Lobsters and crabs feel pain, study shows

Chico

found found found
So the next time your or someone you're dining with are about to select a lobster to be thrown into a watery, burning, boiling hell for the last 30 seconds or so if it's life..... Don't.


http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29915025/?GT1=43001

Lobsters and crabs feel pain, study shows

Findings add to growing evidence that virtually all animals can suffer



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Crustaceans such as lobsters can feel pain and stress, despite differences in their nervous systems compared to mammals, say scientists.

By Jennifer Viegas

updated 8:53 a.m. PT, Fri., March. 27, 2009

Ripping the legs off live crabs and crowding lobsters into seafood market tanks are just two of the many practices that may warrant reassessment, given two new studies that indicate crustaceans feel pain and stress.

The findings add to a growing body of evidence that virtually all animals, including fish, shellfish and insects, can suffer.

Robert Elwood, the lead author of both papers, explained to Discovery News that pain allows an individual to be "aware of the potential tissue damage" while experiencing "a huge negative emotion or motivation that it learns to avoid that situation in the future."

Both pain and stress are therefore key survival mechanisms.

Elwood, a professor in the School of Biological Sciences at The Queen's University in Belfast, and colleague Mirjam Appel studied hermit crabs collected from rock pools in County Down, Northern Ireland. All of the crabs survived the experiments and were later released back into their native habitat.

Elwood and Appel gave small electric shocks to some of the crabs within their shells. When the researchers provided vacant shells, some crabs — but only the ones that had been shocked —left their old shells and entered the new ones, showing stress-related behaviors like grooming of the abdomen or rapping of the abdomen against the empty shell.

Grooming, as for a person licking a burnt finger, "is a protective motor reaction and viewed as a sign of pain in vertebrates," the researchers wrote.

It has been thought that the behavior of crustaceans is mostly reflexive, but the fact that they showed signs of physical distress at the same time they changed a behavior — in this case, moving into another shell — suggest they feel pain as well, according to the researchers.

The research has been accepted for publication in the journal Animal Behavior.

For the second paper, slated for publication in the journal Applied Animal Behavior Science, Elwood, along with Stuart Barr and Lynsey Patterson, outline seven reasons, with supportive findings, they believe crustaceans suffer.

For one thing, they argue, crustaceans possess "a suitable central nervous system and receptors." They learn to avoid a negative stimulus after a potentially painful experience. They also engage in protective reactions, such as limping and rubbing, after being hurt.

Physiological changes, including release of adrenal-like hormones, also occur when pain or stress is suspected. And the animals make future decisions based on past likely painful events.

If crabs are given medicine — anesthetics or analgesics — they appear to feel relieved, showing fewer responses to negative stimuli. And finally, the researchers wrote, crustaceans possess "high cognitive ability and sentience."

In the past, some scientists reasoned that since pain and stress are associated with the neocortex in humans, all creatures must have this brain structure in order to experience such feelings. More recent studies, however, suggest that crustacean brains and nervous systems are configured differently. For example, fish, lobsters and octopi all have vision, Elwood said, despite lacking a visual cortex, which allows humans to see.

It was also thought that since many invertebrates cast off damaged appendages, it was not harmful for humans to remove legs, tails and other body parts from live crustaceans. Another study led by Patterson, however, found that when humans twisted off legs from crabs, the stress response was so profound that some individuals later died or could not regenerate the lost appendages.

Chris Sherwin, a senior research fellow in the Clinical Veterinary Science division at the University of Bristol, has also studied pain in invertebrates.

Sherwin told Discovery News, "The question of whether invertebrates experience pain is fundamental to our legislation that protects animals and our behavior, attitude and use of these highly complex organisms."

He said that while the recent studies suggest crustaceans experience "something akin to pain, rather than fixed, reflex responses," additional research is needed.

More on crustaceans | pain

© 2009 Discovery Channel
-it takes strength to be gentle and kind.
 

Hellie

Lost
I cannot believe that anyone ever thought they didn't feel pain.

I used to work in a restaurant where they were thrown into boiling water.

Such is the evil of mankind.
 
D

Dave

Guest
They are like big bugs, they smell bad, and they eat filth. Yum.
 

PregnantForTheLastTime

Hideous trait.
They are like big bugs, they smell bad, and they eat filth. Yum.
Dude, you're a man. I'd bet anything you don't always smell so nice. Men tend to be stinky. So do you deserve to be abused and then eaten?

The thing is, it usually doesn't cost anything to be kinder and nicer. It's not going to hurt you to inflict less pain on the world.
 
D

Dave

Guest
Dude, you're a man. I'd bet anything you don't always smell so nice. Men tend to be stinky. So do you deserve to be abused and then eaten?

The thing is, it usually doesn't cost anything to be kinder and nicer. It's not going to hurt you to inflict less pain on the world.
I don't eat them and I think they are grotesque as I stated.
 

Pachinko

Book Whore
Chico, I read that article as well, and I was horrified. Especially when they talked about *ripping* the legs off of a live crab! Horrible.
 

lottie

Love Me Outside!
I Know. it proves once again that humans are by far the most retarded of all creatures...

Poor Lobsters :tears:
seconded, bt how they had to do a flipping huge study, (thus inflicting more pain and suffering for no reason) i'll never know.
:tears:
 

Oh my god. it's Robby!

spontaneously luminescent
people eat a lot of lobster and crab at fancy schmancy restaurants in San Francisco :eek:
i bet this story gets buried there, one would not want to offend the "delicate sensibilities" of so many crustacean consuming / bleeding heart liberals :crazy:
 
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