Saturday, 19 January 2013

Further evidence crabs and other crustaceans feel pain

Scientists have found further evidence that crustaceans feel pain.
A study has revealed that the shore crab, a close relative of the species we use for food, responds to electric shocks and then goes on to avoid them.

Previous research has shown that prawns and hermit crabs also react to painful situations.
The scientists say the findings suggest the food and aquaculture industry should rethink how it treats these animals.

The work is published in the Journal of Experimental Biology.

Professor Bob Elwood, from Queen's University Belfast, told the BBC's Science in Action programme: "I don't know what goes on in a crab's mind.... but what I can say is the whole behaviour goes beyond a straightforward reflex response and it fits all the criteria of pain."

Shell shocked
Pain is a subjective experience and studying it in animals - especially invertebrates such as crabs - is not easy.

The researchers placed the crabs in an arena and studied how the responded to electric shocks

But Prof Elwood designed an experiment to assess how crustaceans respond to potentially painful situations.

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