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Study Suggests Crabs Can Feel Pain

samzenpus posted about 5 years ago | from the but-your-legs-are-so-delicious dept.

Science 628

tritonman writes "A new scientific study suggests that crabs can feel and remember pain. From the article: '"More research is needed in this area where a potentially very large problem is being ignored," said Elwood. Legislation to protect crustaceans has been proposed but it is likely to cover only scientific research. Millions of crustacean are caught or reared in aquaculture for the food industry. There is no protection for these animals (with the possible exception of certain states in Australia) as the presumption is that they cannot experience pain.' Perhaps soon there will be a study to determine that vegetables feel pain as well, then all of the vegans will only be allowed to eat rocks."

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628 comments

Actually, vegetables do scream when picked (4, Funny)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 5 years ago | (#27363243)

But you'd have to ask a vegetable if it feels pain.

Re:Actually, vegetables do scream when picked (5, Funny)

eln (21727) | about 5 years ago | (#27363269)

But you'd have to ask a vegetable if it feels pain.

I've tried. I ask them over and over again, and they never answer me. Eventually, I get kicked out of the hospital.

Re:Actually, vegetables do scream when picked (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27363309)

It's times like these I wish I had mod points.

Re:Actually, vegetables do scream when picked (4, Funny)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 5 years ago | (#27363491)

You need to learn to whisper to them.

I find a mix of radish and arugula works. Most carrots can understand that.

Carrot Juice Is Murder (2, Funny)

JJRRutgers (595466) | about 5 years ago | (#27363983)

Listen up, brothers and sisters Come hear my desperate tale I speak of our friends of nature Trapped in the dirt like a jail Vegetables live in oppression Served on our tables each night This killing of veggies is madness I say we take up the fight Salads are only for murderers Cole slaw's a fascist regime Don't think that they don't have feelings Just 'cause a radish can't scream {Refrain} I've heard the screams of the vegetables, scream scream scream Watching their skins being peeled, having their insides revealed Grated and steamed with no mercy, burning off calories How do you think that feels, bet it hurts really bad Carrot juice constitutes murder, and that's a real crime Greenhouses prisons for slaves, let my vegetables grow It's time to stop all this gardening, it's dirty as hell Let's call a spade a spade, it's a spade it's a spade it's a spade I saw a man eating celery So I beat him black and blue If he ever touches a sprout again I'll bite him clean in two I'm a political prisoner Trapped in a windowless cage 'Cause I stopped the slaughter of turnips By killing five men in a rage I told the judge when he sentenced me "This is my finest hour I'll kill those farmers again Just to save one more cauliflower" How low as people do we dare to stoop Making young broccolis bleed in the soup Untie your beans, uncage your tomatoes Set potted plants free, don't mash that potato, ah I've heard the screams of the vegetables scream scream scream Watching their skins being peeled fates in the stir fry are sealed Grated and steamed with no mercy you fat gourmet scum How do you think that feels leave them out in the fields Carrot juice constitutes murder V8's genocide Greenhouses prisons for slaves yes your compost's a grave It's time to stop all this gardening take up macramé Let's call a spade a spade it's a spade it's a spade it's a spade All we are saying is give peas a chance.

Re:Actually, vegetables do scream when picked (2, Funny)

cwrinn (1282510) | about 5 years ago | (#27364109)

I've heard the screams of the vegetables, watching their skins being peeled. Grated and steamed with no mercy... how do YOU think that feels?

Does it matter... (4, Insightful)

noirsoldats (944384) | about 5 years ago | (#27363249)

if they feel pain? Cattle defiantly do, we still eat them.. As, I'm sure, a wide variety of other food stuffs feels pain as well..

Re:Does it matter... (5, Informative)

orclevegam (940336) | about 5 years ago | (#27363329)

if they feel pain? Cattle defiantly do, we still eat them.. As, I'm sure, a wide variety of other food stuffs feels pain as well..

I think the point is more that it's traditional to kill most crustaceans in a decidedly nasty manner. In the case of crabs (and sometimes lobsters) they're boiled alive, and in the case of lobsters they're often ripped in half (tail end is twisted off while it's still alive). The issue here would be that if they can be demonstrated to feel pain (sort of assumed they do myself, most all animals do) then there would be a demand for them to be "humanely" killed prior to being cooked.

