Published: 25 Nov 2021 | Last Updated: 02 Mar 2022 16:26:12

The UK government has declared that lobsters, crabs, octopuses and related species will be included under the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill. This paves the way for legal protection from practices like being boiled alive and having the tendons of their pincers cut. 

Read the story on the Government website here →

Dr Charlotte Burn, Senior Lecturer in Animal Welfare and Behaviour Science & Deputy Head of Group, Centre for Animal Welfare at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), was an author on the Defra commissioned report that led to this government decision. The report on the likelihood of sentience in cephalopods and decapod crustaceans was led by Jonathan Birch at the London School of Economics, and the team reviewed over 300 scientific papers.  

Link to the report itself here. 

Dr Charlotte Burn said:

“Sentience is the ability to have feelings, such as pain, distress, or comfort. Scientific evidence about the complex behaviour and nervous systems of these animals has been accumulating over recent decades, and it has led us to conclude that there is a strong likelihood of these species being sentient.”

“We are really pleased that the government has decided to protect cephalopods and decapods following our report. Nothing will change immediately, but it means that there is now a legal mechanism to allow them to be protected from unnecessary suffering in the future.”

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