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Crustaceans must be protected
Posted 18 January 2013
New research indicates once again that crustaceans do feel pain, and yet crabs, lobsters and other sea creatures, can be trapped, transported and stored before being killed without any protection from the law at all. Prawns may undergo ‘eyestalk ablation’ – the removal of the eyestalk, which triggers the maturing of their ovaries – even though scientists describe this process as ‘cruel’ and ‘traumatic’.
We have long known that crustaceans have the appropriate physical and neurochemical mechanisms to feel pain. And a growing body of evidence from behavioural research confirms that they avoid and learn from electric shocks. One study found that if their antennae are pinched or covered in irritant chemicals, prawns rub and groom the affected area. When given an anaesthetic, they stop. It is high time crustaceans were afforded legal protection under the Animal Welfare Act.