Required reading (5, Informative)

yali (209015) | about 5 years ago | (#27363463)

From David Foster Wallace's now-classic essay in Gourmet [gourmet.com] :

Even if you cover the kettle and turn away, you can usually hear the cover rattling and clanking as the lobster tries to push it off. Or the creature's claws scraping the sides of the kettle as it thrashes around. The lobster, in other words, behaves very much as you or I would behave if we were plunged into boiling water (with the obvious exception of screaming). A blunter way to say this is that the lobster acts as if it's in terrible pain...

There happen to be two main criteria that most ethicists agree on for determining whether a living creature has the capacity to suffer and so has genuine interests that it may or may not be our moral duty to consider. One is how much of the neurological hardware required for pain-experience the animal comes equipped with--nociceptors, prostaglandins, neuronal opioid receptors, etc. The other criterion is whether the animal demonstrates behavior associated with pain. And it takes a lot of intellectual gymnastics and behaviorist hairsplitting not to see struggling, thrashing, and lid-clattering as just such pain-behavior.

Re:Required reading (1, Insightful)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | about 5 years ago | (#27363523)

Crustaceans are bugs. They have like 5 brain cells. What Wallace is describing is just an aversive reflex, not "pain." You can get the same type of reaction from certain plants.

Re:Required reading (3, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | about 5 years ago | (#27363865)

Well semantically, the difference between "Experiencing pain" and "Displaying pain behaviours" is so thin as to be non-existent. Might as well assume they're the same thing.

As the same time, I agree with you. Nearly every living thing has a stimulus response to being damaged, including many plants. You have to draw the line somewhere.

Besides, what's the alternative? Whacking the head off with a cleaver first? It'll still flop around. If they didn't want to be killed by immersion in boiling water, they should have skipped the ol' exoskeleton.

Re:Required reading (5, Informative)

publiclurker (952615) | about 5 years ago | (#27364101)

For a lobster, you can put a chef's knife through their head. That should be quick and painless enough. I've always done this. Mainly so I don't have to deal with boiling water and claws at the same time.

Re:Required reading (5, Funny)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | about 5 years ago | (#27363535)

The lobster might behave as we would, but I can guarantee you that the lobster is much, much tastier. Speaking of which, I think I need to go for some Lobsterfest tonite!

Re:Required reading (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27363677)

Why? Have you tasted human? I have heard from those that eat bush meat that it is unlike anything else. They absolutely love the taste of monkey.

Re:Required reading (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27363965)

I have heard from those that eat bush meat that it is unlike anything else.

You're doing it wrong

Re:Required reading (5, Funny)

HTH NE1 (675604) | about 5 years ago | (#27363569)

There happen to be two main criteria that most ethicists agree on for determining whether a living creature has the capacity to suffer and so has genuine interests that it may or may not be our moral duty to consider. One is how much of the neurological hardware required for pain-experience the animal comes equipped with--nociceptors, prostaglandins, neuronal opioid receptors, etc. The other criterion is whether the animal demonstrates behavior associated with pain. And it takes a lot of intellectual gymnastics and behaviorist hairsplitting not to see struggling, thrashing, and lid-clattering as just such pain-behavior.

Except there's a third criteria: is the animal tasty enough to disregard the other two criteria.

Re:Required reading (2, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | about 5 years ago | (#27364081)

Except there's a third criteria: is the animal tasty enough to disregard the other two criteria.

Well thank goodness humanity isn't tasty enough to meet that criteria.

And seriously if anyone wants to disagree, don't kid yourself. You are not very delicious.

Re:Required reading (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27364001)

Why would you put them into boiling water right away? You put the crabs in room temp water, then slowly up the temp. They are not able to fell small changes in temp. Also, The meat is not as hard that way.

Re:Required reading (2, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about 5 years ago | (#27364011)

If we have to consider the pain of a lobster, then we have to consider the pain of its close cousins -- insects. Are you arguing that using a bug zapper is equivalent to the holocaust?

Re:Required reading (2, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | about 5 years ago | (#27364063)

A blunter way to say this is that the lobster acts as if it's in terrible pain...

Acting 'as if its in terrible pain' is not the same thing as being in terrible pain.

