UK Politicians Urge Inclusion of Octopuses and Lobsters in Sentience Bill
A group of conservative politicians in the UK is pushing for the inclusion of lobster and octopuses in a new animal sentience bill, The Guardian reported. The influential Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation (CAWF) is meeting with the government to push for the sentience of invertebrates.
As it stands now, the bill recognizes that fish and other vertebrates feel pain, but does not include invertebrates. MPs in the CAWF believe they should be included. A report from CAWF found that fishing operations in the UK land 420 million cephalopods and crustaceans annually.
“Common arguments against crustacean and cephalopod sentience focus on distinctions between these animals’ anatomy and human anatomy (such as that they process information outside the brain, eg in ganglions). However, this anthropocentric view fails to capture what it means for an animal to be sentient. Crustaceans and cephalopods undoubtedly experience the world in extremely different ways to ourselves.
What matters, though, is whether that experience entails conscious experience of pleasure and pain. We believe that the evidence is sufficient to show that these animals do experience pleasure and pain,” the report said.
The report points to scientific studies to back up their proclamations as well as the backing of multiple scientists.
Lorraine Platt, founder of CAWF said in The Guardian, “All but a very small minority of scientists agree these are sentient animals capable of pain and suffering. It’s very important they are kept in the animal sentience bill. My Octopus Teacher is a very moving film about a female octopus, about how clever she is, how she can avoid predators, sharks, on a daily basis. If I feel this way I am sure many others feel the same way.”
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