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NOTHING MORE THAN ‘FEELINGS’: Octopuses, crabs, and lobsters recognized as ‘sentient beings’ in the UK to no effect

The review found that invertebrate animals are sentient and have the capacity to have feelings, such as pain, pleasure, hunger, thirst, warmth, joy, comfort and excitement.

KELSEY VLAMIS: Octopuses, crabs, and lobsters will be recognized as sentient beings under UK animal welfare laws after a review concluded there is strong evidence they are capable of feelings. The UK government announced Friday that decapods, an order of crustaceans, and cephalopods, a class of mollusks, will now fall under the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill. Decapods include animals like crabs, lobsters, shrimp, prawns, and crayfish, and cephalopods include octopuses, squids, and cuttlefish.

The announcement said the bill “already recognizes all animals with a backbone (vertebrates) as sentient beings. However, unlike some other invertebrates (animals without a backbone), decapod crustaceans and cephalopods have complex central nervous systems, one of the key hallmarks of sentience.”

The decision followed the findings of a government-commissioned independent review by the London School of Economics and Political Science. The review, published this month, found there was “strong evidence” that such animals are sentient, which the review defines as having “the capacity to have feelings, such as feelings of pain, pleasure, hunger, thirst, warmth, joy, comfort and excitement.”

“I’m pleased to see the government implementing a central recommendation of my team’s report,” said Jonathan Birch, a professor at LSE who works on the Foundations of Animal Sentience Project, adding they reviewed over 300 scientific studies. “Octopuses and other cephalopods have been protected in science for years, but have not received any protection outside science until now”…

In the announcement, the UK government said it would “not affect any existing legislation or industry practices such as fishing. There will be no direct impact on the shellfish catching or restaurant industry. Instead, it is designed to ensure animal welfare is well considered in future decision-making.”

UK GOVERNMENT STAR: The scope of the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill has… been extended to recognise lobsters, octopus and crabs and all other decapod crustaceans and cephalopod molluscs as sentient beings…

The Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill already recognises all animals with a backbone (vertebrates) as sentient beings. However, unlike some other invertebrates (animals without a backbone ), decapod crustaceans and cephalopods have complex central nervous systems, one of the key hallmarks of sentience.

This announcement will not affect any existing legislation or industry practices such as fishing. There will be no direct impact on the shellfish catching or restaurant industry. Instead, it is designed to ensure animal welfare is well considered in future decision-making. SOURCE…

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