If I build an extremely rudimentary AI with a temperature sensor, and a programmed response to "move somewhere else" when the temperature is outside of a given range. And a response to "move somewhere else quickly" when the temperature reaches a certain point. And I stick this simple program in a simple robot.

And I then start raising the temperature...

And it takes a lot of intellectual gymnastics and behaviorist hairsplitting not to see struggling, thrashing, and lid-clattering as just such pain-behavior.

So now its intellectual gymasistcs and behaviorist hairsplitting not to see my robot feel pain?

A lobster is like an insect... both almost programmed like simple robots.

I'm not going to say whether they can feel pain or not, I don't know enough about what is physically required to feel pain, or whether these creatures have it. But I'm not going to be convinced by a silly cooking anecdote: "See ... it thrashes..."

Re:Required reading (5, Interesting)

Kelbear (870538) | about 5 years ago | (#27364067)

I'm not objective enough to actually endorse the following rationale but:

An argument could be made that the animals lack value in the same sense that we value a human. Let's set aside the idea that humans have no objective value either and say that they do given our subjective empathy with the human experience.

Just because it recognizes and reacts to pain doesn't necessarily signify anything other than the fact that we recognize that it recognizes and reacts to pain.

Lots of videogame badguys take damage and react accordingly to preserve their lives. The Emotion engine for example is a physics/animation/AI package licensed by game developers to provide this behavior(as seen in GTAIV and Star Wars: Force unleashed). It allows the AI to assess damage, recognize potential harm, and attempt to preserve itself. People thrown through the air will put their hands up to protect their head and face, they'll take hits and attempt to reassert their balance after the impact. Pedestrians who are shot will panic and flee as best they can. But it's still just a game. The virtual characters only have virtual suffering.

(If games aren't your thing, you can think of Cylon pain instead).

One might be able to regard the animal's suffering on a lower level with a similar rationale.

Re:Required reading (4, Interesting)

SECProto (790283) | about 5 years ago | (#27364139)

I'm not sure about the rest of the slashdot membership, but I have cooked many lobsters and I have never seen them "thrash about" in an attempt to escape... in fact, they are quite lethargic in normal cold water, and don't move at all once placed in the boiling water. This quote is a blatant lie.

Re:Does it matter... (1)

Gat0r30y (957941) | about 5 years ago | (#27363755)

Net Pain vs. Pleasure. Consider, the dairy cow felt really good while being milked to make the delicious butter I'm gonna slather over the crab. So overall it all works out.

Re:Does it matter... (1)

Cornflake917 (515940) | about 5 years ago | (#27363971)

Consider, the dairy cow felt really good while being milked to make the delicious butter I'm gonna slather over the crab.

You know those aren't penises at the end of the udder, right?

Re:Does it matter... (4, Interesting)

Bloodoflethe (1058166) | about 5 years ago | (#27364197)

Ewwww! On the other side of things, dairy cows tend to feel pain when their glands are swollen, so milking them does indeed feel good to the cow.

Re:Does it matter... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27364095)

I've always found it barbaric the way they treat these animals. I have never and will never eat lobster and crabs. I always feel bad every time I walk by the lobster tank at the grocery store, it's so sad to see them in there and know what their fate will be.

It's that I'm against eating them or any other animal, but I'd like for my food to be treated humanly in life and to also experience a humane death.

Who cares? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27363265)

We're the dominant species on this planet. Why the fuck would I care if I hurt a crab? It's not as though pain has any special value to it, it's only arbitrary.

Won't somebody... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27363275)

...PLEASE think of the rocks?

HAVE NO FEAR! (1)

denzacar (181829) | about 5 years ago | (#27363687)

Fruitarians are here! [wikipedia.org]

Or... somewhere... out.. ummm... there. Bellow the trees, in the orchards... waiting.
Heroically preserving plants (and by their eating habits - the rocks too) by eating only "dead" fruit, like some kind of vegetation-vultures.

Definition of fruitarian
Some fruitarians will eat only what falls (or would fall) naturally from a plant, that is: foods that can be harvested without killing the plant. These foods consist primarily of culinary fruits, nuts, and seeds. Some do not eat grains, believing it is unnatural to do so, and some fruitarians feel that it is improper for humans to eat seeds. Others believe they should eat only plants that spread seeds when the plant is eaten. Others eat seeds and some cooked foods.
Some fruitarians use the botanical definitions of fruits and consume pulses, such as many beans and peas, while others include green leafy vegetables and/or root vegetables in their diet.

