We asked a cephalopod expert how it feels for an octopus who is on the receiving end. Like an octopus, it lacks a shell and has eight arms—the first creature to do so. Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. There Are Plenty of Octopuses In the Sea—Or Are There? So it's a barbaric thing to do to the animal. There is absolutely no doubt that they feel pain. You don't have to figure out exactly where the brain is, and you don't have to worry about an anaesthetic tainting the flavor of the meat. image courtesy of Flickr/RobertFrancis The past couple posts have described some pretty severe experiments on octopuses , including: showing how octopus arms can grow back after inflicted damage and how even severed octopus arms can react to stimuli . After quite some deliberation, they decided that in terms of research, you should give consideration to cephalopods, including octopus and squid, but they did not include crustaceans. [T]he octopus, which you’ve been chopping to pieces, is feeling pain every time you do it. What would be the best way to kill an octopus quickly and with minimal pain to the animal? 6 hours ago — Thomas Frank and E&E News, 12 hours ago — Lee Billings and Casey Dreier, 13 hours ago — Ronjini Joshua | Opinion, December 1, 2020 — Daniel Cusick and E&E News, December 1, 2020 — Ewen Callaway and Nature magazine. Discover world-changing science. 3. However, the catch-22 for this type of work is that pursuing it “may involve procedures with the potential to cause pain, suffering and distress,” the researchers write. There's everything to learn about them. Are there any ways, short of medical sedation, that one could reduce the amount of suffering while still eating an animal alive? The findings are described in the special “Cephalopod Research” issue of September’s Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. So it’s a barbaric thing to do to the animal.”—Cephalopod expert Dr. Jennifer Mather And as the authors of this review remind us, “care must be taken in drawing conclusions between cephalopod and vertebrate brains, as the last common ancestor of vertebrates and cephalopods existed over 500 million years ago.”. [Video], how octopus arms can grow back after inflicted damage, how even severed octopus arms can react to stimuli, the special “Cephalopod Research” issue of September’s, Farewell from Octopus Chronicles—And an Ode To a Tool-Wielding Octopus [Video], Octopus Genome Remains Elusive—But Full of Promise. They also have spatial memory. QuestionableMouse Sat 23-May-20 14:36:59. So, in most cases it would be painful, yes, and terrifying, but there can also be some protection from the experience, not always but sometimes. The evidence for sentience in squids, octopuses, and crustaceans is increasingly clear. One of them dug up a coconut shell and hauled it around with it, and when it got to the point where it wanted to rest, it picked up the shell, tucked itself inside of it, and went to sleep. Octopussies tend to be a lot less vocal about it though. But there was a discussion I had with PETA about someone who was frying octopuses alive in New York, and I was asked to comment on that. Octopus can feel pain and are aware of each hack into their sensitive tentacles. Without getting too far into the woods (or reefs) of animal treatment ethics, the question remains: How much pain and distress can these relatively short-lived invertebrates experience? Explore our digital archive back to 1845, including articles by more than 150 Nobel Prize winners. Sometimes, they’re even eaten alive! Cuttlefish apparently remember “distasteful” prey, suggesting the use of the central brain in relation to an unpleasant stimulus. The octopus has a nervous system which is much more distributed than ours. Second, there is the experience of pain (which, in our case, is mediated by the cerebrum). And “there are strong ethical, legal and scientific obligations to avoid, recognize and alleviate any pain, suffering and distress caused to animals used in scientific procedures,” the researchers note. I think it was the Hawaiians who used to bite down on the brain to kill it quickly. Why is it that we almost universally condemn leaving a dog out in the rain or kicking a cat, but haven't yet decided whether slowly dismembering a sea creature is truly disagreeable? If they killed the octopus first then I wouldn't care, but the kept it alive just to inflict pain by cutting off it's legs. They probably feel all the pain. She added, “Octopus expert Dr. Jennifer Mather has stated that ‘There is absolutely no doubt that they feel pain,’ and explained that an octopus who is being eaten alive is in just as much pain as a pig, fish, or rabbit would be.” JUNG YEON-JE via Getty Images. We don’t need to consume oysters, scallops, and clams to survive. "I understand your emotional response but it's unconfirmed by fact." It's just as … And, people do experience fear so great that it can cause them do die from the fear. In the written material that PETA has issued to accompany the video, octopus expert Jennifer Mather makes it clear, as well, that octopuses feel … By signing up to the VICE newsletter you agree to receive electronic communications from VICE that may sometimes include advertisements or sponsored content. By Katherine Harmon Courage on September 18, 2013. Jennifer Mather, PhD: It's not something I've come across in my research. This “creates an ethical dilemma given that the ultimate aim would be to reduce suffering for cephalopods.”. But the octopus, which you've been chopping to pieces, is feeling pain every time you do it. For example, researchers have observed an octopus’s color changing and activity patterns and looked for any self-inflicted harm (swimming into the side of a tank or eating its own arms) to judge whether the animal is “stressed.” And to tell whether an animal has “gone under” anesthesia, they often look for movements, lack of response, posture change or, at the most, measure heart rate and breathing. The fact is that many octopi have their tentacles cut off while they're still alive, that is torture, and I am not okay with torture. “[T]he octopus, which you’ve been chopping to pieces, is feeling pain every time you do it. The recently deceased squid may lack a brain, but its muscle cells, which receive electrical commands, are still intact , NPR reports. Octopuses are eaten alive in several countries around the world, including the USA. Luckily for us, a new paper deals with that very question. It’s just as painful as if it were a hog, a fish, or a rabbit, if you chopped a rabbit’s leg off piece by piece. It's not just a sense of direction, it's a sense of where you've been. I hoped that she could offer greater insight into pain and sentience in octopus terms. Live octopus … They're fascinating. She says, “There is absolutely no doubt that they feel pain. Restaurants in New York give customers the chance to “ pick belly sashimi out of (the lobster’s) still moving body.” In China, drunken shrimp, or qiang xia, is a delicacy that involves clawed river shrimp soaked in baijiu or another spirit. No more than kittens do. Both of these could explain why an octopus arm might recoil at an unpleasant sensation without the animal having a “conscious” experience of it. Do Octopuses Feel Pain? Researchers from Europe, the UK and Japan teamed up to explore what we know about pain, perception and cognition in octopuses. I've talked to other people about this—there is cultural sensitivity, and there is suffering. Horrible videos show large fish still moving as people eat their severed flesh; An octopus, eels and grubs are also seen being eaten alive or shoved into bowls ... say feel pain … She commented on the practice of cooking and eating octopuses alive. It selects instincts to fight for life till the very end. Eating octopus when it's still alive can be a choking hazard — people have actually died this way before. The controversial practice of eating live animals is still popular in many parts of the world. It isn't clear that octopuses experience the type of empathy (or possibly any empathy) that would result in such a fear or sadness response. “[T]he octopus, which you’ve been chopping to pieces, is feeling pain every time you do it. Short of cannibalism, the most controversial issues in meat-eating today are likely the consumption of dog meat—due to our social and sentimental attachments to the canine species—and the practice of eating live animals. There's an interesting situation because the European Union, over the last few years, looked at all of their animal welfare rules.