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UK Government Recognises Crabs, Lobsters & Prawns as Sentient and Plans to Protect them!

This is probably the most exciting news piece we’ve written so far! This week the UK government released a report ‘Review of the Evidence of Sentience in Cephalopod Molluscs and Decapod Crustaceans’, which concluded that these animals are sentient, can feel pain and should be protected in law.

Decapods are sentient In 2020, the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) commissioned an independent research team from the London School of Economics to investigate whether animals like crabs, lobsters & prawns (decapod crustaceans) and cephalopod molluscs (such as octopus and squid) can feel pain.

On Friday 19th November, their report was published. The expert team of scientists have confirmed that decapods are sentient and should be protected in law!

Legal protection for decapods In response to this outcome, the government have proposed an amendment to the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill, a new piece of legislation that is currently on its way through parliament. The amendment will include decapods alongside vertebrates (animals with a backbone), legally recognising them as sentient. This legislation is long overdue, and will mean that their welfare is considered when new laws are developed. This is groundbreaking, as UK laws have not considered the welfare of these animals before.

What happens next? The Sentience Bill is set to continue its passage through Parliament to become law. The next step is the Report Stage in the House of Lords, taking place on Tuesday 30th November. On this day, the government’s amendment to include decapods should be confirmed, where the Bill will then move to the House of Commons before becoming law!

Make sure to stay tuned as we’ll be sharing updates on our social media, website and by email.


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