Motivation
Some fruitarians believe fruitarianism was the original diet of mankind in the form of Adam and Eve based on Genesis 1:29. They believe that a return to an Eden-like paradise will require simple living and a holistic approach to health and diet. Some fruitarians wish to avoid killing in all its forms, including plants.
Some fruitarians say that eating some types of fruit does the parent plant a favor and that fleshy fruit has evolved to be eaten by animals, to achieve seed dispersal.

Keep an eye out for any local fruitarians. When the civilization collapses, we will breed them for their meat and hide. [youtube.com]

About as surprising (1, Insightful)

Z00L00K (682162) | about 5 years ago | (#27363299)

To have a study that says that the sky is blue.

If the study was saying that they were unable to feel pain - then it would be news.

Re:About as surprising (2, Informative)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about 5 years ago | (#27363439)

It really depends on what is meant when you say 'feel'. The researchers seem to be using a defination that means "reacts to and learns from" which to me is not only obvious it is also pointless. The only definition of 'feel' that matters to me is the one that implies consciousness. This is pretty pointless unless you can demonstrate that the crab has a stream of thought that goes something like "Ow! that freakin hurts, better not do that again". Even that won't stop me eating meat, one animal killing and eating another is as natural as it gets, and we evolved canines for a reason.

Re:About as surprising (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | about 5 years ago | (#27363541)


Interesting to consider that while your self-awareness allows you to describe and analyse your pain, the sensation that you are discussing isn't actually dependent on your "stream of thought" as you call it. So why are you saying it matters or not depending on a part of your neurology that the pain itself doesn't depend on. Presumably you are arguing that concious thought makes pain worse. If we're discussing the ethics of inflicting pain, I think it would actually be on yourself to prove that concious thought makes pain worse, rather than others to prove that crabs have concious thought. Self-awareness allows the anticipation of pain which can be distressing, but that's not what we're talking about. In fact, it can actually reduce pain by understanding its necessity or temporary nature (for example, the person who cut off his own hand to escape when it was trapped by a rock).

Re:About as surprising (5, Insightful)

johnsonav (1098915) | about 5 years ago | (#27364039)

If we're discussing the ethics of inflicting pain, I think it would actually be on yourself to prove that concious thought makes pain worse, rather than others to prove that crabs have concious thought.

I think what is being argued is that crabs "feel" pain like my thermostat "feels" temperature. They both react to their environments and respond to external stimuli. But, without a consciousness to experience that pain or change in temperature, it is unwarranted to assume a crab "feels" anything at all.

What is a "stream" of thought? (1)

tepples (727027) | about 5 years ago | (#27363839)

The researchers seem to be using a defination that means "reacts to and learns from" which to me is not only obvious it is also pointless [...] unless you can demonstrate that the crab has a stream of thought that goes something like "Ow! that freakin hurts, better not do that again"

What they call "reacts to" you call "Ow! that freakin hurts". What they call "learns from" you call "better not do that again". So the only difference is the presence of some "stream". Are you asking for thought to be serializable? I don't think even human thought has a perfect serialization.

Re:About as surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27364061)

one animal killing and eating another is as natural as it gets

Confinement, hormones, anti-biotics, steroids, cows eating corn : as natural as it gets.

Crab Attacks (1)

Rip Dick (1207150) | about 5 years ago | (#27363305)

That's what they deserve for menacing us with their pincers of steel.

Better nuke site from orbit to be sure...

So what? (1, Interesting)

Bartab (233395) | about 5 years ago | (#27363325)

They still taste good, and that's far more relevant than if they feel pain.

Re:So what? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27363765)

Fuck you.

Simple solution (1, Insightful)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | about 5 years ago | (#27363327)

Stop giving a damn about anything with it's skeleton on the outside. I'm sure fire ants dislike having boiling vinegar dumped on them but I can't really bring myself to care much about anything that far removed from any sort of intelligent thought or attractive physical features. Also does anyone else really hate that crabs have 8 legs, it's like they're basically armored spiders.

