In the UK, lobsters and octopuses come into law as sensitive animals. The moral question is: Have you ever thrown your Dachshund into a pot of boiling water to cook it alive? of course not. Not only because you will be rightly convicted of animal abuse, but also because you will feel that the monsters make a living suffering in this way.
However, there are animal species that do not appear to be a problem for them, such as lobsters or octopuses, often cooked in particularly good ways, but – also, Inui – especially terrible for them.
However, the question has been the subject of a recent study by the London School of Economics, which has reignited the debate on this thorny issue. After examining the 300 existing scientific studies on the topic, the research team stated that both cephalopods (octopus, squid, cuttlefish) and decapods (crabs, lobsters, shrimp) are “conscious beings”. Therefore, they are creatures with learning abilities, respond to analgesics or anesthetics, and have – above all – pain receptors, connected to certain areas of the brain.
In less technical terms, these creatures can feel pain. Which makes them creatures that must be protected like vertebrates. For this reason, the UK government has announced that it will include in the Animal Awareness Act, the Animal Welfare Bill. A bill that, only yesterday, got the go-ahead from the House of Lords, and passed the House of Commons exam, as announced in an impassioned tweet by the Crustacean Compassion, a British association that fights to protect these animals, is treated in an often brutal manner both on farms and restaurants.
The Minister for Animal Welfare, Lord Zack Goldsmith, said, “The science is now clear that decapods and cephalopods can feel pain, and therefore it is right that this basic legislation protects them.”
What does this “protection” mean? First and foremost, LSE always says in the ban on charring live lobsters and crabs. Then in adopting better – more humane – practices for transportation, stuns, and slaughter. A form of attention that seems to respond to basic principles of civilization, but it is not as widespread as one might think. It is in Switzerland that – since 2018 – it is forbidden to immerse live lobsters in boiling water, without stunning them first. Even abroad, starting with California, there is increasingly strict legislation on the subject.
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