The Government of United Kingdom has amended a bill that follows the findings of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) scientific research on the sensitivity of lobsters, octopus, crabs and all decapod crustaceans and cephalopod mollusks. Previously, only vertebrate animals were recognized.
After reviewing 300 scientific studies, it was concluded that there is strong evidence to say that these spineless species are capable of experiencing distress, pain, or harm. Jonathan Birch, professor and principal investigator of that review, expressed that the amendment will help eliminate a “great inconsistency” related to the care of these animals.
“Today’s announcement will not affect any existing legislation or industry practices such as fishing. There will be no direct impact on seafood fisheries or the restaurant industry ”, it was noted in a statement from the UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
The plan is designed so that animal welfare is not neglected in decision-making that involves them. For example, the LSE has recommended that in commercial practices do not remove the dactyls (tips of the legs) or the ocular pendulum of crustaceans. They also seek to avoid being boiled alive to consume them, a common process in the gastronomic industry.
The Minister of Animal Welfare, Lord Zac Goldsmith, explained that the action plan will go even further with the intention of incorporating better protections for pets, livestock and wild animals.
“The Animal Welfare Awareness Bill provides a fundamental assurance that animal welfare is properly taken into account when developing new laws,” the official noted. In turn, he affirmed that science now contributes to vital legislation advocating for these cases, such as that of the lobsters, octopuses and crabs.
When the initiative becomes law, there will be an Animal Sentencing Committee made up of specialists in this field. “They will be able to issue reports on how well government decisions have taken into account the welfare of sensitive animals and ministers will have to answer to Parliament.” the statement reads.
In 2018, as a precedent, Switzerland became the first country to recognize that lobsters are animals that feel, and they prohibited cooking them alive. The UK follows in their footsteps.