Re:Simple solution (2, Interesting)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 5 years ago | (#27363871)

They don't bite/sting nearly as fast and don't have venomous acid to shoot into me. They also don't possess the strength to actually hurt me with those claws of theirs. Lobsters of course have venomous feelers >_

Re:Simple solution (5, Informative)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | about 5 years ago | (#27363951)

Did you know if you dump some instant grits on a fire ant mound the workers will take them in and feed them to the queen, and that she will then die as they slowly expand in her body, leaving her foul spawn to wither and die leaving an empty hellmound full of nothing but silence and despair?

Good stuff.

Incidentally, they kill scallops the same way as lobsters: by dumping them in boiling water. It's quick, and about as humane as it gets for something that can't otherwise be killed without wasting the meat.

Arthropods (2, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about 5 years ago | (#27363335)

This isn't surprising at all. Any mobile animal will need to avoid aversive stimuli. That's what pain is for. You'll find the same thing if you look at roaches or spiders. If you've ever stomped on one of them, then you really shouldn't feel any sympathy for crabs either.

Re:Arthropods (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 5 years ago | (#27363499)

yeah but being entirely crushed in a matter of milliseconds is decidedly less painful than being boiled to death over the span of a few minutes.

That said, crabs are damn tasty. I think I'll have to hit up Red Lobster for dinner tonight.

Re:Arthropods (1)

esocid (946821) | about 5 years ago | (#27364223)

There is a difference between a response to a stimulus and the actual determination that a certain stimulus is pain. Since everyone has always assumed that a smaller brain = less complex, and therefore isn't capable of "feeling" pain. Pain infers some sort of suffering induced by a stimulus. You start going into physiology/psychology (maybe philosophy) part of biology when you look at it this way. It still isn't entirely known if fish "feel" pain.

The main thing about this is regulations in research. They already apply to all vertebrate test subjects because we all know they feel pain. This will act to prevent researchers from handling them in...crustaceanely?

Boiling water (0)

C_Kode (102755) | about 5 years ago | (#27363341)

Throw them in boiling water and they scream like a girl! :D

Scream like a girl"?? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27363403)

What is this "girl" creature you speak of?

We must act to help! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27363347)

This why I, Barney Frank, have sponsored the Cwabs Have Feelings Too Bill of 2009. I urge Congress to consider that crustaceans are people, just like us, and have the right to life, liberty, and free choice of operating systems. My bill allows these noble animals to buy PCs naked of any operating system instead of being burdened with the Microsoft Tax. My being from Massachusetts, by golly, I understand tax.

I care! (0, Redundant)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 5 years ago | (#27363375)

I care about crabs feeling pain, just about as much as I care about cockroaches feeling pain. Arguably, crabs are the more "primitive" of the two.

The screaming the pressure cooker (1)

Kelbear (870538) | about 5 years ago | (#27363379)

That screaming sound from the pressure cooker is just steam leaving the crab's shells. The crabs aren't actually screaming....

At least that's what I tell myself to feel better, because that sound is damned unnerving when I think of how much it would suck to be steamed to death. This article just makes it more awkward.

Ahhh nevermind, I'll feel better when I'm full.

Much more importantly (5, Funny)

OSUJoe (549620) | about 5 years ago | (#27363451)

What about the pain I would experience not being allowed to eat sweet, delicious crab?

Newsflash (5, Interesting)

dtml-try MyNick (453562) | about 5 years ago | (#27363519)

Newsflash: most animals can feel and remember pain. We still eat them and don't give a damn.

It's called being on top of the food-chain. We are omnivorous and don't really care what we eat, where it comes from and how it died. We just want it in order to survive.

In the last few decades there have been some improvements on how cattle is treated and the way they are killed in the factories, nevertheless the average cow, pig or chicken has quite a hellish life before it ends up on your plate.

Compared to that most crab have a wonderfull life, they mature in open sea. Get fished up and a few hours later killed almost instantly.. Not bad if you look at the way animals are treated in industrial cattle farms.

Re:Newsflash (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27363945)

Just remember that not all animals experience a situation in the same way. While the lives of for example the cows may not be the best, for a human (for example) the situation would be worse. (Or maybe I was just brainwashed into believing that)

Re:Newsflash (4, Interesting)

Chris Burke (6130) | about 5 years ago | (#27364055)

Compared to that most crab have a wonderfull life, they mature in open sea. Get fished up and a few hours later killed almost instantly.. Not bad if you look at the way animals are treated in industrial cattle farms.

