UK law will recognize sentience in animals including lobster, octopus

Octopuses, crabs, and lobsters are sentient and can feel pain and distress, British lawmakers have decided, in an update to a bill that could offer the creatures greater welfare protection.

The Animal Welfare Sentience Bill, which is currently making its way through Parliament, seeks to lawfully recognize the ability of certain animals to experience acute states such as suffering.

The first draft of the bill, which came out in May, was criticized by animal researchers and activists for only including vertebrates or animals with spines.

Following the findings of a government-commissioned report by the London School of Economics, or LSE, bill has been amended to include two classes of marine invertebrates: decapod crustaceans, which include lobsters, crabs, crayfish, shrimps, and prawns; and cephalopod mollusks, which include octopuses, squids and cuttlefish.

In terms of this recognition of sentience of cephalopods and decapods, mutilations such as declawing, nicking, eyestalk ablation, and the sale of live decapod crustaceans to untrained, non-expert handlers, and extreme slaughter methods such as live boiling without stunning, will now all be re-evaluated. Guidelines for best practice will be drawn up regarding transport, stunning, and slaughter.

In a letter issued by Compassion in World Farming South Africa, it says that this places a responsibility on all restaurants that offer these animals on their menus, to ensure greater welfare protection.

Compassion in World Farming (South Africa) will also alert our government to this development so
that South Africa too, can strive for the inclusion of these animals in our animal protection laws.

For more information, follow this link: Octopuses, crabs and lobsters to be recognised as sentient beings under UK law following LSE report findings


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