Legal Correspondent: Nandini Varshney
Nov. 19, 2021:
In government policy decisions, crabs, octopus, and lobsters will be recognised as sentient entities.
The Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill will include decapod crustaceans and cephalopod molluscs in its purview.
The bill was amended in response to scientific study findings on decapod and cephalopod sentience published by the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).
Existing industry procedures will be unaffected, and no direct influence on shellfish catching or restaurant kitchens will be felt.
Lobsters, octopus, crabs, and all other decapod crustaceans and cephalopod molluscs have now been recognised as sentient animals under the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill.
The action comes after the conclusion of a government-commissioned independent inquiry by the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), which found substantial scientific evidence that decapod crustaceans and cephalopod molluscs are sentient.
All creatures with a backbone (vertebrates) are already recognised as sentient beings under the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill. Decapod crabs and cephalopods, on the other hand, have sophisticated central nerve systems, which is one of the markers of sentience, unlike certain other invertebrates (animals without a backbone).
Any current regulation or industry activities, such as fishing, will be unaffected by this declaration. There will be no immediate consequences for the shellfish business or the restaurant industry. Instead, it is intended to guarantee that animal welfare is taken into account when making future decisions.
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