(ORDO NEWS) — Octopuses, crabs and lobsters can experience pain or distress, according to a study commissioned by the UK government. The study included these creatures on the list of intelligent creatures to be protected under the new animal welfare laws.
Experts at the London School of Economics reviewed 300 scientific studies aimed at assessing the evidence for the intelligence of the above creatures, and they concluded that cephalopods (octopuses, squid and cuttlefish) and decapods (such as crabs, lobsters and crayfish) should be considered as intelligent creatures.
The report used eight different ways to measure sensitivity, including learning ability, pain receptor possession, connections between pain receptors and specific brain regions, and response to anesthetics or analgesics.
In the course of the research, they found, as the researchers write, “very strong” evidence for intelligence in octopuses and “strong” evidence in most crabs. For other animals from these two groups, such as squid, lobster, and cuttlefish, they found the evidence to be substantial, but not convincing enough.
“The Animal Senses Protection Bill provides an essential guarantee that animal welfare is properly considered when drafting new laws. It is now clear to science that decapods and cephalopods can feel pain, and therefore it is perfectly correct that they are subject to this vital law, ”said Animal Welfare Minister Lord Zach Goldsmith.
The bill, which is not yet law, will lead to the creation of the Animal Intelligence Committee, which will publish reports on how well government decisions have taken the welfare of intelligent animals into account.
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