Even prawns do feel painPublished On: Thu, Nov 8th, 2007 | Biology | By BioNews
Nov 8 : The next time you gorge on a plate of seafood, do spare a thought for the feelings of the creatures in front of you. As a new study has suggested that prawns, at least, do suffer when harmed.
With the finding, Professor Robert Elwood, a British biologist, of Queen’s University has challenged the orthodoxy that crustaceans such as lobsters don’t feel any pain even when cooked live in boiling water.
In the study, the researcher dabbed acetic acid, the main ingredient of vinegar, on to the antennae of 144 prawns.
The analysis found that the prawns reacted by rubbing the affected parts of their bodies for up to five minutes.
Elwood said that the reaction was exactly the same as that was seen in mammals when they are exposed to painful irritants.
“The prolonged, specifically directed rubbing and grooming is consistent with an interpretation of pain experience,” the Daily Mail quoted him, as telling New Scientist magazine.
Elwood rejected the argument that simple invertebrates, animals with no backbones and limited nervous systems, cannot feel pain or experience suffering on evolutionary grounds.
He said that the ability to suffer allowed animals to learn from harmful experiences.
However Elwood’s research has not convinced other experts in the field.
Liverpool University’s Dr Lynne Sneddon, who has investigated whether eels feel pain, said: “You could argue the shrimp is simply trying to clean the antenna rather than showing a pain response.”
Annette Pinner, of the Vegetarian Society, said that eating lobsters should be avoided even if the jury was still out on whether they could suffer.
“The more information people have about the pain that animals feel and the way they are treated, the more likely they are to move to a vegetarian diet,” Pinner said. (ANI)