Or how crabs are treated by their natural predators. I saw a documentary about arthropods once where a very large octopus was hiding in a crack in some rocks and grabbed a passing crab. The crab was too big to fit through the crack especially with its fat claw arms, so without actually leaving its hiding place the octopus used its other arms to tear the limbs off the crab so it'd fit through and the octo could then eat the crab alive.

Nature can be nasty.

On the other hand, I'm completely against eating octopi and squid because they are extremely intelligent, the dolphins or chimps of the invertebrate world as far as I'm concerned. Maybe not the tiny arthropods, sure, just personally I prefer not to encourage the trade at all so I don't eat any of them.

Re:Newsflash (1)

swb (14022) | about 5 years ago | (#27364207)

On the other hand, I'm completely against eating octopi and squid because they are extremely intelligent, the dolphins or chimps of the invertebrate world as far as I'm concerned.

They're awesome sauteed in olive oil with garlic or even broiled.

Deep-fried are good, too, but fucking kalamari has been overdone.

Of course! Now it makes sense! (2, Insightful)

vertinox (846076) | about 5 years ago | (#27363525)

The amount an animal feels pain is proportional to how tasty they are!

Re:Of course! Now it makes sense! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27363651)

I should look into humans...Must b

Weak point (1)

LexMortis (1183871) | about 5 years ago | (#27363549)

So if you would attack its weak point for MASSIVE damage it would actually hurt them a lot?

Re:Weak point (3, Funny)

Cornflake917 (515940) | about 5 years ago | (#27364069)

If the scientists played any Final Fantasy games, they would know that casting "Lightning" on crabs hurts them, and hurts them much more than fire spells. ...Damn, you can tell when it's late afternoon on Friday when I start making retarded posts like these.

Ah Irony (1)

JediSF (459466) | about 5 years ago | (#27363587)

Checking the link from this story shows other work this scientist has done in the field of pain.

Let's look at this:
The scientist advocates better treatment of "lower" animals because they appear to possess the "memory" or feeling of unpleasant stimuli (pain).

This same scientist's career is based upon inflicting said stimuli on innocent creatures to see what happens...

Hmm

Re:Ah Irony (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27364227)

True. However the scientist's suggestion is well-taken. When I am preparing the crab to be eaten, the point is to kill it so that I can eat it. The point isn't to inflict pain. So why not think of a way that'll make the death less painful for the crab?

Scary (3, Insightful)

DavidR1991 (1047748) | about 5 years ago | (#27363623)

I find it genuinely scary how little the majority of commenters here feel for the way in which animals are killed / whether they feel pain. Fine, we eventually eat them, and I agree that the method of killing is of little consequence: but why is it necessary to give them an extremely torturous death prior to that?

If they do indeed feel pain (which I think they must: The excuse that they don't is just an excuse for a quick and easy + cheap method for executing them) I hope this study helps push more humane methods for killing crabs (and lobsters), because after watching them boil alive in tins etc. it makes you squirm thinking of the millions of these organisms facing their last minutes on this planet in blinding pain :(

Re:Scary (2, Insightful)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 5 years ago | (#27363967)

I find it genuinely scary how little the majority of commenters here feel for the way in which animals are killed / whether they feel pain. Fine, we eventually eat them, and I agree that the method of killing is of little consequence: but why is it necessary to give them an extremely torturous death prior to that?

Mostly for fun. See: Display of Dominance.

Re:Scary (1)

Aphoxema (1088507) | about 5 years ago | (#27363981)

Part of the point of boiling them alive is to kill them, alternatively we could try to bash them apart first to kill them and then cook what's left after that.

Getting through that tough shell is difficult enough with cooking them to break down the bonds holding the chitin together. A well placed drill or nail may effectively destroy the brain, but how can you test if they're really dead?

There's only really two practical options; Either prepare the crabs for eating as we've cleverly done for centuries or just not eat them and spare them the boiling water. Of course, if you want to test for better ways to kill them using a scientific method, be my guest.

Re:Scary (3, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | about 5 years ago | (#27364049)

Dude, it's sitting around in heavy armor. There aren't a whole lot of options.

