Exclusive: Guardian learns sentience law could mean strict welfare rules extended to crustaceans and decapods
Scientific experiments on crabs and lobsters could be curbed when the animal sentience bill becomes law, the Guardian has learned.
This change in the UK could have significance for ongoing research there – including work looking on the impact of pollutants on marine life. The planned change to the UK law recognises that, like mammals and cephalopods, crustaceans and decapods are sentient and can experience pain. This move has been welcomed by some and is described as overdue. It may have wide implications, including raising questions for the commercial fishing industry.
Because scientists do not have to register how many crustaceans and decapods they experiment on, there are no numbers for how many are used.
But because they breed quickly and are sensitive to pollutants, they are frequently used in experiments, especially those that look into how different types of pollution affect the body.
But this could be about to change, Home Office sources said after crabs and lobsters were recognised as sentient beings which could feel pain.