Review of the Evidence of Sentience in Cephalopod Molluscs and Decapod Crustaceans

Abstract

Sentience is the capacity to have feelings, such as feelings of pain, pleasure, hunger, thirst, warmth, joy, comfort and excitement. It is not simply the capacity to feel pain, but feelings of pain, distress or harm, broadly understood, have a special significance for animal welfare law. Drawing on over 300 scientific studies, we evaluate the evidence of sentience in two groups of invertebrate animals: the cephalopod molluscs or, for short, cephalopods (including octopods, squid and cuttlefish) and the decapod crustaceans or, for short, decapods (including crabs, lobsters and crayfish). We also evaluate the potential welfare implications of current commercial practices involving these animals.

Author Profiles

Heather Browning
University of Southampton
Jonathan Birch
London School of Economics

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