But, say I agreed with you. The first thing I'd have to do is go out and kill all their natural predators, because, obviously, a minute in boiling water beats the crap out of being slowly picked to death, or being digested alive, or being picked up and repeatedly dashed against rocks.

Most organisms end their lives in blinding pain. Death usually isn't fun.

The difference between... (1)

KermodeBear (738243) | about 5 years ago | (#27363639)

My "vegetarian" sister and her child say that they refuse to eat meat, then they will turn around and gobble down a fish or some shrimp. Whenever I ask them what the difference is between a beef steak and a salmon steak, they never can come up with a satisfactory answer. I only get, "Well it's too much to think about! We need our protein!" and other similar lame excuses. I've been told by these "caring and intellectual" people, however, that animals like fish experience it "differently".

Of course animals other than humans feel pain. I'm certain that plants have some sort of pain system. After all - how else would they know that they have been hurt so that the healing process can begin? And how different can pain be? Perhaps their sensitivity to pain is GREATER than ours, they just have fewer options to do something about it so there isn't as drastic a reaction as you might find in a human.

Every meat eater I know thinks along the lines of, "Yeah, they can feel pain, that's why we kill them quickly." That's a lot more sensible as far as I'm concerned. A lot of these "But I'll Eat Fish!" vegetarian people are giant hypocrites.

Re:The difference between... (2, Insightful)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | about 5 years ago | (#27363809)

It's far easier for most people to be empathic about a furry warm blooded cow or cute little chick than a slimy fish blankly-staring fish or what is essentially a tasty ocean spider.

There will never be any protection for some animals equivalent to the cruelty laws for cats and dogs simply because most people draw a mental line between animals they like and don't. Reptiles, fish, and invertebrates will generally be on the "don't give a shit" side of that line regardless of what science has to say about whether they feel pain.

Re:The difference between... (4, Informative)

jamie (78724) | about 5 years ago | (#27363877)

My "vegetarian" sister and her child say that they refuse to eat meat, then they will turn around and gobble down a fish or some shrimp. ... A lot of these "But I'll Eat Fish!" vegetarian people are giant hypocrites.

Yes. Actual vegetarians are often annoyed by pescetarians who incorrectly label themselves as vegetarians.

They reflect badly on the rest of us, as people sometimes jump to conclusions and assume all or most vegetarians are hypocrites. But they also dilute the term itself, to the point where some restaurants and food service workers come to believe that if someone identifies as a vegetarian, it's okay to feed them fish products. That's unfair.

Re:The difference between... (1)

Zen Programmer (518532) | about 5 years ago | (#27364071)

I can't speak for your sister and her child's reason for excluding sea creatures from their vegetarianism, but for me pescatarianism is a stepping stone to vegetarianism. I wouldn't be able to become a full vegetarian by going cold turkey :P. So, I'm currently eating fish and crustaceans on a limited basis until I'm ready to do without any meat.

Feel free to call me a "giant hypocrite" or whatever you want, but for me becoming a vegetarian is a major lifestyle change that has significant psychological, cultural, and dietary challenges and it isn't going to happen without approaching the problem intelligently.

Low Intelligence (Humans that is) (0, Flamebait)

sonicmerlin (1505111) | about 5 years ago | (#27363709)

Most of these responses is the main problem I have with elitist computer-oriented geeks. They have a high IQ and think their logical reasoning puts them on top of the world. But like most of western society, they consistently demonstrate a lower EQ (emotional intelligence- google it). A discussion of emotions and feelings and their relation to spirituality has always come in very sparse amounts in Western historically important works, all the way back to Aristotle and Plato.

If they feel pain, then maybe... (1)

jfeser2 (1517427) | about 5 years ago | (#27363733)

...we should stop boiling them alive and ripping their legs off to devour them. Admittedly though, once the boiling is complete, the leg ripping is a bit of a moot point.

Problem is... (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 5 years ago | (#27363775)

that a number of studies have suggested this before, and every time, new evidence rips the studies apart. I really do wish that a DECENT study was done that really showed one way or another if they feel pain. But it appears that one group really does not do the work, while the other group really does not want to know. I have to say that I now prefer the preferred approach to cooking lobster (cold water, turned hot), since it appears that peta and others claim little chance of that being felt. Who knows. Perhaps, they will show that it is the most inhumane and a simpler approach would be better. Perhaps a simple knife to settle the spine.

