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Crabs Feel Pain

January 21, 2013

You know how whenever you boil lobsters or crabs how one person gets all worried about whether you're being cruel or not? And you know how someone else chimes in that that's OK, they don't actually feel pain? Well, they're wrong: Crabs (and probably lobsters) feel pain. Scientists found that crabs in their study avoided situations that were likely to result in electric shocks even when running such a risk offered rewards like an otherwise perfect hiding spot. Crabs that hadn't experienced the electric shocks continued using those same hiding spots. So since the always-flimsy "they don't feel pain" argument seems to have been debunked, the question now is whether this alters the way we cook our crustaceans. Over at TIME, confessed lobster lover Bryan Walsh even questions whether we ought to be eating them at all, quoting from David Foster Wallace's essay "Consider the Lobster," which wonders whether future generations will look on our carnivorous eating habits as we now do the cruel entertainments of the ancient Romans. Of course, you could simply insert a blade into the lobster's brain before boiling it. Options for crabs include microwaving (which seems like it'd be just as painful) or popping off its head (see the video below). Or you could just acknowledge that, if you're a meat eater, you're benefiting from the death and probable pain of another once-living creature, and respect that that's just a part of the big circle of life. What do you think? Will the news that crabs feel pain change the way you cook seafood? Here's that crab head-popping video:

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