/And in the end as a friend said : "Proof is overrated. I can't prove the sun will appear to rise tomorrow morning, nor can I prove solipsism is false, but I don't need proof to accept certain phenomena as obviously and practically true. Further, the neurological gear lobsters carry strongly suggests they not only feel pain, but feel it more than humans. All that said, the experience of pain is irrelevant if a being exhibits flight or flight behavior."

atticuss
atticuss

Even though the study likely was unpleasant for the crabs, it actually is a very important PROOF that the animals were CONSCIOUSLY avoiding the pain of the electric shock by steering clear of the shelter where they were previously shocked.  People continue to cut up fish and shellfish while alive- think of all the @ssholes who delight in swallowing freshly shucked oysters or baby octopi or goldfish or whatever.  With proof of an animal's active avoidance of pain, not just reflex action, maybe laws will be passed to stop cruel and abusive treatment of even invertebrates.

atticuss
atticuss

Even though the study likely was unpleasant for the crabs, it actually is a very important PROOF that the animals were CONSCIOUSLY avoiding the pain of the electric shock by steering clear of the shelter where they were previously shocked.  People continue to cut up fish and shellfish while alive- think of all the @ssholes who delight in swallowing freshly shucked oysters or baby octopi or goldfish or whatever.  With proof of an animal's active avoidance of pain, not just reflex action, maybe laws will be passed to stop cruel and abusive treatment of even invertebrates.

TajemnaTemnota
TajemnaTemnota

This study is stupid! Of course they feel pain! They are live creatures!!! If someone think boil alive is OK he/she probably lost all his/her IQ!And don't exist nothing like  "mild shock" ans electric shock is one of most painful things on Earth! This destroy ionts in body and it's hurt much! I know it because I had it!

TajemnaTemnota
TajemnaTemnota

This study is stupid! Of course they feel pain! They are live creatures!!! If someone think boil alive is OK he/she probably lost all his/her IQ!And don't exist nothing like  "mild shock" ans electric shock is one of most painful things on Earth! This destroy ionts in body and it's hurt much! I know it because I had it!

atticuss
atticuss

I hate watching cooking shows that have the chefs callously tearing the tails or claws off of living lobsters.  So unnecessary to intentionally cause trauma to a living being!  Just because they can't scream doesn't mean they aren't in pain.

atticuss
atticuss

I hate watching cooking shows that have the chefs callously tearing the tails or claws off of living lobsters.  So unnecessary to intentionally cause trauma to a living being!  Just because they can't scream doesn't mean they aren't in pain.

atticuss
atticuss

I hate watching cooking shows that have the chefs callously tearing the tails or claws off of living lobsters.  So unnecessary to intentionally cause trauma to a living being!  Just because they can't scream doesn't mean they aren't in pain.

LoriMarino
LoriMarino

This latest study adds to the knowledge that pain is a universal sensation found in vertebrates and invertebrates alike. This makes complete sense from an evolutionary perspective.  This paper is among the myriad of emerging studies showing that invertebrates, such as crabs and octopi, share an enormous degree of their psychology with vertebrates like ourselves.

 

LoriMarino
LoriMarino

This latest study adds to the knowledge that pain is a universal sensation found in vertebrates and invertebrates alike. This makes complete sense from an evolutionary perspective.  This paper is among the myriad of emerging studies showing that invertebrates, such as crabs and octopi, share an enormous degree of their psychology with vertebrates like ourselves.

TMR
TMR

 @atticuss  @stards  @mn These studies often involve torture and at the very least stress and more exploitation and I can guarantee the studies on crustaceans will continue because scientists can get more funding, not because they are trying to prove that crustaceans should not be exploited. These studies in the end determine nothing because it will make no difference if they determine without question that an individual feels pain or if an individual is sentient. If they are not of our species, we will exploit them anyway. So *more* studies make no difference. And what about oysters? How do we know what happens in the inner world of an oyster? Any of our conclusions can only be based on observer bias and speciesism. For a long time we did not know how giraffes communicated, but it was discovered a few years ago that giraffes communicate via sub-sonic frequencies. Those frequencies can travel though large forests. There are many things we will never know about nonhumans and our interpretations will always be limited and speciesist. Why don't we experiment on severely disabled or comatosed people? Simply because they are of our species and legally they are not considered property. And it is assumed that regardless of their state, they are fundamentally sentient and feel pain regardless of the evidence to the contrary. I've looked after people in hospital who are brain-dead. No one suggests that we should experiment on them, simply because they are human.I'm (ethical) vegan. I do not use animals for food, clothing, entertainment or other reasons. For anyone who is not vegan and is interested in veganism, here is an excellent resource http://www.VeganKit.com

TMR
TMR

@atticuss  @stards  @mn These studies often involve torture and at the very least stress and more exploitation and I can guarantee the studies on crustaceans will continue because scientists can get more funding, not because they are trying to prove that crustaceans should not be exploited. These studies in the end determine nothing because it will make no difference if they determine without question that an individual feels pain or if an individual is sentient. If they are not of our species, we will exploit them anyway. So *more* studies make no difference. And what about oysters? How do we know what happens in the inner world of an oyster? Any of our conclusions can only be based on observer bias and speciesism. For a long time we did not know how giraffes communicated, but it was discovered a few years ago that giraffes communicate via sub-sonic frequencies. Those frequencies can travel though large forests. There are many things we will never know about nonhumans and our interpretations will always be limited and speciesist. Why don't we experiment on severely disabled or comatosed people? Simply because they are of our species and legally they are not considered property. And it is assumed that regardless of their state, they are fundamentally sentient and feel pain regardless of the evidence to the contrary. I've looked after people in hospital who are brain-dead. No one suggests that we should experiment on them, simply because they are human.I'm (ethical) vegan. I do not use animals for food, clothing, entertainment or other reasons. For anyone who is not vegan and is interested in veganism, here is an excellent resource http://www.VeganKit.com

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