Re:Problem is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27363957)

Perhaps a simple knife to settle the spine.

Easier said than done when you consider the whole "no spine" part of being an invertebrate.

Re:Problem is... (1)

flaming error (1041742) | about 5 years ago | (#27364053)

I'd like to see a scientific study of how noticeably different they taste if boiled alive vs killed one second before being thrown in the pot.

Popplers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27363803)

...lobsters, and now crabs. Fishy Joe sure has a lot to answer for.

Ride the Walrus!

Plants feel pain too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27363841)

I dont have the link on me but there were studies a few years back suggesting that plants do feel and remember pain. I would assume that most complex living organisms feel and remember pain as it is very useful for survival on earth.

Supposedly someone brought this research to the attention of the dali lama and asked why he ate vegetables if they are living and can feel pain. his response was. "...they dont scream as loud"

Obviously they feel pain... (3, Interesting)

Baba Ram Dass (1033456) | about 5 years ago | (#27363895)

..if you define pain as a physiological response to damaging stimuli. Animals need that in order to survive.

The question is does their form of pain "hurt"? We'll never know that. After all, we don't even know why pain hurts for us humans; all we know is that it does indeed hurt and is not something we like to experience (unless you're masochistic).

This problem is at root a philosophical one. It's impossible to know how things are through the eyes of another. See qualia [wikipedia.org] . I don't know what red looks like to you, nor do I know how a flame touching your finger feels like to you. I can guess, because we have similar physical and mental faculties, but it's still just a guess.

That's why I insist on free-range crab! (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 5 years ago | (#27363939)

It is crucial that all this crustacean cruelty be crushed! Free-range crab is the best crab for people and for crab-kind. Cruel food is less nutritious and less tasty. So take all your crabs and let them roam free on the range!

Study shows crabs avoid electrical shocks (4, Insightful)

Dan East (318230) | about 5 years ago | (#27363989)

Actually, the study shows that crabs avoid electrical shocks. Do they experience it as pain? Who knows. Considering that the nervous system uses electrical impulses to transmit information, an electrical shock directly affects and interferes with the nervous system.

I think the point in all this is to determine whether or not killing a crab by dropping it into a pot of boiling water is less ethical than killing it in some other manner. The problem I see is that electricity and boiling water are not at all the same. Maybe they don't have pain receptors for heat, thus, to them, their body basically stops working when boiled, and that's that. On the other hand, an electrical charge will definitely negatively affect their nervous system, regardless of pain receptors, temperature receptors, etc, and that would be something they would avoid, if just because they don't want their nervous system to act all haywire.

So really the study doesn't match the actual "inhumane" conditions enough to be able to bring about change in the treatment of these animals.

seagulls (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 5 years ago | (#27364007)

seagulls have a tendency to carry them up high, then drop them. The shell cracks, the crab doesn't quite die, the seagull starts ripping pieces out and eating them until the crab does die. :x

Basic biological question (1)

OffTheLip (636691) | about 5 years ago | (#27364057)

I spend time in a secluded fishing community where baiting crab pots and eating the rewards are a part of daily life. Not that this is special but they way the crabs are dispatched was different to me. They were "backed" and cleaned before cooking. I've never been completely comfortable with dropping a living crab into a pot of boiling water but assumed death was quick. After seeing live backing I don't know. From a crab prep point of view it was far easier to do it while they were living. From a crab's perspective I have my doubts. Tasted good though which is the real issue. If continue to prey on other species we live with the consequences and science may not provide comfort.

Suffering (4, Insightful)

Twillerror (536681) | about 5 years ago | (#27364165)

Feeling pain and reacting to it are different then suffering. Even changing
behavior based on pain is different then acutally feeling the pain later. That requires
a certain level of empathy.

The real test to me is show a crab another crab being killed in a painful way. If
we can detect pain receptors firing in some way in the crab then I think we have to worry. Otherwise the crab is just saying "putting pincher in trap BAD".

Your dog for instance will get freaked out if he sees someone hurting you while a cow on the other hand will only freak out if it gets startled. I could strangle you in front of a cow and
it would just sit there eating unless we made enough sound as to scare it...but it would not be
scared of the strangling.

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