Crabs Feel Pain, Says Obvious Study

In a new study that seems like proof of something that should be common sense, researchers found that crabs prefer to avoid painful experiences.

The Queen’s University Belfast study gave small electric shocks to the crabs, who were found to vacate their favored dark shelters to avoid more jolts.

Considering they had to cause pain to discover that crabs don’t like pain, this certainly isn’t a test animal activists will approve of, but they might like the argument the researchers are trying to make with this information. They hope the food industry will rethink how live crustaceans are treated.

Irish Examiner reported that expert Professor Bob Elwood said, “In contrast to mammals, crustaceans are given little or no protection as the presumption is that they cannot experience pain. Our research suggests otherwise. More consideration of the treatment of these animals is needed as a potentially very large problem is being ignored.”

In this test, 90 crabs were placed in a tank with two dark shelters as options. After they chose one, they were given rounds of shocks to see what they would do. Professor Elwood said about the results, “Having experienced two rounds of shocks the crabs learned to avoid the shelter where they received the shock. They were willing to give up their hideaway in order to avoid the source of their probable pain.”

Whether it’s boiling crabs and lobsters alive or housing them in noisy bright crowded tanks at supermarkets, in the effort to serve fresh seafood, crustaceans are sadly treated as little more than objects. Perhaps conclusive data that crabs feel pain will make an impact as to how they are treated.

When it comes to keeping crustaceans safe and thinking about the ethical implications of the way we treat them, Considering the Lobster by David Foster Wallace still takes top marks.

By Ali Berman, From Ecorazzi


Camilla Vaga
Camilla Vaga4 years ago

of course they feel pain

JL A4 years ago


Terry V.
Terry V4 years ago

OBVIOUSLY.............................every LIVING thing FEELS

Nils Anders Lunde
PlsNoMessage se4 years ago

Of course they feel pain, don`t have to be a rocketscientist to figure out that! Not long ago they said fish did not feel pain, guess what...., they did! Life is life and to be life and live we all have to feel pain in some way so we can avoid it. Animals learn from pain, we learn from pain and so forth so we don`t do the same mistake again (unless you are Homer Simpson of course :-))

Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra4 years ago

Thank you Megan, for Sharing this!

Carrie Anne Brown

thanks for sharing

Mari Garcia
Mari Garcia5 years ago

Interesting, I was under the impression they can't feel pain because they lacked pain receptors. The need to survive and avoid danger is not the same as feeling pain.

Yulan Lawson
Yulan Lawson5 years ago

All things feel pain and emotions including plants and trees.

Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W5 years ago

Two different things? So if they didn't feel pain, why should they avoid something they didn't feel?

Pushpraj Singh
Pushpraj Singh5 years ago

I don't know...avoiding pain instinctively and actually feeling pain are two different things I think