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Switzerland’s Ban on Boiling Live Lobsters May Not Have Scientific Basis • Mirror Daily

(Mirror Daily, United States) – Switzerland’s recent ban on boiling live lobsters before eating them may not have scientific basis, scientists claim, as the animals cannot feel pain.

Under the new law, Swiss chefs must first destroy the brain of the lobsters or knock them unconscious before placing them in boiling water.

Switzerland is not the only one to have banned the practice. New Zealand and a small city in Italy have also placed a ban on an inhumane method of killing lobsters. The Swiss law now also require businesses to transport the crustaceans in seawater for their comfort, instead of ice water or ice.

Many scientists argue that the animals cannot feel pain, but a 2013 experiment revealed that crabs tend to avoid electric shocks. That study suggested the animals may be feeling pain.

Do Lobsters Feel Pain?

Lead author Bob Elwood told BBC in 2013 that scientists cannot tell what happens in the animals’ minds, but their reaction to being tased “goes beyond a straightforward reflex response and it fits all the criteria of pain.”

However, the jury is still out on whether crabs and lobsters can experience pain. There have been two theories about animals’ capability of feeling pain: if they move away from the stimulus that cause them pain and if they have that part of the brain responsible for pain.

The first theory was tested in 2013 and showed that crabs may be sensing pain. However, measuring pain level is harder to estimate in crabs as they don’t express the experience as humans do.

Other scientists claim that an animal needs a central nervous system to process pain. Crustaceans lack such thing.

 The nervous system of a lobster is very simple, and is in fact most similar to the nervous system of a grasshopper,

said David Foster Wallace of the Maine Lobster Promotion Council.

Wallace explained the animals do not have a cerebral cortex which was found to be behind pain impulses in humans.
Image Source: Flickr

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